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Yerevan is the oldest city of Armenia. According to most researchers, it got its name from the name of the fortress in the city of Erebuni, built by the king of Urartu state, Argishti I, in the first quarter of the 8th century B.C. The cuneiform found on Arin-Berd hill, which is now a part of the city, says, “With the power of (GOD) Khaldi, I, Argishti, Son of Menua, erected this stronghold, and named it Erebuni to the glory of the country of Biaina and to the fear of its enemies...” This commemorative stone and other cuneiform evidence allowed scientists to accurately date the birth of the city and prove the fact that Yerevan, Capital City of all Armenia, was founded in 782 B.C., it means 29 years before the Eternal City of Rome.

For many centuries, Erebuni-Yerevan has played a significant role in the economic, political and social life of Armenia. It was a large center of trade exchange, it was located on the crossroads of many trade caravans.

Invasions of conquerors, Arabs and then Seljuk Turks, in 7-11 centuries, interchanged with periods of relative peace, caused a serious damage to the development of the city, under the walls of which the devastating battle took place.

The first mentions of Yerevan as “the capital of Ararat country” can be found in the chronicles of the 14th century when it became the center of governorship. In 15-18 centuries Yerevan suffered from Ottoman and Persian invasions. The defense of Yerevan from Turkish invaders in 1724, during which Turks lost 15 thousand of people, demonstrated the courage and bravery of defenders even despite the surrendering of the city. After nearly a decade of Turk’s oppression, in 1735 the city was conquered by Persians and became the center of Yerevan Khanate.

Capture of Yerevan on October 1, 1827 by Russian troops and other victories of Russia in Transcaucasus made Persia to sign Turkmanchay Treaty and abandoned the occupied territories forever, including Yerevan Khanate. The 19th century was the time of rapid development of Yerevan.

Yerevan is located in the middle of Razdan river in the very heart of Ararat valley at altitudes of 850-1300 meters.

The center of Yerevan is the Republic Square (here there’s a museum complex, MFA and a whole range of other buildings) and Mashtots avenue which runs from Matenadaran to the Central city market. There are many interesting public gardens in the center of Yerevan (first off, Opera public garden and Conservatory), Yerevan fortress (16th century), Matenadaran, a famous repository institute of ancient Armenian manuscripts (over 16 thousand manuscripts dated 5-10 centuries) with a monument to Mesrop Mashtots in front of the building facade and Tsitsernakaberd, a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

The original architecture is literally saturated with national motives and it’s typical for many buildings of the city. The beauty of tuff with of various hues, combined with green public gardens, stone carving which is the oldest feature of the national architecture, lots of big and small fountains, artificial lakes and architectural ensembles of the city – all this makes the impression of wholeness and beauty.

Due to the radial-circular arrangement of main streets in the center and main roads leading to new districts, it’s not that difficult to orient oneself in this city. Panoramic plan of the city center makes it easy to get acquainted with Yerevan.

Downtown is closed almost with a right ring of the following streets: Karmir Banaki, Saryan, Moskovyan, Khanjian. Main roads cross the circle – Lenin avenue, Teryan, Abovyan, Nalbandyan, Amiryan streets and Sayat Nova avenue. The boulevard that runs along Khadzhyan and Moskovyan streets and numerous downtown public gardens come as perfect place for travelers’ leisure time.

The downtown area is mostly limited to the circle’s borders and amounts to 3.8 sq. km, in which concentrated the majority of places of interest in the city.


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