Yerevan, also spelled Erevan, serves as the capital city of the Armenia. It is not only the largest Armenian city but also among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Yerevan, which is the country’s industrial, administrative, and cultural city, is found along River Hrazdan. Yerevan has been Armenia’s capital city since the year 1918 making it the 13th capital in the country’s history and the 7th situated around or in the Ararat plain. Yerevan is the seat of one of the world’s oldest diocese, the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, which is the Armenian Apostolic Church’s largest diocese.
History of Yerevan
The city of Yerevan traces its history back to the eighth century BCE when the Erebuni fortress was established by King Argishti I in 782 BCE at the western end of the Ararat plain. The fortress was designed as a fully royal capital since it features a great religious and administrative center. However, new capital cities were being established by the late ancient Kingdom of Armenia while the importance of Yerevan declined. Under the Russian and Iranian rule, the city acted as the Erivan Khanate’s center between 1736 and 1828, and it was also the Erivan Governorate between 1850 and 1917.
Following the First World War, Yerevan became the First Republic of Armenia’s capital city as numerous survivors of the Armenian Holocaust during the Ottoman Empire came to the area. Things changed for the better during the 20th century as Yerevan started expanding at a rapid rate following the country’s assimilation into the Soviet Union. The city was then transformed into a significant industrial, cultural and artistic center in Armenia from just a mere provisional town within the Russian Empire. Eventually, it became the national government’s seat.
Yerevan's Role as the Capital City of Armenia
With the country’s economic growth, the capital city of Armenia continues to go through significant transformations. For instance, as of the early 2000s, many parts of Yerevan have been the recipient of new construction as well as the increase of retail outlets such as street cafes, restaurants, and shops which were rare to find during the Russian rule.
The city’s population was estimated to be around 1,060,138 as of 2011 representing over 35% of the entire country’s population. The current population is approximately 1,073,700 according to an official estimate in 2016. UNESCO named the city of Yerevan ‘World Book Capital’ in 2012.
Notable Landmarks in Yerevan
Among the city’s notable landmarks are the Fortress of Erebuni, which is regarded as the birthplace of Yerevan, and the Tsitsernakaberd, the official memorial to the Armenian Holocaust’s victims.
While Saint Gregory Cathedral is the world’s largest Armenian Cathedral, the capital city’s oldest surviving church is Katoghike Tsiranavor.
The Armenian capital’s main spectacle hall is Yerevan Opera Theater, while the largest art museum in the country is the National Gallery of Armenia which is found in the same building as the History Museum of Armenia.
One of the world’s largest depositories of ancient manuscripts and books is found at the Matenadaran repository.
The Cascade feature a monumental stairway that leads to Victory Park from the city center. The Park is also home to Luna Park as well as Mother Armenia’s statue which overlooks the city. The neoclassical Republic Square is also a notable landmark in Yerevan being the center of this great city.