Exploring Abovyan Street in Yerevan (shops & activities)

If you have ever visited Yerevan, you have definitely walked along Abovyan Street. But what do you know about Abovyan Street? Have you ever wondered what it looked like just 2-3 decades ago?

Today I will walk you through the whole of Abovyan street from side to side, and we will explore together all the shops and POI places of attractions on both sides of the street.

Video Tour of Abovyan street in Yerevan, Armenia.

Khachatur Abovyan Statue

The Khachatur Abovyan Monument
Khachatur Abovyan Monument

Having opened in 1863, Abovyan Street is one of Yerevan’s central and major streets. In 1921, the street was named after Khachatur Abovyan, the great Armenian writer, illuminator, and teacher. Not much is known about Khachatur Abovyan’s death.

We are taught at school that he went to Mount Ararat on tour with visitors and never came back and that only one of his shoes was found.

According to one of the theories, he was killed by the Turks living in his neighborhood and buried in his yard. According to another, he was exiled to Siberia.

Buildings of Great Importance On Abovyan Street (What to See)

Khachatur Abovyan’s statue stands on one end of Abovyan Street. Along Abovyan Street, there are many buildings of public importance.

Most of the buildings are old, some of which have been preserved thanks to the residents’ protests. Several new buildings are closer to the other end of the street, near Republic Square.

Now, let us walk down Abovyan Street from the Khachatur Abovyan statue. On the right, you will see Hrant Matevosyan cultural center and museum.

Hrant Matevosyan was another great Armenian writer. In front of the building is a stone monument dedicated to the Hungarian prisoners of war who died in Armenia and to the Armenians who died in Hungary during the Second World War.

On the other side of the street, there is the Heratsi Hospital Complex. The building of the Faculty of Economics and Management of Yerevan State University, or “the black building,” comes next. The building is over 100 years old.

The intersection of Abovyan – Koryun streets

The Building of Yerevan Medical University
Yerevan Medical University

At the intersection with Koryun Street, you can see Yerevan State Medical University, which was named in honor of Mkhitar Heratsi, the eminent doctor and a distinguished scholar in the Middle Ages.

Yerevan State Medical University, after M. Heratsi, is one of Armenia’s leading higher educational institutions. It was founded in 1930. It was then called the Medical Institute.

Yerevan State Medical University has educated medical specialists for over 80 years. At present, the University has seven faculties.

  • General Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Stomatology
  • Pharmacy
  • Nursing
  • Medical Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

A great number of young people dream of studying here.

The Underground Passages

On Abovyan Street, there are two underground passages, one of them being very big where there used to be a department store in the past. Recently it was renovated into the Metronome shopping center. Yeritasardakan Metro Station is just a few meters away from here.

The Great Bookshop & The Only Bakery on Abovyan

Once you come out of the long underground passage, you will see some shops on the right with big arched windows.

These used to be a big bookshop in the past – a bookshop that we desired to visit just for the smell of the books or to have a look at the pictures in the books.

It would always be overcrowded, especially at the beginning of September – the whole city would gather there to try their luck in getting the school textbooks first.

Next to it, there’s Café de Paris with all its wonderful smells. Do not forget to hold your breath if you are in a hurry. Otherwise, you will have to stop by and get some coffee even if you are not planning to.

And opposite the café, there is another piece of my childhood that has completely changed over the years.

A small cosmetics shop used to be the only bakery in the area. In the 1990s, we would stand in line for hours here to finally get a chance to buy our daily bread. Sometimes people would get tired, go home and send someone else to continue waiting.

Back then, all families had bread tickets we would get each week. We were not allowed to buy more bread than mentioned on the ticket – half a loaf for each household member.

That would make two and a half loaves for my family. Yes, they would cut the loaf in half before giving one to us. Those were the times after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Catholic Church in Yerevan (Saint Katoghike Church)

A big church on the right can be seen at the intersection of Abovyan and Sayat-Nova Streets. Once you turn around the corner, a small and much older chapel is revealed.

One of the oldest historical monuments in Yerevan, The Saint Astvatsatsin Church (The Holy Mother of God Church), was built in the 12-13th centuries.

