Ref ID: 1HD016/415 | Posted On: 12-10-2016 | Updated on: 07-08-2018
Yerevan - Capital of Armenia
is the capital and largest city of Armenia as well as one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country. It has been the capital since 1918, the thirteenth in the history of Armenia, and the seventh located in or around the Ararat plain.
The history of Yerevan dates back to the 8th century BC, with the founding of the fortress of Erebuni in 782 BC by king Argishti I at the western extreme of the Ararat plain. Erebuni was "designed as a great administrative and religious centre, a fully royal capital." By the late ancient Armenian Kingdom, new capital cities were established and Yerevan declined in importance. Under Iranian and Russian rule, it was the center of the Erivan Khanate from 1736 to 1828 and the Erivan Governorate from 1850 to 1917, respectively. After World War I, Yerevan became the capital of the First Republic of Armenia as thousands of survivors of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire arrived in the area. The city expanded rapidly during the 20th century as Armenia became part of the Soviet Union. In a few decades, Yerevan was transformed from a provincial town within the Russian Empire, to Armenia's principal cultural, artistic, and industrial center, as well as becoming the seat of national government.
With the growth of the economy of the country, Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city have been the recipient of new construction since the early 2000s, and retail outlets as much as restaurants, shops, and street cafés, which were rare during Soviet times, have multiplied. As of 2011, the population of Yerevan was 1,060,138, just over 35% of the Republic of Armenia's total population. According to the official estimate of 2016, the current population of the city is 1,073,700. Yerevan was named the 2012 World Book Capital by UNESCO. Yerevan is an associate member of Eurocities.
Of the notable landmarks of Yerevan, Erebuni Fortress is considered to be the birthplace of the city, the Katoghike Tsiranavor church is the oldest surviving church of Yerevan and Saint Gregory Cathedral is the largest Armenian cathedral in the world, Tsitsernakaberd is the official memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and several opera houses, theatres, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions. Yerevan Opera Theatre is the main spectacle hall of the Armenian capital, the National Gallery of Armenia is the largest art museum in the Republic of Armenia and shares a building with the History Museum of Armenia, and the Matenadaran repository contains one of the largest depositories of ancient books and manuscripts in the world. The neoclassical Republic Square is the center of the city and the monumental Cascade steps lead from the city center to Victory Park, home of a Luna Park and the statue Mother Armenia overlooking Yerevan.
The "birth certificate" of Yerevan at the Erebuni Fortress—a cuneiform inscription left by King Argishti I of Urartu on a basalt stone slab about the foundation of the city in 782 BC
"YEREVAN" (ԵՐԵՒԱՆ) in an inscription from Kecharis, dating back to 1223
One theory regarding the origin of Yerevan's name is the city was named after the Armenian king, Yervand (Orontes) IV, the last leader of the Orontid Dynasty, and founder of the city of Yervandashat. However, it is likely that the city's name is derived from the Urartian military fortress of Erebuni (Էրեբունի), which was founded on the territory of modern-day Yerevan in 782 BC by Argishti I. As elements of the Urartian language blended with that of the Armenian one, the name eventually evolved into Yerevan (Erebuni = Erevani = Erevan = Yerevan). Scholar Margarit Israelyan notes these changes when comparing inscriptions found on two cuneiform tablets at Erebuni:
The transcription of the second cuneiform bu [original emphasis] of the word was very essential in our interpretation as it is the Urartaean b that has been shifted to the Armenian v (b > v). The original writing of the inscription read «er-bu-ni»; therefore the prominent Armenianologist-orientalist Prof. G. A. Ghapantsian justly objected, remarking that the Urartu b changed to v at the beginning of the word (Biani > Van) or between two vowels (ebani > avan, Zabaha > Javakhk)....In other words b was placed between two vowels. The true pronunciation of the fortress-city was apparently Erebuny.
Early Christian Armenian chroniclers attributed the origin of the name Yerevan to a derivation from an expression exclaimed by Noah, in Armenian. While looking in the direction of Yerevan, after the ark had landed on Mount Ararat and the flood waters had receded, Noah is believed to have exclaimed, "Yerevats!" ("it appeared!").
In the late medieval and early modern periods, when Yerevan was under Turkic and later Persian rule, the city was known in Persian as Iravân (Persian: ایروان). This name is still widely used by Azerbaijanis (Azerbaijani: İrəvan). The city was officially known as Erivan (Russian: Эривань) under Russian rule during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The city was renamed back to Yerevan (Ереван) in 1936. Up until the mid-1970s the city's name was spelled Erevan, more often than Yerevan, in English sources.
The principal symbol of Yerevan is Mount Ararat, which is visible from any area in the capital. The seal of the city is a crowned lion on a pedestal with the inscription "Yerevan." The lion's head is turned backwards while it holds a scepter using the right front leg, the attribute of power and royalty. The symbol of eternity is on the breast of the lion with a picture of Ararat in the upper part. The emblem is a rectangular shield with a blue border.
On 27 September 2004, Yerevan adopted an anthem, "Erebuni-Yerevan", written by Paruyr Sevak and composed by Edgar Hovhanisyan. It was selected in a competition for a new anthem and new flag that would best represent the city. The chosen flag has a white background with the city's seal in the middle, surrounded by twelve small red triangles that symbolize the twelve historic capitals of Armenia. The flag includes the three colours of the Armenian National flag. The lion is portrayed on the orange background with blue edging.
See also: Timeline of Yerevan
Pre-history and pre-classical era
Foundations of Shengavit historical site
The territory of Yerevan has been inhabited settled approximately during the 2nd half of the 4th millennium BC. The southern part of the city -currently known as Shengavit- has been populated since at least 3200 BC, during the period of Kura–Araxes culture of the early Bronze Age. The first excavations at the Shengavit historical site was conducted between 1936 and 1938 under the guidance of archaeologist Yevgeny Bayburdyan. After two decades, archaeologist Sandro Sardarian resumed the excavations starting from 1958 until 1983. The 3rd phase of the excavations started in 2000, under the guidance of archaeologist Hakob Simonyan. In 2009, Simonyan was joined by professor Mitchell S. Rothman from the Widener University of Pennsylvania. Together they conducted three series of excavations in 2009, 2010, and 2012 respectively. During the process, a full stratigraphic column to bedrock was reached, showing there to be 8 or 9 distinct stratigraphic levels. These levels cover a time between 3200 BC and 2500 BC. Evidences of later use of the site -possibly until 2200 BC- were also found. The excavation process revealed a series of large round buildings with square adjoining rooms and minor round buildings. A series of ritual installations was discovered in 2010 and 2012.
Erebuni and the period of Urartu
The ancient kingdom of Urartu was formed in the 9th century BC in the basin of Lake Van of the Armenian Highland, including the territory of modern-day Yerevan. King Arame was the founder of the kingdom, that was one of the most developed states of its age. Archaeological evidence, such as a cuneiform inscription, indicates that the Urartian military fortress of Erebuni (Էրեբունի) was founded in 782 BC by the orders of King Argishti I at the site of modern-day Yerevan, to serve as a fort and citadel guarding against attacks from the north Caucasus. Yerevan, as mentioned, is considered one of the oldest cities in the world. The cuneiform inscription found at Erebuni Fortress reads:
By the greatness of the God Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, built this mighty stronghold and proclaimed it Erebuni for the glory of Biainili [Urartu] and to instill fear among the king's enemies. Argishti says, "The land was a desert, before the great works I accomplished upon it. By the greatness of Khaldi, Argishti, son of Menua, is a mighty king, king of Biainili, and ruler of Tushpa." [Van].
During the height of the Urartian power, irrigation canals and an artificial reservoirs were built in Erebuni and its surrounding territories.
Foundations of Teishebaini
In mid-7th century BC, the city of Teishebaini was built by Rusa II of Uraratu, around 7 kilometres (4.3 miles) west of Erebuni Fortress. in  It was fortified on a hill -currently known as Karmir Blur within Shengavit District of Yerevan- to protect the eastern borders of Urartu from the barbaric Cimmerians and Scythians. During excavations, the remains of a governors palace that contained a hundred and twenty rooms spreading across more than 40,000 m2 (10 acres) was found, along with a citadel dedicated to the Urartian god Teisheba. The construction of the city of Teishebaini, as well as the palace and the citadel was completed by the end of the 7th century BC, during the reign of Rusa III. However, Teishebaini was destroyed by an alliance of Medes and the Scythians in 585 BC.
Median and Achaemenid rules
In 590 BC, following the fall of the Kingdom of Urartu in the hands of the Iranian Medes, Erebuni along with the Armenian Highland became part of the Median Empire.
However, in 550 BC, the Median Empire was conquered by Cyrus the Great, and Erebuni became part of the Achaemenid Empire. Between 522 BC and 331 BC, Erebuni was one of the main centers of the Satrapy of Armenia, a region controlled by the Orontid Dynasty as one of the satrapies of the Achaemenid Empire. The Satrapy of Armenia was divided into two parts: the northern part and the southern part, with the cities of Erebuni (Yerevan) and Tushpa (Van) as their centres, respectively.
