Yerevan is the capital of Armenia. Moreover, it is the 12th capital. Yerevan is one of the oldest settlements in the world and one of the oldest cities where people inhabited continuously.
It is located on the bank of the Hrazdan River and is the administrative, cultural and economic center of the country.
“YEREVAN” NAME ACCORDING TO THE LEGEND
The creation and the name of Yerevan, as well as many other old and new cities, are connected with ancient legends. If Romulus and Remus brothers founded Rome, the name of Athens is associated with the goddess Athena Pallas, then the name of. Yerevan is traditionally associated with the Great Flood and the Ark of Noah.
According to the legend, when Noah’s Ark stopped at the top of Mount Ararat after the flood, Noah came out of the ark together with his three sons, brides, and grandchildren and looked around.
The water had retreated and he saw something far away. Noah became delightful and pointed to that side with his hand. Then he exclaimed: “Yerevats, yerevats! (this means It can be seen or I see it)”. He meant the land.
They say that in that highland area, they later built a city and named it Yerevan.
“YEREVAN” NAME ACCORDING TO THE HISTORY
The history links the name of Yerevan with the fortress of Erebuni (Erevuni), which built King Argishti the First.
History also offers another version according to which there were small settlements on the territory of modern Yerevan. Ancient culture samples, household items, jewelry, ritual fireplace, etc. were found in Shengavit.
And during the construction works on the territory of Yerevan, they discovered traces of stone, bronze and iron eras and also cemeteries. Yervand Shahaziz says in his “Old Yerevan” book that when digging the foundation of one of the buildings of Yerevan, they found many traces of the old cemeteries.
Such traces were also found during the construction of the Opera House. Scientists have proven that these settlements, as well as Shengavit already existed six thousand years before us. “Yerevan itself,” writes Shahaziz, “is an antiquity and stands on an old culture.”
(You can read about the history of Yerevan in more detail here.)
The Land Of Wandering Capitals
This, however, is not the result of a happy and peaceful life but a proof that since the ancient times until now Armenia has gone through a long and difficult path of struggle and conflicts. The country has seen wars, raids, bloodshed, massacres, and also migrations.
On the massive land of Armenia, many kingdoms and authorities were being created, then demolished along with their capitals.
In addition, Armenia had twelve capitals. You can read about these capitals in this article.
When was Yerevan born?
The first written mention of Yerevan relates to the cuneiform inscription which King Argishti the 1st made in 758 BC. The inscription was about the establishment of Erebuni city fortress.
Moreover, it is the first birth certificate of our capital. The fortress was on a high hill, there were castles, temples, also, a high and solid wall. And below, there was the city around the four sides of the hill.
The fact that Yerevan is a very ancient city, and that it is close to the Ararat valley and the Biblical Mount Ararat made many travelers visit Yerevan.
VARIOUS FOREIGN TRAVELERS ABOUT YEREVAN
Jeweler of the Persian kingdom and French traveler Jean Chardin has also described Yerevan in detail in 1673. Chardin’s description of Yerevan’s impregnable fortress is rather interesting.“The fortress found in Yerevan can be considered as an independent city, it’s oval, with four thousand steps periphery and has eight hundred houses.”
Six years after his visit, a devastating earthquake destroyed the city. Visitors of Yerevan in the 17th century describe the Hrazdan gorge, the fortress of Yerevan, two big churches, the city’s market.
In 1812, diplomat Freygang wrote: “The fortress is an amazing construction that one can slaughter, but never capture it.”
English traveler, geologist Henry Finnis Blosse Lynch visited Armenia twice: in 1893 and 1898. He summarized his impressions in the book “Armenia”.
The English nobleman describes Yerevan with special warmth. “A city buried in green, a city of gardens, thanks to the canals fed by the Hrazdan River sources, there is the perfect freshness of green from early spring to late autumn.”
In addition to the beautiful nature, the city’s organized school system also amazed Henry Lynch,
CAPITAL OF ARMENIA
In 1920, November 29, the 11th red army of the Bolsheviks conquered Armenia. In the same year, on December 2, the country went under the Soviet rule.
