The Best Way to Commute: The Underground Yerevan metro
Have you been in the Yerevan Metro, that is both, the Fastest and most affordable way to Tour Yerevan?
The transportation system in Armenia is far from perfect. It has always been a big issue for the citizens – overcrowded buses, exhausted passengers almost hanging out of the windows.
Angry and underpaid drivers constantly nagging and trying to reach the next bus stop earlier than the others in order to ‘steal’ as many passengers as possible since they only get percentages from the sum that has been collected from the fares.
And the rush hours are fairly unbearable – people wait for their bus for 10-20 minutes or longer, and then it arrives already full. Then they have no other choice but to stuff themselves in, or to wait for the next one, hoping to find some space there.
These are good enough reasons to choose the best alternative of having your commute, the underground – Yerevan Metro system, away from all the city hustle, the summer heat, or the winter cold.
The Need for a New Rapid Transit System: How It Started
In the mid-1900s the population of Yerevan was growing and there was a need for some rapid transportation system. Due to the city’s uneven landscape, only an underground system could meet all of the criteria to efficiently move large numbers of people around the city.
The first plans for a rapid transit system were formed in the late 1960s. Initially, however, it was a plan for a rapid tram system rather than a metro station. At that time the Soviet City Engineering Planning department stated that a Metro system would only be awarded to cities having a population of more than a million, which Yerevan lacked at the start of the construction in 1972.
Nevertheless, by the end of 1978, the plans were redesigned for the system to be opened as a full underground metro thanks to Karen Demirchyan, the First Secretary of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic (1974-1988).
On March 7th, 1981, the system opened to be the eighth Soviet Metro system. At that time there were only four stations with a length of 7.6 km. It has grown to 10 stations since, with a length of 13.4 km. There are 70 trains with 2 carriages each. The top speed is 90 km/h.
The stations are 15-30 m deep, apart from the last three stations, which are above the ground. The trains operate with 5-10 minute intervals – the earlier it is the more frequently they operate.
People would prefer the underground commute more not only because it was less crowded or cooler, but also for the fare which was half a bus fare until 2011 when it doubled in price resulting in the decrease in the number of metro passengers. One token costs about 20 cents at present. Operation hours are 6:30 am-11:00 pm and over 40,000 people use it daily.
The Shouting Ladies of Yerevan Metro
Everybody loves using the metro, especially the children. Children of today are luckier than our generation because back in our days the metro would be full of shouting ladies. We despised these old ladies who would shout from far away at almost anyone, “Go back! Can’t you see the line?” They would also shout at anyone trying to take pictures.
Taking pictures is still forbidden inside the stations. However, some disobedient passengers manage to take photos and even videos sneakily, Probably because the “dinosaur era” shouting ladies are not there anymore. Now you can see young smiley faces politely asking you to step back.
There are no trash cans in any of the stations, but they are unbelievably clean.
“Attention! The doors are closing. The next station is …”
The construction of Yerevan Metro started in 1972 and was opened to the public on March 7th, 1981 with 4 stations only. It continued expanding until 1996. Only in 1999 Yerevan Metro was named after Karen Demirchyan.
As of now, Yerevan Metro has 10 operating stations – Barekamutyun, Baghramyan, Yeritasardakan, Hanrapetutyan Hraparak, Zoravar Andranik, Sasuntsi Davit, Gortsaranayin, Shengavit, Garegin Njdeh, and Charbakh.
Barekamutyun (meaning ‘friendship’) station
It is situated at the end of Baghramyan and the beginning of Kasyan, Hakobyan, and Kievyan streets. It opened to the public in 1981. On the inside wall, about 30 meters underground, you can see a statue of two girls symbolizing the friendship of the Armenian and Russian people.
Named after the Soviet Armenian military commander Marshal Hovhannes Baghramyan. It is situated in the neighborhood of the “Lovers’ Park” and is one of the deepest stations.
Yeritasardakan (meaning ‘youth’) station
It is situated in a place where there are many universities, and with every opening of the doors, tens of students rush in filling the carriages with their jokes and laughter. Hence the name of the station.
Hanrapetutyan Hraparak (The Republic Square)
The most famous station in Yerevan Metro. It is right in the center of the city. At the entrance, there is a fountain resembling a big flower that operates only in the summer bringing joy to those almost melting in the scorching heat.
Started operating on December 26th, 1989, and is named after another military commander Andranik Ozanyan. Right above the station there is Russia Mall, and in front of the station there is ‘Luna Park’, a big playground with paid attractions, open 10 am-11 pm daily. You can find the church of St Gregory the Illuminator in the neighborhood of the playground.
Sasuntsi Davit or David of Sassoun
It is situated in Erebuni District. Behind Sasuntsi Davit station there is the Yerevan Railway Station. You can get on the train and visit other cities from there, such as Echmiatsin, Gyumri, Aparan, and many others.
Got its name from the factories in its neighborhood (‘gortsaran’ meaning ‘factory’), almost all of them in ruins now. They were shut down, then robbed and sold after the Armenian Independence in 1991. Gortsaranayin station started operating on July 11th, 1983.
Opened on February 15th, 1986. It is located in Shengavit District. From Shengavit station you can go to 2 stations – to Garegin Njdeh, and, with a shuttle train, to Charbakh which was the last station to open in 1996.
Garegin Nzhdeh- Njdeh station
Is named after the Armenian political and military leader, military strategist Garegin Ter-Harutyunyan, better known by his pseudonym Garegin Njdeh. It started operating on December 31st, 1986.
It was opened to the public in 1996. It got its name from the Persian language meaning ‘four gardens’, therefore bringing forward the assumption that once there were four gardens in that district.
“Barekamutyun. Terminal Station, the End of Line”
Soon Barekamutyun station will stop being the first/last station of the line. There is a project of building a new metro station in Ajapnyak District in the neighborhood of the biggest park in Yerevan, Tumanyan Park. The project is not new though.
In fact, the construction of the station started long ago, however, due to the lack of financial means, it completely stopped after the Spitak earthquake in 1988. The construction works are supposed to restart in 2020.
Meanwhile, we enjoy the 10 stations of Yerevan Metro and just hope that the Ajapnyak metro project will be one of the successful ones.