Coins issued in 478 BC along with many other items found in the Erebuni Fortress, reveal the importance of Erebuni as a major centre for trade under the Achaemenid rule.
After 2 centuries under the Achaemenid rule, Erebuni has been gradually turned into a city of Persian image and culture.
Ancient Kingdom of Armenia
See also: Kingdom of Armenia (antiquity)
During the victorious period of Alexander the Great, and following the decline of the Achaemenid Empire, the Orontid rulers of the Armenian Satrapy achieved independence as a result of the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, founding the Kingdom of Armenia. With the establishment of new cities such as Armavir, Zarehavan, Bagaran and Yervandashat, the importance of Erebuni had gradually declined.
With the rise of the Artaxiad dynasty of Armenia who seized power in 189 BC, the Kingdom of Armenia greatly expanded to include major territories of Asia Minor, Atropatene, Iberia, Phoenicia and Syria. The Artaxiads considered Erebuni and Tushpa as cities of Persian heritage. Consequently, new cities and commercial centres were built by Kings Artaxias I, Artavasdes I and Tigranes the Great. Thus, with the dominance of cities such as Artaxata and Tigranocerta, Erebuni had significantly lost its importance as a central city.
Under the rule of the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia (54-428 AD), many other cities around Erebuni including Vagharshapat and Dvin flourished. Consequently, Erebuni was completely neutralized, losing its role as an economic and strategic centre of Armenia. During the period of the Arsacid kings, Erebuni was only recorded in a Manichaean text of the 3rd century, where it is mentioned that one of the disciples of the prophet Mani founded a Manichaean community near the Christian community in Erebuni.
Armenia became a Christian nation in the early 4th century, during the reign of the Arsacid king Tiridates III.
Following the partition of Armenia by the Byzantine and Sasanian empires in 387 and in 428, Erebuni and the entire territory of Eastern Armenian came under the rule of Sasanian Persia. The Armenian territories formed the province of Persian Armenia within the Sasanian Empire.
Due to the diminished role of Erebuni, as well as the absence of proper historical data, much of the city's history under the Sasanian rule is unknown.
The Katoghike Tsiranavor Church in Avan, built between 595 and 602 during Sasanian rule and partly damaged during the 1679 earthquake), is the oldest surviving church within modern Yerevan's city limits.
The province of Persian Armenia (also known as Persarmenia) lasted until 646, when the province was dissolved with the Muslim conquest of Persia.
Arab Islamic invasion
See also: Arminiya
The 7th-century church of the Holy Mother of God, demolished in 1936
In 658 AD, at the height of the Arab Islamic invasions, Erebuni-Yerevan was conquered during the Muslim conquest of Persia, as it was part of Persian-ruled Armenia. The city became part of the Emirate of Armenia under the Umayyad Caliphate. The city of Dvin was the centre of the newly created emirate. Starting from this period, as a result of the developing trade activities with the Arabs, the Armenian territories had gained strategic importance as a crossroads for the Arab caravan routes passing between Europe and India through the Arab-controlled Ararat plain of Armenia. Most probably, "Erebuni" has become known as "Yerevan" since at least the 7th century AD.
See also: Bagratid Armenia
After 2 centuries of Islamic rule over Armenia, the Bagratid prince Ashot I of Armenia led the revolution against the Abbasid Caliphate. Ashot I liberated Yerevan in 850, and was recognized as the Prince of Princes of Armenia by the Abbasid Caliph al-Musta'in in 862. Ashot was later crowned King of Armenia through the consent of Caliph al-Mu'tamid in 885. During the rule of the Bagratuni dynasty of Armenia between 885 and 1045, Yerevan was relatively a secure part of the Kingdom before falling to the Byzantines.
Seljuk period, Zakarid Armenia and Mongol rule
After a brief Byzantine rule over Armenia between 1045 and 1064, the invading Seljuks -led by Tughril and later by his successor Alp Arslan- ruled over the entire region, including Yerevan. However, with the establishment of the Zakarid Principality of Armenia in 1201 under the Georgian protectorate, the Armenian territories of Yerevan and Lori had significantly grown. After the Mongols captured Ani in 1236, Armenia turned into a Mongol protectorate as part of the Ilkhanate, and the Zakarids became vassals to the Mongols. After the fall of the Ilkhanate in the mid-14th century, the Zakarid princes ruled over Lori, Shirak and Ararat plain until 1360 when they fell to the invading Turkic tribes.
Ağ Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu tribes
During the last quarter of the 14th century, the Ağ Qoyunlu Sunni Oghuz Turkic tribe took over Armenia, including Yerevan. In 1400, Timur invaded Armenia and Georgia, and captured more than 60,000 of the survived local people as slaves. Many districts including Yerevan were depopulated.
In 1410, Armenia fell under the control of the Kara Koyunlu Shia Oghuz Turkic tribe. According to the Armenian historian Thomas of Metsoph, although the Kara Koyunlu levied heavy taxes against the Armenians, the early years of their rule were relatively peaceful and some reconstruction of towns took place. The Kara Koyunlus made Yerevan the centre of the newly formed Chukhur Saad administrative territory. The territory was named after a Turkic leader known as Emir Saad.
However, this peaceful period was shattered with the rise of Qara Iskander between 1420 and 1436, who reportedly made Armenia a "desert" and subjected it to "devastation and plunder, to slaughter, and captivity". The wars of Iskander and his eventual defeat against the Timurids, invited further destruction in Armenia, as many more Armenians were taken captive and sold into slavery and the land was subjected to outright pillaging, forcing many of them to leave the region.
Following the fall of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in 1375, the seat of the Armenian Church was transferred from Sis back to Vagharshapat near Yerevan in 1441. Thus, Yerevan became the main economic, cultural and administrative centre in Armenia.
In 1501, most of the Eastern Armenian territories including Yereven were swiftly conquered by the emerging Safavid dynasty of Iran led by Shah Ismail I. Soon after in 1502, Yerevan became the centre of the Erivan Beglarbegi, a new administrative territory of Iran formed by the Safavids. For the following 3 centuries, it remained, with brief intermissions, under the Iranian rule. Due to its strategic significance, Yerevan -known as Revan by the Ottomans- was initially often fought over, and passed back and forth, between the dominion of the rivaling Iranian and Ottoman Empire, until it permanently became controlled by the Safavids. In 1555, Iran had secured its legitimate possession over Yerevan with the Ottomans through the Treaty of Amasya.
In 1582-1583, the Ottomans led by Serdar Ferhad Pasha took brief control over Yerevan. Ferhad Pasha managed to build the Erivan Fortress on the ruins of one thousand-years old ancient Armenian fortress, on the shores of Hrazdan river. However, Ottoman control ended in 1604 when the Persians regained Yerevan as a result of first Ottoman-Safavid War.
Shah Abbas I of Persia who ruled between 1588 and 1629, ordered the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Armenians including citizens from Yerevan to mainland Persia. As a consequence, Yerevan significantly lost its Armenian population who had declined to 20%, while Muslims including Persians, Turks, Kurds and Tatars gained dominance with around 80% of the city's population. Muslims were either sedentary, semi-sedentary, or nomadic. Armenians mainly occupied the Kond neighbourhood of Yerevan and the rural suburbs around the city. However, the Armenians dominated over various professions and trade in the area and were of great economic significance to the Persian administration.
During the second Ottoman-Safavid War, Ottoman troops under the command of Sultan Murad IV conquered the city in August 8, 1635. Returning in triumph to Constantinople, he opened the "Yerevan Kiosk" (Revan Köşkü) in Topkapı Palace in 1636. However, Iranian troops under commanded by Shah Safi retook Yerevan on April 1, 1636. As a result of the Treaty of Zuhab in 1639, the Iranians reconfirmed their control over Eastern Armenia, including Yerevan. On 7 June 1679, a devastating earthquake razed the city to the ground.
In 1724, the Erivan Fortress was besieged by the Ottoman army. After a period of resistance, the fortress fell to the Turks. As a result of the Ottoman invasion, the Erivan Beglarbegi of the Safavids was dissolved.
Following a brief period of Ottoman rule over Eastern Armenia between 1724 and 1736, and as a result of the fall of the Safavid dynasty in 1736, Yerevan along with the adjacent territories became part of the newly formed administrative territory of Erivan Khanate under the Afsharid dynasty of Iran, which encompassed an area of 15,000 square kilometres (5,800 square miles). The Afsharids controlled Eastern Armenia from the mid 1730s until the 1790s. Following the fall of the Afsharids, the Qajar dynasty of Iran took control of Eastern Armenia until 1828, when the region was conquered by the Russian Empire after their victory over the Qajars that resulted in the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828.
