Yerevan, historical capital of the Soviet republic of Armenia, is swiftly taking on the silhouette of a late twentieth-century metropolis.
Yerevan, historical capital of the Soviet republic of Armenia, is swiftly taking on the silhouette of a late twentieth-century metropolis. In the city's central districts, builders are putting up numerous skyscrapers, sixteen to twenty-two storeys high.
SYNOPSIS: Yerevan's new master plan calls for at least thirty percent of new buildings to be high-rise. They stand in contrast to older structures, such as the Erebuni fortress, to which Yerevan owes its name and emergence long ago as a commercial and cultural centre. Archaeologists have traced the origins of the fortress back to seven hundred and eighty-two B.C. Down the centuries, fortress and city have been besieged by Parthians, Arabs, Mongols, Turks, Persians, Georgians and Russians.
Many of Yerevan's modern buildings have adapted traditional Armenian architectural styles and are built in multi-coloured local stone. The city's population has grown from thirty thousand in 1914 to its present figure of just under one million. through the second-highest growth-rate in the Soviet Union.
The new skyscrapers are built to withstand earthquakes which in this region, have been measured up to eight on the Richter scale, above the high-magnitude level. Lenin Square is both the city's centre and site for its main administrative buildings.
The Razdan church is a potent symbol of Armenia's religion and nationality. The first established Christian church was founded in this country in the third century. Religious observance remained high, and the church claims that seventy percent of Armenia's two and a half million people have been baptised. the government is atheist but it imposes no restrictions on practising Christians here. Nationalistic pride is also reflected in the city's monuments, such as the one remembering the deeds of an epic folk hero, David of Sassoon, and another with its eternal flames for the genocide victims -- between one and a half and two and a half million -- who were wiped out by the Turkish authorities in 1915-16.
The population of Yerevan makes up forty percent of the total number of almost two and a half million Armenians living in Armenia, and more than a quarter of the total of three and a half million scattered throughout the Soviet Union. Since Soviet Armenia was founded in October, 1920, some three hundred thousand have returned to their native land from more than sixty countries around the world.