The Matenadaran Museum in Yerevan, or Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, is a large building with a collection of 50,000 or 100,000 (not sure which number is correct, but a lot anyway) ancient and medieval maps, books and manuscripts, apparently one of the largest collections in the world.
Public visitors only get to see a (large) handful of documents but it’s still reasonably interesting, especially if you get a tour guide.
- You buy a ticket downstairs in the souvenir shop, then go upstairs and discover if you want a tour guide, you have to go back downstairs to get a ticket with tourguide (probably worthwhile if you want to hear interesting things about Armenia and old books).
- The Mashtots Matenadaran Ancient Manuscripts Collection is in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register (since 1997), which is not the same the the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but is still perhaps something to write home about if you have space on your postcard.
- Ancient postcards are not for sale at the Matenadaran but you can buy modern ones in the bookshop.
- The Matenadaran is located at the northern end of Mesrop Mashtots Ave, up lots of stairs, and easily visible. Parking is available.
- From Matenadaran you can get a reasonable view of Yerevan and Mt Ararat (on a clear day), but go to the top of the Cafesjian Art Center for better views and photos.
- Admission: cheap (AMD 1000 or USD $2.50 in 2012), or bargain for students and children (less than US$1).
- Open Tuesday to Saturday from 1000-1700 (10am-5pm), closed Sunday and Monday.
- Official website is at www.matenadaran.am, not very useful though - try armenianmonuments.org and armeniapedia.com.