See also: Armenian Oblast and Erivan Governorate
Franz Roubaud's painting of the Erivan Fortress siege in 1827 by the Russian forces under leadership of Ivan
Paskevich during the Russo-Persian War (1826–28)
Dzoragyugh neighbourhood of old Yerevan in the 19th century
During the second Russo-Persian War of the 19th century, the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28, Yerevan was captured by Russian troops under general Ivan Paskevich on 1 October 1827. It was formally ceded by the Iranians in 1828, following the Treaty of Turkmenchay. After 3 centuries of Iranian occupation, Yereven along with the rest of Eastern Armenia designated as the "Armenian Oblast", became part of the Russian Empire, a period that would last until the collapse of the Empire in 1917. The Russians sponsored the resettlement process of the Armenian population from Persia and Turkey. Due to the resettlement, the percentage of the Armenian population of Yerevan increased from 28% to 53.8%. The resettlement was intended to create Russian power bridgehead in the Middle East. In 1829, Armenian repatriates from Persia were resettled in the city and a new quarter was built.
Yerevan served as the seat of the newly formed Armenian Oblast between 1828 and 1840. By the time of Nicholas I's visit in 1837, Yerevan had become an uyezd. In 1840, the Armenian Oblast was dissolved and its territory incorporated into a new larger province; the Georgia-Imeretia Governorate. In 1850 the territory of the former oblast was reorganized into the Erivan Governorate, covering an area of 28,000 square kilometres (11,000 square miles). Yerevan was the centre of the newly established governorate.
At that period, Yerevan was a small town with narrow roads and alleys, including the central quarter of Shahar, the Ghantar commercial centre, and the residential neighbourhoods of Kond, Dzoragyugh, Nork and Shentagh. During the 1840s and the 1850s, many schools were opened in the city. However, the first major plan of Yerevan was adopted in 1856, during which, Saint Hripsime and Saint Gayane women's colleges were founded and the English Park was opened. In 1863, the Astafyan Street was redeveloped and opened. In 1874, Zacharia Gevorkian opened Yerevan's first printing house, while the first theatre opened its doors in 1879.
On October 1, 1879, Yerevan was granted the status of a city through a decree issued by Alexander II of Russia. In 1881, The Yerevan Teachers' Seminary and the Yerevan Brewery were opened, followed by the Tairyan's wine and brandy factory in 1887. Other factories for alcoholic beverages and mineral water were opened during the 1890s. The monumental church of Saint Gregory the Illuminator was opened in 1900. Electricity and telephone lines were introduced to the city in 1907 and 1913 respectively.
In general, Yerevan had rapidly grown under the Russian rule, both economically and politically. Old buildings were torn down and new buildings of European style were erected instead.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Yerevan city's population was over 29,000. In 1902, a railway line linked Yerevan with Alexandropol, Tiflis and Julfa. In the same year, Yerevan's first public library was opened. In 1905, the grandnephew of Napoleon I; prince Louis Joseph Jérôme Napoléon (1864–1932) was appointed as governor of Yerevan province. In 1913, for the first time in the city, a telephone line with eighty subscribers became operational.
Yerevan served as the centre of the governorate until 1917, when Erivan governorate was dissolved with the collapse of the Russian Empire.
Main article: First Republic of Armenia
Government house of Armenia from where Aram Manukian declared independence on May 28, 1918
Celebration of the first anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia in 1919
At the beginning of the 20th century, Yerevan was a small city with a population of 30,000. In 1917, the Russian Empire ended with the October Revolution. In the aftermath, Armenian, Georgian and Muslim leaders of Transcaucasia united to form the Transcaucasian Federation and proclaimed Transcaucasia's secession.
The Federation, however, was short-lived. After gaining control over Alexandropol (Gyumri), the Turkish army was advancing towards the south and east to eliminate the center of Armenian resistance based in Yerevan. On May 21, 1918, the Turks started their campaign moving towards Yerevan via Sardarabad. Catholicos Gevorg V ordered that church bells peal for 6 days as Armenians from all walks of life – peasants, poets, blacksmiths, and even the clergymen – rallied to form organized military units. Civilians, including children, aided in the effort as well, as "Carts drawn by oxen, water buffalo, and cows jammed the roads bringing food, provisions, ammunition, and volunteers from the vicinity" of Yerevan.
By the end of May 1918, Armenians were able to defeat the Turkish army in the battles of Sardarabad, Abaran and Karakilisa. Thus, on 28 May 1918, the Dashnak leader Aram Manukian declared the independence of Armenia. Subsequently, Yerevan became the capital and the center of the newly founded Republic of Armenia, although the members of the Armenian National Council were yet to stay in Tiflis until their arrival in Yerevan to form the government in the summer of the same year. Armenia became a parliamentary republic with four administrative divisions. The capital Yerevan was part of the Araratian Province. At the time, Yerevan received more than 75,000 refugees from Western Armenia, who escaped the massacres perpetrated by the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide.
After the signing of the Treaty of Sèvres in 1920, Armenia was granted formal international recognition. The United States, as well as many South American countries, officially opened diplomatic channels with the government of independent Armenia. Yerevan had also opened representatives in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Serbia, Greece, Iran and Japan.
However, after the short period of independence, Yerevan fell to the Bolsheviks, and Armenia was incorporated into the Soviet Union on 2 December 1920. Although nationalist forces managed to retake the city in February 1921 and successfully released all the imprisoned political and military figures, the city's nationalist elite were once again defeated by the Soviet forces on 2 April 1921.
See also: Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic
Mother Armenia erected in 1967, replacing the monumental statue of Joseph Stalin
Monument commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Sovietization of Armenia
The Red Soviet Army invaded Armenia on 29 November 1920 from the northeast. On 2 December 1920, Yerevan along with the other territories of the Republic of Armenia, became part of the Soviet Union, known as the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. However, the Armenian SSR formed the Transcaucasian SFSR (TSFSR) together with the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic and the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, between 1922 and 1936.
Under the Soviet rule, Yerevan became the first among the cities in the Soviet Union for which a general plan was developed. The "General Plan of Yerevan" developed by the academician Alexander Tamanian, was approved in 1924. It was initially designed for a population of 150,000. The city was quickly transformed into a modern industrial metropolis of over one million people. New educational, scientific and cultural institutions were founded as well.
Tamanian incorporated national traditions with contemporary urban construction. His design presented a radial-circular arrangement that overlaid the existing city and incorporated much of its existing street plan. As a result, many historic buildings were demolished, including churches, mosques, the Persian fortress, baths, bazaars and caravanserais. Many of the districts around central Yerevan were named after former Armenian communities that were destroyed by the Ottoman Turks during the Armenian Genocide. The districts of Arabkir, Malatia-Sebastia and Nork Marash, for example, were named after the towns Arabkir, Malatya, Sebastia, and Marash, respectively. After the end of World War II, German POWs were used to help in the construction of new buildings and structures, such as the Kievyan Bridge.
Within the years, the central Kentron district has become the most developed area in Yerevan, something that created a significant gap compared with other districts in the city. Most of the educational, cultural and scientific institutions were centred in the Kentron district.
In 1965, during the commemorations of the fiftieth anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Yerevan was the location of a demonstration, the first such demonstration in the Soviet Union, to demand recognition of the Genocide by the Soviet authorities. In 1968, the city's 2,750th anniversary was commemorated.
Yerevan played a key role in the Armenian national democratic movement that emerged during the Gorbachev era of the 1980s. The reforms of Glasnost and Perestroika opened questions on issues such as the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, the environment, Russification, corruption, democracy, and eventually independence. At the beginning of 1988, nearly one million Yerevantsis engaged in demonstrations concerning these subjects, centered on the Theater Square (currently Freedom Square).
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Yerevan became the capital of the Republic of Armenia on 21 September 1991. Maintaining supplies of gas and electricity proved difficult; constant electricity was not restored until 1996 amidst the chaos of the badly instigated and planned transition to a market-based economy.
Since 2000, central Yerevan has been transformed into a vast construction site, with cranes erected all over the Kentron district. Officially, the scores of multi-storied buildings are part of large-scale urban planning projects. Roughly $1.8 billion was spent on such construction in 2006, according to the national statistical service. Prices for downtown apartments have increased by about ten times during the first decade of the 21st century. Many new streets and avenues were opened, such as the Argishti street, Italy street, Saralanj Avenue, Monte Melkonian Avenue, and the Northern Avenue.
However, as a result of this construction booming, the majority of the historic buildings located on the central Aram Street, were either entirely destroyed or transformed into modern residential buildings through the construction of additional floors. Only a few structures were preserved, mainly in the portion that extends between Abovyan Street and Mashtots Avenue.
The first major post-independence protest in Yerevan took place in September 1996, after the announcement of incumbent Levon Ter-Petrosyan's victory in the presidential election. Major opposition parties of the time, consolidated around the former Karabakh Committee member and former Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan, organized mass demonstrations between 23 and 25 September, claiming electoral fraud by Ter-Petrosyan. An estimated of 200,000 people gathered in the Freedom Square to protest the election results. After a series of riot and violent protests around the Parliament building on 25 September, the government sent tanks and troops to Yerevan to enforce the ban on rallies and demonstrations on the following day. Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and Minister of National Security Serzh Sargsyan announced on the Public Television of Armenia that their respective agencies have prevented an attempted coup d'état.
