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History of Yerevan

When the last stone of outer wall was laid, Argishti, son of Menua, came out of the palace, mounted a horse, rode around the fortress, admired the unshakeable power of formidable stronghold, the beauty of skilful constructions, and saw that good was done. He called an architect and ordered to immortalize on a stone plate his royal deed in the name of power of the country and at fear of the enemies. And under sharp chisel of a skilful master the cuneiform lines appeared following each other: “By the greatness of God, Argishti, son of Menua, raised that formidable fortress and named that city Erebuni in the name of power of Biahna and to frighten the hostile countries”. It was 2788 years ago. The plate exists up till now as an evidence of birth of Erebuni which became Yerevan, and a visiting- card which it shows to the world. That memorable list and other cuneiform evidences allowed the scientists to date precisely the birth of the city and to prove that Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, was founded in 782 B.C., 29 years ago before Rome. The inhabitants of the city from time immemorial were engaged in agriculture and cattle-breeding. But the finds of models of material culture – iron tools, swords, daggers, bronze chased waists, beads from black crystal and gold ornaments are the evidence that they were also skilled in blacksmith's work and metallurgy, and very skilful in different trades. And long before B.C. our forefathers protoyerevanians used the production of ancient foundries of Metsamor.

During centuries trades developed in Yerevan. Experienced tanners, farriers, joiners, weavers, dyers and jewellers joined in trade guilds, which had their own emblems and had a significant role in life of the city. Yerevan was one of the centers of Armenian art. Famous scientists and chroniclers, poets, printers, mathematicians were born and create here, whoso names are crowned with bright deeds. The history of past centuries convince that the Yerevanian who sowed bread and raised cattle, smelted iron and decorated manuscripts, was also a brave warrior not sparing his life for freedom and independence of the country.

There were many dark and light days in life of Yerevan, and our chroniclers and writers apparently followed the old Armenian wisdom: “Without mentioning evil don't wait well”, since the pages of pergament manuscripts are gull of descriptions of the disasters fell upon the Yerevanians. Situated on crossing of commercial ways called “Yerevanian road” from time immemorial, the city was always a tempting aim gor foreign aggressors. Yerevan had to repulse different hordes of robbers. Within its recollection came and went Mongolian noyons, Turki sultans karacouclu, Arabian militaries, Seljoukidian emirs, Persian sardars…

The underground forces showed their black power to Yerevan as if there were little brutality and savagery of foreign conquerors. During the centuries-old history Yerevan had to stand tens and hundreds earthquakes. In July 4 of 1679 a terrible earthquake began on the Ararat plain, when during a month almost every day underground shocks repeated. Many villages and countries, churches and cloisters turn into the ruin. The Garni temple fell to the ground. The element razed Yerevan to the ground. And then the locust flied from Persian sides and the hunger took the Armenian by the throat…

If we can judge about foundation times and antique period of Yerevan mainly from rock petroglyphs, materials of excavations and legends, then in case of appearance restoration of medieval Yerevan written sources are added to them. In the first instance it is a matter of the Armenian chroniclers. The appearance of medieval Yerevan was also engaged by foreign travelers, visited the city in XVI-XVIII centuries.

In XVII-XIX centuries Yerevan was the most dramatic point of interrelations among Russia, Turkey and Persia. Yerevan also attracted various Europeans who pursued their own interest -diplomatists, observers, merchants, scientists, painters, preachers and church-men,. Many of them left interesting travel notes which dealed not only with political and military questions but also various entertaining details from life of Yerevanians of that old times…

In September-October 1968 the Armenian nation marked the 2750 anniversary of its capital Yerevan by magnificent celebration. Suffering many privations in this world and saw little gladness, our nation established then and made a tradition the celebration of one historical date – the birth of Erebuni-Yerevan. And then a poem was written by Paruyr Sevak “Erebuni-Yerevan”, which became the capital hymn (music by Edgar Hovhannisyan).

Now Yerevan is a modern European city with a developed structure of entertainment and intellectual leisure. However Yerevan kept and retained through the centuries charm and fascination so characteristic of it. Mostly Yerevan obliged for it to its numerous old relics and monuments, which blended harmoniously with the entourage of the modern city. But of course the main in Yerevan are its inhabitants. Just they with their smiles, kindness and sincerity add the unique charm to the always young capital of Armenia.

Welcome to history…
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