Soviet tours in Yerevan

Yerevan Cascade

For almost 70 years, from 1920 to 1991, Yerevan underwent one of the most intriguing periods of its history – the Soviet era. During that time, the city underwent a massive transformation. You can still find traces of Soviet legacy throughout the city. If you are a history fan, Soviet tours in Yerevan can certainly be of interest for you. In this blog post, I will take you on a journey through Yerevan’s Soviet legacy. You will learn about the most popular tours you can take today. I will structure the blog so that you can compare content, pricing, and feedback received on various tours. This will allow you to make an informed choice. So let’s get started! And don’t forget to ping me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips about your experiences exploring Yerevan’s Soviet past.

Yerevan’s Soviet legacy

The Soviet era in Yerevan marked a radical change in the look of the city. In 1920, Armenia had to join the newly formed Soviet Union. Everything from architecture to culture and society underwent a massive transformation. Our language and traditions were marked by this period. Monumental buildings were built that are still a part of the city’s look.

Buildings like the Yerevan Cascade, a colossal stairway from 1971, featuring a mix of architectural styles, are a great representation of Soviet urbanistic thinking. Soviet-era apartments and government buildings can also be found throughout the city. Even if you don’t take specific tours for the Soviet era, you can’t miss this colossal architecture and Soviet-style blocks.

Another thing that you can’t miss is Soviet monuments. You can’t see the monument of Lenin in the Republic of Armenia anymore. It was in the heart of Yerevan for many years. Even the massive monument to the Mother of Armenia in Victory Park replaces a monumental statue of Joseph Stalin. It was created as a victory memorial for World War II. Soviet ideology was prominently displayed through monumental sculptures and memorials. These monuments offer insight into the political and ideological influences of the time.

But the most fun part of Soviet tours in Yerevan is to explore the lifestyle of people and listen to stories about the Soviet Union. You will hear a lot of nostalgic stories, especially among old-aged people. While it goes without doubt that today we value our independence and sovereignty above all, objectively people enjoyed stability and predictability of a social state in those days. Especially the generation that was in their 30s-50s at the times of the fall of the USSR, they’ve had the hardest time adapting to capitalism and seeing everything they believed in fall apart. So, some nostalgia is not only present, but also very much expected.

The monument of Mother Armenia. Source: @gocentrasia on IG

Popular Soviet tours

Soviet tour by Yerevan Free Walking Tours

One of the best ways to explore Soviet Yerevan is by taking this walking tour. It is organized by ‘Yerevan free walking tours’. The tour is specifically designed to help you learn the history, art, architecture, scientific, and cultural life of Soviet Armenia. You will visit Armenian monuments and buildings of the Soviet time accompanied by interesting stories from the guide. This 2.5 hours long tour also includes a metro ride to the train station and back to Baghramyan Avenue to the Supreme Soviet and Polit-Buro buildings of the Armenian SSR.

They deliver excellent experiences to travelers, which is evident by their countless 5* reviews on their FB page. And Vako, the main guide, is clearly the super-star of this enterprise. He isn’t only knowledgeable about the Soviet relics in Yerevan, but also very passionate and enthusiastic about sharing a piece of Armenia with travelers.

But it’s important to note, unlike their main tour, this one isn’t free. It costs 20 000 AMD (50 USD) for a group of 1-4 people, and each additional person pays 2000 AMD. So, if you decide to take this tour, check with them to see if there is already a group you can join, unless you are ready to spend a total of 50 USD for a private tour. And don’t forget that they require to book the tour their website. But if I were you, I’d first give them a call, or would drop them a message on Facebook.

Key facts about this tour:

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Price: 20 000 AMD (1-4 people) + 2000 AMD (for the 5th and each next person)
  • Operation: every day
  • Language: English
  • Booking: required through their website
Yerevan walkers. Source: @yerevanfreewalking on IG

Soviet Yerevan by Envoy Tours

Another great way to explore Soviet Yerevan is by taking the Soviet tour with the Envoy Tours agency. The tour name is “Soviet City” tour. Not only will you see the best part of Soviet architecture, but they also do a great job of immersing you into a time-travel experience. The most amusing part for me is the fact they have a ‘comrade pioneer’ tour guide, who is going to accompany you along the whole tour. You will experience the nostalgia of Lenin Square, visit many architectural sites, and take a ride on the metro that the Soviets were so proud of.

They employ several local guides and judging by the reviews they get on their FB page, they all are great while each brings a bit of their own style into the narrative. The tour is quite long, it lasts for 4 hours, so have in mind a long walk. But it’s totally worth it. Also, if you happen to be a guest of their hostel, you get to enjoy a 1000 AMD discount on the standard price of the tour.

Key facts about this tour:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Price: 13 900 AMD (35 USD)
  • Operation: Monday, Wednesday & Saturday
  • Language: English
  • Booking: required through their website
Envoy’s Soviet Yerevan tour. Source: @envoyhostel on IG

Exclusive Soviet car tours by Soviet Club

Here is an off-the-beaten-track tip on how to experience a truly immersive tour into the Soviet past of Yerevan. How about visiting a place that’s filled with typical Soviet furniture, old but still functioning arcade game machines manufactured in the USSR, and even food and cocktails inspired by those 70 years of our communist history? Yes, it’s a true “time travel”-like experience out of the Yerevan city center, and I think visiting it might be an amazing addition to just touring around the city and observing relics of Soviet architecture.

I’m talking about the Soviet Club, a cafe/museum located in Sebastia district of Yerevan, a short 10 minute taxi ride away from the city center. This place is as genuine as it gets when it comes to offering you a glimpse of how Soviet-era Armenians had fun and connected with one another in the evenings. They are a pretty recent addition to Yerevan’s entertainment scene. And even though they cater primarily to the taste of fun-loving and somewhat nostalgic locals, I think they totally deserve the attention of travelers too

They also organize Soviet tours throughout Yerevan. One really cool thing about this tour is that you will be touring around the city in a Soviet-style car like Pabeda, Moskvich or Volga. Volga’s in particular were emblematic of higher echelon Communist party members in Soviet times, so you can imagine that you’re a true VIP while riding in that car.

The guide speaks Armenian, Russian, and some English. My guess is that if they see there is enough interest in this service from foreign travelers, they’ll probably upskill their English service. But for now, I’m afraid it’s not going to be a very informative tour, although for some the experience of touring around in these old cars can be worth it anyway. But I also gotta say that to my taste the price of the tour is a bit too high. So, my personal tip is to visit their venue to learn more about our Soviet past, and take a skip on their tour offer.

Key facts about this tour:

  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Price: 30000 drams/hour
  • Operation: all days before 1 pm
  • Language: Armenian, Russian, some English
  • Booking: by phone  +374 44019900
Happy guests. Source: on IG

Wrapping up

I hope this helps you make an informed choice between different Soviet Tour options in Yerevan. Despite some negative connotations attached to the Soviet time, we can’t ignore the colossal economic advancement that during that time the territories constituting modern-day Armenia experienced. So, learning more about our history and culture through the lens of the Soviet influence on them is a pretty good idea. And while we’re at it, I think you might like learning about the history of the Armenian flag or reading my post about Soviet architecture in Armenia. I figured, since the Soviet past intrigues you, these might be useful sources for you as well. As always, don’t forget to share your thoughts with me on Twitter or Instagram with #ArmeniaTravelTips.

Featured image: Photo by IM3847 on Wikimedia Commons

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