Yerevan is the pink “pearl” of Armenia, the capital of this small but ancient country as old as Babylon and Rome. This ancient European city is mostly built by different shades of the local pink stone called tuff. You should see the Republic Square where the combination of different shades of pink stone is more vivid.
Yerevan is one of the most ancient cities in the world founded in 782B.C. It’s 29years older than Rome, the capital of Italy. The founder of Yerevan was the Urartian King Argishti I who founded the fortress of Erebouni on the southern part of nowadays Yerevan “to the glory of the country of Biaina and to the fear of its enemies”. “Biana” is the local name of Urartu or Ararat kingdom founded on the shores of Lake Van (now in Turkey). Until now one can see the citadel of Erebouni fortress located on a hill. On the territory of the fortress one can see the ruins of two temples of worship, one with frescoes.
Yerevan as the capital of the country of Ararat is mentioned in the 7th century by some historians. The city has a unique charm due to the breathtaking view of the biblical Mount Ararat which towers over Yerevan like a giant. As if Yerevan begins from the foothills of Ararat… Every morning the citizens of Yerevan open their windows to admire the fascinating view of that stunning mountain.
The heart of Yerevan is the Republic Square, a large oval-shaped square framed by the buildings of some ministries, the Government of RA and the History Museum of Armenia which houses more than 300.000artifacts including the oldest leather shoe in the world which is about 5500years old.
Each building on the Republic Square has its unique architectural solution. They have beautiful vaults and their facades have various ornaments typical to the Armenian national architecture such as pomegranates, pomegranate branches, grapes, vine leaves, peacocks, eagles, etc. The same ornaments can be found on the walls of medieval Armenian churches and monasteries.
The architectural gemstone of Yerevan is the Opera House named after Alexander Spendiaryan. It was officially opened on 20 January 1933. The building of the National Opera & Ballet Theatre was designed by the Armenian architecture Alexander Tamanian, the main architect of Yerevan. In 1936 the project of the Opera House won Grand Prix, a Great Gold Medal in Paris, in a world exhibition dedicated to architecture. The 2nd phase of the construction was completed in 1940 according to Tamanian's design and under the supervision of his son. Large-scale construction works were applied until 1953, when the building was finally completed with its current shape. The opening of the theatre promoted the creation of new national operas and ballets. The first Armenian ballet was Happiness by Aram Khachaturian. On the basis of this ballet the composer soon created Gayane which has been performed all over the world. Since 1935 a unique Armenian opera, Anoush by Armen Tigranyan, has been performed. It was a great step in Armenian opera history. Anoush is in the repertoire of the theatre until now. Swan Lake by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the first ballet performance in 1935.
By the way near the Opera House there is an artificial lake called Swan Lake surrounded by weeping willow trees. It’s a favorite promenade place for the citizens of Yerevan who take a stroll there with their dogs. In the wintertime the lake is turned into a skating rink. It’s always crowded there.
The main architect of Yerevan, Alexander Tamanian had a dream. He wanted to build a pedestrian avenue from the Republic Square to the Opera House. Unfortunately the architect didn’t manage to make his dream come true. That pedestrian avenue was built only recently and it’s called “Northern Avenue”. This is the most modern part of Yerevan consisting of multi-storied apartment buildings, business centers, restaurants, bars, discoes, cafes and night clubs.
Yerevan is a green city. There are many parks and fountains here. But the most beautiful fountains are the singling colorful fountains of the Republic Square which attract thousands of spectators on cool summer evenings.
Yerevan is everywhere, just like the biblical Mount Ararat… in every corner of the world where an Armenian heart strikes.