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Yerevan History, Armenia

The capital of Armenia, Yerevan, is the largest city in the country and also an important tourist destination. Much of the city was built during the Soviet rule of Armenia, so many buildings in the city are examples of quality Soviet architecture combined with distinct Armenian elements. Yerevan is the twelfth capital of Armenia, and currently it is the country’s cultural, political and financial centre. The twentieth century has been a tormented one for Armenia, but in many ways, the historical events entailed the development of the capital into the beautiful and exciting city that it is today. This Yerevan History Guide briefly describes the events that shaped the history and culture of this interesting city.

Yerevan History Guide - Early history and Middle Ages

Yerevan’s site has been inhabited since the fourth millennium BC, but not much is known about the early history of the settlement. Cuneiform inscriptions have been found, indicating that ancient Yerevan was an Urartian fortress, and later evidence suggests that the city was an important cultural and economic center of the Persian Empire. There is absolutely no historical data about the period between the 4th century BC and the third century AD, and that’s why these centuries are called the Dark Ages of Yerevan. In the 7th century, the city was occupied by the Arabs, and it became an important stop on the Silk Road, like other cities from this part of the continent, like Van and Tbilisi. Around this time, the city received the name of Yerevan, though its etymology is not known for certain. In the second half of the 14th century, Yerevan was conquered by Tamerlane, and became a part of the Turko-Mongol Empire. The city was located in a very strategic place, and it became the subject of dispute between the Ottomans and the Persians. In 200 years, the city was passed to and fro between the two powers no less than fourteen times. Except for an earthquake that razed the city in 1679, Yerevan flourished as a manufacturing and administrative centre until 1828, when Armenia fell into the hands of the Russian Empire.

Yerevan History Guide - Modern era

After the Russians conquered the country, Yerevan became the capital of the Erivan Governorate. The city continued to flourish, and many changes occurred in its architecture. Old buildings were torn down, and new, Western-style constructions were erected. After a brief period of independence, in 1917-1921, Yerevan yet again came under Soviet rule, as the capital of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. Although the Armenian Genocide left a deep scar in the whole country’s history, the capital itself continued its development, despite the anti-Soviet attitude of the people. In 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Yerevan became the capital of the Republic of Armenia, and in spite of many financial difficulties, today Yerevan is an intriguing city that has many surprises to offer to its visitors.

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