TOURS

SAYAT-NOVA AVENUE


One of the main avenues of the Yerevan city center.

Card image cap

Sayat-Nova Avenue was officially inaugurated on October 27, 1963. This avenue bears the name of the 18th century poet, musician and ashugh (Armenian bard) Harutyun Sayadyan, known more commonly by his Sayat-Nova. The origin of the pseudonym is ambiguous, but many think it means, "king of songs".

Sayat-Nova was court bard in the days of the Georgian king Irakly. He wrote songs in four languages: Armenian, Georgian, Persian and Turkish. According to a legend the poet was exiled because he was in love with the king’s daughter. Little is known about Sayat-Nova’s life, and the only real source of information is his songs. His songs are still sung, and are considered treasures of Armenia musical culture. 

You can walk down Sayat-Nova Avenue quite quickly since it's only 1.5 km long. The avenue starts as a continuation of Marshal Baghramyan Avenue, from the park after Komitas where there is a monument of Sayat-Nova (1963, sculptor Ara Hautyunyan) made of white marble, symbolizing the fact that the bard’s life still goes on through his songs. Komitas is another Armenian famous composer and musicologist who collected and recorded Armenian music, thus preserving it. 

It is a coincidence that the Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas is situated just behind this park. In the morning and afternoon, passing by the Conservatory, you will hear an interesting mixture of classical music - melodies of keyboards and strings together with vocal exercises combine to create a unique harmony. There is a statue of Komitas (1988, sculptor Ara Harutyunyan) in front of the Conservatory. Everything in this area, down to minor decor details, contains music references.

Yerevan boasts many impressive monuments. At the corner of Sayat-Nova Avenue and Teryan Street, there is a modest and beautiful statue of Arev Baghdasaryan, famous in Soviet times, who performed international songs and dances.

When you pass this intersection, one could see Yerevan State Puppet Theatre (June, 1935). The theatre building may catch your eye from a distance. It can easily be recognized by its playbills and the bell at its entrance, which children ages 3 to 100 love to ring. In the building there is a musical fairy tale house featuring characters from popular tales who sometimes come out to dance. The Puppet Theatre has more to it than meets the eye. Very often, adult plays and rock concerts take place there. So nobody is surprised when they see rockers in leather jackets exiting the theatre minutes after a crowd of children in party hats. The annual Golden Apricot Film Festival also makes use of this small, but multifunctional theatre to show documentary films. 

A bit further down, at the intersection with Abovyan Street, there is a  chapel. This is all that has remained from the 13th century Saint the Blessed Virgin (Katoghike) church, which used to be part of a monastic complex. In the 17th century, a tall arch was built over the western facade of the tiny church, where the entrance was situated, connecting it to a new, larger cathedral. In 1934, it was destroyed and the Language Institute was built in its place. It was a true miracle that the chapel had escaped destruction. It remained in the yard of the Language Institute. In 2008, the Institute was torn down and the small chapel was freed from its tight stone surroundings. 

On July 4, 2009, a ground blessing service was conducted by Catholicos Karekin II for the construction of Saint Anna Church and an adjacent complex intended to serve as the Yerevan residence of the Catholicos. Construction commenced in 2011 and was completed in 2014. A new religious complex was constructed to the north of the church.  It includes a much bigger church. On April 30, 2015, the church was consecrated by Catholicos Karekin II. Based on a design by architect Vahagn Movsisyan, the church is of single-domed cruciform style with a belfry at the entrance. The pontifical residence is located to the west of the church.

The 14-story building of the Ani Plaza Hotel rises at the next crossroads. It was opened in 1970 as a state-owned enterprise during the Soviet period. 

There are a wide variety of cafes and restaurants on Sayat-Nova Avenue. This part of the avenue is also lined with several boutiques, accessory and electronic stores. And, as a vital support to all of these delights, stand the offices of a few Armenian banks, complete with exchange offices.

If you go straight, the Circular Boulevard crosses Sayat-Nova Avenue. Here, in a small narrow green area, you will see a monument to Yeghishe Charents, one of the most prominent poets of Armenia in the 20th century. 

The avenue ends up with the Yeghishe Charents street to the southeast.

Duration: 1.5 h
Place of departure: France square
Place of arrival: Yeg. Charents street
Activity period: Year-round

Route

Start: France square

  • Komitas park and Yerevan State Conservatory after Komitas
  • St. Katoghike Church
  • Yerevan State Puppet Theatre
  • Ani Plaza Hotel
  • Monument to Yeghishe Charents
  • Circular Boulevard

End: Charents street