Armenia’s capital is counted among the friendliest cities in the world. Here, everyone feels at home, and there’s something for everyone, including art enthusiasts, foodies, music lovers, and those who simply enjoy strolling around the city.

Republic Square

Explore and Observe

Yerevan is often referred to as the “pink city”, as many buildings here have been constructed from pink tuff, a stone mined in Armenia. A great example is the city’s main square, also known as Republic Square. It is surrounded by a complex of five buildings, designed in 1924 by Yerevan’s chief architect, Alexander Tamanyan. All of these buildings are made from the signature pink tuff, ranging in shades from cream to light maroon. Inside them, you will find the country’s government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the History Museum of Armenia, the central post office, and the Marriott Hotel.

Another city highlight is the Cascade Complex, a monumental staircase with five open terraces that lead from the green Tamanyan Square to a 118-meter-high observation deck, featuring the Armenia Reborn obelisk and offering a panoramic view of the city and Mount Ararat. Construction of the complex began in 1980 but was halted due to economic and political issues in the late 1980s. In 2002, restoration work resumed, with support from Armenian-American patron Gerard Cafesjian, and in 2009, the Cafesjian Art Center was opened within the staircase, which also houses an escalator that allows visitors to bypass the 572 steps outside. Tamanyan Square is decorated with a monument to the architect, as well as modern sculptures from Cafesjian’s collection, including Barry Flanagan’s Hare on a Bell, Ji Yong-Ho’s Lion, made out of car tires, and Fernando Botero’s iconic rotund Cat and Woman Smoking a Cigarette.

Cascade Complex

The museum in Republic Square is not the only place that gives you a glimpse into Armenia’s history. You can also explore the Mashtots Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, named after Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet. The institute houses an impressive collection of ancient manuscripts and books, all richly illustrated. The building was also designed by Alexander Tamanyan, earning him an award at the 1937 Paris Architectural Exhibition.

Among the art museums, the M. Saryan House-Museum stands out, showcasing 300 works by the world-renowned Armenian impressionist Martiros Saryan, as well as his residence and studio. The Yervand Kochar Museum may not be as well-known, but it is equally intriguing. This artist, graphic designer, and sculptor, who lived in Paris for 15 years before returning to Armenia in 1936, was once accused of formalism but is now hailed as the Armenian Picasso.

In the Martiros Sarian House Museum

Fine Dining, Fine Music

Yerevan is a culinary delight. The city boasts numerous restaurants where you can savor traditional delicacies such as khorovats kebab, made out of meat has been marinating in spices for an entire day, the lightweight Armenian pita bread recognized by UNESCO as part of humanity’s intangible heritage, dolma, sujuk, Lake Sevan crayfish, trout, and sterlet. There are also plenty of establishments where you can enjoy Armenian cuisine accompanied by live music and shows.

Armenian blues plays at Seasons in the evenings. A variety of musicians perform here, all known for their exceptional vocals. The Taverna Yerevan Coastal restaurant holds colorful costume shows, dedicated to Armenian history and featuring dances, fakirs, and Cirque du Soleil-style special effects, on a special open-air stage. One of the city’s top jazz venues is Club 12. Here, you can catch both intriguing local bands and international stars, such as Vigen Hovsepyan, who performs in the exotic genre of Armenian flamenco.

Create a Keepsake

At the Marashlyan National Costume Photo Studio, you can literally try Armenia’s historical heritage on for size. A decade ago, professional photographer Emma Marashlyan assembled a unique collection of historical men’s and women’s wear, representative of various regions of Armenia: Yerevan, Artsakh, Syunik, Van, Erzerum, Lori, and many others. The studio showcases both vintage items and costumes that have been skillfully restored from historical photographs. Garments for women, men, and children are available, allowing for a family photo opportunity. While heading to Zvartnots airport, it’s a must to visit the ruins of the eponymous medieval Cathedral of Watchful Angels for a stunning, picture-perfect view of Ararat.

Ruins of Zvartnots Temple

Photo: M. Saryan House-Museum;