I invite you on a journey to the most ancient country in the world. To the land that the biblical Noah once chose – or rather, which the Creator chose for him – to start all over again. To a country in which there is a lot of beauty, love and wisdom.
And humor, by the way, too. In Armenia, you will definitely be told this anecdote: Noah’s Ark lands on Mount Ararat. All the surviving humanity comes ashore in the person of Noah and his children, and all the creatures taken on board by him in pairs. Armenians sit around Ararat and play backgammon. Not at all surprised by the appearance of Noah and the animals, they say: “Look, Ara! The circus has arrived!!!”
I invite you to travel to Armenia. To a country that I love very much. The further, the more. Stronger with every new visit. Maybe because it’s really extraordinary, or maybe because that’s where my roots come from.
Acquaintance with Armenia begins with the capital – Yerevan (ancient names – Erivan and Erebuni). The biblical Mount Ararat hovers over the city like a blessing. True, a view of the mountain opens – only to those whom he chooses. Locals say that sometimes you can spend a month here and never see the wise mountain.
It is difficult to explain how much Ararat means to Armenians… One local musician told me that he never cries at all, but when he was on a plane and saw Ararat, tears flowed from him. Loving Ararat for an Armenian is a special love and a special blessing.
Sometimes I watch not so much the mountain, but the Armenians who sit and look at it for hours. And I enclose them all in my heart: the city, its inhabitants, Ararat and Armenia.
The ritual of acquaintance with Yerevan, perhaps, should be started from the Cascade – climb to the very top of the complex to say hello to Ararat. From this point – if the mountain is not hidden – Ararat opens in all its glory, like an eternal guardian of the city.
The cascade, conceived by the architect Alexander Tamanyan, urban planner and author of the master plan for its development, connects the upper and lower parts of the city with a staircase made of milky tufa.
Now the Cascade is an art gallery inside, and outside it is a cascade complex with fountains and sculptures in the ornaments of ancient Urartu. There are also many modern works by the famous sculptor and artist from South America, Fernando Botero. The Cascade is perhaps the most secular place in Yerevan, and here you can always meet friends sitting in cafes on both sides of the square.
Having descended from the Cascade, it is simply necessary to go for coffee in jazz and Armenian baklava. In the park on the square near the Opera and Ballet Theater named after A. Spendiarov. This is a required part of the program. However, as well as visiting the theater.
On the streets of Yerevan, fountains – “pulpulyak” – are cool, they sell flowers, fruits, berries and fish (not a single Armenian feast is complete without a traditional ishkhan), and one can already get enough of all this Armenian abundance dear to the heart and stomach. But for a real celebration of the stomach, you should go to the tavern (pandok) “Yerevan” or to “Sherep” on Amiryan street or to “Lavash” on Tumanyan. These are establishments of the same chain, both in terms of quality and price, ideal for getting to know the true “taste of Yerevan”.
Well, perhaps this time I will stay on Amiryan – the very center, a three-minute walk from the Republic Square, where the National Gallery and the Historical Museum of Armenia are located, where you should definitely go too.
You already know how much I love finding cozy hotels. Another pearl I found is Republica boutique hotel on Amiryan street. Stylish, bright room filled with the Yerevan sun, which has everything you need. A distinctive feature of the hotel’s design is the collages of Armenian ancient carpets in the rooms. And another huge plus – the hotel positions itself as 100% smoke-free.
The restaurant of the author’s Armenian cuisine “Anoush” offers delicious breakfasts (the menu changes every day plus its own “lick your fingers” pastries – from eclairs with custard to traditional Yerevan gata).
There is also a chic wine list… And on Fridays for hotel guests – free wine tastings, on Thursdays – jazz evenings (oh, Armenian jazz is a separate song!) And to the choice of musicians who fill the space of the hotel and the heart with music, Rebublica also careful, like everything else.
The specificity of the Anoush restaurant is the traditional Armenian cuisine in its best author’s interpretation, the sophistication of serving dishes, as well as the best quality of products. For example, you won’t find cheeses like in Anoush anywhere else. You can try, for example, cheeses aged in wine and cognac with cinnamon. All from local cheese makers.
And also – a summer compliment from the hotel, a bicycle for an hour as a gift – get to know Yerevan, jan friend! If you wish, you can order a massage directly to your room, which will be done by a real Filipina (and this is a special pleasure – tested on personal experience).
