Truth be told, I didn’t have any travel plans to visit Armenia. But when I started hammering out trip possibilities with my travel colleague — she has Armenian heritage and had never been to the country, either — it became clear that we needed to pay a visit. I’m glad we did.
My first night in the city was about three things: take a shower, take a nap, and find some food. Because of all of the severe weather we had to deal with getting out of the United States, we started this trip with significant delays and ended up traveling for two days. I needed to rest up for our first full day in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.
We’re staying a short walk from Republic Square, so that’s where we started. The National Gallery of Armenia is located here, and we toured the history and art museums inside. The square is a great place to relax and people watch, too.
The Armenian National Opera and Theater is a short walk away from Republic Square. We discovered it on our first night in the city while exploring the areas around our neighborhood.
The Opera and Theater complex is not busy during the day, but at nighttime, it becomes quite lively and inviting. Lots of folks gather there to watch performances or to dine and drink in one of the numerous outdoor cafes surrounding the complex. During one of our walks by the complex, it was difficult not to notice a large set of stairs built into the side of a nearby hill. The Cascade combines well-kept flowerbeds, architecture and art to create an area that is obviously popular with locals and tourists alike.
If you’re feeling hearty enough to climb the 572 steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with frequent places to stop, rest, and take in some interesting art displays.
The Cascade also provides a great spot for viewing the city and Mount Ararat, which is located in Turkey, in the distance.
I’m enjoying Yerevan quite a bit. It feels friendly to tourists, and judging by the numbers of parents and children I’ve seen enjoying this part of the city, it appears to be a great place for families. I’ve encountered the typical Armenian friendliness I’d heard about before arriving, too.
At night, some of the blocks around the Opera and Theater complex are lit with green lights. It creates a great atmosphere for enjoying the city.