Yerevan City Guide
The snow-capped silhouette of moun Ararat dominates the skyline of Yerevan as a constant reminder of the ancient roots of the city. Ararat is where according to Christian lore Noah's Ark landed after the flood. Yet, at a venerable age of more than 2750 years, the capital of Armenia looks anything but old with its sweeping boulevards and modern squares. Need a proof?
The best way to see Yerevan is to take a stroll.
This is city that has to be explored on foot. Charming squares, elegant avenues and leafy parks make leisurely strolls a real delight. Sit by one of the many fountains, listen to street performers play traditional flutes or watch locals play chess outdoors, a game that is highly popular and much loved by Armenians. Finally, climb the Yerevan Cascade. The top of this open-air staircase on a hillside reveals a marvellous vista of the city below.
A real hidden gem, the Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art, is located underneath the cascade flight of stairs. The Cafesjian museum boasts a striking collection of contemporary artworks both by Armenian and famed international artists like Mark Chagall and Andy Warhol. The Sculpture Park at the foot of the Cascade is yet another place to admire artwork from local and foreign artists. At nightfall, finish your outdoor exploration of Yerevan by heading to the heart of the city, Republic square, where the singing fountains kick off a water and music show after 9pm every single night.
Sightseeing in Yerevan starts here.
Republic Square is where some of the other major Yerevan attractions are located, such as the National Gallery, home to several thousand works of fine art by Armenian and European artists. The History Museum, on the other hand houses well over 400 000 historical objects. Rich as this collection is, though, the best place to immerse yourself into the past of the ancient city is the Erebuni Museum and the eponymous fortress – this is where the first city fortifications were erected nearly three millennia ago.
Sure, there's a lot more to Yerevan than ancient ruins.
Shopping is even more of an adventure than sightseeing, and while the city might not have its Fifth Avenue, it has Northern Avenue, which is lined with fashionable boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Both local and well-known international brands have flagship stores in downtown Yerevan. Add to this the numerous department stores and shopping becomes an eclectic affair.
If the high street is not your cup of tea and you crave more alternative shopping experiences, simply head to the Vernissage market, where you will be greeted by an open-air display of artisanal products, quaint souvenirs, traditional coffee pots, hand carved wood decorations and many more temptations.
Yerevan is a great place to familiarize yourself with two of the country's most popular exports – cognac and carpets. Traditional hand-made carpets can be purchased from the Vernissage market but the Megerian Carpet Museum is the real feast for the eye with its rich displays of traditional carpets and textiles in vibrant colours and complex patterns. As for cognac, at the Noy Erevan Brandy Factory visitors can combine an educational tour with an indulgent tasting.
The best way to unwind at the end of the day is to dive into the local music scene. Downtown Yerevan is where the majority of nightclubs and bars are located. Be it listening to a street musician, attending a performance at the grand Opera Theatre or chilling out at one of the city's jazz clubs, there are many ways to spend an evening.
A few things to know about Yerevan
Getting around Yerevan is easy as the city has affordable taxis and an efficient and relatively young subway network built in the 1980s. Smoking is quite widespread in Yerevan and the rest of Armenia, which is a relief for smokers but if you don't enjoy the smoke, make sure to ask establishments for their non-smoking areas or rooms.