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Saturday, August 24, 2019
Walking Tour of Old Abovian

Walking Tour: Central Abovian 1
Republic Square - Tumanian


Old Abovian Street Introduction

Walking Tour: Lower Abovian

Walking Tour: Central Abovian 1

Walking Tour: Central Abovian 2

Walking Tour: Upper Abovian


Lower Abovian
Central 1
Central 2
Upper Abovian

Map 2

(updated 2003)

20. From Republic Square you enter what is considered Abovian Street by most folks. The first few blocks most closely resemble Astafian Street as it was at the turn of the century. Two architects shaped the old quarter's ambiance, and by looking back and forth across the street you can compare their designs. On the right of the street are examples of V. Mirzorian's architecture, on the left those of B. Meghrabian.

21. No. 2, Abovian St. Between the two café's on the right (very expensive coffee at 500 AMD) is the 1880 Boy's Gymnasium. The red and black Neo Classical building is on the site where Astafieva planned the Catolicos cathedral, and is pure Mirzorian.

22. No. 1, Abovian St. Commissioned by Aram Ter Avetikian between 1900 and 1914, the three buildings are a complex that housed a thriving trade business. Combining red and black tuff, the buildings have flourishes of Art Nouveau details in the doorway and windows. The last building of the complex has been rebuilt to include an upper story, carefully preserving the original design. During W.W.I, Ter Avetikian gave that building to the Red Cross to use as a clinic. This is Sil Plaza.

23. Cross Arami Street. On the left is the old Detski Mir Department Store, now being renovated into a shopping center and hotel by an Armenian who struck it rich in Moscow. Marco Polo is the café on the street level.

24. On the right are a series of shops, including Milano, an upscale clothing store catering to the new rich.

25. The 19th century facades can sometimes be glimpsed between the garish shop fronts, including an old wooden balcony with metal Armenian trim. Balconies of this type were popular in the buildings along this row, but this is the only remaining example.

26. Karabala statue, artist Levon Tokmajian. Sandwiched between Detski Mir and a ticket agency is a bronze statue of an old man holding flowers. Often live flowers are placed in his outstretched hand in memoriam. The old man is Karabala, which means "Flower child" in Turkish. The unshaven man dressed in ragged clothes became a symbol of Abovian Street's romantic nature in the 1960's. Nobody knew his real name, he was just called Karabala. Karabala was known for his jovial wit, and romantic inclinations; whenever he saw a young couple, he invariably went up to the girl and gave her flowers. Just as no one knows who Karabala really was, no one exactly remembers when he died. As the water boys who once plied Old Yerevan calling out their wares have faded into a small statue on Shahumian St., Karabala has faded into memories of a romantic time.

Karabala is being moved to make way for the new Northwest Avenue, a major project to destroy the oldest part of the city and replace it with apartments and shops. The old buildings being demolished date back to the 18th century.

27. Commissioned by brothers Grigor and Barsegh Yeghiazarian in the 1880's, the two buildings on the right have strong Neo-classic details. The door on the building marked #8 is an 1890 original. Both buildings were used by the Central Soviet Committee and the Comsomol as their offices beginning in 1937.

28. The one on the corner held a large red star in the top arch of the building. The star has been removed, but its outline can still be seen in the masonry.

29. No. 1/4. Sandwiched between the Angel Casino and the Camel shop is the Gabrielian Mansion. The 1910 building is on of Meghrabian's masterpieces, combining Classical and Nouveau details.

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