Yerevan Day 1

Even though we flew to Yerevan, we didn’t manage to see the city until day four of the trip because the first three days were spent exploring other parts of Armenia. The day was sunny and we decided to have breakfast somewhere else than at the hostel. Not that the hostel breakfast was bad, but there was no variance, so we wanted to try something else. We googled some options and chose CRUMBS Bread Factory based on the reviews.

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CRUMBS

We chose sandwiches, really good ginger-honey-orange-honey tea, kompot and finally we had to order also two small cakes because they looked so good. We chose lemon-merengue cake and raspberry cake and they were both very good. For Armenian place it seemed to be a bit more expensive that average, but we ended up paying just 8 250 AMD (14,7€) for two people.

After breakfast we went to see the city and at that point we realized that day will be hot. We of course were prepared that it would be warm, but not prepared for it being +28 degrees in the city in the middle of April. Luckily I had some sunscreen with me and put some on my face, but I did get a bit sunburned. As it was really hot, we decided to take the taxi to Mother Armenia statue and walk down the Cascade stairs, because we for sure didn’t feel like walking them up. There were some taxis waiting at the Yerevan opera house, so we asked one of them to take us there.

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Yerevan opera house

The taxi ride to the Mother Armenia statue cost 600 AMD, but we rounded up to the round thousand (1,8€) as suggested by the travel guide because we’re really not talking about big money here.

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Mother Armenia

The statue is located in the Victory park and was erected on the same support where a 16,5m Stalin statue used to be until the year 1962. When the Stalin statue was pulled down one of the soldiers died and a few got injured, so the dark joke tells that Stalin kills even from the grave.In the year 1967 they erected a new Mother Armenia statue, which is 21m tall, whose sword forms a cross with the statue itself. The sharp end of the sword also points in the direction of Turkey. This symbolism probably needs no explaining.

From the top of the hill where the statue is located, you have a very nice view of Yerevan and Mount Ararat.

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Yerevan

We continued walking through the park and it had quite a lot of rides for children. We also found a ride called Autoralli (=Car rally), so it has been at some point in Finland. We also saw this really disturbing version of the kung fu panda.

391_Kung Fu Panda
Kung fu panda

At the edge of the park we also saw a Finlandia vodka ad with the topless model. Not exactly the image this brand has in Finland.

392_Saimaa Vodka
Saimaa vodka

After that we walked to the memorial to Stalin’s victims. Oddly enough it was located next to the monument dedicated to the 50 years of the Soviet Union.

397_Monument to Stalin's Victims
Memorial to Stalin’s victims

398_Cascade 50 Year Soviet Rule Monument

We started walking down the Cascade, but we quickly noticed that the Cascade wasn’t exactly ready yet despite the construction started already in 1971. After a while we found a detour around the construction site.

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Cascade. Work in progress.

We walked it all the way down in the +28 degrees heat and congratulated ourselves for not walking it up and taking the taxi instead. 🙂 Otherwise the Cascade looks very impressive and ends with a statue park.

414_Cascade
Cascade
416_Tamanian Sculpture Park
Park with statues

Inside the Cascade there is a Cafesijan art museum. We found out only later that there was an escalator, which we could’ve taken instead of walking the stairs in the sun. 🙂

At the foot of the Cascade there was a statue of Alexander Tamanian, who was an Armenian architect, who was born in Russia. He’s had a big impact on the architecture of Yerevan.

420_Alexander Tamanian Statue
Alexander Tamanian

Then we started heading towards Republic square along the Abovian street. There were a lot of small shops along that street, but all we bought were post cards and water. We spotted some interesting graffiti on the way though.

422_Yerevan
Edgar Allan Poe graffiti

On the Republic square there was a National Gallery, Hotel Marriott, and the Government House.

429_The National Gallery at Republic Square
National Gallery
428_Republic Square
The Government House

We took a break on the Hotel Mariott’s terrace and had some virgin mojitos, which were really good! I also ordered their ice tea, which was also great. The terrace is popular with Armenian diaspora and other tourists, so the prices were accordingly high. Water, ice tea and two virgin mojitos cost 15 500 AMD (27,70€).

After we finally were cool enough, we continued walking and ended up at Gregory the Illuminator church.

451_St. Grigor Lusavorich Church
St. Gregory the Illuminator church

The church had benches and was a rather sharp contract to all the other churches I’ve seen.

437_St. Grigor Lusavorich Church
Inside the church

Also there was a separate building for burning the candles.

439_St. Grigor Lusavorich Church
Candles

We continued to Vernissage market, which is a huge area where they sold carpets and all sorts of crafts. There was knives, jewelry, crochet works, wooden items, and chess boards. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of thinks for a person like me, who prefers Scandinavian minimalism. There were some nice cheese knives, but I only had a carry-on bag and I didn’t want to check it in.

We also found a beautiful entrance, which lead to the market at one point in time, but currently there is quite a sterile-looking mall behind those doors.

452_Shopping Mall Entrance
Entrance to the mall

We also saw a restored mosque, which is known as Blue Mosque.

453_Blue Mosque
Entrance to the Blue Mosque

Because of the heat neither of us had any clothing that would cover everything, so we just peeked a little at the mosque. The mosque was founded in 1760 and during the Soviet era it functioned as a Yerevan museum.It was opened again as a mosque at the end of 1990s with the Iran’s funding and it is currently the only operating mosque in all of Armenia.

454_Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque

We ended our day in a restaurant called Noyan Tun, which represented mostly French cuisine. We usually go to one restaurant during the trip that is more expensive and for this trip this was the one. The restaurant is located in the basement of the wine shop and despite having the plastic ferns everywhere the food was excellent.

457_Noyan Tun
Ravioli and goat cheese
458_Noyan Tun
Fish with soy vegetables
459_Noyan Tun
Duck and rice
460_Noyan Tun
Dessert selection (creme brulee was the winner)

On our way home we walked through Republic square again and there were music and dancing fountains. Normally the city starts doing the dancing fountains routine only in May, but because this spring was warmer than usual, they have decided to start these early as well.

463_Republic Square
Dancing fountains
462_Republic Square
Republic square after sundown
470_Republic Square
Fountains in front of the National Museum

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