The Five Oldest Streets of Yerevan

Yerevan is the current and twelfth capital of Armenia. Before it, the capital cities of Armenia have been Van, Armavir, Yervandashat, Artashat, Tigranakert, Vagharshapat, Dvin, Bagaran, Shirakavan, Kars, and Ani.

The current Armenian capital founded in 782 BC is 29 years older than Rome. The city was founded by King of Urartu Argishti I. The king’s cuneiform inscription testifying to this is now kept in the Erebuni Museum.

Over the centuries filled with cataclysms and conflicts, the appearance of Yerevan has changed drastically. The artist who created the current look of the Armenian capital was architect Alexander Tamanyan. Thanks to him, the medieval Armenian architecture formed the basis for the projects of many buildings, even those that were built after his death.

As a true architect, Tamanyan highly appreciated the varieties of stone in Armenia used as building materials. Their properties predetermined both the structure of buildings along with their architectural forms and decoration. It was thanks to the Armenian tuff, a pink-colored volcanic rock used in the construction of buildings in the center of Yerevan, that the city was called “pink.”

Abovyan Street

According to the general plan, this is the first street of the Armenian capital. It was built in the middle of the 19th century. During this period, it was called Astafyan Street in honor of Governor of Yerevan Major General Astafyev. The street used to be built up with mansions in the style of the Armenian Belle Époque.

In 1883, Astafyan Street was renamed Aleksandrovskaya Street in honor of Russian Emperor Alexander the Third. In 1921, the street was named after Armenian writer Khachatur Abovyan, and is so called to this day.

On the street used to stand such famous hotels as “France”, “Orient”, and “Grand Hotel”, as well as medical centers, city clubs, and the churches of Poghos-Petros and Katoghike.

Arami Street

Arami Street is one of the most colorful streets in Yerevan. In the 19th century, it was called Tsarsky Street in honor of Russian Emperor Nicholas I who visited Erivan in 1837. He stayed in a two-story building situated on the street.

After Armenia gained independence in May 1918, the street was renamed Azatutyan (Liberty Street). In 1919, it was renamed again Arami in honor of Interior Minister Aram Manukian.

This street has always been an important economic and commercial center in Yerevan. The State Bank, the men’s gymnasium, and several cultural institutions used to be located here.

Pavstos Buzand Street

The construction of this street began in the 1830s. Initially, it bore the name of General Vasily Beybutov (a descendant of the Armenian noble family) who distinguished himself in the military actions in the Caucasus.

In 1920, the street was renamed in honor of Simon Zavarian, one of the founders of the Dashnaktsutyun party. A year later, it was named after the revolutionary Ruben Rubenov and later after the Bolshevik Yakov Sverdlov. Since the 1990s, it bore the name of the Armenian historian of the 5th century Pavstos Buzand.

The street was built up mainly with residential buildings in an architectural style characteristic of the 19th-20th centuries, with front gardens, courtyards, and residential buildings located on the red line of the street.

Hanrapetutyan Street

This street has a meaningful and interesting history. It was officially opened in 1856 but was properly complemented with good evening lighting, low-rise buildings, and small water streams only in 1890. The street was initially named Nahangayin (Provincial) because the administrative court building was located here.

After the revolution, in 1921, it was renamed Lenin Street. On this street stood the building of the government of the First Republic of Armenia. It was from the oval balcony of this building a few days after the victory in the Sardarapat battle that Aram Manukian proclaimed the independence of Armenia and read the Declaration of Independence.

In 1950, in honor of the founder of the Communist Party of Armenia Stepan Alaverdyan, the street was renamed Alaverdyan Street. However, already in 1990, it was decided to rename it Hanrapetutyan Street (Republic Street) since it was there where the independence declaration had been read.

Nalbandyan Street

The construction of Nalbandyan Street began in 1860 and lasted nearly 30 years. Initially, the street was called Suleimankhanovsky Street.

In 1884, it was decided to rename the street in honor of a hero of the Russo-Turkish War General Arshak Ter-Ghukasov. In 1921, the street was again renamed, this time in honor of Armenian writer and author of the Armenian national anthem’s lyrics Mikael Nalbandyan.

Nalbandyan Street was one of the key streets of the city. Here was located a branch of the Tbilisi Trade Bank, as well as one of the largest pharmacies in the city.

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