Yerevan, sometimes spelled Erevan, is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the country. The city also serves as the seat of the Araratian Pontifical Diocese; the largest diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church and one of the oldest dioceses in the world.
With the growth of the Armenian economy, Yerevan has undergone major transformation. Much construction has been done throughout the city since the early 2000s, and retail outlets such as restaurants, shops, and street cafés have multiplied. The population of Yerevan is just over 35% of Armenia's total population. Yerevan was named the 2012 World Book Capital by UNESCO. Yerevan is an associate member of Eurocities.
Of the notable landmarks of Yerevan, Erebuni Fortress is considered to be the birthplace of the city, the Katoghike Tsiranavor church is the oldest surviving church of Yerevan and Saint Gregory Cathedral is the largest Armenian cathedral in the world, Tsitsernakaberd is the official memorial to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, and several opera houses, theatres, museums, libraries, and other cultural institutions. Yerevan Opera Theatre is the main spectacle hall of the Armenian capital, the National Gallery of Armenia is the largest art museum in Armenia and shares a building with the History Museum of Armenia, and the Matenadaran repository contains one of the largest depositories of ancient books and manuscripts in the world.
The share of Yerevan in the annual total industrial product of Armenia is over 40%. The industry of Yerevan is quite diversified including chemicals, primary metals and steel products, machinery, rubber products, plastics, rugs and carpets, textiles, clothing and footwear, jewellery, wood products and furniture, building materials and stone-processing, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, dairy product and processed food. Yerevan has several factories in the petrochemical and the aluminium sectors.
Armenian beverages, especially Armenian cognac and beer, have a world-wide fame. Hence, Yerevan is home to many leading enterprises of Armenia and the Caucasus for the production of alcoholic beverages, such as the Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, Yerevan Brandy Company, Yerevan Champagne Wines Factory, "Beer of Yerevan" (Kilikia Beer) brewery, Armco Brandy Factory, Proshyan Brandy Factory and Astafian Wine-Brandy Factory. The 2 tobacco producers in Yerevan are the "Cigaronne" and "Grand Tabak" companies.
The Carpet industry in Armenia has a deeply rooted history with ancient traditions, therefore, carpet production is rather developed in Yerevan with three major factories that also produce hand-made rugs. The "Megerian Carpet" factory is the leading in this sector. Other major plants in the city include the "Nairit" chemical and rubber plant, Rusal Armenal aluminum foil mill, "Grand Candy" Armenian-Canadian confectionery manufacturers, "Arcolad" chocolate factory, "Marianna" factory for dairy products, "Talgrig Group" for wheat and flour products, "Shant" ice cream factory, "Crown Chemicals" for paints, "ATMC" travertine mining company, Yerevan Watch Factory "AWI watches", Yerevan Jewellry Plant, and the mineral water factories of "Arzni", "Sil", and "Dilijan Frolova". Food products include processed meat, all types of canneries, wheat and flour, sweets and chocolate, dried fruits, soft drinks and beverages. Building materials mainly include travertine, crushed stones, asphalt and asphalt concrete.
As an attractive out-sourcing location for Western European, Russian and American multinationals, Yerevan headquarters many international companies. It is Armenia's financial hub, being home to the Central Bank of Armenia, the Armenian Stock Exchange (NASDAQ OMX Armenia), as well as the majority of the country's largest commercial banks. The city dominates over 85% of the annual total services in Armenia, as well as over 84% of the annual total retail trade. Many subsidiaries of Russian service companies and banks operate in Yerevan, including Gazprom, Ingo Armenia, Rosgosstrakh and VTB Bank. The ACBA-Credit Agricole is a subsidiary of the French Crédit Agricole, while the HSBC Bank Armenia is also operating in Yerevan.
The construction sector has experienced a significant growth during the 1st decade of the 21st century. Yerevan has witnessed a massive construction boom, funded mostly by Armenian millionaires from Russia and the United States, with an extensive and controversial redevelopment process in which many 18th and 19th century buildings have been demolished and replaced with new buildings. This growth was coupled with a significant increase in real estate prices.
Many major construction projects has been conducted in Yerevan, such as the Northern Avenue and the rehabilitation of Old Yerevan on Aram Street. The Northern Avenue is completed and was opened in 2007, while the Old Yerevan project is still under development. In the past few years, the city centre has also witnessed major road reconstruction, as well as the renovation of the Republic square, funded by the American-Armenian billionaire Kirk Kerkorian. On the other hand, the Argentina-based Armenian businessman Eduardo Eurnekian took over the airport, while the cascade development project was funded by the US based Armenian millionaire Gerard L. Cafesjian.
Yerevan dominates over 58% of the annual total construction sector of Armenia. In 2017, the urban development committee of the government revealed its plans for the upcoming major construction projects in the city. With a total cost of US$300 million, a new business district will rise at the centre of the city, to replace the current Firdowsi shopping area. The committee has also announced the construction of Noy (Noah) ethnographic residential district at the western vicinity of Kentron District, with an approximate cost of US$100 million.