The monumental statue of Garegin Nzhdeh at the centre of Yerevan erected on May 28, 2016, on the 98th anniversary of the First Republic
In February 2008, unrest in the capital between the authorities and opposition demonstrators led by ex-President Levon Ter-Petrosyan took place after the 2008 Armenian presidential election. The events resulted in 10 deaths and a subsequent 20-day state of emergency declared by President Robert Kocharyan.
In July 2016, a group of armed men calling themselves the Daredevils of Sassoun (Armenian: Սասնա Ծռեր Sasna Tsrrer) stormed a police station in Erebuni District of Yerevan, taking several hostages, demanding the release of opposition leader Jirair Sefilian and the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan. 3 policeman were killed as a result of the attack. Many anti-government protestors held rallies in solidarity with the gunmen. However, after 2 weeks of negotiations, the crisis ended and the gunmen surrendered.
Topography and cityscape
Yerevan has an average height of 990 m (3,248.03 ft), with a minimum of 865 m (2,837.93 ft) and a maximum of 1,390 m (4,560.37 ft) above sea level. It is located on to the edge of the Hrazdan River, northeast of the Ararat plain (Ararat Valley), to the center-west of the country. The upper part of the city is surrounded with mountains on three sides while it descends to the banks of the river Hrazdan at the south. The Hrazdan divides Yerevan into two parts through a picturesque canyon.
Historically, the city is situated at the heart of the Armenian Highland, in Kotayk canton (Armenian: Կոտայք գավառ Kotayk gavar, not to be confused with the current Kotayk Province) of Ayrarat province, within Armenia Major.
As the capital of Armenia, Yerevan is not part of any marz ("province"). Instead, it is bordered with the following provinces: Kotayk from the north and the east, Ararat from the south and the south-west, Armavir from the west and Aragatsotn from the north-west.
Yerevan features a continental influenced steppe climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk or "cold semi-arid climate"), with long, hot, dry summers and short, but cold and snowy winters. This is attributed to Yerevan being on a plain surrounded by mountains and to its distance from the sea and its effects. The summers are usually very hot with the temperature in August reaching up to 40 °C (104 °F), and winters generally carry snowfall and freezing temperatures with January often being as cold as −15 °C (5 °F) and lower. The amount of precipitation is small, amounting annually to about 318 millimetres (12.5 in). Yerevan experiences an average of 2,700 sunlight hours per year. Temperature regime in Yerevan is close to the southern Midwest cities such as Kansas City, Missouri, Detroit, Michigan, and Omaha, Nebraska, though Yerevan is much drier.
|[hide]Climate data for Yerevan|
|Record high °C (°F)||19.5
|Average high °C (°F)||1.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−7.5
|Record low °C (°F)||−27.6
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||20
|Average rainy days||2||4||8||12||12||8||5||4||4||8||7||4||78|
|Average snowy days||7||7||2||0.2||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||1||5||22|
|Average relative humidity (%)||81||74||62||59||58||51||47||47||51||64||73||79||62|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||93.0||108||162||177||242||297||343||332||278||212||138||92||2,474|
|Source #1: Pogoda.ru.net |
|Source #2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)|
Traditional buildings of Yerevan on Aram Street
The Republic Square, the Yerevan Opera Theatre, and the Yerevan Cascade are among the main landmarks at the centre of Yerevan, mainly developed based on the original design of the academician Alexander Tamanian, and the revised plan of architect Jim Torosyan.
A major redevelopment process has been launched in Yerevan since 2000. As a result, many historic structures have been demolished and replaced with new buildings. This urban renewal plan has been met with opposition and criticism from some residents, as the projects destroy historic buildings dating back to the period of the Russian Empire, and often leave residents homeless. Downtown houses deemed too small are increasingly demolished and replaced by high-rise buildings.
Modern buildings on the Northern Avenue
The Saint Gregory Cathedral, the new building of Yerevan City Council, the new section of Matenadaran institute, the new terminal of Zvartnots International Airport, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts at the Cascade, the Northern Avenue, and the new government complex of ministries are among the major construction projects fulfilled during the first two decades of the 21st century.
As of May 2017, Yerevan is home to 4,883 residential apartment buildings, and 65,199 street lamps installed on 39,799 street light posts, covering a total length of 1,514 km. The city has 1,080 streets with a total length of 750 km.
The Lovers' Park
Yerevan is a densely-built city but still offers several public parks throughout its districts, graced with mid-siz green gardens. The public park of Erebuni District along with its artificial lake is the oldest garden in the city. Occupying an area of 17 hectares, the origins of the park and the artificial lake date back to the period of king Argishti I of Urartu during the 8th century BC. In 2011, the garden was entirely remodeled and named as Lyon Park, to become a symbol of the partnership between the cities of Lyon and Yerevan.
The Lovers' Park on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue and the English Park at the centre of the city, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries respectively, are among the most popular parks for the Yerevantsis. The Yerevan Botanical Garden opened in 1935, the Victory park formed in the 1950s and the Circular Park are among the largest green spaces of the city.
Formed in the 1960s, the Yerevan opera garden along with its artificial Swan Lake is also among the favourite green spaces of the city. The lake is converted into an ice-skating arena during winters.
The Yerevan Lake is an artificial reservoir opened in 1967 on Hrazdan riverbed at the south of the city centre, with a surface of 0.65 km2 (0.25 sq mi).
Each administrative district of Yerevan has its own public park, such as the Buenos Aires Park and Tumanyan Park in Ajapnyak, Komitas park in Shengavit, Vahan Zatikian park in Malatia-Sebastia, David Anhaght park in Kanaker-Zeytun, the Family park in Avan, and Fridtjof Nansen park in Nor Nork.
Politics and government
Yerevan has been the capital of Armenia since the independence of the First Republic in 1918. Situated in the Ararat plain, the historic lands of Armenia, it served as the best logical choice for capital of the young republic at the time.
When Armenia became a republic of the Soviet Union, Yerevan remained as capital and accommodated all the political and diplomatic institutions in the republic. In 1991 with the independence of Armenia, Yerevan continued with its status as the political and cultural centre of the country, being home to all the national institutions: the Government House, the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace, the Central Bank, all ministries, the constitutional court, judicial bodies and other public organizations.
See also: List of mayors of Yerevan
Yerevan City Hall
Yerevan received the status of a city on October 1, 1879, upon a decree issued by Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The first city council formed was headed by Hovhannes Ghorghanyan who became the first mayor of Yerevan.
The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia adopted on 5 July 1995, granted Yerevan the status of a marz (province). Therefore, Yerevan functions similarly to the provinces of Armenia with a few specifications. The administrative authority of Yerevan is thus represented by:
- the mayor, appointed by the President (who can remove him at any moment) upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister, alongside a group of four deputy mayors heading eleven ministries (of which financial, transport, urban development etc.),
- the Yerevan City Council, regrouping the Heads of community districts under the authority of the mayor,
- twelve "community districts", with each having its own leader and their elected councils. Yerevan has a principal city hall and twelve deputy mayors of districts.
In the modified Constitution of 27 November 2005, Yerevan city was turned into a "community" (hamaynk); since, the Constitution declares that this community has to be led by a mayor, elected directly or indirectly, and that the city needs to be governed by a specific law. The first election of the Yerevan City Council took place in 2009 and won by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia.
In addition to the national police and road police, Yerevan has its own municipal police. All three bodies cooperate to maintain law in the city.
The twelve districts of Yerevan Main article: Districts of Yerevan
Yerevan is divided into twelve "administrative districts" (վարչական շրջան, varčakan šrĵan) each with an elected leader. The total area of the 12 districts of Yerevan is 223 square kilometres (86 square miles).
|Nor Nork||Նոր Նորք||126,065||130,300||14.11|
|c. 1650||absolute majority||—||—||—||—|
|c. 1725||absolute majority||—||—||—||~20,000|
|^a Called Tatars prior to 1918|
Originally a small town, Yerevan became the capital of Armenia and a large city with over one million inhabitants. Until the fall of the Soviet Union, the majority of the population of Yerevan were Armenians with minorities of Russians, Kurds, Azerbaijanis and Iranians present as well. However, with the breakout of the Nagorno-Karabakh War from 1988 to 1994, the Azerbaijani minority diminished in the country in what was part of population exchanges between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A big part of the Russian minority also fled the country during the 1990s economic crisis in the country. Today, the population of Yerevan is overwhelmingly Armenian.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, due to economic crises, thousands fled Armenia, mostly to Russia, North America and Europe. The population of Yerevan fell from 1,250,000 in 1989 to 1,103,488 in 2001 and to 1,091,235 in 2003. However, the population of Yerevan has been increasing since. In 2007, the capital had 1,107,800 inhabitants.
