Hrazdan Stadium is a multi-use stadium in Yerevan, Armenia, opened in 1970.
Being the largest sports venue in Armenia, Hrazdan was mostly used for football matches. It was the home stadium of the Armenian national team until 1999 and has hosted the occasional international game since then. The stadium hosted the Armenian Cup finals on many occasions, as well as the opening ceremony of the Pan-Armenian Games in 2003.
In 2003 the stadium was privatized and sold to the Hrazdan Holding CJSC, who began to set up a renovation process in 2005. By the end of 2008 the stadium became all-seater. The stadium is able to host 54,208 spectators after the most recent reconstruction in 2008, which converted the stadium into an all-seater one. Before the reconstruction, Hrazdan was able to hold up to 70,000 spectators. It was among the top four stadiums of the Soviet Union by its capacity.
The earliest idea of building a football stadium in the valley of Hrazdan river was proposed by the First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union Anastas Mikoyan in his visit to Yerevan in the 1950s. During his stay at the presidential mansion on a hill overlooking the Hrazdan river, he observed a "natural amphitheater" in Hrazdan gorge and proposed the construction of a football venue with a capacity of 30,000 seats. However, the idea never became serious during that period.
In 1967, the authorities of Soviet Armenia launched a serious program to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the sovietization of Armenia in 1970. A group of architects, led by former weightlifter Koryun Hakopyan and former fencer Gurgen Musheghyan proposed the construction plan of a football stadium in Hrazdan gorge, to host around 75,000 spectators.
A total amount of 5 million rubles was allocated for the project. The construction works were launched during the second half of 1969 and with the financial support of Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, completed in a remarkable period of 18 months.
The construction process was highly supervised by the Communist leader Karen Demirchyan. Finally, the venue became ready in November 1970. The official opening of the stadium took place on 29 November 1970 with the presence of Leonid Brezhnev, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Armenian SSR. However, the planned ceremony for the opening day was postponed due to heavy snow.
The history of the stadium is closely related with the history of Armenian football. The Stadium which was built in a record period of 18 months, is the first in the world that was built in a mountainous landscape.
The architects of the stadium were Koryun Hakobyan and Gurgen Musheghyan from Armenia. The construction process was supervised by engineer Edward Tossunian. The architectural group of the stadium was granted the award of the best construction of the year in 1971 and honoured by the Soviet Government.
Hrazdan Stadium hosted its first official football match on 19 May 1971 when Ararat Yerevan defeated Kairat Almaty 3-0 in front of 78,000 spectators, with Alexandr Kovalenko (58th min), Oganes Zanazanyan (74th min. pen.) and Nikolai Kazaryan (77th min.) scoring for the hosts.