In one of our previous posts, we’ve guided you across Yerevan, Armenia’s beautiful capital, telling about the top cultural, historical and nightlife venues in this charming city. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips and recommendations on what you can particularly do in Yerevan on a week-end during your trip to Armenia.
First of all, if you want to fully immerse into local culture, feel the beat of the city as a Yerevan resident, you should start your day with delicious black coffee. As cappuccino for Italians, a cup of black ground coffee is the first morning ritual of the locals (so, even if you’re not the fan of this drink, know it’s a must-try in Yerevan as it’s the residents of the city that are said to make in a uniquely tasty way). Now, you’re fully ready to take a walking tour across Yerevan downtown which you can begin at Yerevan History Museum, attached to the Yerevan City Hall. The museum features rich collections of archaeology, written records, ethnography, fine arts etc. that take you on a centuries- old journey to explore the history of this ancient city (29 years older than Eternal Rome, by the way!). Afterwards, if you feel eager to learn more about the Armenian people and the masterpieces they created, you can visit Matenadaran – one of the largest vaults of ancient manuscripts and written records in the world. Other cultural/historical sights in Yerevan include: Erebuni Museum Archaeological Preserve, History Museum of Armenia, National Gallery of Armenia.
Feeling like having a lunch break with something local? Taste spas that is served in almost any cozy tourist-friendly restaurant and cafe in the Yerevan Small Center. It’s a light soup made from matzoon (“Armenian yoghurt- fermented milk), greens and herbs, sometimes mixed with mint or cilantro. Hot or chilled (depending on the weather), this yoghurt-soup is one of the yummy must-taste dishes during your trip in Armenia.
As you may have read in the guidebooks about Armenia, the people of the country take pride in their world-famous brandy (the favorite of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill). So after a lunch-break and some rest, you can continue discovering Yerevan taking a tour to the museum of Yerevan Brandy Factory. Here you will learn how the local brandy is made and sample various types of delicious brandies.
The alluring aroma of Armenian brandy may entice you to have some fun at one of the nightlife venues in Yerevan. Saturday night is always the right time to do so, as many bars and clubs offer special events with live music and almost all the hip places are crowded with locals and tourists. After indulging yourself with nutritious Armenian dinner (tolma, khorovats (barbecue), harissa or dishes with Armenian trout and whitefish), you can head for one of the places suggested in the article and entertain with locals who are famous for their hospitability and friendliness and ready to help you with a few more tips about the city.
Sunday in Yerevan is a more relaxed time: after the noisy Saturday booze, you may also be more inclined for lazy strolling and souvenir shopping in the city. So, it’s just perfect time to plunge into some national art and craft followed up by shopping in souvenir stores and flea markets.
If you’re a fan of modern arts and want to by unique handmade souvenirs in Armenia, you can take an idle stroll to the Cafesjian Sculpture Garden (or just “Cascade Park” as dubbed by locals) and visit Cafesjian Museum for Modern Arts which features an admirable collection of modern art. The Museum Store is located on the first floor and offers a broad variety of genuinely Armenian souvenirs- handmade dolls, unique jewelry, national symbolic and wooden hanging ornaments, home decors, and much more.
No week-end in Yerevan will be complete without visiting famous Vernissage. So, to continue your spending spree, head for this open-door market which abounds in Armenian arts and crafts – unique clay pottery paintings, embroideries, wood and stone carvings, carpets and traditional khachkars (cross-stones), silver jewelry and many more unrivalled pieces of Armenian culture.
And, finally, to say “good-bye” to the Armenian capital on Sunday, spend your evening at the beautiful Republic Square – home to the Yerevan’s landmark “Singing Fountains”. After 9 o’clock every day, the colorful Fountains start their performance, singing and dancing to the modern and classic music. Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?
Truly, Yerevan is a very charismatic and hospitable city. Once here, you’re sure to feel the whole pleasure of the renowned Armenian hospitality and warmth, which is one of the reasons you will want to come back to Armenia over and over again.
Have you spent an unforgettable week-end in Yerevan? What did you do and see? Feel free to share on the comment section below.
Text: Sirvard Amatuni
Images: AyasTour, Kabashilova, Artem Avetisyan, armenianow.com, Vigen Avanesyan