The location of the city on the shores of Hrazdan river has enabled the production of hydroelectricity. As part of the Sevan–Hrazdan Cascade, three hydroelectric power plants are established within the administrative territory of Yerevan: Kanaker HPP, Yerevan-1 HPP, and Yerevan-3 HPP. The entire plant was privatised in 2003, and is currently owned by RusHydro.
The city is also home to the Yerevan Thermal Power Plant, a unique facility in the region for its quality and high technology, situated in the southern part of the city.
Armenia has three mobile phone service providers: Armenia Telephone Company's Beeline, currently owned by VimpelCom. Based in Yerevan; K-Telecom's Vicacell-MTS, founded in Yerevan, and currently owned by MTS; Ucom, founded as an internet service provider in Yerevan. In addition to the mobile network providers, many other small and middle-size companies are also involved in internet services. HayPost is the official national postal operator of Armenia. Based in Yerevan, it currently operates through 900 postal offices across Armenia.
Tourism in Armenia is developing year by year and the capital city of Yerevan is one of the major tourist destinations. The city has a majority of luxury hotels, modern restaurants, bars, pubs and night clubs. Zvartnots airport has also conducted renovation projects with the growing number of tourists visiting the country. Numerous places in Yerevan are attractive for tourists, such as the dancing fountains of the Republic Square, the State Opera House, the Cascade complex, the ruins of the Urartian city of Erebuni (Arin Berd), the historical site of Karmir Blur (Teishebaini), etc. The largest hotel of the city is the Ani Plaza Hotel. The Armenia Marriott Hotel is located at the Republic Square at the centre of Yerevan, while the Radisson Blu Hotel is located near the Victory Park. Other major chains operating in central Yerevan include the Grand Hotel Yerevan of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Best Western Congress Hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton, the Hyatt Place, the Ibis Yerevan Center, and The Alexander, a Luxury Collection Hotel of Marriott International.
The location of Yerevan itself, is an inspiring factor for the foreigners to visit the city in order to enjoy the view of the biblical mount of Ararat, as the city lies on the feet of the mountain forming the shape of a Roman amphitheatre. There are many historical sites, churches and citadels in areas and regions surrounding the city of Yerevan, such as Garni Temple, Zvartnots Cathedral, the monasteries of Khor Virap and Geghard, etc.
Being among the top 10 safest cities in the world, Yerevan has an extensive nightlife scene with a variety of night clubs, live venues, pedestrian zones, street cafés, jazz cafés, tea houses, casinos, pubs, karaoke clubs and restaurants. Casino Shangri La and Pharaon Complex are among the largest leisure and entertainment centres of the city. The Yerevan Zoo founded in 1940, the Yerevan Circus opened in 1956, and the Yerevan Water World opened in 2001, are among the popular attractions in the city.
The Northern Avenue that connects the Opera House with Abovyan street is a popular pedestrian zone in Yerevan with modern residential buildings, business centres, restaurants, bars and cafés. Another popular landmarks is the Yerevan Cascade and the "Cafesjian Sculpture Garden" on Tamanyan Street with its pedestrian zone, featuring many coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and pubs at the sidewalks. The "Cafesjian Center for the Arts" regularly organises art events throughout the year, including classical music series, traditional folk dance events, and live concerts of jazz, pop and rock music.
Yerevan has three shopping malls: Dalma Garden Mall, Yerevan Mall, and Rossia Mall. An International study conducted by Mercer and published in 2019 identified Yerevan to offer higher quality of living, than other capital cities of Transcaucasia.
Yerevan is a major educational centre in the region. The city is home to more than 250 schools, of which about 210 are state-owned, with 3/4 of them run by the municipality and the rest run by the ministry of education. The rest of the schools (about 40) are privately owned. The municipality also runs 160 kindergartens throughout the city.
The QSI International School, École Française Internationale en Arménie, Ayb School, Mkhitar Sebastatsi Educational Complex and Khoren and Shooshanig Avedisian School are among the prominent international or private schools in Yerevan.
As of 2018, around 60 higher education institutions are accredited and licensed to operate in the Republic of Armenia. Yerevan is home to about 50 universities, nearly half of which are public. Yerevan State University, American University of Armenia, Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University, Yerevan State Medical University and Armenian State Pedagogical University are the top rated universities of Armenia and among the top rated in the region.
Yerevan is a major centre for science and research. The Armenian National Academy of Sciences is the pioneer of scientific research in Armenia. It is the primary body that conducts research and coordinates activities in the fields of science in Armenia. It has many divisions, including Mathematical and Technical Sciences, Physics and Astrophysics, Natural Sciences, Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Armenology and Social Sciences. Many new research centres have opened in the city, such as the CANDLE Synchrotron Research Institute, Tumo Center for Creative Technologies, and Nerses Mets Medical Research and Education Center.
Yerevan is rated High Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. High Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Yerevan was ranked #164 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Yerevan has a population of over 1,081,800 people. Yerevan also forms part of the wider Yerevan metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,420,000 people.