Yerevan: Republic Square

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Yerevan Walking Tour: Republic Square

Yerevan Walking Tour: Republic Square

Republic Square (Hanrapetutian H'raparak) (17) is the centerpiece of the architect Alexander Tamanian's 1924-1936 master plan for Yerevan, which developed Astafiev's 1856 city plan.

Alexander Tamanian and his colleagues transformed the character of Yerevan from a regional town to a major metropolis, building ever more imposing structures along the way. The massive designs favored by Tamanian are meant to impress the viewer through sheer volume. They are perhaps more correctly called edifices. In contrast, the more personal buildings in the old sector impress through their graceful curves and simple elegance, the way they defy gravity while staying rooted in the ground. They impress through their details.

Republic Square was once called Lenin Square, and had a huge Lenin Statue (sculptor S. Merkurov, architect N. Paremuzova, L. Vardanov) on its south end and was torn down after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The square includes five imposing structures, built between the 1920's and 1950's. The Post Office Building (18) on the right also houses of the Ministry of Communications and Transport. Just above it, Government building 1 with the clock tower (19) designed by Tamanian has offices for the Prime Minister. It combines classic lines and monumental weight with Armenian details in the capitals and along the top frieze. The sheer mass of the building is lightened through multi-colored tufa stone.

Directly across the square are the State History Museum and National Art Gallery (20). The white facade and colonnade is a pure symmetrical design. The lower level was built under Tamanian's supervision and houses the State History Museum, with the largest collection of prehistoric and Asia Minor artifacts in the world. The upper floors were added later to house the National Gallery, which collection includes Rembrandt, Titian and a large collection of Russian and Armenian masters. The left side of the building houses the Arno Babajanian Philharmonic Hall, which retains its early 20th century façade on its Abovian end. The back of the building has the entrance to the Charents Literature and Art and Middle Eastern/Marcos Grigorian museums.

To your upper left is Government building #2 (21), where the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is located. Note the carvings on the façade; as opposed to the rich friezes on the façade of the bell tower building, friezes on this building were never completed. To your left is the last building in the plaza, the previous Armenia Hotel (22).

In front of the museums are the Singing Fountains (23), a popular spot for evening strollers and open air concerts. The fountains are set to music, changing their design according to the type of music played. The fountains were renovated in 2007 into their current computer-controlled water displays, a spectacular show that includes 3-story jets of water and holographic images projected onto vapor mists.

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