Yerevan (Armenian: Երեւան) is the capital of the Republic of Armenia, one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus and is home to over a million people - the largest Armenian community in the world. In Soviet years Yerevan underwent massive reconstruction, following architect Alexander Tamanyan's plan to make a "perfect city" - a Neo-Classical town with wide avenues, resembling Paris, Vienna and Saint Petersburg.
Central Yerevan is a true jewel of early Soviet architecture. It is also home to some large scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels which are mostly the result of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania. In Soviet days Yerevan had already become known as the Pink City as much due to the colour of the tufa stone used for building as for the flamboyant spirit of her young population.
Most of tourist Yerevan is concentrated in the city centre, which very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options. The rest of the city is mostly sleeping or business quarters, so a typical tourist will not have much incentive to leave the centre.
- Kentron, Centre City, City Centre or Downtown - is central Yerevan, locally known as Kentron or just Kaghak (meaning 'the city'). This is the heart of Yerevan and indeed Armenia. Though Kentron's architecture is diverse, ranging from Belle Epoque to Soviet Panel blocks, the great majority of the centre is in Beaux-Arts tradition. The city centre follows Tamanyan's plan for a circular city with two hubs - grand Republic Square, and the more elegant and soft Opera district (Opera house, Freedom Square and the Swan Lake Park). The two are linked with newly constructed pedestrian-only Northern Avenue. Kentron is also home to the University City, where the campuses of State University, Medical University, Engineering University, Agricultural University, Economics University, Pedagogical and some other universities come together in one big group. Virtually all of the museums, hotels and popular places to eat and drink are in Kentron, so most visitors will probably not venture much past it.
- Barekamutyun - Meaning friendship, Barekamutyun is the area around the metro stop of the same name. This hub is home to Hayastan Hanrakhanut (department store) which is more of an indoor bazaar than an actual department store. The hub branches off to Kievyan and nearby Komitas streets.
- Monument - At the top of the Cascade steps rests the towering monument to Soviet victory in WWII. Directly adjacent is the Cafesjian Museum, which houses a large collection of contemporary art, including perhaps the best glass art collection in the world. Beyond the monument is Victory Park, and the neighborhood around it is known as Monument as well.
- Erebuni - In this district are ruins of fortress of Erebuni, founded in 782 BC by King Argishti.
- Bangladesh - Not to be confused with country in Asia! Not much to offer a tourist, the name however is worth an explanation. At the time this was one of the furthest new districts built in Yerevan, and because of the distance, locals quickly began calling it Bangladesh, which has stuck to this day. The biggest outdoor bazaar of Yerevan is located in this district.
- Nor Nork district is the last Soviet project of residential expansion of Yerevan. It consists entirely of standardised Soviet Panel blocs. However, every tourist crosses this district on the way to 'obligatory' Garni temple and Geghard monastery (as the highway to that direction is connected to the main avenue of this district). The main attraction of this district would be the statue of Gay (or Hayk) Nahapet, the legendary founder of the nation; he's depicted as a muscular half-naked man with a drawn bow, but the name has nothing to do with homosexuality (to avoid this interesting misunderstanding most often the name of the avenue and statue is Romanised as Guy).
Even though the history of Yerevan dates back to the Erebuni fortress, making it at least 2800 years old, little remains of what was small settlement saving the excavations at Hrazdan river gorge, Erebuni, Karmir Berd and Avan. These sites have been excavated, and the artifacts found are in museums today. Being on a strategically important place Yerevan was a constant war stage for rival Ottoman, Persian and Russian Empires. It has been repeatedly ruined by those wars or natural disasters (e.g. an earthquake in 17th century almost entirely destroyed the town). Few buildings of the old Erivan survived to the present-day Yerevan.
At the time of Armenia's independence in 1918, when Yerevan was made the capital of an independent Armenia, Yerevan was a town of just 20,000. Large scale construction began, which took a more holistic approach under the new city plan laid out by Alexander Tamanyan. The plan involved the demolition of much of what existed, in favor of concentric circles, parks, and taller structures. He planned for Yerevan to become a metropolis of 200,000 people.
Michael Arlen, Passage to Ararat, an autobiographical account of an American-Armenian's first visit to Soviet Armenia.
Yerevan is a very ethnically homogeneous city, though tiny Yezidi and Molokan (Russian) minorities exist. Because the population of the city was only 20,000 a century ago, the vast majority of the Armenians are immigrants themselves, from all over the world. From the villages and towns of Armenia, from Tbilisi which was the centre of Eastern Armenian culture before 1918, from Western Armenia as genocide survivors poured in, and even from the middle east and Europe in a large, post-World War II wave of immigration. Since independence, the city has become the heart of the entire Armenian world, as the divisive communist governments demise has allowed the Diaspora – larger in number than the population of Armenia itself, to embrace the city as its own.
Many visitors will be surprised to know that Armenia is not just an outcrop of Christianity in the Caucasus, but it is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The king declared Christianity the state religion in 301 AD. Christianity has been uninterruptedly practiced in Armenia ever since in its own traditions.
The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church, or just Apostolic Church, is the National Church of Armenia. It is very traditional; in practices (but not history) is similar to Orthodox and Catholic movements, and to the Reformed Churches, e.g. the Church of England. At the same time the Armenian Apostolic Church has some strikingly different practices, like allowing animal sacrifices or celebrating Christmas on January 6 along with Theophany.
The great majority of Armenians identify themselves as Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos (religious leader, like the Pope for Catholics). Today, the vast majority of Armenians do not attend church each Sunday, with visits revolving around weddings and baptisms, or occasionally dropping in to light a candle. Soviet restructuring of the city left Yerevan with very few churches: some new ones are being built, and old ones rehabilitated.
The Protestant (Evangelical) Armenians are rather few in number and have only one church on Nar-Dos street.
Anglican (Episcopal) Christians congregate at (Armenian Apostolic) Surb Zoravor church for Sunday Eucharist.
Orthodox Christians maintain one church in Kanaker district of Yerevan. A new, large-scale, onion-domed Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Cross is under construction at Yerevan Lake district, visible from the highway coming from the airport. However, this will have mostly symbolic structure as the Orthodox Christians are very few in number.
Assyrians do not have a church in Yerevan, but rather in the villages around Yerevan.
Yezidi (a religious and ethnic minority in Armenia) religious rituals, as most of that religion, are kept secret. So no Yezidian practice can be observed easily in Yerevan.
Muslims are steadily growing in numbers since the collapse of the Soviet Union, fueled by Iranian immigration. There is one mosque on Mashtots Ave.
Many Christian sects are also present in Yerevan, and they congregate in schools, sport clubs, concert halls and the like.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
With a semi-arid climate, Yerevan experiences long hot summers, and cold snowy winters, both with little precipitation. The winter is not a good time to visit Yerevan, due to icy sidewalks and smoky restaurants, any other time of year is worth a visit. Spring offers mild but sometimes wet weather, and lots of green hills and wildflowers. Summer is very hot, but the long, late nights at the cafes, and the fruits and vegetables are amazing. Autumn is the most popular, with perfect weather, and great farm fresh foods.
There is one tourist information office in Yerevan. It is opposite the Marriott Hotel at Republic Square.
1 Zvartnots International Airport (EVN IATA, Զվարթնոց Միջազգային Օդակայան) (14 km west of the city centre), ☎ . This is the main gateway to Armenia, with direct flights to Athens, Beirut, Berlin, Dubai, Istanbul, Kiev, Minsk, Moscow, Paris, Prague, Qatar, Riga, St Petersburg, Tbilisi, Tehran, Tel Aviv, Vienna and Warsaw. No domestic flights, as the country is too small.
The airport is small, with relatively few flights, so navigating it is simple. Free WiFi access is available in the departure terminal. On arrival there's a currency exchange before passport control, then another in Arrivals: both are good value with only a 3% spread between "buy" and "sell" for major currencies, the same as downtown exchanges. Several decent cafes, ATMs, bank and post branches are all available at the 1st and 2nd floors of the airport. There's a tourist information desk and a touch screen information stand in Arrivals.
- Transport between airport and city:
- Mini-bus 18 runs to the airport from Yeritasardakan bus stop, in front of SAS Supermarket. The cost is 200-250 dram.
- A taxi from the airport to city centre costs 5000 dram. The official provider is "Airport Services", Tel +374 98 828200, +374 10 595900, +374 60 430000, and they have a booking desk in Arrivals.
- Yandex Taxi (Smartphone App) offers competitive and honest prices, from about 1400 dram airport to city (Oct 2017). Uber and Taxify are not available in Yerevan.