Yerevantsis in general use the Yerevan dialect, an Eastern Armenian dialect most probably formed during the 13th century. It is currently spoken in and around Yerevan, including the towns of Vagharshapat and Ashtarak. Classical Armenian (Grabar) words compose significant part of the dialect's vocabulary. Throughout the history, it was influenced by several languages, especially Russian and Persian and loan words have significant presence in it today. It is currently the most widespread Armenian dialect.
Saint Nikolai Russian Cathedral, destroyed in 1931
Yerevan was inhabited first by Armenians and remained homogeneous until the 15th century. The population of the Erivan Fortress, founded in the 1580s, was mainly composed of Muslim soldiers, estimated two to three thousand. The city itself was mainly populated by Armenians. French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who visited Yerevan possibly up to six times between 1631 and 1668, states that the city is exclusively populated by Armenians. During the 1720's Ottoman–Persian War its absolute majority were Armenians. The demographics of the region changed because of a series of wars between the Ottoman Empire, Iran and Russia. By the early 19th century, Yerevan had a Muslim majority.
Until the Sovietizaton of Armenia, Yerevan was a multicultural city, mainly with Armenian and Caucasian Tatar (nowadays Azerbaijanis) population. After the Armenian Genocide, many refugees from what Armenians call Western Armenia (nowadays Turkey, then Ottoman Empire) escaped to Eastern Armenia. In 1919, about 75,000 Armenian refugees from the Ottoman Empire arrived in Yerevan, mostly from the Vaspurakan region (city of Van and surroundings). A significant part of these refugees died of typhus and other diseases.
From 1921 to 1936, about 42,000 ethnic Armenians from Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Greece, Syria, France, Bulgaria etc. came to Soviet Armenia, with most of them settling in Yerevan. The second wave of repatriation occurred from 1946 to 1948, when about 100,000 ethnic Armenians from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, France, United States etc. came to Soviet Armenia, again most of whom settled in Yerevan. Thus, the ethnic makeup of Yerevan became more monoethnic during the first 3 decades in the Soviet Union. In the late 1980s and the early 1990s, the remaining 2,000 Azeris left the city, because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Main articles: List of churches in Yerevan and Religion in Armenia
The 5th-century Saint Paul and Peter Church demolished in November 1930 by the Soviets, was among the
earliest churches ever built in Erebuni-Yerevan
Saint John the Baptist Church consecrated in 1710
Armenian Apostolic Christianity is the predominant religion in Armenia. The Armenian Church is represented in Yerevan by the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, with the Surp Sarkis Cathedral the current seat of the prelacy. Yerevan is home to the largest Armenian church in the world, the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. The church was dedicated in 2001 during the 1700th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Church and the adoption of Christianity as the national religion in Armenia.
The Russian Orthodox community is served by the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God, located in the Kanaker-Zeytun district of Yerevan. After the capture of Yerevan by Russians as result of the Russo-Persian War, the main mosque in the fortress, built by the invading Turks in 1582, was converted into an Orthodox church under the orders of the Russian commander, general Ivan Paskevich. The church was consecrated on 6 December 1827 and named the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God. During the Soviet era the church was closed and converted first into a warehouse and later into a club for military personnel. Religious services resumed in it in 1991, and in 2004 a cupola and a belfry were added to the church. The consecration of the new Holy Cross Russian Orthodox church of Yerevan was conducted on 18 March 2010 by Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow.
According to Ivan Chopin, there were eight mosques in Yerevan in the middle of the 19th century. The 18th-century Blue Mosque of Yerevan was restored and reopened in the 1990s, with Iranian funding, and is currently the only active mosque in Armenia, mainly serving the Iranian Shia visitors.
Yerevan is home to very small Yezidi, Molokan, Neopagan, Bahai and Jewish communities, with the Jewish community being represented by the Jewish Council of Armenia. A variety of nontrinitarian communities -considered as dangerous sects by the state-sponsored Armenian Apostolic Church- are also found in the city, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists and Word of Life.
See also: List of museums in Yerevan
Yerevan is home to a large number of museums, art galleries and libraries. The most prominent of these are the National Gallery of Armenia, the History Museum of Armenia, the Cafesjian Museum of Art, the Matenadaran library of ancient manuscripts, and the Armenian Genocide museum of Tsitsernakaberd complex.
Founded in 1921, the National Gallery of Armenia and the History Museum of Armenia are the principal museums of city. In addition to having a permanent exposition of works of Armenian painters, the gallery houses a collection of paintings, drawings and sculptures issued from German, American, Austrian, Belgian, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Dutch, Russian and Swiss artists. It usually hosts temporary expositions.
The Armenian Genocide museum is found at the foot of Tsitsernakaberd memorial and features numerous eyewitness accounts, texts and photographs from the time. It comprises a memorial stone made of three parts, the latter of which is dedicated to the intellectual and political figures who, as the museum's site says, "raised their protest against the Genocide committed against the Armenians by the Turks. Among them there are Armin T. Wegner, Hedvig Büll, Henry Morgenthau Sr., Franz Werfel, Johannes Lepsius, James Bryce, Anatole France, Giacomo Gorrini, Benedict XV, Fritjof Nansen, and others.
View from a garden terrace of the Cafesjian Museum of Art at the Cascade
Cafesjian Museum of Art within the Cascade complex, is an art centre opened on November 7, 2009. It showcases a massive collection glass artwork, particularly the works of the Czech artists Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová. The front gardens showcase sculptures from Gerard L. Cafesjian's collection.
The Erebuni Museum founded in 1968, is an archaeological museum housing Urartian artifacts found during excavations at the Erebuni Fortress. The Yerevan History Museum and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation History Museum are among the prominent museums that feature the history of Yerevan and the First Republic of Armenia respectively. The Military Museum within the Mother Armenia complex is about the participation of Armenian soldiers in World War II and Nagorno-Karabakh War.
The city is also home to a large number of art museums. Sergei Parajanov Museum opened in 1988 is dedicated to Sergei Parajanov's art works in cinema and painting. Komitas Museum opened in 2015, is a musical art museum devoted to the renowned Armenian composer Komitas. Charents Museum of Literature and Arts opened in 1921, Modern Art Museum of Yerevan opened in 1972, and the Middle East Art Museum opened in 1993, are also among the notable arte museums of the city.
Biographical museums are also common in Yerevan. Many renowned Armenian poets, painters and musicians are honored with house-museums in their memory, such as poet Hovhannes Tumanyan, composer Aram Khachaturian,painter Martiros Saryan, novelist Khachatur Abovian, and French-Armenian singer Charles Aznavour.
Recently, many museums of science and technology were opened in Yerevan, such as the Museum of Armenian Medicine (1999), the Space Museum of Yerevan (2001), Museum of Science and Technology (2008), Museum of Communications (2012) and the Little Einstein Interactive Science Museum (2016).
The National Library of Armenia located on Teryan Street of Yerevan, is the public library of the city and the entire republic. It was founded in 1832 and is operating in its current building since 1939. Another national library of Yerevan is the Khnko Aper Children's Library, founded in 1933. Other major public libraries include the Avetik Isahakyan Central Library founded in 1935, the Republican Library of Medical Sciences founded in 1939, the Library of Science and Technology founded in 1957, and the Musical Library founded in 1965. In addition, each administrative district of Yerevan has its own public library (usually more than one library).
The Matenadaran is a library-museum and a research centre, regrouping 17,000 ancient manuscripts and several bibles from the Middle Ages. Its archives hold a rich collection of valuable ancient Armenian, Ancient Greek, Aramaic, Assyrian, Hebrew, Latin, Middle and Modern Persian manuscripts. It is located on Mashtots Avenue at central Yerevan.
On 6 June 2010, Yerevan was named as the 2012 World Book Capital by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Armenian capital was chosen for the quality and variety of the programme it presented to the selection committee, which met at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris on 2 July 2010.
The National Archives of Armenia founded in 1923, is a scientific research centre and depositary, with a collection of around 3.5 million units of valuable documents.
Yerevan is one of the historic centres of traditional Armenian carpet. Various rug fragments have been excavated in areas around Yerevan dating back to the 7th century BC or earlier. The tradition was further developed from the 16th century when Yerevan became the central city of Persian Armenia. However, carpet manufacturing in the city was greatly enriched with the flock of Western Armenian migrants from the Ottoman Empire throughout the 19th century, and the arrival of Armenian refugees escaping the genocide in early 20th century. Currently, the city is home to the Arm Carpet factory opened in 1924, as well as the Tufenkian handmade carpets (since 1994), and Megerian handmade carpets (since 2000).
The Yerevan Vernissage open-air exhibition-market formed in late 1980s on Aram Street, features a large collection of different types of traditional Armenian hand-made art works, especially woodwork sculptures, rugs and carpets. On the other hand, the Saryan park located near the opera house, is famous for being a permanent venue where artists exhibit their paintings.
