WikiConference Yerevan 2015/Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital of Armenia and one of the world's oldest cities. It is situated along the Hrazdan river which is one of the tributaries of the Aras river. With a population of 1 117 000 people (2010) Yerevan is the largest city of Armenia.
Places of interest
- One can find the ruins of the Urartian city of Erebuni in Arin Berd.
- There are a lot of churches in Yerevan (e.g. Katoghike Church which was built in the 13th century or Zoravar Church)։
- There are a lot of museums in Yerevan among which are History Museum of Armenia and National Gallery of Armenia with more than 14000 paintings which represent the history, literature and the culture of Armenia.
- In Yerevan you can also find Matenadaran which is an ancient manuscript repository with more than 100 000 manuscripts.
- The memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide - Tsitsernakaberd is also located in Yerevan. Every year on April 24, hundreds of thousands of Armenians gather there to remember the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire carried out by the Turkish government.
Yerevan is rich in monuments. You can find a lot of small monuments in rest zones of the city. Street art works can also be found in the city in recent years.
In Yerevan public transport is represented by buses, microbuses, taxis, metro which allows to reach any place without difficulty.
Weather and other helpful tips
Yerevan is a sunny city. 288 sunny days can be counted. The climate is continental. Summers are hot. On July and August the average temperature reaches to 26°С, in separate days to 41°С. In winter the temperature is -5°С, but sometimes it falls to -31°С.
WikiConference will take place in Autumn, in the most pleasant season of Yerevan, when the city is rich in fruits like grapes and peaches. The characteristic feature of the sunny weather is the after noon wind (begins from 4-5 PM) which blows from the surrounding mountain heights.
In September, the average monthly air temperature is usually 20-21°С: Monthly rainfall is about 9 mm.
Yerevan is not a dangerous city. Theft and pickpocketing are not common, particularly targeting foreigners. Use common sense when walking on the street at night, especially after drinking.
Unaccompanied women are an unusual sight after dark. In the outskirts of the city, a single woman walking alone at night may attract attention.
There are also taxi drivers at the Zvartnots airport| who ask you if you need a taxi. They escort you to one of them and claim that they are airport taxis which cost two or three times more than regular taxis. Never trust those people, even if they have already put your luggage in the trunk! You can find a taxi which costs 2000-3000 AMD instead ~10 000 AMD they are asking.
Armenians are very hospitable people. The food is generally safe, even from the roadside khorovats stands.
The tap water is generally safe, as it comes directly from the mountains, but you may also purchase bottled water. You can get both mineral water with gas and normal spring water on almost every street corner. You can also find a lot of free drinking fountains from where you can drink water safely.
Smoking is illegal in many public places as well as in public transport. However, Armenia has the highest rate of cigarette smoking in Europe. Open air cafes will generally have a smoking area; if you see an ashtray on the table, you can smoke there.
Armenians are much like any other Europeans in their manners and lifestyle.
Avoid discussing Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, because due to the frozen but still ongoing very bitter conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, it is an extremely sensitive subject.
The issue of the Armenian Genocide, in which up to one and a half million Armenians were killed by the Young Turk government during World War One, is a sensitive one, and respect should be shown when discussing the subject.
Having been liberated by the then-Russian Empire in 1916, Armenians are partly Slavophiles; ask as many questions as you like about Soviet Union. Respect is generally shown for Slavs, including Russians. People often have no problem talking about the Soviet Union. Most Armenians do not mind if you speak to them in Russian.
It is very common to give up your seat for an elderly passenger on the public transport. Usually, men will give up their seat to woman too. It is also considered polite to let women first to the bus or train or to enter a room, and the "ladies first" rule is considered important.
When visiting churches, both men and women are expected to dress modestly (i.e. no shorts, miniskirts etc.). Lighting a candle is always a nice gesture, but it is optional. You should always talk quietly when you are visiting a church.
Yerevan is full of internet cafes. There are three GSM service providers operating in Armenia: VivaCell, Orange and Beeline. It is strongly advised to acquire a temporary prepaid SIM card as they are cheap and convenient, allowing both local and international calls, no charge for incoming calls and no monthly fee. Mobile internet and UTMS are also offered from all companies, as well as the normal full range of wireless services.
The national currency of Armenia is dram, AMD in short. The dram is accepted everywhere, and in some seldom cases US dollars will be accepted for larger purchases - though the dram is the only legal currency for commerce. US dollars, Euros and Rubles can be exchanged almost anywhere in the city.
ATMs (Bankomats) are also widely available; though outside of Yerevan, you should have a major system such as Visa or MasterCard on your card for it to work.
Exchange rates (May 1, 2015)
- €1 = 522 AMD
- US$1 = 474 AMD
- £1 = 730 AMD
- RUB 1 = 9 AMD