Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Children of the Armenian Mother
Family climbs the staircase at the base of the statue of Mother Armenia.
about the plan
The monument to Alexander Tamanian, the planner of Yerevan, author of several of its grandiose buildings and squares.
Bici & Alex
Monument to Alexander Spendiaryan, author of the opera shown at the opening of the Opera and Ballet Theater in the Armenian capital.
Elderly person passes by a bar in a Yerevan garden.
after the wars
A woman arrives out of nowhere and parks a white Mercedes SLK next to exposed war material at Mother Armenia's feet.
Panoramic 2
Couple admires the houses of Yerevan and Mount Ararat in the background, already in Turkish territory.
Panoramic 2 II
Couple make out on the edge of Parque da Vitória, with the sun setting to the west and coloring the distant Mount Ararat.
Yerevan at twilight
House of Yerevan and the shape of the double peak of Mount Ararat at dusk.
atrocious memory
Memorial dedicated to the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.
Jesus Armenian
Saleswoman displays a picture of Jesus Christ.
between rugs
Vendors surrounded by rugs at Yerevan's Vernissage street market.
semi-underground Yerevan
Pedestrians crossed an intermediate entrance to the city's subway.
Choice of faith
A painting saleswoman displays a religious painting of the Virgin Mary to a potential client.
Armenian Mother, bronze symbol of Armenian power and resilience.
duo photo
Camera sellers at a Vernisage street market stall.
Golden Yerevan
Yerevan autumn scenery with the factory of brandy Ararat high above the grove.
eminent cold
Mistress takes care of her bonnet stand at the Vernisage market in Yerevan.
No sign of balconies
Austere lines of Soviet architecture from the period when Yerevan was one of the many capitals of the USSR.
soviet lines
The entrance to a small shopping center, with architecture from Soviet times in Armenia.
Golden Yerevan II
Section of Praça da República, gilded, at dusk. Republic Square contains the most important architectural ensemble of Yerevan and Armenia.
Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.

We contemplate the houses that fill the valley below the hill of Haghtanak, site of the Park of Victory of Yerevan. A dense morning mist triumphs over the sun and rounds the edges of the yellowish buildings. It makes the silhouette of the brother summits of Mount Ararat more distant and diffuse.

A couple at the fence that closes the park's balcony share a committed embrace and, in that embrace, a view over the urban heart of the motherland.

Couple in Parque da Vitória, Yerevan, Armenia

Couple admires the houses of Yerevan and Mount Ararat in the background, already in Turkish territory

From behind, 51 meters high, the bronze warlike figure of Mother Armenia watches over us all: us, the couple and the million children who, at that hour, were getting ready to dispute the capital.

Like all cities and nations, Yerevan has followed again and again down paths he has repented of. As a capital in the vast universe of the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, it admitted a monumental statue of Stalin that celebrated the supremacy of the USSR in World War II.

Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia

Family climbs the staircase at the base of the statue of Mother Armenia.

When Armenian Mother Dethroned Stalin

Five years later, the despotic brutality of Stalin made it persona non grata. In Yerevan, shortly after the dictator's death, it was decided that an Armenian Mother would take his place. In the process, a soldier died. Several workers were injured. The comment that “even in his grave Stalin it made victims”.

The original statue was once considered a masterpiece by sculptor Sergey Mercurov. Rafael Israyelian, the artist in charge of designing the original pedestal – which is the current one – resorted to common sense: “aware that the glory of the dictators is temporary, I built a simple three-nave Armenian basilica.”

Vitoria Park threshold, with Mount Aratat in the background, Yerevan, Armenia

Couple make out on the edge of Parque da Vitória, with the sun setting to the west and coloring the distant Mount Ararat.

Israyelian's work could only please. Armenia was the first state to enact Christianity as an official religion in the early fourth century. The overwhelming majority of its population is part of the Armenian Apostolic Church. This millenary belief does not prevent the faithful from engaging in the conflicts in which they have seen the nation involved.

Every 9th of May, thousands of people climb the Haghtanak Hill to leave flowers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier in a tribute to the Armenian martyrs of World War II.

Armenian Genocide, World War II and Nagorno-Karabak

With the event of the Nagorno-Karabak War - enclave that Armenia played with the Azerbaijan from 1988 to 1994 – much fresher in his memoirs, a section of the park was donated to evoke this war.

