Did you know that there is a capital older than Rome? Yerevan, a capital of Armenia, was built in 782 BC while Rome’s foundation dates back to 750 BC. This makes Yerevan older and definitely worth to explore. Today I am going to share with you a suggestion to spend a full day in the capital of Armenia.
Visit Erebuni museum
If you visit Armenia not in summer, and the days are not hot, your morning can start with visiting a place, where the city was actually established in the 8th century BC – Erebuni museum. It was constructed in 1968 and stands at the foot of Arin Berd hill, on top of which the Urartian fortress Erebuni was existing from 782BC.
Archeologists have discovered many items testifying that the city was built by the king Argishti. The stone with the inscription, artifacts, jars, jewelry is among those discoveries. They are all exhibited in the museum.
Speaking honestly, the museum itself didn’t impress me much, because I was expecting it to be bigger and I guess richer. For a city older than Rome more works could be performed to present the place in a better way. However, just being on the site, where the city was founded so many years ago, brings special feelings.
The entrance to the museum cost me 1000 dram (local money) which is around 2 USD. The employees inform you that no flash is allowed while taking photos, and after that, they might ask you whether you are going to take photos. The right answer is “No” regardless of your intentions, otherwise, you will pay another 1000 dram for taking photos.
In order to get to the museum, you can use a public transport (costs 100 dram=25 cents) or take a taxi from the center (use Yandex taxi of gg service taxi to know the exact amount payable to the driver).
Trying Lahmajou at OST bistro
After spending a few hours in the museum, make your way to Saryan street for trying Lahmajou at Ost food court. For those who don’t know, Lahmajou (Lajmajo, Lahmajoun) is a round, thin piece of dough topped with minced meat. At Ost, they serve also a special Ost lahmajou, which is topped with meat and cheese.
During my 5 days in Yerevan, I went there twice. The prices are quite cheap and the lahmajous are really big. You can try other types of Armenian traditional food there.
Now, when your head won’t be busy with the thoughts of getting food, continue your day by visiting one of my favorite places in town: Vernissage open-air market. it is located in the heart of Yerevan, just a few steps away from the Republic Square.
It opens on weekends and here you can buy souvenirs, Armenian handmade silver jewelry, carpets, paintings, duduk (Armenian national instrument), fridge magnets and so on. Since it is a market, try to bargain a price, in many cases, sellers will lower it.
Tsitsernakaberd: Armenian Genocide Museum
24 April of each year Armenians all over the world commemorate the Genocide which happened in 1915. One and a half million Armenians were killed and thousands were deported from Western Armenia (modern Turkey) by the Ottomans. This fact explains why nowadays only 3 mln Armenians live inside the country and 10 mln are spread over the world.
There is a monument dedicated to the victims of the genocide and the genocide museum, which is one of the most visited sights in Armenia. The entrance to the museum is free. All additional info can be found here.
Tour at Ararat brandy factory
In order to discover Armenian brandy history and experience the true craftsmanship, visiting a brandy factory in Yerevan is a must. The tour can be booked via their website. In the museum, you will find a Peace barrel, which is filled with the brandy spirit of 1994, a year when the cease-fire agreement was signed between parties of Nagorno Karabakh conflict. The barrel is planned to be opened when the conflict is resolved.
The museum opened from 9 am to 8 pm 7 days a week, but make sure you book the appointment in advance.
Take a walk on the Northern Avenue
This pedestrian avenue in Yerevan is a favorite place for locals and tourists. The avenue today is a home to luxurious buildings, shops, cafes and restaurants attracting people every day. You can have a walk, visit some shops, dine-in or have an Armenian coffee in one of the cafes nearby.
The pub I discovered last year and didn’t miss my chance to visit this year as well. Dargett provides food, dessert and more than 20 types of beers offering the customers “craft experience”. The place is packed always, so make your booking in advance.
I love the friendly, casual atmosphere, tasty beers and the fact that the smoking area is separate. Armenia in this sense is still far from Europe and in many places, people smoke inside.
After a heavy meal and a couple of beers, time is to digest. The best way is to climb the giant stairway Cascade located in the center of Armenian capital. It is one of the favorite places of romantic couples. The view opening from the top is breathtaking. It is quite windy up there as well, so keep a long sleeve jacket with you.
Dancing fountains in Yerevan Republic Square
Every night starting from 9 pm until 11 pm you can enjoy the dancing fountain show at the Central Square in Yerevan. Don’t expect the Dubai fountain show, even though I met a person recently, who said that he preferred Armenian fountains to Dubai. At the same time, I know that if my friend, who is in love with Dubai fountains, will read the previous sentence, I will be attached :).
In any case, it is a great way to finish your day and think of the beautiful things in your life while enjoying the fountains’ show.