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Monday, June 17, 2019
Walking Tour of Old Abovian

Walking Tour: Central Abovian 2
Tumanian - Moskovian


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 3

(updated 2003)

30. Cross Tumanian. The first building on the right houses the Geological Museum of Armenia (open 10 to 5, Tues-Sun, admission: 50 AMD). The museum is on the upper level, and includes skeletons of mammoths which populated the volcanic Armenian plateau during the Mesolithic period. Built in the 1870's the salmon colored stucco with red trim is characteristic of the style used in that period. On the wall of the building is a plaque commemorating a one night stay in the building by Maxim Gorky.

31. The pink with white trim building next to it dates from the same period.

32. Across the street at 3/1 is the Khanzatian Mansion, designed by both Meghrabian and Mirzorian. The red tuff building housed the Saxon Import Store on the ground level. Like other owners on Abovian, when the builders laid the foundation, Khanzatian placed money between the stones for good fortune and a strong building.

33. No. 3. The Hovhannissian Mansion. Built between 1915 and 1916, Meghrabian designed the large building to house a hospital on the ground floor. In 1920 the building was used as a tropical diseases clinic, and now houses the Armenian Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries. Among the distinctive features of the building are the large stained glass arabesque windows, incorporating a Star of David design in the framework. It's worth a visit to the Society's offices to see the interior of the building, since it has kept much of its original design. Though faded and worn, the extensive use of wooden trim is a rare find in Yerevan. Frequent exhibitions are held in the building.

34. The Tbilisi Restaurant is located in the basement of the mansion. They offer tasty Georgian Khachapuri for 1500 to 2500 AMD. Three statues adorn the entrance to the restaurant, including the corner frieze called "Armenians in Georgia".

35. Hotel Yerevan/Kino Moscow Square. A 17th c. Persian Mosque and the 19th c. Poghos Petros church were demolished to make way for the Zodiac fountain and buildings.

36. The ca. 1926 Hotel Yerevan was designed by architect Nikoghos Bunatian and was the most elegant hotel in Yerevan. Reconstruction on the outside is superb, saving a major monument. Inside it is all Italian chintz (expensive at that). The restaurant once served coffee and repartee to the likes of Charents, Alazan and Soghomontaratsi, in a kind of "Algonquin Trio", and the café was popular with artists, writers and musicians.

37. The 1933 Kino Moscow building has three heroic friezes on the southern side of the building. The top and bottom friezes contain the Lenin quote: "In culture, the best art is film."

38. The Russian Stanislavski Theater across the square produces classical and contemporary plays.

39. Starting at Tumanian Street, Abovian street widens to a boulevard with ample sidewalk space and tree shade. The white facade buildings all date from the 1940's. On the right are a series of shops below the large apartment building.

40. On the left is the "Window Theater", which produces some of the most innovative and challenging theater in Yerevan. They annually produce a Shakespeare classic using children as actors, a treat not to be missed.

41. Next to the Window Theater and continuing to the end of the block is the Yerevan Children's Museum. Entrance is free (we left a 500 AMD donation), the collection of paintings, weavings, manuscripts and ceramics produced by children in Armenia is some of the best work of its kind. Worth a visit.

42. The next block of Abovian begins at Sayat Nova. Half a block on your left is the Yerevan Puppet Theater.

43. On your right is the white and black Hotel Ani, recently remodeled (25,000 AMD for double).

44. On your left as you cross the street is the Economics and Linguistics Building, a 1930's building using black tuf.

45. Turn left through the alley just past the Linguistics building and follow it to the back courtyard. The 12th-13th c. Cathedral Church of St. Mother of God was partially demolished in 1936 to clear the area for Tamanian's master plan. Legend has it the workmen were able to demolish all but the sacristy and basilica: the stone work was so strong their sledge hammers broke as they tried to pound through the walls. Eventually the left the church standing, semi demolished until 1996 when a complete restoration of the sacristy was completed and the church reopened as a chapel. Plans are to eventually rebuild the rest of the church. A picture exhibit outside the church shows the church before, during and after demolishing. There are few photos showing Poghos Petros (now Kino Moscow) before it was destroyed.

46. Return to Abovian Street. Shops line both sides of the street. There are ceramic statues and a fountain underneath the trees, as well as sidewalk café's in the summer time. Cross the street and continue to Moskovian Street.

47. On your right there are three buildings of interest: No. 28, No. 30 and No. 32 (I and II). The three were built in the 1930's to house artists and intellectuals, preserving the cultural character of the street. Monuments and plaques in front of the building commemorate residents.

48. Among the shops on the left is Café de Paris (fresh roasted coffee, about $7 a pound).

49. On your right a wonderful example of 1930's deco signage at the "Xleb" (Russian for bread) store. On this block, the new marble and chrome store fronts actually seem to improve the overall appearance of the street.

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