- Or try your luck with the taxis outside Arrivals, but insist on using the meter (sheochik) and don't settle for a flat fee.
- In 2017, a new bus service was started, conducting regular round trips between Zvartnots Airport and downtown Yerevan. A bus leaves every half hour between 07:00 and 22:00, and every hour between 22:30 and 07:00. Operated by Elitebus, a one-way fare costs 300 dram and the bus makes stops in downtown Yerevan where passengers can board or disembark at Yeritasarkadan Metro, the Abovyan and Sayat-Nova street intersection, Republic Square, Amiryan Street, and Mashtots Avenue. (See also shuttle bus entry in 'FAQ' on airport website.)
Erebuni Airport 7 km south of the city is mostly military, with no scheduled flights.
An overnight train runs between Tbilisi and Yerevan, taking 11-12 hours. From Oct to mid-June this departs from Tbilisi (as Train 371) at 20:20 on odd dates of the month, reaching the border at 22:00 and Yerevan 06:55 next morning. It departs from Yerevan (as Train 372) at 21:30 on even dates, reaching the border at 04:20 and Tbilisi at 07:50. The 31st / 1st of the month may be skipped to maintain the alternation. Border procedures either side take 90 mins; if you're eligible for visa-on-arrival you can buy one here for $US6. In summer these trains may be booked out for days ahead, so buy your ticket as soon as possible - you can do so online. The coaches are standard ex-Soviet behemoths, but with fairly comfortable sleeping compartments. No catering, so bring your own food, water, vodka etc. The one way fare is about 50 lari for a second-class bunk and 100 lari for first.
From mid-June through Sept this train runs daily from Batumi on the Black Sea coast. As Train 201, it departs Batumi 15:35 and Tbilisi 22:15, reaching Yerevan at 07:25. As Train 202, it departs Yerevan 15:30 and Tbilisi 00:45, reaching Batumi at 07:10. Other trains link Tbilisi and Batumi. Batumi is close to the Sarpi / Hopa border crossing between Georgia and Turkey, the main overland route into this region until passenger trains start running along the new Ankara - Kars - Tbilisi railway.
Yerevan is the hub of Armenia's small rail system, with services once a day to Armavir (1 hour), Ararat (70 mins) and Gyumri (3 hours, plus a faster train F-Su). These, plus the Tbilisi train, also serve intermediate stations such as Echmiadzin and Vanadzor, but are seldom a good way of getting there. Passenger trains to Sevan and Dilijan have been axed. See the online timetable - timetables at stations are only in Armenian script.
2 Yerevan Station (Երեւանի երկաթուղային կայարանի), Tigran Metz Avenue (Metro Sasuntsi David is reached via the subway). This is a Neoclassical building, a small-scale version of the Stalinist "wedding cake" skyscrapers such as Moscow State University, with a red star twinkling from its spire. The building, square and statue are impressive, but with so few trains the station is often ghostly quiet. The station includes the 'Museum of Railway Transport of Armenia'.
The usual approach by road is from Tbilisi, Georgia. Follow Highway 6 / 7 south for an hour to Sadakhlo / Bagratashen border post, then continue on M6 winding up the Debed Canyon to Vanadzor then over the plateau to Yerevan. Reckon 5 hours: the canyon road is narrow, bumpy and twisty, with mad oncoming vehicles, and highway repairs barely keep up with the landslides. It's a much better road after Vanadzor. (Just beyond Bagratashen, another road branches east, close to the Azerbaijan border. Seek local advice before attempting this road, as there are occasional exchanges of gunfire across that border.)
You can also cross between Georgia and Armenia at Gogavan / Guguti and Bavra / Ninotsminda: these routes are trouble-free.
Do not even think of trying to cross into Armenia by road direct from Turkey or from Azerbaijan.
Minibuses (marshrutkas) are the chief mode of transport within Armenia and internationally. Some five or six minibuses run daily between Tbilisi and Yerevan, taking 5-6 hours (via Vanadzor & Debed Canyon) and costing 6500 dram or 35 lari. They depart in the morning to a very approximate timetable, setting off when full or when the driver so pleases, with the last departure around 1 pm. Change in Tbilisi for destinations across Georgia, Turkey and (if you're sure of your welcome) Azerbaijan - these no longer have any direct services to Yerevan.
Buses no longer run across the border with Iran. From Tehran or Tabriz, take local transport to Nordooz, walk across the border to Agarak, then you should be able to find a minibus to Yerevan.
There are several bus-stations in Yerevan but the main one is the 3 Central Bus Station (Kilikia), Tsovakal Isakovi Ave, 6 Building (2 km west of city centre on Admiral Isakov Ave), ☎ . Minibuses from here run north to Vanadzor & Tbilisi, west to Gyumri, east to Stepankert in Nagorny-Karabakh, and southeast to Sisian, Goris, Kapan and Meghri near the border crossing for Iran. Local services ply to the airport, Zvartnots town and Echmiadzin. To reach Kilikia from city centre, take Minibus 13 (from Barekamutsun Metro), 23 (from the railway station) or 15, 67 and 75 (from Republic Square). A taxi using the meter would be 500 dram.
Northern towns such as Sevan and Dilijian are served by 4 Northern Bus Station (5 km north of city centre on the road to Sevan). It's quite a way out, and if you're trying to reach Sevanvank and other lakeside churches, they're a further taxi ride from Sevan: you'd do better to negotiate a taxi or take an organised day-trip from Yerevan. The station building is huge and empty, a gaunt mausoleum to the Soviet era. Get here by minibus 113 or 101 from Komitas St.
Buses to Garni, Gogh and Geghard run from 5 Gai Bus Station, Gai Ave. It's just an open square 3 km northeast of the centre. Take buses 22, 26, 36 or marshrutkas 9, 69, 73 from the city centre.
- Tour bus Yerevan-Tbilisi: Envoy Tours (based at Envoy Hostel on Parpetsi Street) run tours around the country, which include a one-way tour from Yerevan to Tbilisi (Friday) and Tbilisi to Yerevan (Saturday). The tour takes 11 hours via sites along the Debed Canyon, and costs 30,000 dram (credit cards accepted). They also run 2 / 3 day tours to Nagorny-Karabakh.
The centre of Yerevan is compact and easy to get around by foot. Watch your step, however, as construction sites, potholes and aggressive drivers abound. Be careful especially while crossing the street. In Yerevan, Armenia (and many other places) the drivers may tend to be very distracted when driving and don't pay attention to the road, especially to jaywalkers. There are penalties for jaywalking and crossing the streets in non-designated areas, and once spotted by police, you will have to pay a fine of 3,000 dram.
The metro system in Yerevan is quite reliable and modern, having been built in the early 1980s. It is the quickest way around town, and at 100 dram, the cheapest aside from walking. Tickets are not issued, you buy plastic tokens and use these to operate the entry turnstiles. But it's underused, as most citizens find minibuses more convenient.
The metro is a single J-shaped line covering 12 km. Trains run every five minutes from 06:30 until 23:00: platform indicators count up, from 00:00 when the previous train departed. Due to Yerevan's uneven landscape, the stations are mostly very deep, but sometimes the line runs overground. As with other ex-Soviet metro systems, stations are elaborately decorated, blending Armenian national motifs with late-Soviet architecture. Photography is not allowed. Plans to build two further lines (forming a triangle, like Budapest) have so far come to nothing.
The metro stations from north to south are:
- 1 Barekamutyun (Baregamutyun, ie "Friendship", Russian: Дружба), Marshal Baghramyan Ave (for National Archive of Armenia, Yerevan Expo).
- 2 Marshal Baghramyan (Marchal Baghramian), Marshal Baghramyan Ave (for American University of Armenia, Embassy of UK, Lovers Park, National Assembly of Armenia, Presidential Palace).
- 3 Yeritasardakan (Eritasardakan), Isahakyan St (for Abovian street, Alexander Spendiarian Armenian Opera and Ballet National Academic Theatre, Freedom Square (Azatutyan Hraparak), Komitas Chamber Music Hall, University of Architecture and Construction, Medical University).
- 4 Hanrapetutian Hraparak (Republic Square, formerly Lenin Square), Republic Square (for Armenia Marriott hotel, Central Bank, Erebuni Hotel, Government House, History Museum of Armenia, National Gallery, Vernissage).
- 5 Zoravar Andranik (General Andranik, formerly Hoktemberyan), Tigran Mets Ave (for Spartak (Armenia) Sports Stadium, Ayrarat Market, Luna Park, Saint Gregory Cathedral, Tashir Mall, agricultural bazaar & GUM market).
