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 website of Armenia Tourism

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.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
coast, fjord, Seydisfjordur, Iceland
Architecture & Design
Seydisfjordur, Iceland

From the Art of Fishing to the Fishing of Art

When shipowners from Reykjavik bought the Seydisfjordur fishing fleet, the village had to adapt. Today, it captures Dieter Roth's art disciples and other bohemian and creative souls.
Bungee jumping, Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown, the Queen of Extreme Sports

In the century. XVIII, the Kiwi government proclaimed a mining village on the South Island "fit for a queen".Today's extreme scenery and activities reinforce the majestic status of ever-challenging Queenstown.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

They are the protagonists of events or are street entrepreneurs. They embody unavoidable characters, represent social classes or epochs. Even miles from Hollywood, without them, the world would be more dull.
scarlet summer

Valencia to Xativa, Spain (España)

Across Iberia

Leaving aside the modernity of Valencia, we explore the natural and historical settings that the "community" shares with the Mediterranean. The more we travel, the more its bright life seduces us.

Obese resident of Tupola Tapaau, a small island in Western Samoa.
Tonga, Western Samoa, Polynesia

XXL Pacific

For centuries, the natives of the Polynesian islands subsisted on land and sea. Until the intrusion of colonial powers and the subsequent introduction of fatty pieces of meat, fast food and sugary drinks have spawned a plague of diabetes and obesity. Today, while much of Tonga's national GDP, Western Samoa and neighbors is wasted on these “western poisons”, fishermen barely manage to sell their fish.
Saphire Cabin, Purikura, Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan

Japanese Style Passaport-Type Photography

In the late 80s, two Japanese multinationals already saw conventional photo booths as museum pieces. They turned them into revolutionary machines and Japan surrendered to the Purikura phenomenon.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

When, in mid-May, Iceland already enjoys some sun warmth but the cold and snow persist, the inhabitants give in to an intriguing summer anxiety.
Dunes of Bazaruto Island, Mozambique
bazaruto, Mozambique

The Inverted Mirage of Mozambique

Just 30km off the East African coast, an unlikely but imposing erg rises out of the translucent sea. Bazaruto it houses landscapes and people who have lived apart for a long time. Whoever lands on this lush, sandy island soon finds himself in a storm of awe.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

Moai, Rano Raraku, Easter Island, Rapa Nui, Chile
Rapa Nui - Easter Island, Chile

Under the Moais Watchful Eye

Rapa Nui was discovered by Europeans on Easter Day 1722. But if the Christian name Easter Island makes sense, the civilization that colonized it by observant moais remains shrouded in mystery.
The inevitable fishing

Florianopolis, Brazil

The South Atlantic Azorean Legacy

During the XNUMXth century, thousands of Portuguese islanders pursued better lives in the southern confines of Brazil. In the villages they founded, traces of affinity with the origins abound.

Correspondence verification
Winter White
Rovaniemi, Finland

From the Finnish Lapland to the Arctic. A Visit to the Land of Santa

Fed up with waiting for the bearded old man to descend down the chimney, we reverse the story. We took advantage of a trip to Finnish Lapland and passed through its furtive home.
Couple visiting Mikhaylovskoe, village where writer Alexander Pushkin had a home
Saint Petersburg e Mikhaylovkoe, Russia

The Writer Who Succumbed to His Own Plot

Alexander Pushkin is hailed by many as the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. But Pushkin also dictated an almost tragicomic epilogue to his prolific life.
Merganser against sunset, Rio Miranda, Pantanal, Brazil
Passo do Lontra, Miranda, Brazil

The Flooded Brazil of Passo do Lontra

We are on the western edge of Mato Grosso do Sul but bush, on these sides, is something else. In an extension of almost 200.000 km2, the Brazil it appears partially submerged, by rivers, streams, lakes and other waters dispersed in vast alluvial plains. Not even the panting heat of the dry season drains the life and biodiversity of Pantanal places and farms like the one that welcomed us on the banks of the Miranda River.
Impressions Lijiang Show, Yangshuo, China, Red Enthusiasm
Natural Parks
Lijiang e Yangshuo, China

An Impressive China

One of the most respected Asian filmmakers, Zhang Yimou dedicated himself to large outdoor productions and co-authored the media ceremonies of the Beijing OG. But Yimou is also responsible for “Impressions”, a series of no less controversial stagings with stages in emblematic places.
Museum of Petroleum, Stavanger, Norway
UNESCO World Heritage
Stavanger, Norway

The Motor City of Norway

The abundance of offshore oil and natural gas and the headquarters of the companies in charge of exploiting them have promoted Stavanger from the Norwegian energy capital preserve. Even so, this city didn't conform. With a prolific historical legacy, at the gates of a majestic fjord, cosmopolitan Stavanger has long propelled the Land of the Midnight Sun.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Landing
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Pemba, Mozambique, Capital of Cabo Delgado, from Porto Amélia to Porto de Abrigo, Paquitequete
Pemba, Mozambique

From Porto Amélia to the Shelter Port of Mozambique

In July 2017, we visited Pemba. Two months later, the first attack took place on Mocímboa da Praia. Nor then do we dare to imagine that the tropical and sunny capital of Cabo Delgado would become the salvation of thousands of Mozambicans fleeing a terrifying jihadism.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

A building in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, threatened to desecrate what ultra-Orthodox Jews thought were remnants of their ancestors. And even the revelation that they were pagan tombs did not deter them from the contestation.
the projectionist
Daily life
Sainte-Luce, Martinique

The Nostalgic Projectionist

From 1954 to 1983, Gérard Pierre screened many of the famous films arriving in Martinique. 30 years after the closing of the room in which he worked, it was still difficult for this nostalgic native to change his reel.
savuti, botswana, elephant-eating lions
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.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.