Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is the country’s social, economic and cultural hub, full of vibrant nightlife and decadent day-shopping. While Yerevan seems a younger European city, the contemporary architecture blends well with Soviet-era pink tuff buildings, giving the city its local nickname, “the Pink City”. The ambiance is hospitable, a welcoming change from the hustle-and-bustle of cities like Milan, Paris or Prague.
Yerevan’s scenery and skyline tell the story of one of the oldest cities in the world. Founded 29 years before Ancient Rome, the city’s history is an open book for any wishing to find it. Join our guided tour to explore the different dimensions and faces of this amazing city.
When should you visit Yerevan?
Yerevan is a city with cold winters and 40-degree-plus summers. Spring is an amazing time to be in the city, as the trees wake from their winter hibernation, but autumn is the best time to visit this wonderful city. From mid-September to early November, the ‘velvet autumn’ in Yerevan’s streets is a perfect time to walk amongst the locals and explore the uniqueness that is Yerevan’s personality.
Where should you stay when in Yerevan?
For those on a tight budget, a rental apartment or hostel is the way to go. Grammy Hostel, One Way Hostel and Kantar Hostel are some great options, with their staff providing great service, affordable prices, and the convenience of great locations.
If you plan on splurging a bit, consider these top hotels in Yerevan: The Armenia Marriott Hotel, Radisson BLU Hotel, Grand Hotel Yerevan, DoubleTree by Hilton, Opera Suite Hotel and the Tufenkian Historic Yerevan Hotel. Whether you’re seeing this glorious city on a budget or in style, you’re sure to find friendly places in these accommodations.
What should you see in Yerevan, and how do you get there?
The best transport in Yerevan is already available – your feet! Walking is the easiest way to get around this city, and even if you get lost – taxis are readily available, which will return you to your hotel or apartment for only a few dollars. Yerevan has 3 indisputable benefits over other cities – it’s small, so it’s harder to get lost in; food doesn’t cost much; and it’s even safe to walk the streets at night. Learn a few Armenian “survivor phrases” to ensure you can communicate what you need in every situation, and head on out exploring. Sounds like fun!
The first thing you should set out to find is the proof of the rich, yet troubled, history of the area. Explore your way to the Erebuni Museum Archaeological Preserve, a few minutes from the Small Center, where you can explore the Fortress Erebuni (Founded 782BCE). The Museum contains a large collection of artefacts, items that recount the history of the fortress, as well as the city, and the social history of its people – the customs, traditions and habits of the residents of ancient Erebuni.
Those who love being entrenched in history can continue on to Yerevan History Museum, attached to the City Hall, which holds various collections of Armenian history, both past and present. Explore other sites of cultural and historical import, including Matenadaran – housing one of the richest collections of ancient manuscripts in the world – Yerevan Brandy Factory, Parajanov Museum, and the Magerian Carpets.
Heading downtown, the nightlife will blow your mind as the sun sets. The greatest of these are concentrated in the Small Centre, a smaller district in Yerevan’s cultural hub. Stroll down the Abovyan Street, the oldest street in Yerevan, and soak up the charm of the early-1900s architecture, complete with preserved buildings blending nicely with the more modern boutiques, cozy outdoor cafes and small souvenir shops. Speaking of souvenirs, head on down to the Vernissage Market on the weekend and snag yourself a unique little memento.
After lunch, head on down to the Republic Square, Yerevan’s central piazza, and take in the sight of the main governmental buildings and the singing fountains, which start their performance around 9pm. Time your schedule to return while these fountains are running – you won’t regret it!
Whether you intend on following an itinerary or explore at your own place, you must see these sites:
- Cascade Park (The Cafesjian Sculpture Garden). Cafesjian is the home of the CafesjianCenter for the Arts, a small museum store, and a concert hall, with modern sculptures scattered around the park for your viewing pleasure.
- The Yerevan Opera House and Liberty Square. Adjacent to Swan Lake, these gems of architecture will tickle the fancy of many a visitor. Kanye West enjoyed it so much that he jumped into Swan Lake himself.
- The Mother Armenia statue on top of the Cascade, and the Victory Park area. A discerning visitor can take in a panoramic view of the city.
- Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, and the adjacent greens. Home to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, preserving the memory of the 1.5 million victims of the Meds Yeghern (“Great Calamity”) of the early 20th century.
What are your impressions from the Armenian capital? Perhaps, you may have discovered a nice not-so-touristy place or souvenir shop that is worthwhile visiting in Yerevan. If so, feel free to share in the comment section below or drop us a message for touring in Armenia!