It survived the 17th-century grand earthquake in Yerevan and was later enclosed in the Katoghike Church, built in 1693-1695, serving as a sanctuary for the newly built church.

In 1936 at the time of the Bolsheviks, the Katoghike Church was demolished, and the older and more valuable Saint Astvatsatsin Church within was revealed. It is now known as the Katoghike Saint Astvatsatsin Church.

Saint Katoghike chapel was surrounded by other buildings until the beginning of the 21st century, thus staying unnoticed by the passers-by.

Being the only Catholic church in the area, it was constantly being searched for by foreigners. After the demolition of the surrounding buildings, it was finally revealed to the public.

From 2011-2013, The Ecclesiastical Complex of Saint Anna Church and the Pontifical Residence was built through the Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation. The Holy Mother of God Katoghike Church was renovated in 2016.

What Else You Can Find on Abovyan Street

Further down Abovyan Street are the Children’s Art Museum, the National Olympic Committee of Armenia, the Russian Drama Theater after Stanislavski on the right, and Charles Aznavour Square on the left.

The Square includes the Moscow Cinema, the Artists’ Union of Armenia, and the Grand Hotel Yerevan.

In place of the Moscow Cinema, there was St Pogos Petros Church (St Paul and Peter), some of which had survived the grand earthquake of Yerevan but was later completely demolished by the Soviet regime (in November 1930) to make room for Moscow Cinema.

In the center of Charles Aznavour Square is a big flower-shaped fountain with 12 statues representing the Zodiac signs.

Dalan: Tiny Souvenir Shop on Abovyan street

If you are searching for Armenian souvenirs, you should go to Dalan – a small art gallery a little down the street.

The name “dalan” most probably comes from the Persian word دالان (/da-lan/ meaning a corridor). This shop used to be an arched passage through the building. We normally call these passages “dalans”.

Dalan Art Gallery
Dalan Art Gallery souvenir shop on Abovyan street

Hotels Located on Abovyan street

Hotel Aviatrans, the darkest colored hotel in Yerevan, is seen next, and a relatively new hotel, the Alexander, is on the opposite side.

The black part of the front wall of the Alexander Hotel is what is left from the previous building. If you turn right at the corner of the Alexander Hotel, you will find yourself in Northern Avenue (450 m), which links Abovyan Street with Freedom Square.

Northern Avenue opened to the public on November 16th, 2007.

What is at the End of Abovyan Street?

Continue your way down Abovyan Street, and you are in Republic Square, where there are government buildings, Armenia Marriott Hotel, many other important buildings, and the Republic Square Metro Station. The Republic Square is where Abovyan Street finishes, or, better to say, starts from.

This is not the whole story about the past and present of Abovyan Street but only a small part of it. There is a lot more to research and explore.

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Garo Kotchounian

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2 thoughts on “Exploring Abovyan Street in Yerevan (shops & activities)

  1. You should visit No.4 Abovyan Street,which was the home of Melik Andreasyan’s.The mother’s face statue is still partly damaged on the front door.The marble interiors and the chandeleirs are still the original.It is the first house on the right going up from the Republic Square.Her daughter Mari married Ruben Babikian who became the police chief during the revolution in Yerevan and was very active with Tashnakzutyun.When the Bolsheviks came he had to escape to Greece with his family,Hayli Selassi of Ethiopia was on vacation there at the time and he met Ruben and took the family to Ethiopia .They lived in the palace and Ruben became the first police chief there.While travelling to Ethiopia in his yatch,Ruben’s wife Mari gave birth to a daughter called Emma and Hayli Sellasi became her God Father and sent presents to her each year on her birthday untill he died.Later Ruben retired and they moved to Cyprus and he died there.I know this because I married Ruben’s grand daughter.

  2. Dear Mr Nerses Artan,

    Thank you so much for sharing. It was a remarkable piece of information, indeed! I was born and raised in Yerevan, however I had never heard this story. I will definitely visit 4 Abovyan Street soon!

    Sadly, some interesting parts of our history are lost due to not being told. So, I appreciate once again for sharing.

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