The Waterfall is a Soviet style monument with a native touch. Construction began in 1970 and is still underway. In 1997, after the fall of communism and with it, the country's economy, construction stopped and dozens of fountains stopped working as well. The waterfall was a very ambitious project. Located in the centre of the city, it provides great views of downtown. It's made of white marble. Again, Gerard Cafesjian, belonging to the Armenian diaspora and a great art collector, resumed work on the Waterfall at the beginning of 2000 and gave it a decorative detail of a black cat sculpture by the artist Botero. You can climb to the top and have a Kilikia while watching the city centre at your feet. It's a rendezvous for young people and if you go at night, you can meet friendly security officers who are bored and curious (there isn't a lot of tourism because Armenia is very poor) and won't hesitate to tell you everything from their family's story to how they became official guides. They will show you every corner of the waterfall and describe it in detail.
The Grigor Lusavorich National Cathedral is one of the most controversial churches in Armenia. This huge cathedral was built in 2001 to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of Christianity as the country's official religion. It's between Kino Russia and the Boulevard Tigran Mets, and it's almost impossible to miss because of its exterior. Actually, it has three churches in one: The main one features 1,700 seats, then the chapel of St. Tiridates and the Chapel of Santa Askhen Queen both have 150 seats. These two figures played a role in helping St. Gregory the Illuminator convert Armenia into the world's first Christian country. The controversy erupted due to the country's permanent state of crisis. People, despite being devout, questioned the need to build a new cathedral since the country already has a large number of churches and monasteries, all with historical value. The controversy continued, but in the end, it wasn't the town that made the decision. It's worth going to a Mass during certain festivals to admire its grandeur.
What to do on a Sunday in Yerevan? You can enjoy a few kilikias or some khorovats next to the Hrazdan River, which passes through Yerevan, from Lake Sevan (the preferred Armenian resort), and flows into the Aras River (the border between Armenia and Turkey). Under the Victoria Bridge, you can discover a new world within the city, away from the car horns, the central crowd and the shops. There are outdoor BBQ pits and you can take a dip in the river. On the way to the river and just past the bridge, there is a playground where children can enjoy a train ride. If you look, you will find. Following the train tracks, there is a Soviet era treasure: a deserted train. Armenia has many of these treasures, you just have to be curious and explore.
This is the view that I got this year, a 24th of April 2014, 99 years after the Armenian Genocide from the Genocide Monument during the memorial day. Incredible view with the breathtaking mountain that is the symbol of Armenia and the limit between Turkey and Armenia.
I don't understand anything about the simple metro system of the Armenian capital. Endless stairs separate it from the snow, while you take refuge between columns with signals immersed in a language that I can't yet read. If you follow your instinct, or sometimes just follow someone else, you'll get to the platform. Dozens of people are looking, the women in black dresses and the men with pointed shoes, their eyes still trying to decipher the codes of the stop's name. You know it's the fifth. In the car no one speaks. Many people watch you, wondering how you can eat with a pierced lip. You get off, you get lost, you follow the crowd. You crisscross the market that gives life to the subway exits. There is food, clothing, telephone calls. You climb the stairs, stunned, you look around agitated, you find a friendly face and smile.
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, presents itself as a rough city, full of cement in the eyes of the traveller seeking architectural beauty. But from the 16th floor, this not very graceful town shows its charms and leverages, with a background like Ararat and hot air balloons with a note of colour.
Lada is the oldest car brand of the former Soviet Union, which was launched in 1966, belonging to the Russian automaker AvtoVAZ. The most remarkable features of these cars were their low consumption, purchase cost and long life. Currently the best known Lada model in Europe is the Lada Niva, an SUV that was first manufactured in 1977. Apart from Lada cars, in Armenia there are a variety of other forms of transport: trams, trains, buses, and van. The most convenient way to travel around the country is to hire a van, yes, he is very brave who dares to drive in the Caucasus. In fact, pedestrians are brave in the cities, although there are traffic lights, cars are the kings of the road and have the right to toot the horn if you think you could go faster. Madness. Armenian style.
You find Armenian kindness in the most unexpected places. For example, in the van/bus that goes all around the capital, people give their seats to the elderly, and no one is hiding behind a newspaper pretending not to see them. In fact, people are crowding into two seats to make room for a third. Don't be surprised if someone offers to help you with your bag, especially if they're large or shopping bags. It's very normal for someone to hold your bags on their lap for you. If you want to know what happened when Lada fell, even though nothing actually did, look at the last photo.
Known among the Armenians as Hanrapetutyan Hraparak (one day I will speak of Mashtots and ease that I had to learn the language that they invented), this square is situated in the center of the Armenian capital. It was designed to represent the typical Armenian handmade rug, and to give a welcome to the city. A statue of Lenin dominated the Square for many years until they decided to "remove" the vestiges of the communist era, after the end of which Armenia sank into a serious economic crisis. The buildings in the square are: The Government House, the National History Museum, the Clock Tower which flies the flag of the country, the Post Office (an experience in itself) and the Marriot Hotel. It is located where there are major avenues full of shops where prices exceed Europe (for the same product) and reach the absurd, cafes and restaurants. In the summer you can enjoy the spectacle of colored lights, music and water which the fountains of the square provide.
In the market Vernissage you'll find everything you need to decorate your house in a Soviet style: Alarm clocks, lamps, furniture, telephones, etc.. You can see the inside of one of the houses that I didn't live in.
Armenia is a country mainly connected with such themes as the sun, nature, fruits and vegetables. Many people associate it with a certain fruit, which is the “apricot”. There is also a testimony, that in Latin the explanation of the fruit is expressed as follows: “Fructus Armeniaca”.