Abovyan Street, Yerevan
Written by Oryx
Oryx talks with Yerevanian travel blogger Sirvard Amatuni about mingling with friends in cosy cafés and tea houses along Abovyan Street, which is also home to major business, cultural centres, and tourist attractions.
If the ‘Small Centre’ is the heart of this city, Abovyan Street is its aorta. Nurturing other avenues and boulevards with its unique atmosphere, it blends in the present and past of Armenia’s capital.
If you’re a first-timer, you’ll perhaps be surprised to know that Yerevan, in its stunning modern European outfit, used to be an ordinary provincial town in the early 20th century. It was only during the Soviet era and after Armenia’s independence in 1991 that it flourished into a bustling cultural and economic hub for the region.
As the oldest street in Yerevan, Abovyan Street houses a number of the city’s cultural institutions and historic buildings, while the dominant architecture of the street is early 20th-century black and pink tufa (a type of limestone). The street is named after the writer Khachatur Abovyan, whose statue is to be found at the northern end of the street. Republic Square, Yerevan’s central piazza, which houses the National Gallery of Armenia – the country’s largest art museum – is at the southern end.
Feeling like souvenir shopping and lunch, yet short of time? Actually, there’s a great ‘two-in-one’ venue, the Dalan Art Gallery. Located close to Republic Square, it boasts a collection of handmade items and jewellery – amazing souvenirs made by Armenian craftsmen. Follow up your indoor shopping in the outdoor restaurant located in the green backyard, and savour the abundant assortment of local dishes on the menu.
About halfway up Abovyan Street you’ll find Charles Aznavour Square, named after the Armenian/French singer. The square houses the historic, and recently renovated, five-star Royal Tulip Grand Hotel, whose Winter Garden is ideal for early evening light bites accompanied by the sound of harp or flute. Facing each other across the square are the impressive Stanislavsky Russian Theatre and the Moscow Cinema.
As you wind your way along, you’ll find cosy cafés and friendly bookstores, souvenir shops, art galleries, and a plethora of branded stores featuring the latest collections from budget to luxury. Do stop at the early mediaeval Katoghike Church, Armenia’s oldest surviving church, while the street ends shortly after the Yerevan State University buildings.
All four seasons are distinctly marked in Yerevan: crisp snow-clad winter; benign yet rainy spring; hot and easy-going summer; and our ‘velvet’ autumn. And Abovyan Street represents all the charms the city is famous for – hospitality, culture, and history.
Get to know Yerevan’s cuisine
Hamlet Margaryan is the founder and Brand-Chef of Personal Chef Armenia, the first and only company in Armenia bringing a personal chef to your kitchen for the most extraordinary culinary solutions. As a proficient restaurateur with over seven years of culinary experience (four as a chef), Hamlet and his team of four focus on creative approaches – be it organisation of a romantic dinner, wedding anniversary, or just a family gathering. They also conduct professional masterclasses for beginners and keen foodies.
Distance: 1,791 km
Flight Time: 6 hours, 55 minutes
Frequency: 4 times a week