In general, a hotel that is so customer-oriented is rare. And this is the special merit of the “soul” and the general manager of the hotel – Inna Khostikyan, who is cordial, charming and truly indifferent to her work and guests.
What else to entertain yourself in Yerevan?
Go to the Sergei Parajanov Museum. This is a private museum in a two-story house above the gorge. The house was built in Yerevan for the director, but he never had time to live there. The director of the museum is a close friend of Parajanov, the famous photographer Zaven Sargsyan. If you’re lucky, he’ll give you a tour himself.
Visit the Museum of the Armenian Genocide and the Tsitsernakaberd memorial complex dedicated to its victims.
Look into the Matenadaran – the repository of ancient manuscripts, manuscripts and books of Armenia.
And, of course, go shopping.
For goodies – go to the market near the former GUM (now the Tashir department store, on the top floor of which you can also find excellent souvenirs and clothes – pay attention to the ETHNOS clothing brand with the image of Tigran the Great or Queen Tamara, with ethnic replica elements from Armenian history and culture). Or to the Central Market on Mashtots Avenue. And do not forget to look into the Blue Mosque across the street from the market – a cathedral mosque of rare beauty and the cultural center of the Iranian community in Yerevan.
And for designer clothes – to the 5concept store, the first clothing and accessories project in the city from Armenian designers: a place where interesting things and people find each other. Here are the designers, founders and founders of the project – Ani Mkrtchyan (Petoor), Inga Manukyan, Helen Manukyan (Loom Weaving), Alla Pavlova (ZGEST), Nelly Serobyan (Nelly Serobyan), Arusyak Poghosyan, Margarita Sirekanyan (Naghash) and others. And the art director of the project, the charming Irina Vanyan, will meet and help you choose the continuation of your energy in clothes.
And another wonderful gift from the city is a visit to the Marashlyan photo studio. To spend time in this magical studio and, dressed in the costume and jewelry of a married woman from the city of Van, is like taking a time machine to the history of my Melik-Shakhnazarov family, coming from the village of Avetaranots in Artsakh.
The name Avetaranots is associated with the spread of Christianity in the region (Avetaran – Gospel). Here was the residence and fortress of the melikdom of Varanda, and the history of the family is described in the book “Melikdom of Khamsa” by Raffi. Until the 19th century, this, one of the oldest villages in Artsakh, was the center of Varanda – one of the five melikdoms of Artsakh and the residence of the melik of Varanda.
Craftsmen work on every detail of the costume in the Marashlyan photo studio, sometimes for months recreating an exact copy of the national costumes of that time, because one of the main tasks of the studio is the revival of family photography and the popularization of the national Armenian costume. Since 2013, Emma Marashlyan, the founder and chief photographer of the Marashlyan photo studio, has been actively involved in charitable projects, as well as participating in initiatives aimed at developing tourism in Armenia, also paying great attention to copyright projects aimed at attracting international attention to the Armenian cultural heritage. heritage.
… It seems that I am finally ready to say goodbye to Yerevan. And having climbed on my traditional farewell sunset to the top of the Cascade, I sort through in my memory those generous gifts that Armenia traditionally bestows on me. Every time she gives me infinitely more…
Armenia teaches to be generous. Be abundant. But the main thing is to love. Love more. To love everyone. Love the country. Town. People. Like their sisters and brothers (this is how Armenians address each other on the streets: “akhper” (brother), “kuirik” (sister), “jan” (dear (ay).
In Armenia, everything and everything is jan: from people to Ararat.
And so much love and warmth in this word.
However, I would rather share these verses by V. Konoplev:
There is magic in the shady word “jan”…
Filled with life and love
It is the soul itself, like God’s Temple,
Where do you find strength over yourself.
It has beauty, wind energy,
It is akin to the charisma of Ararat.
Among his countless gifts
The hospitable shelter of friends is a joy to the soul.
After all, there I am not subject to gloomy days,
After all, there I found out what will happen in fate:
Favorite surnames on “yan”,
Friends charming faces.
And every cell absorbing space,
My heart speaks openly, directly:
I want to breathe in the free wind of the mountains
And yearn with Gasparyan’s duduk.
…I’ll be back soon, Yerevan-jan, do you hear?
In the meantime – see you soon, now it’s MY city.