- 6 Sassountsi David (David of Sasun), Sevan St (for Yerevan Mall, Yerevan Railway Station).
- 7 Gortsaranain (Factory), Street Bagratuniats near to intersection of Arshakuniats Arshakuniats Ave (for Nairit Chemical Plant).
- 8 Shengavit (Chengavit), 9th St (for shuttle minibus to Charbakh).
- 9 Gareguin Njdehi (Garegin Nzhdeh Square, formerly Spandaryan Hraparak), Garegin Nzhdeh Square, (for Mika Stadium, Yerevan Lake).
More than a hundred minibus (marshrutka, pronounced mar-shroot-kah) routes criss-cross the city and travel to the suburbs and beyond (such as to Georgia or Karabagh). At 100 dram a ride in Yerevan, they are a bargain. The minibuses are often overcrowded, and you may find yourself standing, crouched without a seat during rush hour. The route number is displayed prominently in the window, along with Armenian text listing the major landmarks and streets of the route. The Opera (ՕՊԵՐԱ) is an easy Armenian word to recognize on these signs, and is the main crossing point of many of the lines. When you want to get off, you should say “kangnek” or “ijnokh ka” for the driver to hear, or else, just say “stop” in English. The numbers of the minibuses are written on the bus stations though and the webpage of the tourist information has the whole list with destinations. Pay when leaving a minibus.
By bus or trolleybus
Yerevan also has trolley and regular bus lines, operated by "Yergortrans." The fare is very inexpensive (50 dram for trolley and 100 dram for regular bus) and the vehicles are not too crowded. Pay when leaving a bus.
Yerevan Routes is an app for your Android/iPhone. It does not give you exact bus schedule but still a very useful (and the only) way to find out about all bus, trolley, and marshrutka routes: Android version [dead link] & iPhone version.
Abundant throughout the city, a taxi anywhere within the center should not cost more than 600 dram. Almost all taxis with company names on the sides have meters, and prices tend to be competitive among taxi companies. To flag an empty one down on the street, just hold your arm out and pat your hand in the air, if they’re free they’ll stop. Taxis without a logo on the side tend to charge more, and may to try to get more out of foreigners. To avoid being ripped off, either call a taxi from a big company or head for the most modern looking ones which usually have a meter. Make sure that the driver switches it on when you start and politely remind him to do so if he has "forgotten" it. If taxi has meter and the driver hasn't turned it on, in most cases passenger can not pay for the trip. Carry some coins to prevent the drivers from telling you that they have no change on them. Standard price is a minimum of 500 dram for the first 5 km and 100 dram for every further km. A car and driver can easily be rented for day trip outside of Yerevan, for as little as US$20 plus fuel.
The local Uber is called gg (yes, lower case; you'll see the black-on-white stickers in the rear windows all over the city); it does require an Armenian or Georgian SIM card to register, but if you have it (or have a friend who has it), trips within the center are charged a flat rate of 600 dram.
Beware of moonlighting "taxi" drivers at the airport who will try to charge you ridiculous amounts (20,000 dram or more) to get to the city. Finally never ever believe any taxi driver who wants to convince you that there is no bus or minivan to the destination you are heading to.
Possible, but largely pointless - taxis being so cheap. If, however, you are renting for side trips to the countryside, but are based in the city, take note of the local driving habits. The residents are not aggressive (if you don't count black Mercedes SUVs with Russian plates - these are downright crazy), but not accommodating either. You'll be calmly cut off or overtaken; prepare for turns and lane changes in advance. Police are very thorough; they patrol the center constantly, with flashing lights but no sirens, and pounce when they see a violation (such as crossing a solid line). Traffic jams occur because everyone rushes onto the intersection on green, are then stuck there as the light turns, and then the crossing traffic repeats the same exercise. Parking in the center is mostly paid (except nights and weekends), but not particularly tight; there are clear instructions in English on the parking columns, but do yourself a favor and buy a weekly pass at the rental agency - at only 1,000 dram, it's a ridiculous bargain (your plate number is then entered into the database and the meter maids check against it). The curbside parking may be at a premium in some places and at certain times; nearby establishments then commandeer the portions of the road out front, and a semi-official-looking "assistant" in a reflective vest might be waving you into a spot if he sees you intending to park there. Accept the offer; the payment for the services is not expected until you depart, and then for the 100 dram coin he will venture out into the traffic and stop it, allowing you to safely back up and drive away.
Churches in Yerevan are open from early morning till very late evening. There is no entrance fee ever charged. If you manage to find the priest you can ask him to bless you and any object (of non-violent usage) that belongs to you (including friendship and other relationships).
- 1 Katoghike (Holy Mother of God Kathoghike Church, Սուրբ Աստվածածին Կաթողիկէ Եկեղեցի), corner of Sayat-Nova Ave. and Abovian St (Metro: Yeritasardakan 300 m). The oldest surviving church of Yerevan. It is a tiny structure constructed in typical Armenian style. Katoghike means "cathedral"; the reason for the incongruity is that the present-day church, dating from XIII century, was incorporated whole into the XVII century basilica - but that one was pulled down in 1936. In 2015, the Catholicos consecrated the large white-and-pink Surp Anna church that is now adjoining Katoghike.
- 2 (Ավանի Սուրբ Աստվածածին Կաթողիկե Եկեղեցի, Katoghike Tsiranavor church, later renamed Surp Hovhannes) (in Avan district). This is the city's oldest surviving church, which was completed in the 6th century.
- 3 St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, Yervand Kochar St (Metro: Zoravar Andranik). Completed in 2001 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Armenia as a Christian nation. The holy relics of St Gregory the Armenian were given back to the Armenian Church by the Vatican in 2001 and placed in this cathedral. The building is a megalomaniacal exaggeration of traditional Armenian Church Architecture. As opposed to all other churches in Yerevan (and Armenia) the cathedral is full of light and does not carry any stand for candles. The candle-house is a separate structure next door. However, the complex is vastly and visibly unfinished.
- 4 St Sargis Vicarial Church, Galshoyan St (at the border of the city centre, on a picturesque gorge of Hrazdan River, Metro: Yeritasardakan 2 km). From the Victory Bridge (or alternatively the Brandy Factory building) there is a beautiful view on the church and surroundings (structures of different shades constructed in immediate proximity to the church during the Soviet years of forced secularisation). The church is always crowded. Usually there are also many young people as St Sargis (or St Sergius in Western churches) is the patron saint of young people and of lovers.
- 5 St Astvatsatsin of Nork (Holy Cross Church, Սուրբ Խաչ եկեղեցու), Nork-Marash (Նորք-Մարաշ) administrative district, near to Olimpos Educational Complex (The most convenient way for reaching the church is using Yerevan funicular. The funicular itself is a special experience. However the church is not immediately next to the funicular stop so you may need some help of the locals at the end. The entrance to funicular is at the crossroad of Nalbandian and Charents streets. The church is in the Nork district of Yerevan - the sleeping quarter of rich.). This is the replica of a beautiful 18th-century St Holy Mother of God (Sb Astvatsatsin in Armenian) church destroyed during the Soviet years of forced secularisation. Because of the sudden death of the benefactor the church complex was never finished.
- 6 St John The Baptist Church (St Hovhannes Church), Saint Hovhanes Street (Southwest 500 m from Metro Marshal Baghramyan, near main Post Office).
- 7 Erebuni Fortress, Erebuni St.(Էրեբունի փող), 38 (Metro: Sasuntsi David 2 km), ☎ . The excavations, recreations and museum of the nearly 3,000-year-old fortress that established Yerevan. Fairly well- (and maybe the best-) preserved fortress of Urartian Period in Armenia.
- 8 Republic Square (Armenian: Հանրապետության Հրապարակ Russian: Площадь Республики) (Metro: Republic Square). The city's main square is a grand example of Soviet public architecture. The early buildings (the Houses of Government, the Ministry of Communications and the Marriott Hotel) are Neo-Classical with Armenian hints. The later buildings (the Foreign Ministry and Art Gallery) are Modernist imitations.
Within the square, the Singing Fountains perform most evenings April-Oct, dancing and frothing to classical and contemporary music. In Oct 2018 the city mourned the passing of Charles Aznavour with impromptu shrines, images and sound tracks here and elsewhere: the Singing Fountains danced pretty much the same to his best-known tunes as they'd previously done to Rossini's or Sinatra's.
- 9 Northern Avenue (Metro: Hanrapetutyan Hraparak (Republic Square)). Impossible to miss, this pedestrian avenue was opened in 2008 connecting Opera with Republic Square, the two hubs of central Yerevan. It's a post-modern response to post-World War II Soviet Yerevan architecture. It is emerging as the shopping district, together with Sayat-Nova ave., Terian st., Tumanian st. and Abovian st.
