Yerevan and around
Trip Start Sep 19, 2009
16Trip End Oct 10, 2009
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I ended up going to the only hostel in Yerevan - and in whole Armenia - which was called Hostel Envoy
After sleeping a few hours I went around wondering in the capital. It was different to any other city I have ever been to - it was not beautiful, it was really sleepy, but very interesting and fascinating. Almost all of the houses were kind of red due to the material they have used which can be found all around Armenia. Yerevan doesn't seem like an old city, although it is, because almost everything there is now was built in the soviet era. It is a really compact and clear city, and walking around and getting to places was easy from the first moment. I checked the two main squares that defines the city centre (Opera Square and Republic Square), went for a dinner to some weird western place, had a few beers and went to sleep
The next day in the morning I had a first try of the famous Armenian coffee. Its basically turkish coffee from an even smaller cup. Its ok but I definitely prefer a big cup of filtered coffee! After my morning time in the hostel I took a subway to the genocide memorial monument some kilometers away from the center. Over 100 years ago the turkish killed over a million armenians - they wanted to get rid of the christians from the way of an islamic empire - and that is very much a popular topic in Armenia still. Its a big part of ther identity and it gives them a sence of belonging together. Armenians are a really proud and strong nation, not least because of this genocide. Turkey still doesn't officially admit the genocide, and that is the reason why there still are no diplomatic relations between these two countries and the borders remain totally close. You can still sea to Turkey from Yerevan, as Ararat mountain, clearly visible from the city, is part of Turkey now although it is the center and heart of armenian culture. Those bastards - that's the attitude of armenians towards turks.
The subway in Yerevan is really interesting (see pictures). Horrible soviet stations, but really cheap, safe and reliable
After checking the memorial site I took a nice long walked along the riverbank back to city center. Its was a nice way to see the city - up from the bottom of the "canyon". Then I went to Parajanov home museum, which was not that interesting, but apparently one of the best museums in the city. Well, maybe it is interesting if you know something about this Parajanov dude. I enjoyed walking around the city the rest of the day. I have never seen as much cafes and teraces in a city before, those were everywhere! Yerevan really is a cafe city, it beats Paris hands down. I also found one of the most interesting churches I have ever seen - in the middle of soviet buildings there is a tiny church built about 1500 years ago, looking really alien in the surroundings (see picture)
Yerevan is a nice city. Laid back, stylish and fun. Easy to manage. Lots of things to do, if you care to look for them. It was a positive surprise, because all the things I had heard were not that good. And above all, it is really really safe, making wondering around really enjoyable.