From her perch above, recharged daily by the glorious Caucasus sun, Mayr Hayastan, as she is referred to in the national dialect, oversees the life of the capital. It also seems to peer into Mount Ararat, long claimed by Armenia but situated just across the border from the nation's other arch-enemy, the Turkey.

A Turkey – or rather the Ottoman Empire of the time – is, in fact, the executioner of a slaughter of more than a million Armenians during and after the 1st World War, from 1914 to 1923, that the victimized nation does everything to make it known as the Armenian Genocide .

Whatever its name, the resentment and hatred generated by such a slaughter ran through successive generations. We prove it whenever, for one reason or another, we mention the Turkey and guide Cristina Kyureghyan and driver Vladimir react with undisguised hurt and disgust.

In 1967, the Armenian Genocide merited a solemn memorial-museum erected on the hill of Tsitsenakaberd, endowed with a 44-meter stele symbolizing the rebirth of the Armenian nation and another eternal flame dedicated to the victims.

Memorial dedicated to the Armenian Genocide, Yerevan, Armenia

Memorial museum dedicated to the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire.

At the feet of suffering Mother Armenia now lie military relics. An anti-aircraft missile, a wheelless fighter, two tanks and some other large items.

Behind it, a short distance away, is the Haghtanak amusement park where a colorful Ferris wheel turns every evening, loaded with children and teenagers.

Missile, missile launcher and Mercedes SLK at the base of the statue of Mother Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia

A woman arrives out of nowhere and parks a white Mercedes SLK next to exposed war material at Mother Armenia's feet.

The Soviet and War Legacy of Yerevan

Despite the contrasts and inconsistencies, Yerevan thrives. The woman who arrives out of nowhere and parks her flamboyant white Mercedes SLK right next to the tanks and the missile, leaves us with no doubts.

Like the fleet of relics Lada that, without complexes, competes for the capital's roads with more modern and luxurious rivals; the discos, nightclubs and upscale shops that bolide owners frequent, as opposed to the tea houses and retro boutiques that fuel a range of old-fashioned Armenian fashions and inspire the growing local hipster current.

Another key place in the city's commercial dynamics and customs is the Vernissage Market, located along Hanrapetutyun and Khanjyan streets.

Camera sellers, Vernisage market, Yerevan, Armenia

Camera sellers at a Vernisage street market stall.

There we find a little bit of everything from traditional Armenian, from dolls to hand-woven rugs, but also countless leftovers from Soviet times, including shopgirls with proud looks. babushkas.

Remnants of the Soviet era at the street market in Vernissage, Yerevan, Armenia

Remnants of Soviet-era Armenia at Yerevan's Vernissage street market

Since 1988, Republic Square in Yerevan has been the scene of massive demonstrations (some with more than 1 million protesters) that challenged the excessive Russification and corruption in which the nation found itself, demanded democracy and a liberation that, thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev and the Glasnost and Perestroika reforms did not take long.

Post-USSR Bipolar Armenia

Following independence on September 21, 1991, shaky about an amateur transition to a market economy, Armenia's finances collapsed. To the point where, until the mid-90s, the supply of gas and electricity was insufficient and inconsistent.

Real estate speculation has taken hold of Yerevan. Despite the opposition of a large part of the population, new and modern projects led to the destruction of numerous older buildings in the capital, some from the time of the Russian Empire.

As we walk through its streets, old housing relics are rare. We find the exceptions on Avenida Mashtots – comparable to Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade and on Abovyan and Aram streets.

On these routes, some facades display meticulous and secular masonry works that illustrate the Armenian past in a solitary but dignified way.

Shopping center entrance, Yerevan, Armenia

The entrance to a small shopping center, with architecture from Soviet times in Armenia.

To compensate, Yerevan is full of green spaces. As long as the climate permits, outside the inclement winter of the Caucasus, its people enjoy the parks and terraces. Residents feed the season of khoravats (barbecues) accompanied by oghee (fruit vodka), wine or beer.

As we explore the capital, autumn is about to close. Still, we are contemplated by sunny days, without wind. We almost only feel cold after sunset. The visit thus brings us to an unexpected winter season.