Many cultural centres and theatrical halls host several shows and performances in Yerevan. The largest venue is the Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex. Other significant theatres include: Sundukyan State Academic Theatre, Paronyan Musical Comedy Theatre, Stanislavski Russian Theatre, Drama and Comedy Theatre named after Edgar Elbakyan, Hrachya Ghaplanyan Drama Theatre, Yerevan State Hamazgayin Theatre and Hovhannes Tumanyan Puppet Theatre.
The city is home to many movie theatres including the Moscow Cinema, Nairi Cinema, Hayastan Cinema, Cinema Star multiplex cinemas of the Dalma Garden Mall, and the KinoPark multiplex cinemas of Yerevan Mall. Since 2004, the Moscow Cinema hosts annual the Golden Apricot international film festival. Other cinemas with notable architectural value include the Hayrenik Cinema, and Rossiya Cinema.
The Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theatre consists of two concert halls: Aram Khatchaturian concert hall and the hall of the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet named after Alexander Spendiarian. The Komitas Chamber Music House is the home of chamber music in Armenia.
The Cafesjian Center for the Arts is known for its regularly programmed events including the "Cafesjian Classical Music Series" at the first Wednesday of each month, and the "Music Cascade" series of jazz, pop and rock music live concerts performed every Friday and Saturday.
The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art founded in 1992 in Yerevan, is a creativity centre helping to exchange experience between professional artists in an appropriate atmosphere.
Many public and private TV and radio channels operate in Yerevan. The Public TV of Armenia is in service since 1956. It became a satellite television in 1996. Other satellite TVs include the Armenia TV owned by the Pan-Armenian Media Group, Kentron TV owned by Gagik Tsarukyan, Shant TV and Shant TV premium. On the other hand, Yerkir Media, Armenia 2, Shoghakat TV, Yerevan TV, 21TV and the TV channels of the Pan-Armenian Media Group are among the most notable local televisions of Yerevan.
Many of the historic monuments of Yerevan has been destroyed either during foreign invasions or as a result of the devastating earthquake in 1679. However, some structures have remained moderately intact and ere replenished during the following years.
Erebuni Fortress, also known as Arin Berd, is the hill where the city of Yerevan was founded in 782 BC by King Argishti I. The remains of other structures from earlier periods are also found in Shengavit.
The Blue Mosque
The 4th-century chapel of the Holy Mother of God and the 6th-century Tsiranavor Church both located in Avan District at the north of Yerevan, are among the oldest surviving Christian structures of the city. Originally a suburb at the north of Yerevan, Avan was eventually absorbed by the city's gradual expansion. The district is also home to the remains of Surp Hovhannes Chapel dating back to the 12-13th centuries.
Katoghike Church; a medieval chapel in the centre of Yerevan built in 1264, is one of the best preserved churches of the city. Zoravor Surp Astvatsatsin Church is also among the best surviving churches of Yerevan, built 1693-94 right after the devastating earthquake, on the ruins of a medieval church. Saint Sarkis Cathedral rebuilt in 1835-42, is the seat of Araratian Pontifical Diocese of the Armenian Church.
The Blue Mosque or "Gök Jami", built between 1764 and 1768 at he centre of the city, is currently the only operating mosque in Armenia.
Aerial view of Tsitsernakaberd memorial and the genocide museum
Yerevan Opera Theater or the Armenian National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre opened in 1933, is a major landmark in the city along with the Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran opened in 1959, and Tsitsernakaberd monument of the Armenian Genocide opened in 1967.
Moscow Cinema, opened in 1937 on the site of Saint Paul and Peter Church of the 5th century, is an important example of the Soviet-era architecture. In 1959, a monument was erected near the Yerevan Railway Station dedicated to the legendary Armenian hero David of Sassoun. The monumental statue of Mother Armenia is a female personification of the Armenian nation, erected in 1967, replacing the huge statue of Joseph Stalin in the Victory park.
Komitas Pantheon is a cemetery opened in 1936 where many famous Armenians are buried, while the Yerablur Pantheon, is a military cemetery where over 1,000 Armenian martyrs of Nagorno-Karabakh War are buried since 1990.
Many new notable buildings were constructed after the independence of Armenia such as the Yerevan Cascade, and the Saint Gregory Cathedral opened in 2001 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. In May 2016, a monumental statue of the prominent Armenian statesman and military leader Garegin Nzhdeh was erected at the centre of Yerevan.
Yerevan is served by the Zvartnots International Airport, located 12 kilometres (7 miles) west of the city center. It is the primary airport of the country. Inaugurated in 1961 during the Soviet era, Zvartnots airport was renovated for the first time in 1985 and a second time in 2002 in order to adapt to international norms. It went through a facelift starting in 2004 with the construction of a new terminal. The first phase of the construction ended in September 2006 with the opening of the arrivals zone. A second section designated for departures was inaugurated in May 2007. The departure terminal is anticipated, October 2011 housing state of the art facilities and technology. This will make Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport, the largest, busiest and most modern airport in the entire Caucasus. Currently there are no national airlines operating in Armenia. The entire project costs more than $100 million USD.
A second airport, Erebuni Airport, is located just south of the city. Since the independence, "Erebuni" is mainly used for military or private flights. The Armenian Air Force has equally installed its base there and there are several MiG-29s stationed on Erebuni's tarmac.
City buses, mini- and microbuses and trolleybus
Public transport in Yerevan is heavily privatized and mostly handled by around 60 operators. As of May 2017, 39 bus lines are being operated throughout Yerevan. About 425 Bogdan, Higer City Bus and Hyundai County buses are used in Yerevan as a transportation. However, the bus market share in public transit is only about 39.1%.
Minibuses, locally-known as marshrutkas still have the biggest market share of 50.4%. These are about 1210 Russian-made GAZelle vans with 13 seats, that operate same way as buses, having 79 different lines with certain routes. According to Yerevan Municipality office, in future, marshrutkas should be replaced by buses.
The Yerevan trolleybus system has been operating since 1949. Some old Soviet-era trolleybuses have been replaced with comparably new ones. As of May 2017, only 5 trolleybus lines are in operation (2.6% share), with around 45 units in service.
The tram network that operated in Yerevan since 1906 was decommissioned in January 2004. Its operation had a cost 2.4 times higher than the generated profits, which pushed the municipality to shut down the network, despite a last-ditch effort to save it towards the end of 2003. Since the closure, the rails have been dismantled and sold.
Unlike the majority of world capitals, there is no established ticketing system in Yerevan's public transportation. Passengers need to pay the money directly to the driver when getting out from vehicle. Despite being privatized among dozen of operators, the fare is controlled by authorities and is fixed.The one-way trip costs 100 AMD (about 20 cents) for all buses and microbuses, while it is 50 AMD for trolleybuses. The central station in Nor Kilikia neighborhood serves as bus terminal for inter-city transport, serving outbound routes towards practically all the cities of Armenia as well as abroad, notably Tbilisi Georgia or Tabriz in Iran.
The Yerevan Metro named after Karen Demirchyan, (Armenian: Կարեն Դեմիրճյանի անվան Երեւանի մետրոպոլիտեն կայարան (Karen Dyemirchyani anvan Yerevani metropoliten kayaran)) is a rapid transit system that serves the capital city since 1981. It has a single line of 12.1 km (7.5 mi) length with 10 active stations and 45 units in service. The interiors of the stations resemble that of the former western Soviet nations, with chandeliers hanging from the corridors. The metro stations had most of their names changed after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Republic of Armenia.
A northeastern extension of the line with two new stations is currently being developed. The construction of the first station (Ajapnyak) and of the one-kilometre (0.62-mile) tunnel linking it to the rest of the network will cost 18 million USD. The time of the end of the project has not yet been defined. Another long term project is the construction of two new lines, but these have been suspended due to lack of finance.
More than 60,000 people are being transported by the Yerevan Metro on a daily basis.
Yerevan has a single central train station (several train stations of suburbs have not been used since 1990) that is connected to the metro via the Sasuntsi Davit station. The train station is made in Soviet-style architecture with its long point on the building roof, representing the symbols of communism: red star, hammer and sickle. Due to the Turkish and Azerbaijani blockades of Armenia, there is only one international train that passes by once every two days, with neighboring Georgia being its destination. For example, for a sum of 9 000 to 18 000 dram, it is possible to take the night train to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. This train then continues to its destination of Batumi, on the shores of the Black sea in the summer season.
The only railway that goes to Iran to the south passes by the closed border of Nakhichevan. For this reason, there are no trains that go south from Yerevan. A construction project on a new railway line connecting Armenia and Iran directly is currently being studied.
During the first decade of the 21st century, the South Caucasus Railway CJSC -which is the current operator of the railway system in Armenia- announced its readiness to put the Yerevan-Gyumri-Kars railway line in service in case the Armenian-Turkish protocols are ratified and the opening of the borders between the two countries is achieved.
There are several number of suburb trains to:
- Armavir (4), Gyumri (2);
- Yeraskh (1), Ararat (2);
- Hrazdan (2), Shorzha (1, on route only in summer).
