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Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the country, as its primate city. It has been the capital since 1918, the fourteenth in the history of Armenia and the seventh located in or around the Ararat Plain. The city also serves as the seat of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, which is the largest diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and one of the oldest dioceses in the world.

City Profile

Country  Armenia
Settled (Shengavit) c. 3300 BCE
Founded as Erebuni by Argishti I of Urartu 782 BCE
City status by Alexander II 1 October 1879
Capital of Armenia 19 July 1918 (de facto)
Administrative Districts 12

 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Body City Council
 • Mayor Hrachya Sargsyan

 • Capital city 223 km2 (86 sq mi)
Highest elevation

1,390 m (4,560 ft)
Lowest elevation

865 m (2,838 ft)

 (2011 census)
 • Capital city 1,060,138
 • Estimate 

 • Density 4,824/km2 (12,490/sq mi)
 • Metro

(2001 estimate)
Demonym(s) Yerevantsi(s),[15][16] Yerevanite(s)[17][18]
Time zone UTC+04:00 (AMT)
Area code +374 10
International airport Zvartnots International Airport
HDI (2018) 0.802[19]
very high · 1st


Topography and cityscape

Yerevan has an average height of 990 m (3,248.03 ft), with a minimum of 865 m (2,837.93 ft) and a maximum of 1,390 m (4,560.37 ft) above sea level in its southwestern and northeastern sections, respectively. It is among the fifty highest cities in the world with over 1 million inhabitants.

Yerevan is located on the banks of the Hrazdan River, northeast of the Ararat Plain, in the central-western part of the country. The upper part of the city is surrounded with mountains on three sides while it descends to the banks of the river Hrazdan at the south. The Hrazdan divides Yerevan into two parts through a picturesque canyon.

The city is situated at the heart of the Armenian Highland. Historically, Yerevan was located in the Kotayk canton (Armenian: Կոտայք գավառ Kotayk gavar, not to be confused with the current Kotayk Province) of the Ayrarat province of historic Armenia Major.

According to the current administrative division of Armenia, Yerevan is not part of any marz (“province”) and has special administrative status as the country’s capital. It is bordered by Kotayk Province to the north and the east, Ararat Province to the south and the south-west, Armavir Province to the west and Aragatsotn Province to the north-west.

The Erebuni State Reserve, formed in 1981, is located around 8 km southeast of the city centre within the Erebuni District of the city. At a height between 1300 and 1450 meters above sea level, the reserve occupies an area of 120 hectares, mainly consisting of semi-deserted mountain-steppes.


Yerevan features a continental influenced steppe climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk or “cold semi-arid climate”), with long, hot, dry summers and short, but cold and snowy winters. This is attributed to Yerevan being on a plain surrounded by mountains and to its distance from the sea and its effects. The summers are usually very hot with the temperature in August reaching up to 40 °C (104 °F), and winters generally carry snowfall and freezing temperatures with January often being as cold as −15 °C (5 °F) and lower. The amount of precipitation is small, amounting annually to about 318 millimetres (12.5 in). Yerevan experiences an average of 2,700 sunlight hours per year. On 12 July 2018, Yerevan recorded a temperature of 43.7 °C (110.7 °F), which is the joint highest temperature to have ever been recorded in Armenia.


The Yerevan TV Tower is the tallest structure in the city and one of the tallest structures in the South Caucasus.

The Republic Square, the Yerevan Opera Theatre, and the Yerevan Cascade are among the main landmarks at the centre of Yerevan, mainly developed based on the original design of architect Alexander Tamanian, and the revised plan of architect Jim Torosyan.

A major redevelopment process has been launched in Yerevan since 2000. As a result, many historic structures have been demolished and replaced with new buildings. This urban renewal plan has been met with opposition and criticism from some residents, as the projects destroy historic buildings dating back to the period of the Russian Empire, and often leave residents homeless. Downtown houses deemed too small are increasingly demolished and replaced by high-rise buildings.

The Saint Gregory Cathedral, the new building of Yerevan City Council, the new section of Matenadaran institute, the new terminal of Zvartnots International Airport, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts at the Cascade, the Northern Avenue, and the new government complex of ministries are among the major construction projects fulfilled during the first two decades of the 21st century.

Aram Street of old Yerevan and the newly built Northern Avenue are respectively among the notable examples featuring the traditional and modern architectural characteristics of Yerevan.

As of May 2017, Yerevan is home to 4,883 residential apartment buildings, and 65,199 street lamps installed on 39,799 street light posts, covering a total length of 1,514 km. The city has 1,080 streets with a total length of 750 km.


Yerevan is a densely built city but still offers several public parks throughout its districts, graced with mid-sized green gardens. The public park of Erebuni District along with its artificial lake is the oldest garden in the city. Occupying an area of 17 hectares, the origins of the park and the artificial lake date back to the period of king Argishti I of Urartu during the 8th century BCE. In 2011, the garden was entirely remodeled and named as Lyon Park, to become a symbol of the partnership between the cities of Lyon and Yerevan.

