Yerevan is Armenia’s preeminent city for culture, art, and industry. As both Armenia’s capital and largest city, Yerevan attracts over one million tourists each year. Many come to learn about the area’s eventful, three-thousand-year history, as well as to explore a lively cityscape, nearby camping and skiing destinations, yearly festivals, and more.
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is home to one-third of the country's population, or just over a million people, and sees almost as many tourists come to town each year. It's also the third oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, after Damascus and Jerusalem. Since a disastrous earthquake in the late 80s, the city has picked up quite some momentum and has become a place of an almost fictional quality, like a made-up town in a romantic film. Come here to learn about the area's eventful, three-thousand-year history, even if it's just a stopover before you head on to discover some of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world in the country of Armenia.
When you're in Armenia, an ancient church is never far off, but it's the cult built around the Armenian language and its alphabet that has to be experienced to be believed. Tourist t-shirts featuring the Armenian alphabet, statues, monuments, and museums dedicated to the letters themselves and the man who invented them, Mesrop Mashtots, can be found all over the city. Other than that, Mount Ararat, annexed to Turkey, plays a starring role in both the views and the folklore of Yerevan, and during sunset hours, it will become more than clear why that is the case.
We know this is a section on edible joys, but in the case of Yerevan, we do need to start with a drink: your first stop in the city ought to be a tour of the Ararat brandy factory and museum. Just know you'll have to bring the right mindset because a visit will be tied to a tasting that is anything but casual. Made globally famous by Winston Churchill, who doted on the stuff ever since coming across it at the Yalta conference, Ararat brandy has since taken the world by storm. It is now available in a massive number of expensive bars all over the world. Now, to the actual food: there's no culinary pleasure quite like the one you get from being one of the relatively few people to discover that Armenia knows how to grill its meat. Here, things like mass farming or the administration of improper antibiotics to livestock are of no concern. For people who keep a pant-based diet, Yerevan admittedly won't be an easy destination. That being said, the country is famous for its apricots and peaches, and justly so, so vegetarians have those to look forward to.
Yerevan loves festivals. The residents of this city will seize any possible opportunity to gather and celebrate their culture, and they will do so for days or even weeks. Brandy, wine, the seasonal ripening of fruits or vegetables, a type of bread: you name it, they have a festival for it. If somehow you happen to be in town when there is no such merriment going on, you can still do the very Yerevan thing of starting your day at Vernissage — sort of like the Armenian Rose Bowl flea market — having a grilled feast for dinner and finishing your day at one of the rustic, iconic wine bars of the city.