June 21, 2018 - 13:59 AMT
Hidden gems in Armenia’s capital: Spotted by Locals

The Armenian capital city of Yerevan is full of surprises, where ancient culture, hospitality, and tradition go hand in hand with modernization and inventiveness. Yerevan is full of contradictions which not only add to its charm but also make it interesting. On top of that, you get a splendid view of Mount Ararat and you’re at the doorway of a country yet to be discovered by most, Spotted by Locals says in a fresh article, unveiling some the hidden gems you can see while visiting Yerevan.

Spotted by Locals is a publisher of a series of travel guides (apps & blogs) with up to date tips curated by handpicked locals in 60+ cities in Europe and North America.

Kond is known as one of Yerevan’s oldest continuously inhabited neighborhoods, the article says. Despite its strong Armenian character, however, its central square contains a cluster of non-operating mosques dating from the city’s occupation by the Persian Empire. The largest of which, the Thapha Bashi mosque, still stands despite the ravages of time, changing empires, and communism.

Built in the 17th century, Surb Zoravor Church is one of the oldest standing structures in Yerevan. It’s a beautiful church built out of red and black tufa stone (an indigenous building material heavily used in Armenian architecture). Apart from its beautiful stones, many ornamental carvings and khachkars decorate the Church.

Khatchakrs, for those unfamiliar, are traditional cross-stone carvings and they can be found all over Armenia.

Down the Hrazdan river from Central Yerevan, in the village of Argavand, lies a peculiar site - the Mausoleum of the Turkmen Emirs, a large stone phallic structure. The road to the monument goes by a few interesting sites, including the military pantheon and some medieval churches, so it’s worth the trip.

One of the author’s favorite parts of Yerevan in the summer is the Children’s Railway. Though the railway is primarily intended for families with children, everyone is welcome. It’s just a unique thing to try while you’re visiting Armenia. Afterward, you can always picnic on the wooded slopes leading into the river.

There’s a prehistoric Vishapakar (dragon stone) or Vishap stella standing in front of one of the government buildings in Yerevan. The serpent-headed dragon stone is one of the enigmatic menhirs characteristic of the Armenian Highlands and can be found on high altitudes all throughout Armenia. In the prehistoric past, in a time Google Maps didn’t exist, they were used as markers to indicate the location of water. There are a number of other meanings to them, most of which are unknown to humans. That, however, is a whole new blank page for the young historians, scientists, anthropologists and others alike.

The Teishebaini fortress is a great place to explore one of the ancient kingdoms in the world, Urartu. It was called Karmir Blur (Red Hill) by locals because of the eroding reddish mud brick of the constructions causing the red color of the hill to cover the site. This archaeological site is situated in the south-western part of Yerevan, south from the Hrazdan River gorge. It was founded by the Urartian king Rusa II (685-645 BC). According to the cuneiform inscription excavated from the territory testifies, it was dedicated to the god of thunder and war Teisheba.

Also in the list of interesting sites in Yerevan, provided by locals, are the remains of the 16th century Yerevan fortress in the ground floor of the oldest factory building of Yerevan, the Yerevan lake, the Soviet-era greenhouse in the city’s botanical garden and several other corners.