There are only few modern cities in the world which are as old as Yerevan. In 2008 the city celebrated its 2,790 th anniversary. This ancient city was founded in 782 BC when Carthage was very young and Rome was out of the question.
This long and eventful life was given to the city by the tsar of Ancient Urartu – Argishti I who built the fortress on Arin-Berd hill and named it Erebuni. That fortress in turn gave the name to the city which grew around. The ancient slab found by archeologists on that hill became the original birth certificate of the city. When deciphered the cuneiform writing says: “With the help of great God Haldi the tasr Argishti, the son of Menua constructed this powerful fortress and named it Erebuni”. It was 2,789 years ago, 29 years prior to the origination of Rome.
Ancient Yerevan played a considerable role in economic and political life of Armenia for many years; it stood on the crossroads of caravan routes, it was the major centre of trade. However, Yerevan was not the capital of Armenia , although it shared the country's bitter fate.
The invasions of conquerors in the 7 th – 11 th centuries - Arabs, and later Seljuk Turks caused a serious damage to the city's development. In the 15 th – 18 th centuries Yerevan suffered from robberies of Ottoman Turks and Persians. Yerevan passed from one hands to other 14 times - each time with considerable destructions. The conquest of Sefevid (Persian) Shah Abassom I in 1604 was the most devastating for Yerevan . In 1679 the earthquake destroyed the biggest part of the city.
In the 17 th – 19 th centuries Yerevan became the "apple of discord" between Russia , Turkey and Persia . Having taken Yerevan by storm on October 1st, 1827 Russian armies signed the Turkmanchai treaty according to which Persia had to refuse Transcaucasian territories including Yerevan khanate.
Yerevan became the capital of Armenia , short of its first and brief mentioning in the 15 th –century annals, only in 1920. By that moment the thirteenth capital of Armenia was a small, uncomfortable, and devastated by wars and earthquake town. Its intensive construction began in the 1930s and since 1936 the city has been officially called Yerevan. Before that its name was written and pronounced as Erivan'.
Architect Alexander Tamanian became the “father” of the modern city. He managed to create the unique look of the city embodied in the noble classical architecture with skilful utilization of ancient Armenian builders' architecture elements: stone carving, ornamentation and so forth. Besides, Tamanian began to use tuff, the major natural resource of Armenia, in town-planning. Tuff is a stone of volcanic origin, very light, strong and beautiful. The most used in Yerevan was pink tuff, consequently, Armenian capital is sometimes called “a pink city”.
… Modern Yerevan lies in the picturesque Ararat Valley occupying the area of 300 sq km. Yerevan was constructed by a “circle” principle from which the beams of streets disperse. From the north to the West Yerevan is crossed by the Razdan river gorge with picturesque parks, lakes and waterfalls, cafes and restaurants. You can cross the gorge using “Akhtanak” bridge. If you stop half-way you will enjoy the most beautiful panorama of the city. The houses from a colored tuff give the streets their extraordinary diversity. From a distance the houses look like toy ones made of colored blocks. Right from the “Akhtanak” bridge begins Mesrop Mashtots Prospect – the main street of Yerevan which stretches for 2 kilometers. Mesrop Mashtots Prospect is the centre of all cultural life of the city. There you will find numerous museums, and Opera and Ballet Theater. The treasury of Armenian writing – Matenadaran - stands in the end of the prospect.
Behind the building of Matenadaran there is the monument to Mother-Armenia – a figure of a woman with a sword in hand.
The downtown bordered with a ring of parkways is decorated by the Republic Square surrounded by governmental buildings. The Museum complex (the Picture gallery of Armenia, the Historical Museum, Literature and Arts Museum, the Museum of History of Yerevan, the Museum of Russian Arts, the Modern Arts Museum) and other places of interest are also situated on the square.