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Yerevan, a city to fall in love with. Yerevan, Armenia’s beautiful capital. Who wouldn’t want to go to Armenia? Just the name itself sounds exciting and alluring. Say it out loud a few times; Armenia, Armenia, Armenia. It kind of rolls smoothly on your tongue. I can’t resist the temptation. I need to go there to get a taste of what the country has to offer.
From Tbilisi I catch a night train to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. I’m not sure what to expect, maybe something similar to Tbilisi, but that is not what I’m greeted by. Yerevan is something else.
The first thing that strikes me is how modern the city is
It is very clean and neat and the traffic is calm and organized compared to Tbilisi’s chaos. The city leaves me with a special feeling which is hard to explain. It is something with it’s atmosphere that leaves me with a bubbly, warm, loving feeling. I immediately know that this is a place where I will feel at home.
I fill my days with city tours, trying out various restaurants and also a bit of shopping. Vako, who offers free city tours, shows me around. He tells me, in a very personal and engaging way, about the city and its history. He has a fb group, Travelers’ Club of Armenia, go there for more information.
Today Yerevan has about one million residents, that is roughly a third of the countries population when Armenia only has about three million inhabitants.
Most of the buildings are built of a very beautiful, pale pink, volcanic stone
Alexander Tamanian, Yerevan’s main architect during the time when Armenia still belonged to Soviet Union, has meant a lot for the city’s appearance. It is thanks to him that Yerevan is also known as the pink city. Most of the buildings are built of a very beautiful, pale pink volcanic stone which is one of Armenia’s main natural resources. Alexander’s vision was to build the perfect city, equivalent to a city such as Paris.
In Yerevan you will find incredibly beautiful parks, the famous opera house and lots of picturesque small quarters to wander around in. It is easy to forget how poor the country actually is. If you get out of town it is more noticeable.
We walk around the city hour after hour before we stop at one of many bars that exists but are not always easy to find. Many of them are located in basements and are hardly noticeable from the street. Once inside you are up for a nice surprise. Most of the bars have a very interesting interior with a cool retro style that I love so much.
Yerevan is like a hidden oasis
I can’t really turn away from the idea of actually buying a place here so that I can open up my own bar. The prices are low (compared to Sweden) and I can easily see myself living here for a few years. Yerevan is like a hidden oasis filled with things to see, explore, and experience. I can’t stress it enough. Go to Yerevan if you haven’t already been!
I meet many nice, funny and interesting people, both Armenian and other random people from here and there. I stay at the Cascade Hostel which is right by the Cascade, an enormous stairway in central Yerevan. The stairway is inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and has several terraces where you find for instance waterfalls, fountains, sculptures and incredibly impressive gardening.
One night we climb up to the top of the stairs with some bottles of Honey Pepper Vodka which we chase down with apple juice. The view over the city and the Ararat mountain almost takes my breath away, that is how stunning it is. The burning strong Pepper Vodka might increase the sensation, I’ll leave that unsaid. Every day we party all night long but I still wake up early. I don’t want to loose any time, I want to enjoy every moment in this beautiful city.
The traditional food, which is similar to the Georgian, is delicious
The traditional food, which is similar to the Georgian, is delicious. The fact that it is cheap makes it even better. If you come here I recommend you to try, among other things, Khorovatz which is marinated barbecued meat (Armenian kebeb) and Lavash, their unleavened bread. Armenian wine is also very good. And don’t forget to try Ararat, the famous Armenian brandy.
The days are not enough. I want to see more of the country but I have a flight to Cape Town. It doesn’t matter, it only gives me a reason to come back. First on my list will be a visit to lake Sevan, Armenia’s largest lake. I also want to go to the Khor Virap Monastery, located in the Ararat plain. Who knows, I might even make reality out of my dream and buy the bar that I already have decorated and named in my head.
Have you been to Yerevan? What did you think?
Over and out