Once I got to Yerevan I realized something new. I am from a former communist country and in Romania you will find plenty of socialist buildings. But in Yerevan, somehow, the soviet architecture is pretty?!?
I know! I am shocked as you are. I have no interest in the idea of traveling back in time (no thank you, being a woman used to suck and still sucks in some places) but I love to visit places which kept their history alive through buildings and traditions. And, for the first time I felt curious to discover the soviet architecture of any city.
Before I started my walk in Yerevan, with the purpose of finding the best examples of Soviet architecture, I stumbled into House-Museum of Aram Khachaturian. This is a museum dedicated to the world-famous composer Aram Khachaturian which also serves as a concert hall.
Obviously, I started my exploration at the Cascade. Just around the corner from my accommodation, Yerevan’s Cascade is the city’s defining landmark. It is an ensemble of stairs which rises from the ground level all the way to the hilltop above.
It’s construction began in 1971 and its architects were Jim Torosyan, Aslan Mkhitaryan and Sargis Gurzadyan. The general idea was that each level would have a gallery that would showcase a different period of Armenia’s ancient history.
The good news that inside this complex there are escalators which can take you up.
Once you reach the top you can sit down and marvel at the panorama of the city or you can start heading towards Memorial of the 50th anniversary of Soviet Armenia and Victory Park in order to see Mother Armenia.
From here you can also see a block of flats built in the neobrutalist style, which look like a gate into the city (I saw something similar in Kishinev).
If there is one thing that I really like to experiment in the former Soviet countries that is riding the metro. I don’t know why – I just like it. I went to Republic Square Metro Station to do just that. Instead I found one of the most beautiful station – right in front of the entrance there is a beautiful concrete fountain in the shape of a flower. It’s so pretty.
The interior of the station is also quite beautiful, however you are not allowed to take pictures inside. A very angry lady started telling me just that. I did snap one photo though 😀
Because I did not understand the announcements in the metro and I did not want to go too far I stopped at Cinema Rossiya. It used to be the largest cinema in Armenia that could house to 2500 people, designed to resemble Mount Aratat, however after the collapse of the USSR it was abandoned. Today it serves as a shopping center.
Not too far away I found the Yeritasardakan metro station, designed and built between 1972 and 1981, this is the quintessential example of soviet architecture in Armenia.
From here, somehow I ended up at the Yerevan State Engineering University which, as someone told me, is an example of soviet brutalist architecture. The entire building is covered in concrete shapes which look like clovers.
As I was walking back home on Pushkin street I found this structure which seemed to, nowadays, house Hard Rock Cafe. In my opinion, it is such a good example of Soviet architecture.
To be honest, all the apartment blocks seemed to be more mysterious and more stuck in time and I seemed to enjoy looking at them and admire their brutalist architecture. I saw a couple of locals eyeing me out, definitely wondering why am I fascinated with them. And to be honest (I had to think about this for a second) the answer must be connected with the way the former USSR countries recovered from that cultural trauma in such different ways. In my opinion, Armenia is not trying to erase its past while some countries are trying to forget as fast as possible about being under the Soviet rule.
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