Cristina Kyureghyan and Vladimir take us to traditional taverns and restaurants. There, they fill us with irresistible gastronomic specialties and then present us with new emblematic corners of the capital.

An Elegant Cascade of History

On another of these occasions, we approached the Cascade de Yerevan, a huge limestone staircase at the base of Parque da Vitória. At the entrance, the monument to Alexander Tamanian – the capital's planner, author of several of its grandiose buildings and squares – shows the neoclassical architect examining a plan.

monument to Alexander Tamanian, Yerevan, Armenia

The monument to Alexander Tamanian, the planner of Yerevan, author of several of its grandiose buildings and squares

There are several bronze sculptures swollen by the artistic whim of the Colombian Fernando Botero: “Woman smoking a cigarette","cat"and "The Warrior”. Couples of lovers, mothers and grandmothers with children spend the afternoon in the bosom of these eccentric characters.

Nearby, the sight of a black and maroon Citroën 2 Horses at the base of elegant pink buildings and autumn-leaf trees gives us a Parisian impression.

At a glance, the passage of two soldiers in camouflage with an obvious Eastern Bloc style brings us back to the post-Soviet reality of Cascade itself. Erected, mouthwashed, from 1971 to 2009, from 2000 onwards, it was handed over to the American/Armenian magnate and collector Gerard Cafesjian. This one, renewed it, provided it with art, events and public.

We check into the complex. We come across a long escalator interrupted on each floor so that the visitor can admire the works of art. Part of them appears inside.

Another part, in the large outdoor courtyards, the higher, with better views of Yerevan and Mount Ararat. But never as unobstructed as those on Soviet Armenia's 50th Anniversary monument above, or by the towering Armenian Mother.

Yerevan, Armenia

House of Yerevan and the shape of the double peak of Mount Ararat at dusk.

Between West and East

96 years have passed since the Bolsheviks annexed Armenia to the USSR, as they did neighboring Georgia and the enemy. Azerbaijan.

Today, officially in control of its destiny, Armenia is far from freeing itself from the Kremlin's yoke. The historic enmity with the Azerbaijan and Turkey forces it to rely on Russian military power and admit that the Russia maintain a military base near the border with the Turkey.

But submission to the Big Bear goes further. Like the other former Soviet republics, Armenia is at the mercy of Siberian oil and natural gas and of commercial speculation imposed by Moscow.

It is also dependent on Russian management and maintenance of the Metsamor nuclear power plant, just 36 km from Yerevan. This is an old-fashioned plant located in a highly vulnerable seismic zone.

And it suffers from Russian manipulation by the country's corrupt oligarchs and politicians, several at the head of private or state-owned companies. Together, these front men have diverted many millions of drams (national currency) from the Armenian people to Russian bank accounts, but not only.

Yerevan: a capital in a kind of political twilight

Afternoon gives way to evening. As daylight fades, artificial lighting gilds the pink tuft of the five main buildings on Republic Square of Yerevan, another of Alexander Tamanian's sumptuous works that we soon explored.

Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia

Section of Praça da República, gilded, at twilight. Republic Square contains the most important architectural ensemble of Yerevan and Armenia

The twilight generates a resplendent gold. Pedestrian columns crisscross what is considered Yerevan's supreme civic space, its most majestic architectural ensemble.

Military buses are installed in the square's parking lot. In a flash, dozens of agents disembark and renew their intimidation.

In recent months, the Armenian people seem to have lost patience once again. He returned to the demonstrations, with redoubled determination.

Part of a reaction dubbed the Velvet Revolution, several civil and political groups led by Nikol Pashinyan of the Civil Contract party organized anti-government protests against the intention of now former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to extend a third term. At times, these protests reached over 100.000 participants.

Sargsyan resigned. On April 28, 2018, all opposition parties announced that they would support Pashinyan's candidacy, which, in the first instance, the Republican Party managed to defeat. THE Russia has been monitoring and trying to maneuver events.

Still, on 8 May, Pashinyan was elected the new Prime Minister of Armenia. With this result, Armenia took a giant step away from its Soviet and Russian-phile past. In the direction of the democratic West.


