While it’s the undeniable cultural, economic and political heart of the nation, Yerevan (ԵՐԵՎԱՆ) can at times feel like a city on permanent holiday. All summer long, Yerevanites saunter up and down the main boulevards, preening in high fashion and fast cars while occasionally popping into a parkside cafe to schmooze over a drink or two.
The city has some lovely 19th-century Russian edifices in its central core plus rings of parkland and handsome brick squares. Outer areas maintain an air of Soviet sprawl but these are limited by steep hills and gorges. Yerevan’s museums and monuments could keep you busy for a few days but the best thing about the city is the people. Expressive black eyebrows, proud noses and classical Greek and Persian profiles appear everywhere, in a street culture somewhere between that of Marseilles, village Armenia and old Beirut. The cultural life is intense for a city of its size, including dozens of theatres, concert halls, galleries and live music clubs.
At the geographic heart of the country, the city also makes a perfect base to explore other areas. You could even make day trips as far afield as Lake Sevan, Mt Aragats and Vayots Dzor.