In the territory of nowadays Yerevan we have at least 3 ancient abodes. The oldest ones are located in Hrazdan canyon giving shelter to mankind even 100000 years ago, but they were hosting just a small number of people.
According to the Bible after the Great Flood humanity started to increase in number and many people preferred to stay in the mountainsides of Ararat forming the first communities in the Bronze Age (Ancient city in Shengavit region, Erebuni museum…).
This was the period before the construction of the city, as the history of Yerevan would start only in 782 B.C., but these abodes prove the existence of Armenian people in this area even before the construction.
The origin of the name “Yerevan”
According to the legend after the Great Flood, when Noah came out of the Ark, he told “Erevatc”, when the view of Ararat field opened to him.
This national legend was widely known by the locals and travelers from the entire world. Jean Chardin, a French traveler, was one of the first people to announce about this legend.
He was even told by the locals that Noah was living in Yerevan. These legends don’t have any historical proof and are not supposed to be true.
Other theories tell us about the origin of the name from king Ervand and the fortresses he built.
The construction of Erebuni – the start of the history of Yerevan
At the beginning of 8th century B.C. king of Ararat Kingdom Argishti invaded Yerevan and started the construction of the city.
The cuneiform found in the area of the city during the excavations proves the fact, it is written.”By the greatness of God Khaldi, Argishti, the son of Menua, built this magnificent fortress and called Erebuni for the greatness of Beainili and the horror of enemies”.
In the cuneiform Ararat Kingdom is being called “Beainili” and was known to neighbors also as “Urartu” and “the Kingdom of Van”.
King Argishti populated Erebuni with 6600 people and continued invasions of new territories. The city had a very successful location so many trading roads were passing through it, so the population of the city grew up.
Unfortunately, the location of Yerevan became the reason for its fall and all the tragedies.
The fall and bad location of the city
Then the history of Armenia would face hard periods which would never cease throughout centuries. From the beginning of its history, Armenia was formed in the area of the conjunction of Europe to Asia.
Thus, all the land was a desirable area for all the empires of the world and the history of Yerevan would become dark and hard and the city would become desolate.
Many Armenian, Arabic and European historians wrote about Yerevan as a city with low population and permanent place of wars and conflicts.
Yerevan became a vital area when the fortress was built to protect Ararat Field from the enemy attacks.
The Fortress of Yerevan was first time mentioned by the historians in the 7th century. Sebeos, a famous Armenian historian writes that the Arabic army tried to conquer the fortress, but the walls were too powerful for them.
The fortress was the centre of Yerevan Khanate in Persia (as in 387 Armenia was divided into two parts by Persia and Byzantine Empire).
It was equipped with bathrooms, Mosques, houses and palaces and had supplies for 6 months. It was almost invincible.
The population of the fortress in 1590 was 2014 people (1869 Armenians and 45 Muslim believers).
Only armies of Russian Empire could manage to invade it 1828, after which the fortress lost its significance. That year would always be remembered in the history of Yerevan as it opened a new page in the book of this ancient city.
City after the Russian invasion – 19th century
At the beginning of the 19th century Yerevan just had a population of 11.000 people and until the beginning of the 20th century was one of the most old-fashioned cities of the Russian Empire.
The small city had its specialists, those were water-sellers, sellers of old things, shoemakers and cobblers and small fabrics with maximum 5,6 or 12 workers.
Public transportation was being done by 40 chaises. And one day the “drivers” of chaises unite and complain the Governor for bad roads and high prices of oat and grass.
The Governor told that the city is connected with the internal world with an excellent way, and it was right as caravans were coming from the east and continued telling that from the train station of Tbilisi there were other chaises to Yerevan.
By the end of the 19th century, there were 5 vodka and wine production industries and in total 127 factories and had a population of 35.000 people.
Yerevan in the 20th century and in the modern era
The railway between the Yerevan and Aleksandrapol cities made the economy of Yerevan much better making the city more modern and progressive.
The next event changing the life of Yerevan was the Armenian Genocide. It made a great impact on the history of Yerevan. Crowds of Armenian refugees saved their lives by fleeing to Armenia, many of them settling in Yerevan.
The second wave of refugees started in 1918 when the Turkish army attacked Armenia invading Aleksandrapol (now Gyumri) and started the movement to Yerevan.
Aram Manukyan, the leader of the Armenian government, refused to surrender and gave a battle in Sardarapat village where the Turkish army was defeated. As a result, the population of the city reached up to 1.200 000 people.
The city was rebuilt by the plan of famous architecture Aleksandr Tahmanyan since 1924 and was planned just for 150000 people with low buildings, but urbanization made the city to grow and involve the villages nearby.
Visit Yerevan! It is astonishing
Now Yerevan is a beautiful and interesting city with excellent views and history. Beautiful buildings and history won’t leave your heart unmoved.
Many museums, theatres, Opera House, walking streets and nightlife areas will give you the best of possible.
Warm people, tasty food and traditional dishes will help you experience better. Soon we will have a new article about things to do and see in Yerevan, so as you will be able to enjoy it more!