More information about Armenia and Eravan on the Armenian Tourism website

Kazbegi, Georgia

God in the Caucasus Heights

In the 4000th century, Orthodox religious took their inspiration from a hermitage that a monk had erected at an altitude of 5047 m and perched a church between the summit of Mount Kazbek (XNUMXm) and the village at the foot. More and more visitors flock to these mystical stops on the edge of Russia. Like them, to get there, we submit to the whims of the reckless Georgia Military Road.
Tbilisi, Georgia

Georgia still Perfumed by the Rose Revolution

In 2003, a popular political uprising made the sphere of power in Georgia tilt from East to West. Since then, the capital Tbilisi has not renounced its centuries of Soviet history, nor the revolutionary assumption of integrating into Europe. When we visit, we are dazzled by the fascinating mix of their past lives.
Alaverdi, Armenia

A Cable Car Called Ensejo

The top of the Debed River Gorge hides the Armenian monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat and terraced Soviet apartment blocks. Its bottom houses the copper mine and smelter that sustains the city. Connecting these two worlds is a providential suspended cabin in which the people of Alaverdi count on traveling in the company of God.
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.

The Cradle of the Official Christianity

Just 268 years after Jesus' death, a nation will have become the first to accept the Christian faith by royal decree. This nation still preserves its own Apostolic Church and some of the oldest Christian temples in the world. Traveling through the Caucasus, we visit them in the footsteps of Gregory the Illuminator, the patriarch who inspires Armenia's spiritual life.
Upplistsikhe e Gori, Georgia

From the Cradle of Georgia to Stalin's Childhood

In the discovery of the Caucasus, we explore Uplistsikhe, a troglodyte city that preceded Georgia. And just 10km away, in Gori, we find the place of the troubled childhood of Joseb Jughashvili, who would become the most famous and tyrant of Soviet leaders.
Jabula Beach, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Saint Lucia, South Africa

An Africa as Wild as Zulu

On the eminence of the coast of Mozambique, the province of KwaZulu-Natal is home to an unexpected South Africa. Deserted beaches full of dunes, vast estuarine swamps and hills covered with fog fill this wild land also bathed by the Indian Ocean. It is shared by the subjects of the always proud Zulu nation and one of the most prolific and diverse fauna on the African continent.
Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
shadow vs light
Architecture & Design
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

Until the early XNUMXth century, man-eaters still feasted on the Vanuatu archipelago. In the village of Botko we find out why European settlers were so afraid of the island of Malekula.
Bertie in jalopy, Napier, New Zealand
Ceremonies and Festivities
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Camel Racing, Desert Festival, Sam Sam Dunes, Rajasthan, India
Jaisalmer, India

There's a Feast in the Thar Desert

As soon as the short winter breaks, Jaisalmer indulges in parades, camel races, and turban and mustache competitions. Its walls, alleys and surrounding dunes take on more color than ever. During the three days of the event, natives and outsiders watch, dazzled, as the vast and inhospitable Thar finally shines through.
Margilan, Uzbekistan

An Uzbekistan's Breadwinner

In one of the many bakeries in Margilan, worn out by the intense heat of the tandyr oven, the baker Maruf'Jon works half-baked like the distinctive traditional breads sold throughout Uzbekistan
China's occupation of Tibet, Roof of the World, The occupying forces
Lhasa, Tibet

The Sino-Demolition of the Roof of the World

Any debate about sovereignty is incidental and a waste of time. Anyone who wants to be dazzled by the purity, affability and exoticism of Tibetan culture should visit the territory as soon as possible. The Han civilizational greed that moves China will soon bury millenary Tibet.
Reindeer Racing, Kings Cup, Inari, Finland
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

Finland's Lapps have been competing in the tow of their reindeer for centuries. In the final of the Kings Cup - Porokuninkuusajot - , they face each other at great speed, well above the Arctic Circle and well below zero.
jet lag avoid flight, jetlag, turbulence
Jet Lag (Part 1)

Avoid Post-Flight Turbulence

When we fly across more than 3 time zones, the internal clock that regulates our body gets confused. The most we can do is alleviate the discomfort we feel until it gets right again.
Resident of Nzulezu, Ghana
Nzulezu, Ghana

A Village Afloat in Ghana

We depart from the seaside resort of Busua, to the far west of the Atlantic coast of Ghana. At Beyin, we veered north towards Lake Amansuri. There we find Nzulezu, one of the oldest and most genuine lake settlements in West Africa.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Celestyal Crystal Cruise, Santorini, Greece
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

