Officially the Republic of Armenia, this country landlocked, mountainous country is situated in the Caucasus region. Located between the Black and Caspian Seas, the country is bordered on the north and east by Georgia and Azerbaijan, and on the south and west by Iran and Turkey. Yerevan is the country’s capital as well as its largest city.
With the growth of the economy of the country, Yerevan has been undergoing major transformation as many parts of the city have been the recipient of new construction since the early 2000s. Today, the appearance of new buildings, roads, restaurants, boutiques, living quarters, etc., have started to give the city a modern, cosmopolitan appearance. The National Art Gallery in Yerevan has more than 16,000 works that date back to the Middle Ages. It houses paintings by many European masters as well. The Modern Art Museum, the Children’s Picture Gallery, and the Martiros Saryan Museum are only a few of the other noteworthy collections of fine art on display in Yerevan. The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra performs at the beautifully refurbished Yerevan Opera House, where a full season of opera and ballet is performed by the staff of Armenian Opera Theater.
Yerevan's Vernisage (arts and crafts market), close to Republic Square, bustles with hundreds of vendors selling a variety of crafts on weekends and Wednesdays (though the selection is much reduced mid-week). The market offers woodcarving, antiques, fine lace, and the hand-knotted wool carpets and kilims that are a Caucasus specialty. Obsidian, which is found locally, is crafted into assortment of jewelry and ornamental objects. Armenian gold smithery enjoys a long tradition, populating one corner of the market with a selection of gold items. Soviet relics and souvenirs of recent Russian manufacture—nesting dolls, watches, enamel boxes and so on, are also available at the Vernisage.
Yerevan is filled with various restaurants and cafes including the centrally located Marco Polo, which has a cafe and bar section adjacent to the pedestrian area of Abovyan street. The restaurant is located in the basement and features a travel theme. There’s also another large classic restaurant section where live piano music is played every evening. Considering higher than average price level, Marco Polo is popular among foreigners and local Armenians able to afford. The city’s Caucasus Tavern offers dishes including authentic Armenian and Georgean cuisines and the menu is available in five languages including English.
There are about a dozen airlines serving Armenia from Europe and the Middle East. Zvartnotz International Airport serves international flights between Yerevan and Europe, the Middle East. Inner-Armenia and helicopter flights originate at Erebuni Airport in Yerevan, at Shirak Airport in Giumri and Stepanavan.
The climate in Armenia is markedly continental. Summers are dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September and low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Springs are short, while autumns are long and known for their vibrant and colorful foliage. Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow.