As the capital of historic and culturally rich Armenia, Yerevan has a lot to offer to its visitors. The city is known for its squares, parks, historic monuments, and delicious dolma, just to name a few of its attractions. So, if you are looking for the best things to do in Yerevan, you are in the right spot.
Take a free walking tour of the city
Free walking tours are one of the best ways to get to know the city. Locals work voluntarily to show their hometown to its visitors by taking them to the iconic places. This particular tour takes around three hours and promises to tell you stories that you won’t find in guidebooks. Guides take you to over 25 sites including the historic center, backstreets, and modern architectural spots. Note that the tour is upon request, so you need to get in touch with them and book in advance. Also remember that the concept of a free walking tour is to tip the guide at the end with whatever amount you thought the tour was worth.
Republic Square lies in the center of the city, offering a great glimpse into local everyday life. It took almost 50 years to complete the building of the square; however, most of it was constructed in the 1950s. Spend the morning or afternoon here, and visit the History Museum and the National Gallery.
Located in the very center of Yerevan, the Cascade complex is a massive staircase with many terraces adorned with artsy statues and beautiful floral decoration. Go all the way up to have a 360-degree view of the city and Mount Ararat. And for art lovers, the complex has the Cafesjian Center of the Arts museum within the staircase.
The Tsitsernakaberd Memorial honors all the victims of Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottomans in 1915. The center of the memorial features an eternal flame that has been continuously lit since the opening ceremony. The museum inside the memorial gives you all the harrowing details of this tragedy that Armenia suffered.
When visiting a new city, chances are that you’ll want to bring some kind of a souvenir back home. The best place to shop for them is the Vernissage flea market, which basically has anything you could ever imagine. Most of the items here are handmade and include jewelry, woven rugs, purses, clothes, toys, and vintage items, just to name a few.
Take a tour of the Ararat Brandy Factory to learn more about the local spirit and even try a sample on its grounds. Produced since 1887, Ararat brandy is made from Armenian spring water and local white grapes. During the tour, you’ll learn more about the traditional method of creating the drink, bottling, and the production process.
Dating back to the 17th century, Kond is considered to be the oldest quarter of Yerevan. Nested on the hill, the neighborhood overlooks the center and is home to various Persian, Muslim, and Ottoman houses sitting along narrow alleyways that are 120cm wide. Spend a lovely afternoon here wandering through these streets, and discover hidden gems and gorgeous architecture.
Matenadaran is a place for anyone who’s curious about history, literature, art, and philosophy. In front of the museum, you’ll see a statue of Mesrop Mashtots, the person who invented the Armenian script. Inside, you’ll find ancient texts from around the world, but note that you might want to take a guided tour if you don’t know much about ancient and medieval history.
Yerevan boasts various parks within its territory. The most popular one among locals is Lovers Park, which is also the oldest one in the city. It features a fabulous Japanese landscape and is a great place for a romantic picnic or a relaxing late afternoon. Walk around and enjoy the views of its waterfalls and ponds.
Armenian cuisine is quite diverse, with dishes that are prepared with meat, fish, and vegetables. The preparation of those dishes in the local kitchen often needs puréeing, stuffing, and frothing. The highlights of the cuisine are lamb, lavash (tortilla-like bread), and eggplant.
Once in Armenia, must-try dishes are dolma – a minced meat wrapped in grape leaves, harissa – a wheat and meat porridge, and khash – beef or lamb feet slow-cooked overnight. The latter is typically eaten in winter at breakfast over crumbled dried lavash.
The article was originally written by Pauline Pechakjian.