Yerevan (??????) is the capital of the Republic of Armenia
, one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus and is home to over a million people - the largest Armenian community in the world. In Soviet years Yerevan underwent massive reconstruction, following Alexander Tamanyan's (the architect) new plans to make a perfect city - a Neo-Classical wide-avenues-based town resembling Paris, Vienna and Saint Petersburg.
Central Yerevan is a true jewel of early Soviet architecture. She is also home to some large scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels which are mostly the result of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania. In Soviet days Yerevan had already become known as the Pink City as much due to the color of the stone used for building as for the flamboyant spirit of her young population.
Yerevan is a very homogenous city, though tiny Yezidi and Molokan (Russian) minorities exist. Because the population of the city was only 20,000 a century ago, the vast majority of the Armenians are immigrants themselves, from all over the world. From the villages and towns of Armenia, from Tbilisi which was the center of Eastern Armenian culture before 1918, from Western Armenia as genocide survivors poured in, and even from the middle east and Europe in a large, post-WWII wave of immigration. Since independence, the city has become the heart of the entire Armenian world, as the divisive communist governments demise has allowed the Diaspora – larger in number than the population of Armenia itself, to embrace the city as its own.
Many visitors will be surprised to know that Armenia is not just an outcrop of Christianity in the Caucasus, but it is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The king declared Christianity the state religion in 301 AD. Christianity has been uninterruptedly practiced in Armenia ever since in its own traditions. The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church, or just Apostolic Church, is the National Church of Armenia. It is very traditional; in practices (but not history) is similar to both Orthodox and Catholic movements as well as to the Reformed Churches, e.g. the Church of England.
Great majority of Armenians are Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos (religious leader, like the Pope for Catholics). Today, the vast majority of Armenians do not attend church each Sunday, with visits revolving around weddings and baptisms, or occasionally dropping in to light a candle. Soviet restructuring of the city left Yerevan with very few churches: Currently some new ones are being built, or old ones rehabilitated.
The Protestant (Evangelical) Armenians are rather few in number with only one church on Nar-Dos street. Anglican (Episcopal) Christians used to congregate at St Zoravor church for Sunday Eucharist, however shortly after stopped the practice due to extreme small size of the community (and the fact that both Armenian Apostolic Church and Anglican Communion adhere to the concept of one baptism and welcome each others' members to celebrate Eucharist together).
Orthodox Christians currently maintain one church in Kanaker district of Yerevan. A new, large-scale, onion-domed Orthodox church is under construction at Yerevan Lake district, visible from the highway coming from the airport. However, this will have mostly symbolic structure as the Orthodox Christians are very few in number.
Assyrians do not have church in Yerevan per se, but rather in the villages around Yerevan.
Yezidian (pagan religious and ethnic minority in Armenia) religious rituals, as most of that religion, are kept secret. So no Yezidian practice can be observed easily in Yerevan.
Muslims are steadily growing in numbers since the collapse of the Soviet State, fueled by the Iranian immigration. There is currently one Mosque on Mashtots Ave.
Many Christian sects are also present in Yerevan, and they congregate in schools, sport clubs, concert halls and the like.
With a continental climate, Yerevan experiences long hot summers, and cold winters, both with little or no humidity. The winter is not a good time to visit Yerevan, due to icy sidewalks and smoky restaurants, any other time of year is worth a visit. Spring offers mild but sometimes wet weather, and lots of green hills and wildflowers. Summer is very hot, but the long, late nights at the cafes, and the fruits and vegetables are amazing. Fall is the most popular, with perfect weather, and great farm fresh foods.