Armenia is among the top 10 safest countries where one can wander around and go home alone safely at night. Yerevan prides itself on having connections 24/7 as taxis are available at any time of the day or night.
Economy and services
As of 2013, the share of Yerevan in the annual total industrial product of Armenia is 41%. The industry of Yerevan is quite diversified including chemicals, primary metals and steel products, machinery, rubber products, plastics, rugs and carpets, textiles, clothing and footwear, jewellery, wood products and furniture, building materials and stone-processing, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, dairy product and processed food. Even though the economic crisis of the '90s ravaged the industry of the country, several factories remain always in service, notably in the petrochemical and the aluminium sectors.
Armenian beverages, especially Armenian cognac and beer, have a worldwide fame. Hence, Yerevan is home to many leading enterprises of Armenia and the Caucasus for the production of alcoholic beverages, such as the Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, Yerevan Brandy Company, Yerevan Champagne Wines Factory, "Beer of Yerevan" (Kilikia Beer) brewery, Armco Brandy Factory, Proshyan Brandy Factory and Astafian Wine-Brandy Factory. The 2 tobacco producers in Yerevan are the "Cigaronne" and "Grand Tabak" companies.
Carpet industry in Armenia has a deeply rooted history with ancient traditions, therefore, carpet production is rather developed in Yerevan with three major factories that also produce hand-made rugs. The "Megerian Carpet" factory is the leading in this sector.
Other major plants in the city include the "Nairit" chemical and rubber plant, Rusal Armenal aluminum foil mill, "Grand Candy" Armenian-Canadian confectionery manufacturers, "Arcolad" chocolate factory, "Marianna" factory for dairy products, "Talgrig Group" for wheat and flour products, "Shant" ice cream factory, "Crown Chemicals" for paints, "ATMC" travertine mining company, Yerevan Watch Factory "AWI watches", Yerevan Jewellry Plant, and the mineral water factories of "Arzni", "Sil", and "Dilijan Frolova".
Food products include processed meat, all types of canneries, wheat and flour, sweets and chocolate, dried fruits, soft drinks and beverages. Building materials mainly include travertine, crushed stones, asphalt and asphalt concrete.
Finance and banking
As an attractive outsourcing location for Western European, Russian and American multinationals, Yerevan headquarters many international companies. It is Armenia's financial hub, being home to the Central Bank of Armenia, the Armenian Stock Exchange (NASDAQ OMX Armenia), as well as the majority of the country's largest commercial banks. As of 2013, the city dominates over 85% of the annual total services in Armenia, as well as over 84% of the annual total retail trade.
Many subsidiaries of Russian service companies and banks operate in Yerevan, including Gazprom Armenia, Rosgosstrakh Armenia, VTB Bank Armenia and Areximbank of the Gazprombank Group. The ACBA Bank is a subsidiary of the French Crédit Agricole. HSBC Armenia is also headquartered in Yerevan.
The construction sector has experienced a significant growth during the 1st decade of the 21st century. Starting from 2000, Yerevan has witnessed a massive construction boom, funded mostly by Armenian millionaires from Russia and the United States, with an extensive and controversial redevelopment process in which many 18th and 19th-century buildings have been demolished and replaced with new buildings. This growth was coupled with a significant increase in real estate prices.
Many major construction projects has been conducted in Yerevan, such as the Northern Avenue and the rehabilitation of Old Yerevan on Aram Street. The Northern Avenue is completed and was opened in 2007, while the Old Yerevan project is still under development. In the past few years, the city centre has also witnessed major road reconstruction, as well as the renovation of the Republic square, funded by the American-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. On the other hand, the Argentina-based Armenian businessman Eduardo Eurnekian took over the airport, while the cascade development project was funded by the US based Armenian millionaire Gerard L. Cafesjian.
However, the sector has significantly dropped by the end of the 1st decade of the 21st century, as a result of the global real estate crisis in 2007-09. In 2013, Yerevan dominated over 58% of the annual total construction sector of Armenia.
In February 2017, the urban development committee of the government revealed its plans for the upcoming major construction projects in the city. With a total cost of US$300 million, a new business district will rise at the centre of the city, to replace the current Firdowsi shopping area. The committee has also announced about the construction of Noy (Noah) ethnographic residential district at the western vicinity of Kentron District, with an approximate cost of US$100 million. The new neighbourhood will be known as, and its .
The location of the city on the shores of Hrazdan river has enabled the production of hydroelectricity. As part of the Sevan–Hrazdan Cascade, 3 hydroelectric power plants are established within the administrative territory of Yerevan: Kanaker HPP, Yerevan-1 HPP, and Yerevan-3 HPP. The entire plant was privatized in 2003, and is currently owned by RusHydro.
The city is also home to the Yerevan Thermal Power Plant, a unique facility in the region for its quality and high technology, situated in the southern part of the city. Originally opened in 1961, a modern plant was built in 2007, furnished with a new gas-steam combined cycled turbine, to generate electric power. In March 2017, the construction of a new thermal power plant was launched with an initial investment of US$258 million and an envisaged capacity of 250 megawatts. The power station will be in service in 2019.
Telecommunication and postal services
Main article: Telecommunications in Armenia
Vivacell-MTS headquarters in Yerevan
As of 2017, Armenia has 3 mobile phone service providers:
- Armenia Telephone Company's Beeline, currently owned by VimpelCom. Based in Yerevan, the company is operating since 1995.
- K-Telecom's Vicacell-MTS, founded in 2004 in Yerevan, and currently owned by MTS.
- Ucom, founded as an internet service provider in 2009 in Yerevan. It replaced Orange Armenia as the 3rd mobile network provider in the country in December 2015.
In addition to the mobile network providers, many other small and middle-size companies are also involved in internet services. Access to the Internet in Armenia is largely unfettered. However, according to Article 11 of the Law of the Republic of Armenia on Police, law enforcement has the right to block content to prevent criminal activity.
Health and medical care
Medical services in Armenia -except from maternity- are not subsidized by the government. However, the government annually allocates a certain amount from the state budget for the medical needs of the socially vulnerable groups.
Yerevan is a major healthcare and medical service centre in the region. Several hospitals of Yerevan refurbished with modern technologies, provide healthcare and medical researches, such as Shengavit Medical Center, Erebouni Medical Center, Izmirlian Medical Center, Saint Gregory the Illuminator Medical Center, Nork-Marash Medical Center, Armenia Republican Medical Center, Astghik Medical Centre, Armenian American Wellness Center, and Mkhitar Heratsi Hospital Complex of the Yerevan State Medical University. The municipality runs 39 polyclinics/medical centres throughout the city.
The Research Center of Maternal and Child Health Protection is operating in Yerevan since 1937, while the Armenicum Clinical Center was opened in 1999, where researches are conducted mainly about infectious diseases and associated researches, including HIV, immunodeficiency and hepatitis.
The Liqvor Pharmaceuticals Factory operating since 1991 in Yerevan, is currently the largest medicines manufacturer of Armenia.
Tourism and nightlife
Tourism in Armenia is developing year by year and the capital city of Yerevan is one of the major tourist destinations. The city has a majority of luxury hotels, modern restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs. Zvartnots airport has also conducted renovation projects with the growing number of tourists visiting the country. Numerous places in Yerevan are attractive for tourists, such as the dancing fountains of the Republic Square, the State Opera House, the Cascade complex, the ruins of the Urartian city of Erebuni (Arin Berd), the historical site of Karmir Blur (Teishebaini), etc. The largest hotel of the city is the Ani Plaza Hotel. The Armenia Marriott Hotel is located at the Republic Square at the centre of Yerevan, while the Radisson Blu Hotel is located near the Victory Park. Other major chains operating in central Yerevan include the Royal Tulip Grand Hotel Yerevan, the Best Western Congress Hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton, and the Hyatt Place.
The location of Yerevan itself, is an inspiring factor for the foreigners to visit the city in order to enjoy the view of the biblical mount of Ararat, as the city lies on the feet of the mountain forming the shape of a Roman amphitheatre.
Being among the top 10 safest cities in the world, Yerevan has an extensive nightlife scene with a variety of nightclubs, live venues, pedestrian zones, street cafés, jazz cafés, tea houses, casinos, pubs, karaoke clubs and restaurants. Casino Shangri La and Pharaon Complex are among the largest leisure and entertainment centres of the city.
Many world-famous music stars, Russian music celebrities, as well as Armenian singers from diaspora, occasionally perform in concerts in Yerevan.
The Northern Avenue that connects the Opera House with Abovyan street is a popular pedestrian zone in Yerevan with modern residential buildings, business centres, restaurants, bars and cafés. Another popular landmarks is the Yerevan Cascade and the "Cafesjian Sculpture Garden" on Tamanyan Street with its pedestrian zone, featuring many coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and pubs at the sidewalks. The "Cafesjian Center for the Arts" regularly organizes art events throughout the year, including classical music series, traditional folk dance events, and live concerts of jazz, pop and rock music.