The Lovers’ Park on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue and the English Park at the centre of the city, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries respectively, are among the most popular parks in Yerevan. The Yerevan Botanical Garden (opened in 1935), the Victory Park (opened in the 1950s) and the Circular Park are among the largest green spaces of the city.

Opened in the 1960s, the Yerevan Opera Theatre Park along with its artificial “Swan Lake” is also among the favorite green spaces of the city. In 2019 some of the public space of the park leased to restaurants was reclaimed allowing for improved landscape design. A public ice-skating arena is operated in the park’s lake area during winters.

The Yerevan Lake is an artificial reservoir opened in 1967 on the Hrazdan riverbed in the south of the city centre, with a surface of 0.65 km2 (0.25 sq mi).

Each administrative district of Yerevan has its own public park, such as Buenos Aires Park and Tumanyan Park in Ajapnyak, Komitas Park in Shengavit, Vahan Zatikian Park in Malatia-Sebastia, David Anhaght Park in Kanaker-Zeytun, the Family Park in Avan, and Fridtjof Nansen Park in Nor Nork.

Ethnic groups

Yerevan was inhabited first by Armenians and remained homogeneous until the 15th century. The population of the Erivan Fortress, founded in the 1580s, was mainly composed of Muslim soldiers, estimated two to three thousand. The city itself was mainly populated by Armenians. French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who visited Yerevan possibly up to six times between 1631 and 1668, states that the city is exclusively populated by Armenians. Although much of the Armenian population of the city was deported during the 17th century, the city remained Armenian-majority during the Ottoman–Hotaki War (1722–1727). The demographics of the region changed because of a series of wars between the Ottoman Empire, Iran and Russia. In the early 19th century Yerevan had a Muslim majority, mainly with an Armenian and “Caucasian Tatar” population. According to the traveler H. F. B. Lynch, the city was about 50% Armenian and 50% Muslim (Azerbaijanis and Persians) in the early 1890s

After the Armenian genocide, many refugees from what Armenians call Western Armenia (nowadays Turkey, then Ottoman Empire) escaped to Eastern Armenia. In 1919, about 75,000 Armenian refugees from the Ottoman Empire arrived in Yerevan, mostly from the Vaspurakan region (city of Van and surroundings). A significant part of these refugees died of typhus and other diseases.

From 1921 to 1936, about 42,000 ethnic Armenians from Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Greece, Syria, France, Bulgaria etc. went to Soviet Armenia, with most of them settling in Yerevan. The second wave of repatriation occurred from 1946 to 1948, when about 100,000 ethnic Armenians from Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt, France, United States etc. moved to Soviet Armenia, again most of whom settled in Yerevan. Thus, the ethnic makeup of Yerevan became more monoethnic during the first 3 decades in the Soviet Union. The Azerbaijani population of Yerevan, who made up 43% of the population of the city prior to the October Revolution, dropped to 0.7% by 1959 and further to 0.1% by 1989, during the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

There is an Indian population in Armenia, with over 22,000 residents recorded in the country. Much of this population resides in Yerevan, where a large proportion run businesses, Indian restaurants, and study in Yerevan universities.


Armenian Apostolic Church

Armenian Apostolic Christianity is the predominant religion in Armenia. The 5th-century Saint Paul and Peter Church demolished in November 1930 by the Soviets, was among the earliest churches ever built in Erebuni-Yerevan. Many of the ancient Armenian and medieval churches of the city were destroyed by the Soviets in the 1930s during the Great Purge.

The regulating body of the Armenian Church in Yerevan is the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, with the Surp Sarkis Cathedral being the seat of the diocese. It is the largest diocese of the Armenian Church and one of the oldest dioceses in the world, covering the city of Yerevan and the Ararat Province of Armenia.

Yerevan is currently home to the largest Armenian church in the world, the Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Illuminator. It was consecrated in 2001, during the 1700th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian Church and the adoption of Christianity as the national religion in Armenia.

As of 2017, Yerevan has 17 active Armenian churches as well as four chapels.

Russian Orthodox Church

After the capture of Yerevan by the Russians as a result of the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28, many Russian Orthodox churches were built in the city under the orders of the Russian commander General Ivan Paskevich. The Saint Nikolai Cathedral opened during the second half of the 19th century, was the largest Russian church in the city. The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God was opened in 1916 in Kanaker-Zeytun.

However, most of the churches were either closed or demolished by the Soviets during the 1930s. The Saint Nikolai Cathedral was entirely destroyed in 1931, while the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God was closed and converted first into a warehouse and later into a club for the military personnel. Religious services resumed in the church in 1991, and in 2004 a cupola and a belfry were added to the building. In 2010, the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Holy Cross Russian Orthodox church took place with the presence of Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow. The church was eventually consecrated on 7 October 2017, with the presence of Catholicos Karekin II, Russian bishops and the church benefactor Ara Abramyan.

Other religions

According to Ivan Chopin, there were eight mosques in Yerevan in the middle of the 19th century. The 18th-century Blue Mosque of Yerevan was restored and reopened in the 1990s, with Iranian funding, and is currently the only active mosque in Armenia, mainly serving Iranian Shia visitors.


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