Yerevan Walking Tour

The best way to get acquainted with Yerevan is to do as the locals do and walk. This both saves time (parking is impossible and traffic jams are now par for the course, adding 20-30 minutes to what were once 5 minute jaunts) while allowing you to savor the sights and sounds of the city.

Via the Gorge

Via the Gorge The tunnel also runs under Hrazdan and Dvin Hotels before emptying into the gorge.  As you exit the tunnel, look to your left; a stone panther is crouched on the rocks between the two tunnels.  This whimsical touch is carried throughout the gorge, first on the left, with the Children’s Park. 

The Children’s Park has been completed revamped, with brand new sidewalks, beautiful flower beds and a new fountain.  The small park as a few kiddy rides and the famous children’s train, which still packs ‘em in on weekends for its 1 km ride.  The train station is still to be renovated, though its current state is all the more romantic.  There are eateries and a café in the park, and at the entrance, a new café with wooden pavilions and flower beds.  Lovely.

Backtrack to the tunnel and continue walking along the paved road that follows the river upstream. In about 150 meters you will pass the Hydroelectric Station, a piece of 1930s technology that continues to generate modest amounts of power for the city.  The plants is one of about seven on the river, beginning at Lake Sevan, taking advantage of the nearly 1000 meter drop form its source to the Ararat valley Floor.  A bridge by the plant allows pedestrians to cross over.  In high water season, the raging water below is pretty impressive.

In about 25 meters there is a bridge that crosses to the other side. Continue forward for about 75 meters to the Monte Christo Restaurant “drawbridge entrance”.  There are two towers on the other side, entrance to the theme restaurant, which, no matter how Teutonic it looks, still serves Armenian and Russian food.  Live music and dancing on the weekends. 

Immediately after is Bardiner Restaurant and the Hrashk Café, less over the top with more of a focus on the natural surroundings.  The woods take over for about 150 meters until you reach a spring on your right side in a concrete grotto of sorts.  It may or may not be flowing. 

In another 50 meters the Archanots Café appears, a modest establishment on clean concrete pavement with multi-colored florescent lights hanging in the trees and a live bear in a caged den by the river.  Nice folks, decent prices, the last of the working class establishments on the gorge.

Another 50 meters brings Yerevan Jur, a collection point for Yerevan’s drinking water,   and on another 100 meters the back side of Geghema Restaurant and Motel, the restaurant a growing enterprise of wooden balconies and eating patios, the motel to let by the hour. Negotiable prices.  There is also a sauna.  Immediately after the large Princess Mariana ship appears, seeming to have somehow floated up river and moored at the point,  In reality, the “ship” was built piece-by-piece at the spot.  A fun place to eat our or sip coffee.

Right after the ship, a bridge crosses over the river, under the towering supports for the Kievian Bridge and Kievian Ave., 150 meters above.  Continue on under Kieveian Bridge to the other side and you will be below a large, popular park in Ajapnyak Neighborhood.  Lovely weekend spot and hyu can catch public transport back to center from here.

Continue the back way (on the opposite road) and the Left Bank of the river begins, fronted by Geghama, which straddles both sides of the river.  The left bank is a little more wild, the road a little farther between restaurants or cafes.  It takes 300 m to reach the river bridge entry to Archanots Café, and another 100 meters to the large and well maintained Parvana Restaurant and Cottage complex.  The cottages, though pricey, are really, really nice with great views.

The road turns through some grasslands after Parvana, passing the gates to a private club (HAH) before passing the front entrance of Monte Christo. In 75 meters you meet the first bridge you met on the other side of river, and can cross back to return via the tunnel, or continue to the Hrazdan Stadium and the Dzoragiugh portion of the gorge.

If you continue, in another 200 meters of forested road you pass the exercise point, chin-up bars and places to do sit-ups, push-ups and stretches, busy most the day with athletes of varying ages and abilities.  In another 250 meters the amazing Utyerord H’rashlik (“8th  Wonder”) Restaurant appears, a vision of white stone and black iron replete with fake rhino tusks and dinosaur bones.  The restaurant complex that looks like something out of the movies “Barbarella”, the “Flintstones” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”  Taking up several hectares of territory, dining tables are set out in private “huts” or “cabañas” some in trees, others at river side.

The road starts to rise towards Hrazdan Stadium at H’rashlik (its supports and one of the gates is across the road form the main entrance), and just after the restaurant’s walls there are some trees and greenery, obscuring steps to a foot bridge that crosses the river. 

Side steps go into the gorge itself.  The footing is slippery-not for the flat-footed, but a nice escape into the wilds, and a great view of the bridge itself, its massive arching hiding the bridge’s real purpose;  the bridge is in fact aqueduct carrying water from the side canal from the right to the left bank.  The current canal the latest incarnation of canals that go back to the Urartian Era, some 2800 years.

Cross the river via the aqueduct bridge to explore the hodgepodge of historic houses called Dzoragiugh.  Sidewalks left or right from the bridge take you back to street side; the left sidewalk leads eventually towards Proshian St.; the right sidewalks go into the old neighborhood of Dzoragiugh, with the Parajanov Museum, and in a series of steps in about 200 meters below south. St. Sargis Church, at the base of Mashtots and Old Abovyan pts.

End Mashtots Walking Tour.

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