YEREVAN - OCTOBER 2007
Yerevan, at the western extreme of the Ararat plain, 1,100m above sea level, is the capital of the Republic of Armenia.
Armenia, a landlocked mountainous country in South Caucasus, located at the foot of Mount Ararat and between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, has a long history, with very sad aspects in the years of the WWI and immediately thereafter. The first Armenian Kingdom united the tribes of Hayasi and Armen in the sixth century B.C., and reached its greatest extent under Tigranes the Great, who reigned between 95 - 66 BC. Later, the work of the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew set the stage for the official conversion of Armenia to Christianity in 301 A.D., the first country to officially do so, and twelve years before the Edict of Milan signed by Emperor Constantine.
The Republic of Armenia, due to large scale emigration after the December 7, 1988 earthquake and the collapse of the Soviet Union, has now a population of about 3 million, with roughly one million and one hundred living in Yerevan. Today, however, there are more Armenians living outside of its borders than inside.
Legend has it that the origin of the name Yerevan derived from an expression exclaimed, in Armenian, by Noah, while looking in the direction of the site, after the Ark had landed on Mount Ararat and the waters receded: «Yerevats»! However, it is much more likely that the name derives from a 782 B.C. military fortress called Erebuni.
"YEREVAN - First impression is far from being an excellent one, even for someone familiarized with the traditional jokes that were told about Yerevan, Radio Yerevan or similar..."
"THE NATIONAL OPERA HOUSE, designed by the architect Alexander Tamanian, was built between 1926 and 1953, as part of a plan to redesign the city. It actually houses the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall (whose statue is hardly seen in this picture) and Alexander Spendiaryan Opera and the Ballet National Academic Theatre. The Opera and Ballet Theatre holds 1,260 people, and the Concert Hall holds 1,400"
"MASHTOTS STREET - Previously known as «Lenin Prospect», it's the widest street in the centre of Yerevan, with three traffic lanes in each direction. Mother Armenia, a statue in the Victory Park, overlooks Yerevan from the top of the hill"
"MESROP MASHOTS (360 - 440), an Armenian monk, theologian and linguist, is known for having invented the Armenian Alphabet, which was a fundamental step in strengthening the Armenian Church and the government of the Armenian Kingdom. The statue lies in front of the Matenadaran and the letters of the Armenian alphabet are carved into the wall behind the statue"
"MATENADARAN (Institute of Ancient Manuscripts), which in ancient Armenian means «library», is a centre for the study and preservation of Armenian literature. Designed by Mark Grigoryan, it was built in 1957, and is one of the most interesting things to see in Armenia. With massive copper doors, it keeps manuscripts that were respectfully guarded and that played an important role in the people’s fight against spiritual subjugation and assimilation"
"BOOKS - Thousands of Armenian manuscripts perished in invasions and wars, leaving only 25,000 left in the Matenadaran. The rest of them are dispersed in Venice, Jerusalem, Vienna, Beirut, Paris, and the Getty Museum. The most ancient item is a fragment from the fifth century, the most ancient parchment book is the Gospel of Lazarus from 887 and the most ancient paper manuscript dates from 981"
"ARMENIAN CODE OF LAWS"
"REPUBLIC SQUARE - The central square of Yerevan is named Hanrapetutyan Hraparak. It's the main square in Yerevan, and hosts the Marriot Hotel, the Foreign Ministry, and a large fountain in front of the National Art Gallery and History Museum"
"THE NATIONAL ART GALLERY OF ARMENIA, founded in 1921, is considered one of the best museums in the former Soviet Union, and houses the works of famous Armenian artists of the early medieval times through the late twentieth century"
"ARMENIA SACRA is an exhibition entirely devoted to Armenian art, which aims to recognize the brilliance of Christian art created in Armenia, from the conversion of the Armenian people until the end of the 18th century. Organized by the Louvre Museum, it includes not only steles and carved capitals but also khatchkars, stone slabs carved with intricately laced patterns centred on the cross, displayed in their upright position. It was shown in Yerevan in October 2007"