The Volcanic Core of Santorini

About three millennia had passed since the Minoan eruption that tore apart the largest volcano island in the Aegean. The cliff-top inhabitants watched land emerge from the center of the flooded caldera. Nea Kameni, the smoking heart of Santorini, was born.
Lifou, Loyalty Islands, New Caledonia, Mme Moline popinée
LifouLoyalty Islands

The Greatest of the Loyalties

Lifou is the island in the middle of the three that make up the semi-francophone archipelago off New Caledonia. In time, the Kanak natives will decide if they want their paradise independent of the distant metropolis.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
José Saramago in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, Glorieta de Saramago
Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain (España)

José Saramago's Basalt Raft

In 1993, frustrated by the Portuguese government's disregard for his work “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ”, Saramago moved with his wife Pilar del Río to Lanzarote. Back on this somewhat extraterrestrial Canary Island, we visited his home. And the refuge from the portuguese censorship that haunted the writer.
Cascades and Waterfalls

Waterfalls of the World: Stunning Vertical Rivers

From the almost 1000 meters high of Angel's dancing jump to the fulminating power of Iguaçu or Victoria after torrential rains, cascades of all kinds fall over the Earth.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
Natural Parks
Savuti, Botswana

Savuti's Elephant-Eating Lions

A patch of the Kalahari Desert dries up or is irrigated depending on the region's tectonic whims. In Savuti, lions have become used to depending on themselves and prey on the largest animals in the savannah.
PN Timanfaya, Mountains of Fire, Lanzarote, Caldera del Corazoncillo
UNESCO World Heritage
PN Timanfaya, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

PN Timanfaya and the Fire Mountains of Lanzarote

Between 1730 and 1736, out of nowhere, dozens of volcanoes in Lanzarote erupted successively. The massive amount of lava they released buried several villages and forced almost half of the inhabitants to emigrate. The legacy of this cataclysm is the current Martian setting of the exuberant PN Timanfaya.
Earp brothers look-alikes and friend Doc Holliday in Tombstone, USA
tombstone, USA

Tombstone: the City Too Hard to Die

Silver veins discovered at the end of the XNUMXth century made Tombstone a prosperous and conflictive mining center on the frontier of the United States to Mexico. Lawrence Kasdan, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and other Hollywood directors and actors made famous the Earp brothers and the bloodthirsty duel of “OK Corral”. The Tombstone, which, over time, has claimed so many lives, is about to last.
The Dominican Republic Balnear de Barahona, Balneario Los Patos
Barahona, Dominican Republic

The Bathing Dominican Republic of Barahona

Saturday after Saturday, the southwest corner of the Dominican Republic goes into decompression mode. Little by little, its seductive beaches and lagoons welcome a tide of euphoric people who indulge in a peculiar rumbear amphibian.
Burning prayers, Ohitaki Festival, fushimi temple, kyoto, japan
Kyoto, Japan

A Combustible Faith

During the Shinto celebration of Ohitaki, prayers inscribed on tablets by the Japanese faithful are gathered at the Fushimi temple. There, while being consumed by huge bonfires, her belief is renewed.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
Arduous Professions

the bread the devil kneaded

Work is essential to most lives. But, certain jobs impose a degree of effort, monotony or danger that only a few chosen ones can measure up to.
Fruit sellers, Swarm, Mozambique
Daily life
Enxame Mozambique

Mozambican Fashion Service Area

It is repeated at almost all stops in towns of Mozambique worthy of appearing on maps. The machimbombo (bus) stops and is surrounded by a crowd of eager "businessmen". The products offered can be universal such as water or biscuits or typical of the area. In this region, a few kilometers from Nampula, fruit sales suceeded, in each and every case, quite intense.
Rhinoceros, PN Kaziranga, Assam, India
PN Kaziranga, India

The Indian Monoceros Stronghold

Situated in the state of Assam, south of the great Brahmaputra river, PN Kaziranga occupies a vast area of ​​alluvial swamp. Two-thirds of the rhinocerus unicornis around the world, there are around 100 tigers, 1200 elephants and many other animals. Pressured by human proximity and the inevitable poaching, this precious park has not been able to protect itself from the hyperbolic floods of the monsoons and from some controversies.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.