New times started for the ancient city and the new capital Yerevan. In 1924, the government approved the new plan of Yerevan.
The great architect Alexander Tamanyan made the city’s plan based on the European experience of urban development. The concept was also based on the capital having a completely new and original character, with all the features of the modern city. Moreover, using the national architecture traditions was mandatory.
The capital began to expand rapidly. A small, provincial town with a population of thirty thousand turned into a cultural, political and industrial center in just five decades. It had more than a million inhabitants.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, on September 21, Armenia became independent. Yerevan preserved the status of the capital.The independence cost very expensive for the Armenians. The earthquake of December 7, 1988, in Shirak and Lori provinces took more than 25,000 lives.
The 1990-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in its place, took thousands of lives. The country experienced an energy crisis. The continuous blockades almost destroyed the country, throwing Yerevan into a long-term chaos.
The capital city, which has been severely tested, is now on its way to restoration. It is still a center of education, science, technology, culture, and trade.
Yerevan is constantly experiencing major changes. By building new roads, restaurants, shops and residential areas, the ancient city gained a new face – returning to the hearts and souls of ten million Armenians all over the world.
At Yerevan History Museum, there are 87,000 samples depicting the city’s life and history, material and spiritual culture of different periods. The museum presents both the old and the new history of the Armenian capital.
The capital of the Republic of Armenia has its flag, emblem, and anthem.
There are also pagan temples, a mosque, and the first Christian monasteries. Even the traditions, customs and holidays are the results of the crossing of different cultures.
In ancient times, Yerevan was a crossroads of caravans on the Great Silk Road. It had a great strategic and commercial significance. The roads connecting the West to the East, which also passed through Yerevan. This, in its place, contributed to the formation of multi-layered and rich culture.
The city features unique architectural solutions. At the beginning of the 20th century, Yerevan’s chief architect Alexander Tamanyan’s project, the continuation of all the main avenues of Yerevan (mentally) leads to Mount Ararat.
TAKE A WALK IN YEREVAN
You can start your walk through Yerevan from the Republic Square with its dancing fountains and light show programs. Then the Abovian street with its old houses and buildings will welcome you.
As you continue your walk, you will get to Northern Avenue, which will represent a completely different image. That is high-rise buildings with modern architectural solutions, western style cafes and famous shops.
Then your feet will take you to the National Academic Theater of Opera and Swan Lake! A little farther, there are the Cascade Stairs. In addition, tourists have given these stairs the name “Countless stairs leading to the Sky.”
Jazz and karaoke clubs, discos, gambling centers, contemporary sports centers and spa salons provide interesting entertainment. On the other hand, shopping centers and many brand stores are waiting for shopaholics! Vernissage, the fair of Yerevan is a great shopping place for Armenian culture lovers. Walking along the beautiful picturesque parks of Yerevan also gives you the opportunity to have a nice leisure.
The Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots, Matenadaran, is one of the most ancient stacks of manuscripts and books in the world. Matenadaran has about 17,000 manuscripts, which, besides being historical and cultural, provide valuable information about the whole region. They include various fields of ancient and medieval science and culture.
Visitors of Matenadaran can see the world’s largest, 34 kg Armenian handwritten book. There is also the smallest book, the prayer book which weighs 12 grams. At Matenadaran there are many manuscripts not only in Armenian but also in foreign languages.
Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex is dedicated to the 1915 Armenian Genocide. During the genocide, 1.5 million Armenians died in Ottoman Turkey. The complex consists of 3 buildings: Wall of Remembrance, Eternity Cathedral, “Reborn Armenia” memorial. The 12 stones standing around the Fire of Eternity embody the 12 states of Western Armenia.
The construction of the monument looks like even the huge stones bow to the memory of 1.5 million innocent victims. The complex is considered one of the most sacred monuments in the world.
There are many more sights which you will discover when you visit Yerevan!