- 10 Abovian street (Աբովյան Փողոց), Kentron district (Metro: Yeritasardakan). It's home to very few remaining Belle Époque period structures of Republican Armenia. Some gems of Art Nouveau, early Modern (constructivist and the like), and Moorish Revival style can be found in the backyards of Abovian, Nalbandian and Hanrapetutian streets. Most often they are in a very poor condition due to neglect. Hanrapetutian st. might get a special attention if you are not time constrained.
- 11 Freedom (or Theatrical) Square. North side of the square is the Opera House, followed by a park full of open air cafés on the eest, from south it borders the Northern Avenue, and on the east the square slowly transforms into park with Swan Lake.
- 12 Mashtots avenue, Mashtots Ave (in the centre). It's the 8-lane highway of the city which somehow also accommodates a pedestrian zones on the sides (result of standard Soviet planning of main 'Prospekts'). It is overly noisy because of the heavy traffic (mostly unorganised public transportation) but the parts close to The Opera is a favourite hangout place for the locals. There are three buildings on the avenue which are well worth attention - Matenadaran, the covered market (the interior is now a modern supermarket and mall, but the highly-decorated original exterior survives) and Blue Mosque.
- 13 Matenadaran. Houses the world's largest collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, and one of the largest such collections of any kind in the world. A display room has a sampling of some of the finest works, and the additional cost of the guided tour is worthwhile. The building is dug into the hill and can withstand a nuclear attack. The white stone statue in front is of Mesrop Mashtots, teaching the Armenian alphabet, his invention, to a rapt disciple (Koryun, Armenia's first historian and biographer), and looking down at the street of his name.
- 14 Blue Mosque, 12 Mesrop Mashtots Ave (: Hanrapetutyan Hraparak). An 18th-century Shia Islamic Mosque, one of the extreme few surviving structures of a once (before Soviet secularisation) prospering Muslim community of Yerevan.
- 15 Cascades, Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Museum (Cafesjian Centre for the Arts), 10 Tamanyan Street, ☎ . Tu-Th 10:00-17:00, F-Su 10:00-20:00. The Sculpture Park is a small green zone in the immediate North of the Opera. Sculptures from Botero and other artists of international fame decorate the park. The park is part of Cafesjian Museum - the Armenian version of Guggenheim. The main part of the museum is in the Cascades - an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stretching nearly the height of the Empire State Building. It's a massive white stairway up a hillside of central Yerevan, decorated with green stretches, fountains and waterfalls. Higher level of the Cascades give a spectacular view of Mount Ararat and panorama of central Yerevan with its hilariously multi-colour roofs. The first floor and the bookstore of the museum as well as the indoor escalators to the top of the Cascades are free of charge. Adults 1,000 dram, children under 12 - free.
- 16 Aram Khachaturyan House Museum, 3 Zarobyan St., ☎ .
- 17 The National Art Gallery, Republic Square. Located in the same building as the History Museum of Armenia. Features several floors full of mostly paintings, organized by their country of origin. The Armenian collection is the best and of very high quality, the Russian is quite good (Kandinsky, Serov, Chagall), and art lovers will enjoy the European collection as well.
- 18 History Museum of Armenia, 4 Republic Square, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 11:00-18:00, Su 11:00-17:00. A roundup of the nation's history from early settlements to the twentieth century. Lots of archaeological exhibits and pieces of art give an impression of each period. If you would like to move along the timeline then start at the top of the building. The early periods are amply annotated, but the English (and Russian) tags thin out considerably by mid-XIX century, reappear in the exhibit dedicated to the Great Catastrophe of 1915 (though it's very disturbing even without a single word), and are missing completely for the Soviet era, so if you're interested in the more modern history of the country and don't speak Armenian, a guided tour may be advisable. A "strictly no photography" policy applies. 1,000 dram, usual discounts apply.
- 19 Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art (Cafesjian Centre for the Arts), 3 Tamanyan St. (North of France Square.), ☎ . Escaltors & gallery open every day; special galleries open Fri-Sun only. A modern art museum, house to the collection of Gerard Cafesjian. It has Arshile Gorky, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and other big names on display. The collection is very rich in Glass Art, has many pieces of Libenský-Brychtová couple, including specially made 'For Armenia' series. A separate floor is devoted to Swarovski Chandelier collection. Entry can be made at any level, but the pay desk, information, shop and facilities are at the bottom. Small fee for one gallery; the rest free..
- 20 The Yerevan History Museum, 1/1 Argishti Street (Right next to City Hall), ☎ . M–Sa 11:00–17:30. Presents all periods of the life in Yerevan starting from paleolithic settlements (50,000 years) to modern days. Ancient maps and the pictures of the lost city, pre-Soviet Erivan, are of special interest. Lift and sloping floors for people who use wheelchairs. 400 dram. Tour in Russian, English, French, German 3,000 dram.
- 21 Contemporary Art Museum, Martiros Saryan St (North of the Blue Mosque).
- 22 Erebuni Museum of History (Էրեբունու թանգարան), 38 Erebuni St, (At the foot of the Arin Berd hill). Tu-Su 10:30-16:30. The museum stands at the foot of the Arin Berd hill, on top of which the Urartian Fortress Erebouni has stood since 782 BCE. The City-Fortress was excavated, some parts of the structure were reinforced and restored, and the fortress was turned into an outdoor museum. The city was built by Argishti I the King of Urartu in 782 BCE. The temple of God Khaldi occupied an important place in the fortress. The walls of the temple were decorated with numerous frescos. The museum houses 12,235 exhibits. It has two branches in Shengavit and Karmir Blur with 5,288 and 1,620 exhibits respectively in stock. 1,000 dram for museum and site; 500 dram for site only. Tour in foreign language 2,500 dram.
- 23 Parajanov Museum, 15&16 Dzoragyugh 1st st., ☎ . The House-Museum of Sergei Parajanov, a famous Soviet film director. The museum is best known for special Parajanov collages and art that everybody loves and enjoys. It is equally highly appreciated by children, teenage and most demanding art critic. Many highest level official informal meetings are conducted here. It is a must-see! Fee €2 and the guided tours €8.
- 24 Martiros Saryan House-Museum, 3 Martiros Saryan St, ☎ . F-W 11:00-18:00. If you are a lover of bright colours and enjoy Impressionist art then the House Museum of Martiros Saryan is a place for you. It's a 3-floor structure, designed by the artist and built during his lifetime, both as his home and a house for his heritage after his death. 1,000 dram. Tour in Russian, English, French 2,500 dram.
- 25 Armenian Genocide Memorial (Genocide Museum & Tsitsernakaberd Monument) (Ցեղասպանության զոհերի հուշարձան), Tsitsernakaberd hill (on hill west of city centre). Monument always open, museum Tu-Su 11:00-16:00. An austere monument & museum commemorating the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The permanent collection documents the 19th C community, then its ruthless destruction circa 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Tsitsernakaberd (meaning "Fortress of Swallows") is probably best reached by taxi. Walking from town, follow Athens St past the Hrazdan Stadium to Brazil Square roundabout, where a little lane branches north up the hill. Free.
- 26 Museum of Woodwork, Paronyan 2 (At a ring border of downtown). Houses some artifacts of Armenian historical wood carving culture (doors, furniture and the like), and wood-based sculptures by modern day artists.
- 27 Hovhannes Tumanyan Museum, 40 Moskovyan Street (E 200 m from Saryan Museum), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Dedicated to renowned prominent thinker, writer, poet, fabulist and humanist Hovhannes Toumanian, with 18,000 exhibited items. Rooms of the Apartment are: Study Room, Guest Room, Dining Room, Children’s Room, Nvard Toumanian’s Room, Balcony, Olga’s Room,
- 28 Armenian Railways Museum (Museum of Railway Transport of Armenia), Yerevan Railway Station, Armenia, 0005, Yerevan Sasuntsi Davti Sq., ☎ , (mobile). Closed Mondays. Presents the history of the Armenian railway, from 1895. Exhibits are labelled in Armenian and Russian, but not English. Several large exhibits are in an adjacent garden, accessible from the museum. A steam locomotive and carriage stand in the station, and are accessed by crossing the tracks at the Yerevan end of the platforms. Free.
- 29 Eduard Isabekyan Gallery, Mashtots Avenue, 7a. Small but good art museum, commemorating the eponymous artist. Housed in an interesting round building in Brutalist style. 500 dram.
