If you are visiting our capital city and looking forward to see some unique places in Yerevan, welcome to this post! That’s exactly what you’re going to find here. Armenia is a pretty unique country for many reasons, and our capital reflects that by offering its visitors some pretty unique spots to enjoy. Here I am going to unveil 5 unique spots in Yerevan that travelers don’t typically know about. These places are unique for Yerevan, either in their historic value, or in the genius of the idea behind them. So, I hope you are going to find my list of unique places in Yerevan handy. If you visit these awesome spots based on my recommendations, please DO let me know! Take pictures and tweet or instagram those to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’d love to know what you think about these unique places in the Armenian capital city.
So, here is my list of unique places in Yerevan:
- Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church
- Lusik Aguletsi House-Museum
- Levon’s Divine Underground
- Mirzoyan Library
- The Blue Mosque
Scroll down to see the details of each of these places and how to get there.
Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church
St. Katoghike church is a unique tiny church built in the 13th century. Due to limited space it currently serves as a prayer house. The oldest inscriptions found on its walls date back to 1264. Although, its age is very impressive, there is another reason why I decided to include this spot in my list of unique places in Yerevan. The main reason is the architectural context in which this little church currently stands.
Here is the story. Back in 2011 the head of the Armenian church wanted to have a new residence in Yerevan. So, they built a new church next to this ancient St. Katoghike church. The drastic difference in the color of the two churches gives away the story of their age difference – 8 centuries. Otherwise both churches are completed in a very similar, traditional style for Armenian churches. You can imagine, this creates a very curious view. In essence, they look as if the bigger church started multiplying or cloning itself and gave birth to the smaller one. The scenery becomes particularly bizarre once you realize that both have a massive soviet-style post-modernist apartment building behind them as a background.
I personally think this is a great spot for some unique Instagram shots. By the way, I wrote a separate post about the most instagrammable spots in Yerevan. (coming soon) So, make sure to check it out. You might also like my post about the spots that offer the best views in Yerevan.
How to get there. The St. Katoghike church is situated in the intersection of Abovyan and Sayat-Nova streets. You can walk there from Yeritasardakan metro station, down via Abovyan street. Check out my post about Yerevan metro system to learn more about it and why it’s worth using.
Lusik Aguletsi House-Museum
Nowadays, walking down the streets of Armenia you’d hardly meet anyone wearing traditional Armenian garments. However, not so long ago, there was a talented artist and ethnographer living in Yerevan, who wore such cloths on daily bases. Lusik Aguletsi – a painter, an antique items collector and a prominent writer, was known as “that strange woman” who rocked those garments in the second half of the 20th century. People considered her strange because of her unusual style, but she stood for her believes.
She wanted to preserve the cultural heritage of her nation. So, she collected outfits and other historic items from different regions of Armenia just in her house. Aguletsi also crafted belts, jewelry, furniture, rugs and other types of décor herself, recreating traditional techniques and patterns.
After her death in 2018, her house was turned into a museum, where all her handcrafted outfits are exquisitely displayed along with other works of this artist. The museum is very interactive! You basically immerse yourself into her mind and art. They also organize musical performances regularly, and these often result in dancing with visitors. Occasionally they also run some food and wine tasting events with traditional Armenian products. Lusik Aguletsi house-museum doesn’t have a website, but you can check out their Instagram page to get an idea of what it’s like.
How to get there: The museum’s address is 79, Muratsan Steet. It’s located in a 15 min walk from Sasuntsi David metro station. But keep in mind, it’s outside of the city center, so you might want to take a taxi, which is then just a 10 min ride from the downtown. In case you thought of using Uber in Yerevan, check out that post I wrote about app-based taxi services in our capital. Although Uber doesn’t work here, we have some great alternative apps for that.
Levon’s Divine Underground
Levon’s Divine Underground is a particularly curious one! I couldn’t leave it out when writing a list of unique places in Yerevan. Although, it’s trough that technically it’s in Arinj village, but it is so close to Yerevan that I don’t think it matters. What I really appreciate about this place is the idea and the determination of its author, who worked on his creation for many years. It captivates all visitors with its spirit and mystery.
This concealed underground was dug by Levon Arakelyan between 1985 and 2008. He was inspired by his prophetic dreams, and he worked with very simple tools. As a result, it took him several decades to dig as much of this underground labyrinth as possible. Just using a hammer and a cutter he dug out approximately 450 truck-loads of stone over years. Originally, he didn’t intend this place to become a museum or anything open for visitors. He simply followed the visions he had and believed in its special purpose. And curiously enough, he was also trying to deliver to his wife’s demand – to build a potato cellar. 😊 Check out this video to get an idea of what it’s like.
When the master died in 2008, his wife Tosya collected all his working clothes and tools and exhibited them inside the construction he dug, as in a museum. Once the steel doors of the museum open, you have access to a whole underground world, starting with steep 80 stairs descending into this cave-like structure.
