Armenia day 1 – Yerevan city walking tour

Armenia – day 1 of a one week stay – arrival at Yerevan airport in the morning, find hostel accommodation, walk around Yerevan city – Yerevan Metro,┬áSt Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, Republic Square, Armenia History Museum, Northern Ave pedestrian boulevard, Yeravan Opera House and nearby cafe bar area, Swan Lake.

Mt Ararat and Armenia out of a plane window

503 - Mt Ararat and Armenia out of a plane window. Possibly similar to the view Noah had before he arrived on the mountain, but he would have seen more water underneath.

Why visit Armenia?

  • There is a lot of history in Armenia. Many of the Ladas and marshrutkas I saw today looked very historical.
  • It starts with the letter A.
  • What, you want more reasons?

Day 1 in Armenia

  • The Yerevan Airport is called Zvartnots (rhymes with snots) International Airport. It has a new terminal building. Very smart, quite small, friendly, efficient, and fast … and it had the most attractive collection of passport control officers I’ve seen anywhere – but they wouldn’t let me go back and get a passport stamp from each one of them. Bummer. A visa problem required 3 immigration offices to point at a computer, make phone calls, and mutter seriously at each other. In Armenian so I don’t know what it was, and they let me in without telling me.
  • Taxi drivers attempt to rip you off but I thought they did so quite politely relative to airport taxi drivers in other countries (and not by huge amounts either). My driver for today used a meter so the attempted extortion failed anyway. But he found a way to make me suffer. I asked him to switch on the a/c (it was 30-something Celcius outside). He said he no speako da English. I asked him my in best approximation of Russian. He made a phone call (I wondered if there were secret airconditioning police in Armenia) and ignored me. I asked if the a/c wasn’t working (in Russian). He said “minoga doroga” which I think is Russian for “shut up you fussy bugger, and open your window.” So to show my gratitude, I paid by Visa card, which he found somewhat difficult (there were more phone calls to the secret credit card police before his machine worked properly).
  • And on the airconditioning theme, it looks like airconditioning is a translation of Armenian for “the windows can be opened”. The hostels I looked at had said they have a/c, but it turns out they don’t have machines for making air colder, just windows that can be opened.
  • Actually, by and large Yerevan is a pleasant, friendly city. Easy to walk around, although hot in summer during the day. Weather is generally fine during the summer, occasional thunderstorms.
  • Traffic is supposed to be crazy, but it didn’t look too bad to me. So of course now I’m concerned about what my own definition of crazy driving is.
  • Yerevan Metro is relatively straightforward. There’s only one line. Buy a token for AMD 100 or something for journey of any length. Figure out where you are and where you’re going, count the number of stops since station labeling and announcements are only in Armenian. Some station signs are in English too, but not when you want them to be. Ask a guard on the platform which side to stand on by saying your desired station.

Photos of Yerevan city

Zorovar Andranik metro station exit Yerevan

569 - The Russia Mall (a Russian shopping center, and the exit from the Zorovar Andranik metro station), a big concrete thing, and a yellow bus.

St Gregory Lusavorich Cathedral in Yerevan

582 - Grigor Lusavorich Cathedral (Saint Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral), a relatively new building, the largest Armenian church in the world?

Zoravar Andranik statue in Yerevan

592 - A statue of Zoravar Andranik and two horses, near St Gregory Cathedral.

St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Grigor Lusavorich) in Yerevan

604 - Stairs leading up to St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Grigor Lusavorich) in Yerevan

Interior of St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral

621 - Interior of St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Grigor Lusavorich)

Front of Grigor Lusavorich Cathedral

652 - Front of St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral (Grigor Lusavorich)

History of Armenia and Armenian Art Museum

663 - Republic Square - History of Armenia Museum (quite interesting, not allowed to take photos inside though), and Armenian Art History Museum.

Republic Square Ministry of Squares Yerevan

666 - Republic Square in Yerevan - Ministry of Squares building.

Republic Square Yerevan

671 - Republic Square Yerevan - Ministry of Cars building and Ministry of Blue Sky building.

Republic Square and V Sargsyan Street Yerevan panorama

681 - panorama shot of Republic Square and V Sargsyan Street in Yerevan.

Northern Ave pedestrian boulevard Yerevan

693 - Northern Ave pedestrian boulevard from Republic Square to the Yerevan Opera House.

Piano man composer Arno Babajanian statue Yerevan Opera House

710 - Piano man and composer Arno Babajanian statue near Swan Lake and Yerevan Opera House.

Piano with moss near Yerevan Opera House

713 - A rolling piano gathers no moss but a stationary one might - near Yerevan Opera House and Swan Lake.

Yerevan Opera House and Hovhannes Tumanyan statue

720 - Yerevan Opera House and Hovhannes Tumanyan statue.

Cafe near Yerevan Opera House

736 - One of many pleasant outdoor cafes and bars near the Yerevan Opera House. Great area to chill out.

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