- 30 Ervand Kochar Museum (Yervand Kotchar Museum), Mesrop Mashtots Avenue 39/12, Yerevan, Armenia. Small museum dedicated to the eponymous sculptor and artist.
- 31 Fountain of Davit Monument, Tigran Mets Ave (Metro: Sasuntsi David). Built in 1948, around 460 m².
- 32 , Charles Aznavour Square (Opp. to (Russian) Drama Theatre after Stanislavsky).
- 33 Water Pool of Park Yerıtasardakan.
- 34 The Ararat Cognac Factory (Ararat Wine Brandy Vodka Factory Museum), 9 Argishti St, 9 Admiral Isakov ave, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The oldest factory in Armenia. Offers tours and tasting.
- 35 Levon's Amazing Underground World (Levon Arakelyan's Magical Cave), Village Arinj 5th St, 9 (8 km from Yerevan on the way to Garni). Levon Arakelyan's wife asked him to dig a potato storage cellar, but instead of this he created a complex structure of stairs, corridors and rooms inside a rock. It took him 23 years to do this until he died in 2007. His wife now organises excursions showing these undergrounds.
- 36 Mother Armenia (Մայր Հայաստան հուշարձան), Victory Park, Saralanj Ave (Metro: Yeritasardakan 600 m). Erected in 1967, replacing the monumental statue of Joseph Stalin.
- 37 National Assembly of Armenia, Baghramyan Ave. 24 (Metro: Marshal Baghramyan). Parliament building.
- 38 Yerevan City Hall, Argishti St., 1.
- 39 Walk of Fame, Charles Aznavour Square (Opp. to (Russian) Drama Theatre after Stanislavsky). Stars, embedded in the pavement, commemorating twelve Armenian actors and musicians.
- Hrazdan Gorge partying. Visit one of the themed restaurants in the Hrazdan Gorge to see the locals partying. The food does not tend to venture far from barbeque and crayfish, but it is usually good barbecue, and the prices range from very reasonable to the unreasonable. Check the prices on the hard liquor and wines before ordering a bottle if you’re price sensitive.
- 1 Climb the Cascades. (or - before 8pm - take the escalators inside the art gallery, stepping outside at each level) one evening for the great views of the city and Mt. Ararat, then head across the street to the amusement park inside Victory Park for some cotton candy and a ride on the rickety Ferris wheel.
- Catch a concert, multiple. on the Cascades or the Lover's Park, and an art exhibition at Swan Lake park or Lover's Park.
- 2 Water park "AquaWorld", 40 Myasnikyan Ave, ☎ . 12:00 – 21:00, indoor water park "Aquatek" is open all year round without holidays. A water park popular with the locals in the summers, it consists of a big open-air water park and a much smaller indoor one. Anybody can cool down there as in total it offers 7 outdoor and 3 indoor pools. There are also wall-climbing facilities. During winter time, the largest pool of the park is turned into an ice skating rink.
- 3 Yerevan Zoo (Zoological Garden of Yerevan), Myasnikyan St., 20, ☎ . Dec-Apr 10:00 - 17:30. Zoo is home to about 3,000 animals mainly representing South Caucasus and Armenia: bears, goats, snakes, Armenian mouflon and black vultures. Also from other parts of the world: lions, tigers, hyenas and an Asian elephants. It was upgraded and renovated to the modern standards back in 2014. Adult 800 dram, children 12-16 years - 500 dram, children 3-12 years - 300 dram.
- Watch football ie soccer. Yerevan is home to seven of the nine teams in the Premier League, the top tier of Armenian football, so there's sure to be a game in town during the winter season. The likeliest to be involved in European fixtures is FC Alashkert. They play at the 6850-capacity Alashkert Stadium, which they share with FC Ararat Yerevan; it's 3 km west of the centre off the road to the airport.
- 4 Spartak Stadium, Agatangeghos St (Metro: Zoravar Andranik 300 m). This is a mixed-use sports & athletics stadium just south of city centre.
- Medical procedures. Yerevan offers some world-class medical treatments for fraction of the price in the west. The most common are heart surgeries, fertility treatments, nose jobs, hair removal and laser eye surgery.
- 5 Botanical garden of Yerevan. The collection includes more than 200 species of endemic, rare and declining plants. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union due to insufficient funds the condition of the park started declining and now it needs a lot of improvements.
- Czerny Fountain Park (near Sayat-Nova and Khanjyan). Popular among the locals
- 6 Children's Railway Park, Hrazdan Gorge (Close to Parajanov Museum).
- 7 Children's Park (շարժապահեստ Մանկական), Kentron (Metro: Zoravar Andranik 700 m). Yet another beautiful remnant of Soviet urban planning in Yerevan. The park, opened in 1937, is situated in a gorgeous canyon of Hrazdan river and features a children's railway. Though the park and the railway still function, most of the infrastructure is horribly deteriorated. On the other hand the deterioration gives the feeling of a 'ghost park from a fairy tale' even though it is always populated. To find it you will need directions from a local.
- 8 Circular park.
- 9 English park, Alek Manukyan St.
- 10 Park of Komitas Pantheon (Պանթեոն` Կոմիտասի), Arshakunyats Avenue (NW of Yerevan Train Station).
- 11 Lover's Park (Boghossian Gardens), Marshal Baghramyan Ave., ~21 (Metro: Marshal Baghramyan), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The oldest park of Yerevan. Renovated in tradition of Japanese landscaping with Armenian spirit. It often hosts open air art exhibitions and concerts. It is best reached by metro, station 'Marshal Baghramian' - perhaps the most underused building and allegedly the best in Modernist style.
- 12 Lyon Park (Vardavar Park), Argishti, Sasuntsi Davit St (Vardavar Lake).
- 13 Oghakadzev park, Khanjyan str (SE 1 km from Metro Republic Square).
- 14 Opera park, Mesrop Mashtots Ave. Spend a late night at a café in the Opera park, and outside the Melody Café for some of the best people watching in Yerevan.
- Paplavok Park (near Moscovyan and Teryan). Chill out in Yerevan Green Belt.
- 15 Saryan Park, France square (west side of Mashtots between Tumanyan and Sayat Nova). A triangular park with a statue of the painter Martiros Saryan is where painters gather to sell their work. Many more on the weekend than on weekdays.
- 16 The Swan Lake park, Teryan St and Tumanyan St (Metro: Yeritasardakan). ends with the controversial statue of the composer Arno Babajanyan, which already was majorly reshaped twice during the first year of its placement. The Swan Lake park usually hosts various open air art exhibitions. Ice-skate with many locals at the Swan Lake (next to the Opera House) during winter months.
- 17 Tumanyan park (Along the Hrazdan River gorge). Part of its the Tumo Centre for Creative Technologies.
- 18 Yerevan reservoir (Yerevanyan Lake), Admiral Isakov ave. (SW 2 km). Built in 1963, total area is 57.45 ha.
- 19 Victory Park. - Amusement park. Features a huge monument of Mother Armenia as well as some Soviet military equipment on display. Very nice view of the city centre.
- 20 The Opera House (the 'soft' centre of the city?). The building is perhaps modeled after SemperOper of Dresden, however it is supposed to be double as beautiful as the Yerevan building is two sided: One side (entrance from the Theatrical/Freedom square) is home to Opera and Ballet Theatre, while the street side houses the Khachaturian Concert Hall. For music fans, attend cheap and excellent performances at the Opera or the Chamber Music Orchestra. If a national dance group is performing, don’t miss it.
- 21 Moscow theatre, Abovyan St.
- 22 Sundukyan State Academic Theatre (English Park).
- 23 Yerevan Circus.
- Vardavar is the pagan holiday of water (now a church holiday). It is a summertime movable feast that is mostly enjoyed by virtually everyone, grown and child alike: litres of water is poured on everyone by everyone. Some parks have administered events.
- Trndez is the pagan holiday of fire (a church holiday). It is observed on the February 13. Huge bonfire can be observed in each courtyard with people merrily singing around, youngsters jumping over and the like.
- Yerevan Birthday is celebrated on the second Saturday of each October. That's usually a huge event, with central Yerevan being pedestrian only: many stages all over the city for theatrical or music (usually thematic - ethnic minorities, folk, jazz, rock, pop and classics) performances with a culmination on Republic Square.
- Golden Apricot. A fairly well-established international film festival, usually held in July. Armenians take pride in it.
- ReAnimania. An emerging international animated film festival held in autumn.
For a schedule of events taking place in Yerevan, go to Yevista website.
Most of the sights in Yerevan are concentrated in the centre, which is very walkable. Spending a few days visiting the major sights should be enough time, and try to get in a trip to Vernissage flea market on the weekend. Also there are number of day trips can be done from Yerevan.
