Yerevan is the capital of Armenia, and at the beginning of the twentieth century, this fact would have been sufficient to describe it. With a population of about 30,000, the town was small and unremarkable. Today, however, a lot more remains to be said about it. It now has over a million inhabitants, a real city atmosphere, and several museums and monuments.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Yerevan is situated in the Ararat valley by the river Hrazdan. It lies about 1.500 metres above sea level. King Argishti I founded it in 782 BC when he built the fortress of Erebuni at the site, the remains of which can still be seen in the southeastern part of the city. Yerevan later became strategically important as a commercial centre for trade caravans going between Europe and Asia. It is first mentioned as the capital of East Armenia in chronicles from the 14th century.
The city and the Armenian nation suffered from several invasions throughout the ages. The Arabs and the Seljuk Turks started the trend in the 7th-9th centuries, with the Persians and the Ottomans making it their battleground in later centuries. Finally Russia conquered the country, and received the city in the Treaty of Turkmenchai in 1828. Yerevan was an independent capital in the short period between 1918 and 1920, and then again after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Unlike many cities developed by communists, Yerevan does not suffer from greyness. Instead, the city is pink. This is because most houses have been constructed from the local Armenian tuf stone which has this hue. The life of most inhabitants may not be quite as rosy-coloured, however. The capital, like Armenia itself, is extremely poor.
Yerevan is guarded by Mother Armenia, a great statue placed on one of the hills overlooking the city. On another hill the Memorial to the 1915 Armenian Genocide is located. Every year on the memorial day of the genocide, hundred of thousands of inhabitats visit this site.