Yerevan Day 2

It was our second and last day in Yerevan. At first we were concerned whether two days in Yerevan will be enough because there were quite a lot of places we wanted to see. We really wanted to see the Genocide museum, but it was closed for renovation and would stay closed for another year or so. Next year there will be a 100 years since the genocide and they want to have the museum ready for the event. Another museum we were interested in was Matenadaran, which had a collection of ancient manuscripts. The museum website is only in Armenian (very useful), but the hostel staff called there and confirmed that the museum was closed on Sunday and Monday, so no luck for us.

Because all the museums we were interested in were closed, we decided to attend the Soviet Yerevan tour arranged by our hostel. The tour was done on this minibus and our guide had pioneer props on. 🙂

471_Soviet Tour
Very Soviet minibus

The tour guide told us about what the life was in Yerevan during the Soviet times and what agencies were located where on the Republic square.

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Railway station

After Republic square our guide showed us towards metro and we would ride one metro stop to paradise. The paradise was of course a communist paradise i.e. industrial area where there were a lot of factories during the Soviet times. At the moment they are all abandoned and the entire area employs just a few security guards, who keep people away from the factories.

There was a lot of chemical industry in Armenia at that time and some of these factories are located on contaminated soil.

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Abandoned industrial area
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Abandoned factory

But if you like apocalyptic scenery, there’s plenty of those despite there are fences here and there.

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Abandoned industrial area
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Abandoned industrial area

After that we headed for the area which was supposed to be built in the shape of CCCP. The buildings were your basic high-rises that were very common in the Soviet Union. The building didn’t look like much from the outside, but the buildings house mainly the Armenian middle class.

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CCCP buildings

The construction stopped when the USSR collapsed and there are still unfinished buildings.

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Unfinished construction

Based on the photo you could think that the most common car brand would be Lada, but you would be mistaken. I’m pretty sure that the most common car brand on the streets of Yerevan is Mercedes. 🙂 Of course there were also Ladas, but not nearly as many as Mercedes. It seemed like there were mostly either really expensive cars or cheap cars, but almost none of mid-range cars like Skoda.

Our guide bought us also CCCP ice cream, which I haven’t seen even in Russia. It was actually pretty good. They also had Soyuz ice cream.:)

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CCCP in ice cream form

And then finally we reached maybe the most exotic relic from the Soviet. This head of Lenin was in your average Armenian suburb. Some local artist has made this and tried to sell it for very reasonable price of 14 000 dollars. Surprisingly it didn’t sell.

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Lenin head

After the tour we wanted lunch and found a place called Babig, which we spotted last night near our hotel. I couldn’t find the place on Trip Advisor, but it turned out that they just started the day before! It was very clean and they served pretty good Lebanese food. We had a light lunch there and everything was good.

After lunch we headed to the memorial of Armenian genocide, which was partially under renovation. It was also located further away, so we took a taxi there. This time the taxi driver we found didn’t have a meter, but he said that it would cost us a thousand to get there, which was clearly overpriced (the real price should’ve been around 600-700 AMD), but we would’ve had rounded it up to the thousand anyway and we were talking about a sum of money, which was less than 2€. After we got there, we realized that the memorial is a bit of in the middle of nowhere, so we asked the taxi driver to wait for us and then get us back into the town.

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Memorial of Armenian genocide

The tower of the memorial was covered in scaffolding, but the round part of the memorial was open.

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Memorial of Armenian genocide

There are quite steep stairs leading to the memorial and there is an eternal flame inside.

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Memorial of Armenian genocide

The taxi driver took us back into town and we asked to be dropped at the circus, which was marked on the map. It turned out that there is no longer any building there, but just a deep hole and a construction site. We needed a break, so we went back to the Hotel Marriott’s terrace and had some mojitos. 🙂 After that we went to have dinner at the restaurant called The Most Tasty Khinkali. This restaurant was also located in the basement and it was called Tastiest Ravioli in English. 🙂

Khinkalis are a type of dumplings except they are a size of your fist. I think that they are considered a Georgian dish, but these Armenian ones were really good. Although the restaurant’s cook seems to be a firm believer in salt and butter, so the food wasn’t exactly light. 🙂 We also ordered kompot, but it was almost syrup, so they believe in sugar as well.

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Soup
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Fried khinkalis

We ordered two types of meat khinkalis (ones cooked and others fried) and also cheese khinkalis. They were really good, but very filling, so we would’ve needed somebody to carry us back to the hostel because we were so full. 🙂

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Fried khinkalis

This was the end of our trip to Armenia. The next day was spent on planes first to Moscow and then to Helsinki. BTW, if you happen to have a lot of time in Moscow airport, TGI Friday’s is NOT a good place to have a snack. In any case we had a great trip and got to see quite a lot of Armenia. We didn’t test the night life at all, so I have no recommendations on that, but we’ve heard that Iranians come to Armenia to party, so there must be some good places out there.

We didn’t get to eat Armenian apricots, which are supposed to be very tasty, but their best time is in June-July and then there are +40 degrees in Armenia, which is some 20 degrees too much for me to handle, but if you like warmth, Armenia should be great during summer.

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