Diaspora Armenians may obtain a residency permit to live and work in Armenia without a problem. A 10-year visa/permit for US$350 is available, or for those with the right paperwork, citizenship can be had for free. Non-Armenians should have an invitation, or establish a business to get a work/business visa.
Volunteering in Armenia may be a suitable for those wanting the experience. Armenian Volunteer Corps can organize a volunteer placement and visa for you.
For those of ethnic Armenian descent, there are programs such as Birthright Armenia, which will pay for your trip if you participate in their program.
Tutoring in English is always an option for native English speakers. Demand to learn, and practice, English conversation is high.
- Utopianlab- A coworking space in central Yerevan, convenient to meet local, mainly IT people.
- Impact Hub - A coworking space in central Yerevan. A number of organizations are also based out of this space.
The Loft and Aeon are decent spaces to work out of during the day with wifi. They have wifi and pay by the hour, with free drinks and snacks. The people do tend to be younger though, especially in the evenings, and not everyone goes to work, so they aren't the perfect fit for everyone.
- 1 Ayrarat Market, 31 Tigran Mets Ave (: Zoravar Andranik). Cheap items.
- 2 Covered Market (Agricultural bazaar, G.U.M. market, Food Market), Movses Khorenatsi St (:). The highly-decorated original exterior survives, a combination of Jugendstil and Beaux-Arts, but the interior has been remodelled and now hosts a supermarket and a shopping mall.
- 3 Vernissage (From : Republic Square a block east). Sa Su. A walk through the weekend Vernissage through the park is a must. From rugs, souvenirs, instruments and paintings, to pets and chemistry supplies, this outdoor market seemingly has everything.
- 4 Dalma Garden Mall, 3 Tsitsernakaberd Hwy, ☎ . 10:00-22:00. Western-style indoor mall with food court and movie theater.
- 5 Yerevan Mall, 34/3 Arshakunyats Blvd., ☎ . 10:00-22:00. Western-style indoor mall with food court, movie theater and play area. Anchored by Carrefour.
- Armenian brandy (locally called Cognac as well) is considered one of the world's finest brandies and is accordingly a popular gift to take home for tourists. It was actually Winston Churchill's brandy of choice. There are many stores within central Yerevan centre devoted solely to brandy from the Ararat Cognac Factory; the airport is also a good place to stock up at duty free. As a rule, the more aged the brandy, the more refined the taste and the more expensive. But regardless the series of brandy, in Yerevan it will be an excellent value.
- Armenian rugs, new and old are popular. New carpets can be purchased at the Mergeryan Rug Factory for a good price. More upscale is the international brand “Tufenkian Carpets”, with a shop on Tumanyan near Abovyan. Both will add your name or inscription request into an existing rug, or do a custom rug for you. There is no problem with exporting these. Old rugs are found in stores all over town, or in Vernissage. Be sure the seller obtains an export certificate from the ministry of culture for you – or you’re taking a chance that it may be confiscated. Negotiate to have the certificate delivered to you as part of the purchase price, and buy your rug a week before you go to give them time to obtain this certificate. New rugs do not require certification, but keep your factory certificate as proof that it is new.
- More fragile, but maybe worth the effort are some of the more exotic jams and preserves made in Armenia. From walnut preserves, to “Sea Buckthorne” (Chichkhan), virtually everything that grows in Armenia is canned!
- L'atelier Restaurant Salon Imperial Russian Antiques, Mashtots 37 (near Opera).
- 6 General Market, 7/4 Yervand Kochar St (Near to Saint Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral), ☎ . A supermarket.
- 7 SAS supermarket, 52 Komitas Ave (Near to Iranian Embassy), ☎ . A chain. More units: 35 Isahakyan St (: Yeritasardakan), 18 Mashtots (: Hanrapetutian Hraparak (Republic Square)), 31 Tumanyan (close to Armenian Opera Theater), 85 Baghramyan (: Barekamutyun), 20/1 Qajaznuni, 1A Kievyan
- 8 Subterrranean bookshops at Khanjyan St, Khanjyan St and Vardanants St.
Exchange kiosks at Zvartnots Airport have only a 3% spread between "buy" and "sell" for major currencies, so these are very good value, and downtown is similar. (Western high-street exchanges have about 15% spread, and airports 30% or worse.) However for less common currencies eg Turkish lira the spread is much wider: exchange only the minimum at the airport then shop around for better rates downtown. Stores and restaurants will frequently accept US dollars, euros or western credit cards.
Cash in Armenian dram can be withdrawn from numerous ATMs in the city, but you may have to try several machines before getting money. You can also withdraw money from your card at a bank, but it may take visits to several before you find one that will let you do so.
Stands selling Armenian-style "pizzas" called "lamehjun" or "lahmajoun" are prevalent throughout Yerevan. This cheap snack consists of a thin layer of dough topped with an herb and meat paste.
- Design cafe, 42 Toumanyan st. (near Yerevan State Lingustic University), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. A place to eat and relax, signature interior, delicious food, perfect service, Internet cafe second hall, free high speed Wi-Fi. Lunch time discounts 15%.
- Dona Bakery, Mesrop Mashtots avenue close to the Matenadaran. The underground Dona bakery offers delicious pastries, both European and Armenian. A good place to catch an inexpensive snack.
- Jazve Cafe. Lunch and appetizer menu. Watch out for its misspellings on the menu. There are plenty of these cafes across Yerevan.
- Mer Tagh, Tumanyan St. west of Abovyan. A small lahmejun joint on Tumanyan, and their lahmejuns have a big following.
- 1 Khinkali, Tumanyan 21 (west of Abovyan) (next to Mer Tagh (above)). Khinkali (sturdy soup dumplings, similar to xiao long bao that came to Caucasus over the Silk Road) with meat or cheese filling is the name of the game here. You can have them boiled or fried; they are priced per dumpling, and 6-8 should be enough for an average appetite. If you try using knife and fork, you'll end up with a pool of soup on your plate; grab the dumpling by the bunched top, bite out a notch in the side and slurp in the liquid, then eat the rest (tops are not for eating, and the dough in them may even come out undercooked). Appetizers (soups, salads and a variety of homemade pickles) are delightful too. There are two bronze figures at the entrance welcoming you to step down, and a giddily over-the-top interior in plush and chintz, with televisions playing Armenian music programs of the Soviet era. from 1,500 dram.
- 2 Lagonid, Nalbandyan St (north of Sayat Nova). A Middle Eastern restaurant with sandwiches starting from 600 dram (ask to see the sandwich menu specifically). Besides of this serve lots of other Arabic and Lebanese dishes.
- 3 Melody Cafe, Freedom Square. Cheap restaurant, lots of food options and drinks. Very central, next to the Opera at the Freedom Sqare. Free Wi-Fi.
- 4 Abovyan 12, Abovyan 12 (!). cheap, with a shaded courtyard for outdoor dining. Entrance is via a gift shop, and easily missed.
- Anteb, Koghbatsi St (between Pushkin and Aram Street). A family-run cafe that serves a huge variety of kebabs in a very casual cafe-type setting. The Adana and Urfa are a bargain at about 800 dram each and the Iskender, though slightly more expensive (3,000 dram) rivals the best. The rice pudding is pricey but tasty. Cheap drinks and free lavash.
- Artbridge, Abovyan St. north of Tumanyan St.. Good breakfasts and lighter fare, and the French toast is a must. A nice selection of foreign language books and Western periodicals if you need new reading material.
- Artashi Mot, Spendiaryan St, across Mashdots Ave. from the Opera. Is considered by many to be the finest place for khorovats (BBQ) in Armenia. Judge for yourself, but not before trying the horti (beef) and sunki (mushroom) barbeques. They are both delicious, when they have them. Other nice alternatives include the fish barbeque and the piti soup. Whichever barbeque you get, get some of the tomato sauce mix that Artash makes to put on your meat, or just to dip your bread into.
- Cactus, 42 Mastots Ave. Mexican restaurant, located near the Opera off Mesrop Mashtots Avenue. The food is decent imitation Mexican with all the usual dishes - burritos, tacos, etc. The prices are a bit steep by Yerevan standards, but not that expensive for Westerners. The décor gets an "A" for effort.
- Café Central, Abovyan St., south of Moscovyan. Good place for a meal, reminiscent of a Viennese café
- Caucasus (Кавка́з), Hanrapetutyun near Sayat Nova. Extensive menu of Caucasian dishes in 5 languages plus photos. You can order fish straight from the aquarium. Starter ~1,000 dram, main dish ~2,500 dram.
