Introducing Yerevan

Yerevan is the capital of the Republic of Armenia, one of the three South Caucasus hubs, and home to over a million people - the world's largest Armenian population. During the Soviet era, Yerevan was extensively rebuilt in accordance with architect Alexander Tamanyan's vision of creating a "perfect city" - a Neo-Classical town with wide avenues reminiscent of Paris, Vienna, and Saint Petersburg.

Central Yerevan is a genuine early Soviet architectural gem. It also contains several large-scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels, the majority of which are the product of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania. In Soviet times, Yerevan was known as the Pink City, owing to the color of the tufa stone used in construction as well as the flamboyant spirit of her young population.

Despite the fact that Yerevan's history dates back to the Erebuni fortress, making it at least 2,800 years old, nothing remains of what was once a small city, with the exception of excavations at the Hrazdan River Gorge, Erebuni, Karmir Berd, and Avan. These sites have been excavated, and the objects discovered are now housed in museums. Because of its strategic importance, Yerevan was a constant battleground for rival Ottoman, Persian, and Russian Empires. It has been constantly devasted by wars or natural disasters (e.g. an earthquake in 17th century almost entirely destroyed the town). Few buildings from the old Erivan have survived to modern-day Yerevan.

Yerevan was a town of 20,000 people at the time of Armenia's independence in 1918, when it was designated as the capital of an independent Armenia. Under Alexander Tamanyan's new city plan, large-scale development started with a more holistic approach. The proposal called for the removal of most of what was already there in order to make way for concentric circles, parks, and taller buildings. He envisioned Yerevan as a 200,000-person metropolis.

Yerevan is an ethnically homogeneous region, with only a few Yezidi and Molokan (Russian) minorities. Since the city's population was just 20,000 a century ago, the overwhelming majority of Armenians are refugees from all over the world. From Armenia's villages and cities, Tbilisi, the center of Eastern Armenian culture before 1918, Western Armenia as genocide refugees poured in, and even the Middle East and Europe in a massive post-World War II wave of immigration. Since the city's independence, it has become the heart of the entire Armenian community, as the demise of the divisive communist regime has caused the Diaspora – which is larger than the population of Armenia itself – to accept the city as its own.

Written on 05/19/2021 - 06:38 by Shawn Blake

Last modified on 05/19/2021 - 06:44

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