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 D

The next street is Tumanian (23).  A left on Tumanian leads to several excellent eateries and clubs, beginning with Akump (40 Tumanian), a basement restaurant, souvenir shop and music hall, one of the trendiest spots in Yerevan, the upscale Ai Leoni (51 Tumanian).  On the opposite side of the block is Jazzve, a smoky trendy joint among the new rich.  The end of the block are the steps to the Tumanian House Museum (24) (40 Moskovian, tel. 58-12-71, 56-00-21, open 10-6 Tues-Sun), one of the best house-museums in Yerevan.

Mashtots forms the western side of Opera Square (26), with the State Opera and Ballet Theatres and the Philharmonic Hall on your right.  Sarian Park or Artist Vernissage (27) is on the left.

Opera square (26) (Azatutian or Freedom Square) is a large plaza on the southeast end of the huge building, a place for political meetings, outdoor pop concerts and for youngsters to zoom by on their inline skates or motorized toy cars. 

The park, has a ring of outdoor cafes under the canopy of trees.  At the far end the garish pseudo Egyptian Astral Club throbs with coffee by day, writhing bodies in the disco by night.  Opera itself has a disco in the basement with a nightclub show at night. 

For tickets to Opera/Ballet visit the ticket office at the northwest corner of Tumanian and Mashtots.  Tickets for the Symphony and events in the Symphonic hall are at a small booth on from of the Opera, Sayat Nova Ave. side.

Sarian Park (27) is anchored by the large white marble statue to the impressionist painter Martiros Sarian, called by some the “father of Armenian modern art” (For more about Martiros Sarian visit his House Museum).  The park is also Artist Vernissage, a weekend art fair that takes over the sidewalks of the park (See Walking Tours: Northern Avenue-Opera-Cascade).  The cafes in Artist Vernissage include two of the laid back variety, that at the southernmost corner, Kazirok Café, haunt of Yerevan’s actors, writers and artists.

Just north, also facing Opera and serving as a fulcrum for Mashtots, Baghramian and Sayat Nova Avenues is Place de France (28), a large traffic circle with a small flower bed in the center.  The otherwise unprepossessing ring of cars and buses is encircled by four important parks; Opera Park to the south, Sayat Nova/Artist Vernissage to the west, Tamanian Park (29) to the North with its link to Cascade park and Tamanian monument (30), and Sayat Nova or Komitas Park (31) to the east.

Tamanian Park (29) is a busy minivan stop on the Baghramian end, with a large leafy park that has been taken under the wings of an outdoor café, which immaculately maintains its setting. 

Just north, across Moskovian St., the large Statue to Alexander Tamanian (30), Yerevan’s first Soviet Master Plan architect, stands bending over the now famous plans for the city.  Behind him is the gorgeous Cascade Park, a public area of fountains, flower beds totally free of commercial interests (outdoor cafes are restricted to sidewalks off park property), which leads to the massive Cascade monument and Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art.   The museum is the first in Yerevan that can be truly called world-class, and contains one of the most valuable modern art collections in existence.  (See Walking Tours: Northern Avenue-Opera-Cascade St. 26). 

On your right as you continue through Place de France is Sayat Nova or Conservatory Park (31), less maintained but no less important as a park for students of the Music Conservatory (32) which stands on the far east side.  The park has the Sayat Nova spring monument (33) (sculptor Ara Harutunian, architect Y. Sarapian) at its northwest end and a large, enigmatic statue of Komitas (34) (sculptor Ara Harutunian) in the central plaza, depicting the melancholy composer sitting in the crook of a tree. 


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