- 5 Charentsi 28 (A 10-15 minute walk from the Opera House, across the German Embassy). A fully restored two-story house turned restaurant, serving a variety of dishes from Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Western Armenian, to continental cuisines. They manage to do all of these justice. There is also seating outside in the summer and fall, on the balcony or front-yard courtyard. Starters 1,200 dram, main dishes from 2,600 dram.
- 6 L’Orange hamov, 21 Tumanyan St. Has great service and a good menu.
- Mer Gyugh, Sayat Nova, west of Teryan Street. Traditional Armenian cuisine with a village atmosphere. The chicken "Ararat" comes with a dried fruit pilav that is quite a treat! Menu items are often unavailable, so have a backup in mind when ordering. The restaurant often features traditional folk music in the evenings.
- Old Yerevan (Hin Yerevan), 2 Northern Ave. Offers traditional food, songs, dances and the décor will make you think Disney has come to town. Almost a must for any visitor.
- 7 TavernYerevan (Պանդոկ Երևան), Teryan 91 (: Yeritasardakan). The place for traditional Armenian cuisine. You'll have to rub shoulders with an occasional government function, a wedding shower or a busful of tourists, but the food is the real thing. Do not be scared by the names of the dishes - the more unpronounceable, the tastier (tzhvzhik, for example, is fegata alla veneziana, offal with fried onions - delicious!), and the English menu has helpful descriptions and pictures. You can go as high as 15,000 dram for an entire baked veal shoulder, but most (and best) mains are in the 2,000-4,000 dram range. Do not miss putuk, lamb soup in an individual crock sealed with baked dough, and tolma (any one) is almost like homemade. A very good native wine selection. Live music from 19:30 daily, but the place is so big that getting a quieter nook is not a problem. Three more (smaller) branches in the city - Amiryan 5, Paronyan 7 and Khorenatsi 29. Mains 1500-15,000 dram.
- 8 Twelve Tables (12 Tables), 4 Spendiaryan St, Yerevan (A small side street just around the corner from "the Club".). Very cozy spot with 12 tables, smoke-free, good menu with nice salads, soups, comfort food, and great desserts and teas. Non-smoking.
- 9 Wine Republic, 2 Tamanyan St. (On Isahakyan actually, between Tamanyan and Mashtots), ☎ . Menu has pasta, starters, and even Thai, plus of course good wine options. Nice atmosphere and service. Non-smoking.
- Al Leoni, Tumanyan st. just west of Parpetsi. Some fine Italian dining.
- Hotel Yerevan, Abovyan st.. Also fine Italian dining.
- 10 Dolmama, 10 Pushkin St (corner of Abovyan St). Daily 11:00-23:30. Fusion Armenian-World cuisine. Excellent food, service and ambience. The outdoor seating out back is a way to experience the old courtyards that filled central Yerevan in the past.
- 11 Rossini, 14 Abovian, Golden Tulip Hotel, ☎ . 7:30 - 23:30. Central location, Italian Executive Chef, European and Armenian cuisine, customer oriented staff, elegant and relaxing atmosphere, extended wine list, free Wi-Fi.
- The Club, 40 Tumanyan St.. Has some excellent Western Armenian dishes, including manti, su borek and the amazing midia dolma. The underground space is very hip, and the tea room, when not too smoky is a good place to sit on a bean back and chat. For a budget option, you can order one of their very filling thin crust pizzas, starting at US$5..
- 12 Voskevaz (Wine Time), 8 Saryan St., ☎ . Good menu of meats, salads, starters, and wine.
Armenia is a place to drink, with no prohibition against drinking in public. Cafés, bars, restaurants, clubs and the countryside on a picnic are all popular places for vodka, the usual drink of choice, with wine, beer, champagne and brandy all popular as well. Most restaurants only sell pilsner-style beers, of middling quality, but some brew pubs and craft beer outlets can be found. Restaurant wine is usually very good.
You can drink in a car, as long as you’re not driving. Drivers cannot have a drop of alcohol in them, with zero being the legal threshold – and the penalties for violating this are stiff.
Places for a drink
The most popular places to drink in the summer tend to be outdoor cafés and café/restaurants. The cafés by the Opera and Republic Square are always packed.
The following bars are popular spots with visitors.
- 1 Calumet, 56a Pushkin St., ☎ . Bohemian, friendly, alternative crowd. Insanely smokey. Seriously. free.
- 2 Red Bull Pub, 2 Saryan St. (corner of Saryan and Tumanyan.), ☎ . One of the oldest pubs in Yerevan, open since the 1990s. Friendly local crowd.
- 3 Wild West Pub, 25 Tumanyan st (entrance on Koghbatsi), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Good drinking hole by the Opera.
- Troll Pub.
- Rock Bar Parpetsi. Popular spots with visitors.
- Dolce Vita bar (of Hotel Yerevan), Golden Tulip Hotel, 14 Abovian. open round the clock.
- Jazzve Cafe. A wonderful place to meet up with someone for a drink. Their strawberry coffee is wonderful, and is like no other.
- DIY, Parpetsi street. Its fun, funky, innovative, alternative and a place to drink, have fun, make music and meet people from every background.
Drinks to try
- Cognac – see the buy section above.
- Homemade fruit vodkas – these are not flavoured from fruit like most of the western vodkas but made from pure fruit. The most popular is the Tutti Oghi (Mulberry Vodka), but just as impressive if you can find them are the Cornelian Cherry (Hon), Pear, Apricot and Peach.
- Wine – Areni grapes are only grown in Armenia, which is in the oldest grape and wine producing part of the world. Old Yerevan is the best brand.
- Compote – if you can get it, this usually home made fruit juice is fantastic. Ask locals, and if some of them have it at home, they will drag you in to try.
- Tan – blended plain yoghurt with water and a dash of salt, this drink is often an acquired taste, and very refreshing. You can sometimes find bottled fizzy tan, which is an even more acquired taste.
Yerevan has a serious café culture, and it can be hard to tell where one outdoor café ends and the next begins as they run into each other.
- 4 Mirzoyan Library, 10 Mher Mkrtchyan (Petros Adamyan) (Hard to spot inside the courtyard at 10 Mkrtchyan/Adamyan). Started out as a space in a traditional courtyard with a collection of photography books, it's now a café with very nice drinks and creative and excellent bites and sweets. Free wifi.
In Yerevan there are plenty of nightclubs, pubs, karaoke and strip clubs. Popular nightclubs are mainly in the centre, with longtime standbys such as Atlantic, Relax, Astral and Club One usually full on the weekends.
- Opera Club, 54, Tumanyan St (the basement of the Opera building), ☎ . 13:00-18:00, 19:00-12:00. Men 1,000 dram.
- Kami Club, 18, Abovyan st (near Moscow cinema), ☎ .
- Champs-Élysées Club, Northern Av.
- Ego Club, Kuryun st (Citadel Business Central Area).
- The Club, Tumanyan st.
- Tochka Club, 1/1 Baghramyan Ave (Opera Area), ☎ . From 21:00. Men 2,000 dram.
- 5 Stop Clup, Moscovyan street, 37 Moskovian Str., ☎ .
- Tornado Club (Bangladesh area).
- Mama-Mia. Large chain of karaoke clubs.
- 7notes, Sayat-Nova st.
- Iceberg, Northern ave.
- 96 Club, Sayat-Nova st.
Yerevan has a wide variety of accommodations but for the most part they are overpriced. If you're staying for an extended period of time, rent an apartment. Check the AUA (American University of Armenia), local travel agents (Menua tours, Hyur Service) or real estate brokers for rental listings.
There is a good selection of hostels and homestays in Yerevan to choose from for budget travellers.
- 1 [dead link] Anahit Stepanyan's B&B, 5 Sayat-Nova ave, apt.25 (Across the Opera house square. Brabion flower shop right underneath the house.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The oldest bed and breakfast in the heart of the city with a view on the Opera house and the Swan Lake. Breakfast is included, there is free wifi in the apartment. They speak English, Russian, Italian and Arabic. From 4,000 dram.
- Balcony Hostel, Hovsep Emin 3/1, Arabkir (: Barekamutyun station (the last one) and from there walk down H.Hakobyan st till you get to a little hill. Up the hill and to the right, it's the small metal door on your left.), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-out: 12:00, but flexible. A small, budget hostel. Offers free wifi, laundry, a kitchen and shared bathrooms that are cleaned daily. English speaking, friendly, coffee and tea are free. 9,000 dram for single room, 6,000 dram for shared room with locker, 6,500 dram for room with light breakfast, 7,000 dram for full breakfast. Between November and May rooms are 5,000 dram..
