Celebrating Yerevan 2800 years
During our stay in Caucasus this autumn, we could only make a short visit to Armenia, since a dental operation “forced” us to stay in Georgia longer than we had originally planned. Armenia surely has a lot more to offer to visitors than the busy capital, but this time we decided to focus only on Yerevan. Did you know that Yerevan is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world? The city celebrated 2800th anniversary in October 2018, so we scheduled our trip to Armenia so, that we were in Yerevan to witness the main festival.
And what a weekend it was; the whole city center was full of people participating in concerts and sports events, exploring different kind of exhibitions and watching performances. There were several venues in squares and parks around the city center. There must have been hundreds of thousands of people on the streets during Sunday 21st Oct, which was the main festival day. Program started with Yerevan Marathon, with 2 800 runners of course, continuing with a cycling race, national songs and dances, brass band parade and several concerts.
Festival audience could choose between classical, jazz or rock stages, or try to navigate from one venue to another to hear a bit of everything. It’s unclear how many songs have been written about Yerevan during the history, we heard at least six different songs with word Yerevan repeated in chorus. I suppose they were kind of songs of praise, though quite pompous or even melancholy at times. During a gala concert in the evening, which maybe was the main event, the main square of the city, called Republic Square, turned into a huge arena, where celebrating Armenians were dancing and singing along with the performers. When the gala concert came to an end, impressing fireworks finished the official program.
The atmosphere in the city during the festival was very positive, and people seemed to be having a good time. Yerevan 2800 was also a festival for kids; there were lots of activities for children, and families participated in the events together. Even though the streets were full, we didn’t see any kind of disorder or anxiety, or even drunken people anywhere. To get an idea how the Yerevan 2800 festival looked like through our eyes, check out our short video and the picture gallery below. More about Yerevan as a travel destination will follow in separate travel guide post about the city!
History of Yerevan in a nutshell
- Since 4th millenium BC, there has been people living in the area of Yerevan
- In year 782 BC a military fortress, called Erebuni Fortress, was built in the site of the current city by Urartian King Argishti I
- During 6th and 5th century BC Yerevan was invaded by Persians and became one of the 20 provincial satrapies of the empire of King Darius I
- Time between 4th century BC and 3rd century AC is called the Dark Ages of Yerevan, and there is not much historical data from this period
- In year 301 AC Armenians adopted Christianity, and the first church was build in Yerevan in 5th century. This church, called Saint Peter and Paul, was largely destroyed in an earthquake in 1679, but restored soon after. However, it was demolished by Soviet Government in 1931, and Moscow Movie Theater was built on the site.
- From 7th to 20th century the rulers came and went, from Arabs to Turks, from Persians to Russian. The city of Yerevan was on an important trade route between India and Europe and thus a significant and relatively wealthy city.
- On May 28th 1918 Yerevan became the capital of the first Republic of Armenia, but only a couple of years later, after the establishment of Soviet Union, it became the capital of Armenian Soviet Socialistic Republic. Building boom was huge during the Soviet Era, and Yerevan started blooming. On the other hand, a lot of old significant buildings were demolished.
- On Sep 21st 1991 Yerevan became the capital of independent Republic of Armenia.