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.

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Map C

Continuing up Mashtots you pass a number of shops and bistros and just before the next corner, Grkeri Ashkhrar/Mir Knig (Book World) (18) one of the two best bookstores in Yerevan (Russian, Armenians and English editions on two floors), the other is at the top of the avenue, coming up.

Next is Boulevard (19), a ca. 1970’s central park of fountains, sidewalks and greenery that was part of Tamanian’s master plan to connect the outer edges of Yerevan via a central greenbelt.  Designed by A. Zakarian, the parks were built in place of historic neighborhoods that were demolished to make way, and were among the first to suffer from late Soviet neglect, the massive fountains leaking and the sprinkler system pillaged for parts by locals. 

The park on the right (Mashtots Park) is well kept, a lesson in how community activists can reclaim public space.  Once desined to be turned into ahsopping mall, the community came out in droves to protest and the city releetd, turning a desert into an oasis.  Activists hope to convince the city to do the same with longer park on your left.  It is being developed into an “Elite” residence area of high rises, so one hopes the trees will remain.  Two cafes have taken over street face.   If you turn left into boulevard to the end of the park, there is a pedestrian tunnel that will take you to Hrazdan Gorge.

Boulevard is bordered by two parallel streets; Pavstos Biuzand (south) and Arami (north). The Yeghishe Charents Home-Museum (20) is at the northwest corner of Arami and Mashtots (across from the Maternity Hospital (21) on the other side of the street). 

Charents Museum (20), 17 Mashtots Ave., tel. 53-55-94, 53-14-12, open Tues-Sun 10-5), is located in the building where Charents lived the last 5 years of his life, the upper floor consisting of the actual apartment he shared on a communal basis with his neighbors.  A famous early 20th c poet, whose poem ‘Yes Im Anush Hayastan’ has been called the “Our Father” for Armenians, Charents was a fervent believer in the October Revolution who became bitter and disillusioned at Stalin’s policies began to take effect.  He, like dozens of other literary figures and artists, became a victim of Stalin’s 1937 purge, dying while under control of the KGB in an insane asylum in Yerevan. 

The next block begins to change the character of the street somewhat, the large plane trees that grace Boulevard also planted on both sides of the avenue for the next several blocks.  Shops are a slightly more upscale, with several eateries in the mix.   

The next cross street is Pushkin. Half a block up is Malkhas Jazz Club (52/1 Pushkin St., tel. 53-53-50, 53-17-78) which serves food and  some of the best jazz performers around playing nightly until 3 am.


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