Yerevan is a major educational centre in the region. As of 2017, the city is home to 253 schools, of which 210 are state-owned, with 159 run by the municipality and 51 run by the ministry of education, while the rest 43 are privately-owned. The municipality runs 160 kindergartens throughout the city.
The QSI International School, École Française Internationale en Arménie, Ayb School, Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex and Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School are among the prominent international or private schools in Yerevan.
As of 2016, more than 60 higher education institutions are accredited and licensed to operate in the Republic of Armenia. Yerevan is home to about 50 institutions, of which 13 are state, 7 are inter-governmental, 5 are international private, 3 are military, and the rest are local private universities. Yerevan State University, American University of Armenia, Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, Yerevan State Medical University and Armenian State Pedagogical University are the top rated universities of Armenia and among the top rated in the region.
Science and research
Under the Soviet rule, Yerevan has turned into a major centre for science and research. The Armenian National Academy of Sciences is the pioneer of scientific research in Armenia. It was founded in 1943 as the Armenian Branch of the Soviet Academy of Sciences to become the primary body that conducts research and coordinates activities in the fields of science in Armenia. It has many divisions, including Mathematical and Technical Sciences, Physics and Astrophysics, Natural Sciences, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Armenology and Social Sciences.
After the independence, many new research centres were opened in the city, such as the CANDLE Synchrotron Research Institute (2010), Tumo Center for Creative Technologies (2011), and Nerses Mets Medical Research and Education Center (2013).
See also: List of sports venues in Yerevan
Football is the most played and popular sport in Yerevan and the entire country. As of 2016, the city has 4 football clubs competing in the Armenian Premier League as well as 1 club in the Armenian First League:
|Ararat Yerevan||Mika Stadium||Shengavit||Dzoraghbyur Training Centre|
|Banants||Banants Stadium||Malatia-Sebastia||Banants Training Centre|
|Pyunik||Football Academy||Avan||Pyunik Training Centre|
The municipality has opened 126 mini-football pitches within the yards of the Yerevan neighbourhoods. It is envisaged to rise the number up to 131 by the end of 2017.
Armenia has always excelled in chess with its players being very often among the highest ranked and decorated. The headquarters of the Chess Federation of Armenia is located in the Tigran Petrosian Chess House of Yerevan. The city is home to a large number of chess teams and training schools. In 1996, despite the severe economic conditions in the country, Yerevan hosted the 32nd Chess Olympiad. In 2006, the four members from Yerevan of the Armenian chess team won the 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin and repeated the feat at the 38th Chess Olympiad in Dresden. Armenian won the chess Olympiad for the 3rd time in 2012 in Istanbul. The Yerevan-born leader of the chess national team; Levon Aronian, is one of the top chess players in the world.
Futsal is very popular in Armenia. Many companies as well as universities have their own teams who participate in the Futsal League of Armenia. 4 of the 8 teams of the championship are based in Yerevan, including: Leo Futsal, Charbakh Futsal, Armenia Travel Futsal and ASUE Futsal. The Mika Sports Arena of Yerevan is the home of the Armenia national futsal team.
Tennis is also among the popular sports in Yerevan. Several tennis clubs operate in the city, with many of them founded during the Soviet days. Incourt Tennis Club -founded in 1974- is the largest in the city, with many indoor and outdoor courts. Ararat Tennis Club founded in 1990, is also among the prominent clubs in the city. Tennis clubs are also found within the Yerevan State Sports College of Olympic Reserve since 1971, and the Yerevan Football Academy since 2010.
Armenia has produced many Olympic champions in artistic gymnastics during the Soviet days, such as Hrant Shahinyan, Albert Azaryan and Eduard Azaryan. The success of the Armenian gymnasts in the Olympic competitions has greatly contributed in the popularity of the sport. Thus, many prominent competitors represent the country in the European and World championships, including Artur Davtyan and Harutyun Merdinyan.
Yerevan has many state-owned schools of artistic gymnastics, including the Albert Azaryan School opened in 1964 and the Hrant Shahinyan School opened in 1965.
Karen Demirchyan Sports and Concerts Complex is the largest indoor arena in the city and the entire country. It is mostly used for indoor sport events, including ice hockey and figure skating shows. On the other hand, Dinamo and Mika indoor arenas are the regular venues for domestic and regional competitions of basketball, volleyball, handball and futsal.
Armenia Sports Union (Spartak Sports Union between 1935 and 1999) is a sports society mainly involved in individual Olympic sports, including boxing, weightlifting, athletics, wrestling, taekwondo, table tennis, etc.
The "Yerevan State Sports College of Olympic Reserve" is a large sports and educational complex located in the Malatia-Sebastia Dsitrict of the city. It was founded in 1971, and is home to individual as well as team sport schools, such as wrestling, boxing, weightlifting, judo, athletics, acrobatic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, cycling, basketball, volleyball and handball.
Olympavan, the training complex of the Armenian Olympic Committee
In September 2015, the new Olympic Training Complex of Yerevan -locally known as Olympavan- was opened in Davtashen District. It is an state of the art sports complex, with training facilities for most Olympic individual and team sports, athletics, as well as water sports. It is also home to the anti-doping medical centre and a high-quality hotel designated for 350 sportsmen.
Equestrian sport was introduced to Armenia in 1953. The Hovik Hayrapetyan Equestrian Centre opened in 2001, occupies an area of 85 hectares at the southern Shengavit District of Yerevan. It is the centre of equestrian sport and horse racing in Armenia.
Golf has been introduced to the citizens of Yerevan in 1999, with the foundation of the Ararat Valley Country Club in the Vahakni neighbourhood of Ajapnyak District. It is the first-ever golf course opened in Armenia as well as the Transcaucasian region.
Cycling as a sport is becoming popular among the young generation. The Yerevan Velodrome is an outdoor track cycling venue with international standard, opened in 2011 to replace the old venue of the Soviet days. Edgar Stepanyan of Armenia became champion of the scratch race in the 2015 junior UEC European Track Championships.
Recently, MMA has gained massive popularity in Armenia, being promoted by Armfighting Professional Federation based in Yerevan. It was founded in 2005 by Hayk Ghukasyan and currently runs several branches throughout the provinces of Armenia and Artsakh with more than 2,000 athletes.
The city of Yerevan is member of many international organizations: the International Assembly of CIS Countries' Capitals and Big Cities (MAG), the Black Sea Capitals' Association (BSCA), the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC), the International Association of Large-scale Communities, and the International Urban Community Lighting Association (LUCI).
Twin towns/sister cities
The hands of friendship from Carrara to Yerevan
As of March 2017, Yerevan is twinned with 24 cities:
As of March 2017, Yerevan has a partnership agreement with 25 cities/administrative regions:
- List of notable persons born in Yerevan: People from Yerevan
- Terter Yerevantsi (1290-1350), first person from Yerevan with fully known biography; scribe and poet; author of first known poems about Yerevan
- Voskan Yerevantsi (17th century), printer
- Simeon I of Yerevan (1710–1780), Catholicos of All Armenians
- Fazil Iravani (1782-1885), Shaykh al-Islām
- Khachatur Abovian (1809–1848), writer
- Irakli Gruzinsky (1826-1882), Prince of Georgia
- Jabbar Baghtcheban (1886-1966), Iranian educator
- Hamo Beknazarian (1891–1965), film director
- Silva Kaputikyan (1919–2006), poet
- Arno Babajanian (1921–1983), Soviet composer
- Grigor Khanjyan (1926-2000), artist, painter
- Karen Demirchyan (1932–1999), Soviet and Armenian politician
- Armen Dzhigarkhanyan (1935- ), Soviet and Russian actor
- Henrik Edoyan (1940- ), poet
- Mikhail Piotrovsky (1944- ), Russian historian
- Ihor Tselovalnykov (1944-1986), Ukrainian cyclist
- Arthur Meschian (1949- ), composer and architect
- Têmûrê Xelîl (1949- ), Yazidi journalist
- Ruben Hakhverdyan (1950- ), singer-songwriter
- Khoren Oganesian (1955- ), football player
- William Weiner (1955- ), composer
- Vardan Petrosyan (1959- ), actor
- Hasmik Papian (1961- ), soprano
- Tata Simonyan (1962- ), pop singer
- Ruben Vardanyan (1968- ), entrepreneur and philanthropist
- Garik Martirosyan (1974- ), Russia-based comedian
- Shavo Odadjian (1974- ), member of System of a Down
- Arthur Abraham (1980- ), boxer, world champion
- Armenchik (1980- ), pop-folk singer
- Levon Aronian (1982- ), chess player
- Anna Chicherova (1982- ), Russian high jumper
- Giorgio Petrosyan (1985- ), kickboxer
- Sirusho (1987- ), contemporary singer
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan (1989- ), football player
| From top left: Yerevan skyline with Mount Ararat • Karen Demirchyan Complex •
Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial • Saint Gregory Cathedral •
Tamanyan Street and the Yerevan Opera • Cafesjian Museum at the Cascade •
Republic Square at night