Fourth International Conference of CIS Countries “Sol-gel synthesis and study of inorganic compounds, hybrid functional materials, and disperse systems”, „Sol-gel 2016“, September 19-23, 2016, Yerevan, Armenia


Yerevan (Երևան) is the capital of the Republic of Armenia and one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus. It's home to over a million people - the largest Armenian community in the world.

In Soviet years, Yerevan underwent massive reconstruction, following architect Alexander Tamanyan's new plans to make a perfect city. His vision was a neo-Classical town with wide avenues to resembe ParisVienna and Saint Petersburg.

Central Yerevan is a true jewel of early Soviet architecture. She is also home to some large scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels which are mostly the result of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania. In Soviet days Yerevan had already become known as the Pink City as much due to the colour of the stone used for building as for the flamboyant spirit of her young population.

Most of tourist Yerevan is concentrated in the centre. The centre is very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options. The rest of the city is mostly sleeping or business quarters, so a typical tourist will not have much incentive to leave the centre.

KentronCentre City or Downtown - is central Yerevan, locally called as kentron ("Kentron" is the romanized way of writing the Greek word "κέντρον" which means "centre") or just kaghak (meaning 'the city'). This is the heart of Yerevan and indeed Armenia. Though Kentron's architecture is diverse, ranging from Belle Epoque to Soviet Panel blocks, the great majority of the centre is in Beaux-Arts tradition. Downtown Yerevan follows Tamanyan's plan for a circular city with two hubs - grand Republic Square, and the more elegant and soft Opera district (Opera house, Freedom Square and the Swan Lake Park). The two are linked with newly-constructed pedestrian-only Northern Avenue. The Main Avenue (standard South European Corso) is still under construction (for the last 60 years, although on a greater scale during the last couple of years) and will eventually reach the hill on which the historical Kond district rests. Kentron is also home to the University City, where the campuses of State University, Medical University, Engineering University, Agricultural University, Economics University, Pedagogical and some other universities come together in one big group. Virtually all of the museums, hotels and popular places to eat and drink are in Kentron, so most visitors will probably not venture much past it.

Barekamutyun - Meaning friendship, Barekamutyun is the area around the metro stop of the same name. The neighboring district is Arabkir, which is considered small downtown (Pokr Kendron).This hub is home to the Hayastan Hanrakhanut department store (which is more of an indoor bazaar than an actual department store). The hub branches off to Kievyan and nearby Komitas streets.

Monument - At the top of the Cascade steps rests the towering monument to Soviet victory in WW2. Directly adjacent is the large construction site of the Cafesjian Museum, which houses a large collection of contemporary art, including perhaps the best glass art collection in the world. Beyond the monument is Victory Park, and the district around it is known as Monument as well.

Erebuni - In this district is situated the ruins of the fortress of Erebuni, founded in 782BC by king Argishti.

Bangladesh - Not to be confused with country in Asia! Not much to offer a tourist, the name however is worth an explanation. At the time this was one of the furthest new districts built in Yerevan, and because of the distance, locals quickly began calling it Bangladesh, which has stuck to this day. The biggest outdoor bazaar of Yerevan is located in this district.

Nor Nork district is the last Soviet project of residential expansion of Yerevan. It entirely consists of standardised Soviet Panel blocs. However, every tourist crosses this district on the way to 'obligatory' Garni temple and Geghard monastery (as the highway to that direction is connected to the main avenue of this district). The main attraction of this district would be the Gay Statue, though the name has nothing to do with homosexuality (to avoid this interesting misunderstanding most often the name of the avenue and statue is Romanised as Guy). Even though people call it Gai ardzan, it is the statue of Hayk Bzhshkyants (Հայկ Բժշկյանց). to meet someone, it is enough to say "Gayi Ardzan" and people will know. Unfortunately not everyone knows about Hayk himself. He was a member of people's volunteer corps (Kamavorakan), and participated in fights near Mush and Erzrum in Western Armenia. It's just the Russians gave him such nickname since there is no sound H in Russian. By the way, it is the tallest statue in the world among the ones that have the horse standing on their back two legs. It's height is 12.5 meters and it weighs 30 tons and was erected in 1978.

Even though the history of Yerevan dates back to the Erebuni fortress, making it at least 2800 years old, little remains of what was small settlement saving the excavations at Hrazdan river gorge, Erebuni, Karmir Berd and Avan. These sites have been excavated, and the artefacts found are in museums today. Being on a strategically important place Yerevan was a constant war stage for rival Ottoman, Persian and Russian Empires. It has been repeatedly ruined by those wars or natural disasters (e.g. an earthquake in 17th century almost entirely destroyed the town). Few buildings of the old Erivan survived to the present-day Yerevan.

At the time of Armenia's independence in 1918, when Yerevan was made the capital of an independent Armenia, Yerevan was a town of just 20,000. Large scale construction began, which took a more holistic approach under the new city plan laid out by Alexander Tamanyan. The plan involved the demolition of much of what existed, in favour of concentric circles, parks, and taller structures. He planned for Yerevan to become a metropolis of 200,000 people.

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