Arakelyan intended to create 80 rooms, as he was told by the phantom that had supposedly visited him. Unfortunately, he didn’t manage to complete his work before his death. So, currently only some part of this underground is open for public. Nevertheless, it is still an area of 300 sq. meters displaying different rooms with detailed carvings on the walls and other decorations. So, the atmosphere is quite unique, as you can imagine. Their website is terrible, so I won’t even link to it, instead, check out their Facebook page.
How to get there: The museum is on the 5th street in Arinj village, which is about 15-20 minutes ride from Yerevan. The 5th street is known for the museum, so any local will direct you to the right place. I recommend taking a taxi here, instead of driving. If you cannot find it, stop any local and show them this image (it says Levon’s underground, 5th street).
A couple of things make Mirzoyan Library a unique place in my eyes.
Firstly, this is one of the last places in Yerevan where you can see the old-Yerevan style architecture of buildings with inner balconies connecting individual units. This view is really rare in Yerevan these days. When you enter the inner yard and take the outer wooden stairs, you get to the second floor where the library and its café are located. Just take a sit here for a little while and mesmerize the view of this beautiful inner yard. You can order a cup of coffee and one of their delicious cakes to just relax and enjoy this unique ambience.
Secondly, this is not a typical library. It’s all about design and photography. I’m confident that many of my readers are photographers of some kind. Whether you work in photography or design professionally or you are simply interested in these topics, this library will cater to your taste. They gathered an impressive collection of books and magazines about photography and design from all over the world. From time to time also various photo exhibitions take place here, so there is something extra to enjoy. Also, I’d suggest you check out my list of hidden gems in Yerevan where you’ll find other truly fascinating places like this one.
The place attracts a very artsy crowd overall, both locals or foreigners love to come here. It’s a great spot to meet creative people and have an intellectually stimulating conversation over a nice cup of coffee. The desserts they serve are also pretty yummy!
How to get there: The address is 10, Mher Mkrtchyan Street. If you enter the street from the side of Tigran Mets Avenue, the building is on the left side, just walk about 130 meters. It’s that building with a wooden balcony hanging above the ground. Enter the inner yard passing the steel gates and you’re here! Check out their Instagram page before going to see what’s their current program.
The Blue Mosque
I consider The Blue Mosque in Yerevan unique because it’s the only remaining active mosque in the entire Armenia. It was built back in 18th century when Armenia was under the rule of Persia. Back then, there were more Shia mosques in Armenia, but after Russo-Persian wars in 1826 – 1828 most of them were demolished. It’s also unique because there are not so many standing traditional Persian style mosques out there in the world, apart from those inside Iran of course. So, if you haven’t been to Iran, or not planning to go there, this is a great chance to see this unique kind of Iranian architecture in Yerevan.
You can see countless, beautiful tiles decorating the mosque. The dominant color is blue though, which gives it its name. Even though the mosque is in the heart of the city, the noise from the main street does not penetrate the walls. So, you can imagine the serenity and joy one experiences inside. Just being there, walking in the inner yard of the mosque, observing the trees and the beauty of the building – it’s a very relaxing experience. From time to time, they also organize some exhibitions of traditional Iranian art and crafts. Since Iran sponsors the mosque, they also organize free Farsi classes, which you can attend.
Anyone regardless of their religion can enter the mosque and enjoy this serene space. But keep in mind, like in many other places of worship, there are certain rules you need to follow. I don’t recommend wearing shorts or short skirts when planning to visit this place. Women are expected to cover their arms and hair. Although I’ve noticed the latter rule is not enforced that strictly if you only remain in the garden.
The operating hours are 10AM-1PM and 3PM-6PM, prayer hours are in between those windows and happen daily.
How to get there: The Blue Mosque is located in 12, Mesrop Mashtots Ave, which is in about a 15 – 20 minute walk from The Republic Square.
Other unique places in Yerevan
If you’re in search of interesting and unique spots to visit and experience in the Armenian capital, you might also like to check out my post about Kond – the old town in Yerevan. It’s also a pretty remarkable place in Yerevan context, although for other reasons than places I listed in this post. In search of authenticity? Then you might enjoy my selection of must-visit markets for the best street shopping in Yerevan and my list of 5 best places to buy souvenirs in Yerevan.
Also, you can take the Yerevan city tour bus and listen to the audio guide while exploring other cool places. I hope you enjoy visiting these unique places in Yerevan. There is a lot to see in our capital city, but I believe these places will show you a slightly different picture than the typical tourist track. And please take pictures and tweet/instagram those to me with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I’d love to see them!
Featured image credit: Photo by Alexxx1979 on Wikimedia (CC)
Please help me make Armenia more popular!