- 2 Envoy Hostel, 54 Pushkin Str. (entrance on Parpetsi), ☎ . Check-in: 14:00. Winner of 'Best Hostel in Armenia' Award by HW 2010&11&13. Is centrally located, large and comfortable with free internet/wifi access, breakfast and tea/coffee facilities. All the rooms and common areas are air conditioned and spotlessly clean. English speaking staff is efficient and knowledgeable about traveling in Armenia and the regions. They also have a hostel in Tbilisi and offer weekly tours from Yerevan to Tbilisi with sightseeing and BBQ-lunch included. 7,000 dram w/ breakfast.
- Grammy Hostel, 15 Aghayan st.. A hostel, with a travellers' desk, free internet access, breakfast just for extra 500 dram, laundry, TV, a relaxation room where you can chill out and escape from the Yerevan hustle and bustle of the city, and a little garden where you can soak up the sun and relax on a bench. 4,000-7,000 dram (flexible).
- GuestHouse, Mashtots 52. They are very kind and it is very clean. However, they are almost always full.
- Hostel Glide (Three minute-walk from :“Barekamutyun”). A private house located two metro stops out of the centre, but in a quiet and safe place. It's very close to bus stations, and it is possible to see Ararat mountain from the windows. Run by a very hospitable family. Prices for beds start from 4,500 dram.
- 3 Penthouse Hotel & Hostel, 5 Koryun Street, apt 33/2 (near Matenadaran, Medical University, Abovyan Street, the : station Eritasardakan). It is an elegant duplex, clean, comfortable, with the amazing view of Biblical Mount Ararat. From 5,000-5,800 dram, including Armenian/continental breakfast.
- [dead link] Theatre Hostel. A small and cozy hostel 5 minutes walking distance from the main square. It is very clean, has many free facilities, such as Wi-Fi internet access, bicycle parking zone, etc. The prices start from 4,500 dram with light breakfast included.
- Yerevan Hostel. In the centre, 3 minutes from the : Republic Square. Friendly, knowledgeable English speaking staff available 24 hours a day. Very clean hostel, showers with hot water available day and night. Wifi available also a computer available for guests. Traditional breakfast prepared upon request, so always fresh. Flexible check in/check out times. Bag storage. 5,500 dram.
- Ani Plaza, 19 Sayat-Nova Ave, Yerevan 0001, ☎ . Boxy 4-star, good accommodation for the price. From US$100.
- 4 Bass Hotel, 3/1 Aygedzor St (1 km north of centre, Metro Marshal Baghramyan), ☎ . Small affordable 4-star. Doubles 50 US$.
- 5 Hotel Europe, 38 Hanrapetutyan St. Nice little central 3-star hotel. Doubles 70 US$.
- 6 Erebuni Hotel, 26/1 Vazgen Sargsyan St (next to Republic Square), ☎ . 3 star, good value for price, comfort and location. From US$80.
- Hotel Latar, 58 Fifth Street (15 km northwest of centre). Way out on edge of city, you'll need a car. The massive circular pool is a sight to behold. Doubles 100 US$.
- 7 Mia Casa Hotel, Shara Talyan Street 13, ☎ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Small 3-star. Double 50 US$.
- 8 Hotel Olympia, 64 Barbuse Street, ☎ . 2 km northwest of centre but compensated by great views over river gorge towards Aragats. Doubles 50 US$.
- 9 Royal Palace Hotel, 17/1, 4th St, Silikyan district (10 km northwest of centre), ☎ , , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Small hotel, in a quiet area of the city. Doubles from US$70.
- Ararat Hotel, 7 Grigor Lusavorich St, Yerevan 0015, ☎ . Four star going on 2 or 3, many negative reviews. Doubles from 90 US$.
- 10 Armenia Marriott Hotel, Republic Square (Metro: Republic Square). International hotel with fine rooms and facilities, great location. Doubles (room only) from US$180.
- 11 Best Western Congress Hotel, 1 Italy St (just west of Republic Square). The Congress is one step down in price but offers the same western feel as the Marriott, and has a large outdoor pool. Doubles 90 US$.
- Golden Palace Hotel, 11 Northern Ave (In mall off Abovyan St, very central). Pleasant central 5 star hotel. Double from 120 US$.
- 12 Grand Hotel Yerevan (formerly Royal Tulip), 14 Abovyan St., ☎ . 5 star hotel with old charm and modern amenities: roof top pool, elegant guest rooms, restaurant, conference halls, winter garden with 24-hr bar and other services. Doubles 100 US $.
- 13 Tufenkian Historic Yerevan Hotel, 48 Hanrapetutyun St, ☎ . 4 star hotel with restaurant near to Vernissage market. Doubles from 90 US$.
Yerevan is generally safer than many western-European cities, and crime and street violence is almost non-existent. Nevertheless, as in the most cities of its size, in crowded places and transport beware of pickpockets.
The traffic can be quite rough, so pay close attention when crossing the street, especially in non designated area. There are about 3,000 dram fine for jaywalking.
Smoking may appear to be the national pastime, and indeed, Armenia has one of the highest rates of smoking in all of Europe. To avoid the smoke, stick to restaurants with outdoor seating, let your taxi driver know it is not okay to smoke (they're not supposed to). There are a number of good non-smoking options, many of which can be found on this map of non-smoking places in Yerevan. The government has announced that smoking will be banned in restaurants and cafes beginning in November 2018, though legislation still has not passed.
Internet: Stores offering internet access with PCs are called Internet Club in Armenia. One of them is "CyberStars" located at 18 Avetik Isahakyan Street.
Many details can also be found here: https://www.embassypages.com/armenia
- 2 Belarus, 12/14, Nikol Duman st., ☎ , .
- Bulgaria, 16, Sofia str., ☎ .
- Canada, Amiryan 1, ☎ .
- 3 China, Baghramyan 12, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 4 Finland, Tamanyan 6/14 (Opp. to Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art), ☎ . Consulat
- 5 France, Grigor Lusavorich 8, ☎ .
- 6 Germany, Tscharenz 29 (East of the centre).
- 7 Greece, 6 Demirchian Str. 375002 (Close to National Assembly of Armenia), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 09:00-16:00.
- 8 Italy, Viale Italia 5, ☎ . M-F 09:30-17:00.
- 9 Poland, Hanrapetutyan 44a (Metro Station Republic Square), ☎ .
- Romania, Str. Barbusse, nr. 15, Cartierul Arabkir (Metro Station Barekamutyun), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- 10 Russia, Grigor Lusavorich 13a, ☎ .
- 11 Swiss, 2/1, Melik Adamyan str. (Metro Station Republic Square), ☎ , .
- 12 Turkmenistan, 52, Yerznkyan str. (Metro Station Barekamutyun), ☎ , .
- 13 United Kingdom, Baghramyan 34 (Metro Station Marshal Baghramyan), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 14 United States, 1 American Ave (1 km southwest of Central Bus Station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
Easy day trips
- Many of Armenia's top sights are clustered close to Yerevan and are easy day trips, though you'll need your own transport for several:
- Garni, 15 km east of Yerevan, has a Hellenistic temple and religious / royal complex, perched atop a canyon.
- Geghard Monastery, 5 km further, is carved into the canyon side.
- Khosrov Forest State Reserve is in the mountains above Geghard. Several monasteries, caves, and Kakavaberd ancient hill fortress.
- Echmiadzin (now called Vagharshapat), 15 km west of Yerevan, is the Canterbury of Armenia, with a monastery and cathedral compound. 3 km east are the ruins of Zvartnots cathedral.
- Ashtarak 15 km northwest has St Hovhannes Karapet Cathedral perched over the Kasagh gorge.
- Artashat 20 km south has Khor Virap Monastery.
- Armash, 60 km south east, has fish lagoons that have become an important bird habitat. It's up against the closed borders with Turkey and Nakhchivan, so expect official suspicion, and carry photo ID.
Further out, more suited to overnight trips (lots of tours available):
- Around Mount Aragats are Amberd castle and Church.
- Noravank Monastery, Noravank Canyon and Areni Wine Country are 80 km south-east.
- To the north around Lake Sevan are Tsakhkadzor, Sevanavank and Hayravank Monasteries, Noratus Khachkar Cemetery, and Dilijan old town.
- Jermuk, Sisian and Tatev monastery are further down the road southeast.
- Artsakh or Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto separate republic, not internationally recognised. The only way in and out is by road from Armenia.
- The obvious next destination is Tbilisi. On the way, try to see the canyon and monasteries around Alaverdi.