Yerevan: Old Abovian Street: Pushkin to Tumanian streets

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Yerevan Walking Tour: Old Abovian Street: Pushkin to Tumanian streets

Yerevan Walking Tour: Old Abovian Street: Pushkin to Tumanian streets

Abovian Street reflects the essence of each period of Yerevan's growth, whether in the Armenian Belle Époque mansions between Republic Square and Hotel Yerevan or in the Art Deco and public buildings that continue on to Isahakian Street. The history of Abovian is the history of Yerevan.

Turning East at the corner of Abovian and Pushkin streets, the next square (at Nalbandian) is Sakharov Square (35), with a bust of the world-famous physicist Andrei Sakharov (sculptor T. Arzumanian, architect L. Ghalumian). Sakharov was a leader of the newly emerging human rights movement in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, and a winner of the Noble Peace Prize (1975). He was among the first who dared to publicly condemn the mass murders of Armenians in Sumgait, Azerbaijan, and spoke out on the right of self-determination by Armenians in Nagorno Karabakh.

On the right (#10 Abovian Str. and #12 Pushkin Str.) is an 1870's building, the Grigor Amirian House (36), built for a merchant and which in 1910-1911 served as an eye hospital, and in 1911-1915 as a private clinic for Dr. H. Hovhannisian. According to the plaque on the house façade, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky resided here in 1928. Grigor Amirian's “profit house” next door (37) was built in 1883. Alexander Miasnikian and First Secretary of the Armenia Communist Party Central Committee Aghasi Khanjian (1929-1936) lived here.

Across the street at 3/1 is the Yegor Khanzadiants Mansion (38), designed by both Mehrabian and Mirzorian in 1905. The red tufa building once housed the Saxon Import (fabric and fancies) Store founded in 1877 by Khanzadiants. Soviet architect Karo Halabian, the author of buildings in Yerevan ('Checkerboard house', Stanislavski Theatre, etc.), lived here.

Next door at No. 3 is the Hovhannissian Mansion and hospital (39). Built in 1915, Mehrabian designed the large building to include a hospital on the ground floor. The two story building has a basement and a small garden. The facade is richly decorated; among its distinctive features are the large stained glass arabesque windows on the main façade. The house belonged to a famous surgeon Hovhannes Hovhannissian. It houses the Armenian Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (the AOKS building).

Further up is the 1927 Hotel Yerevan (40) (now Golden Tulip Yerevan) designed by architect Nikoghaios Buniatian and once the most elegant hotel in Yerevan. It was the capital's first hotel built during Soviet times and was the favorite gathering spot of famous intellects of the day—Yeghisheh Charents, Alazan and Soghomon Tarontsi among others.

The hotel fronts the Charles Aznavour (old Moscow Cinema) Plaza (41) designed as part of the 1924 Yerevan city plan. The square was formed in 1927-1958 when Yerevan Hotel, Moscow Cinema (42), the Russian Stanislavski Theatre (43), and the Artist's House (44) were built. Moscow Cinema was added in 1937 (architects Yerkanian and Kochar). The façade is decorated with thematic bas-reliefs depicting 'Chapayev', “Pepo”, “Davit Bek”, “Sayat-Nova”, “Par” (Dance) and “Bem” (Stage) (sculptors Sargsian, Stepanian, Tokmajian, Petrosian).

Original text edited by the International Council on Monuments and Sites-Armenian National Committee (ICOMOS/Armenia).