(redirected from Yerewan)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


Yerevan (yĕrĕvänˈ), Rus. Erivan, city (1989 pop. 1,201,539), capital of Armenia, on the Razdan River. A leading industrial, cultural, and scientific center, Yerevan is also a rail junction and carries on a brisk trade in agricultural products. The city's industries produce metals, machine tools, electrical equipment, chemicals, textiles, and food products. Educational and cultural facilities include a university, the Armenian Academy of Sciences, a state museum, the Cafesjian Center for the Arts (2009), and several libraries. There are ruins of a 16th-century Ottoman fortress.

Archaeological evidence indicates that the fortress of Yerbuni stood on Yerevan's site in the 8th cent. B.C. The city, known in the 7th cent. A.D., was the capital of Armenia under Persian rule and became historically and strategically important as a crossroads of the caravan routes between Transcaucasia and India. After the downfall (15th cent.) of Timur's empire, to which Yerevan belonged, the city passed back and forth between Persia and Turkey. In 1440 it became the center of East Armenia. During the 17th cent. Yerevan was a frontier fort and a caravan trading point. It became the capital of the Yerevan, or Erivan, khanate of Persia in 1725. Taken by Russia in 1827, the city was formally ceded by the Treaty of Turkmanchai (1828). Yerevan was the center of independent Armenia from 1918 to 1920, when it became the capital of the newly formed Armenian SSR; in 1991 it once again became independent Armenia's capital. Yerevan was severely damaged by the Dec., 1988, Armenian earthquake.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Russian transliteration until 1936, Erivan’), a city; capital of the Armenian SSR. Located on the left-bank side of the Ararat Plain and partially on a volcanic plateau with elevations of 850-1,300 m. The mean temperature is -4.2°C in January and 24.8°C in July. The city is divided by the gorge of the Razdan (Hrazdan) River, which flows from north to south. Mount Aragats rises to the northwest of Yerevan; Great and Little Ararat are visible to the south; and the Gegam Range is visible to the northeast.

As of Jan. 1, 1971, Yerevan had a population of 791,000; the population was 29,000 in 1897 and 1914, 65,000 in 1926, 204,000 in 1939, and 493,000 in 1959.

Yerevan has seven city raions, with a total area of 90 sq km.

History. Yerevan is one of the world’s most ancient cities. It was first mentioned in Armenian historical literature in the early sixth century A.D. According to cuneiform inscriptions discovered during archaeological excavations, King Argishti I of Urartu built the fortress of Erebuni in 782 B.C.; the modern city grew up on the site and derives its name from it. Yerevan’s economic and political significance began to grow in the mid-13th century A.D., when it became an important focal point on the routes from the Ararat Valley to northern Transcaucasia. In 1440 it became the administrative center of eastern Armenia. From 1513 to 1735 the fortress and city were repeatedly subject to devastating invasions by the Persians and Turks. In 1604, Yerevan was seized by the forces of the Iranian shah Abbas I; the Armenian population was driven to Iran, but the city was soon rebuilt and became the center of the Yerevan Khanate. Yerevan experienced a certain economic upsurge in the 17th century; the city became a major center of caravan trade and handicrafts.

Yerevan was seized by Russian forces on Oct. 1, 1827, as a result of the Russo-Iranian War of 1826-28 and, as part of eastern Armenia, was united with Russia by the Treaty of Turkmanchai (1828). The city had about 11,500 inhabitants at the time. From 1828 to 1840, Yerevan was the administrative center of the Armenian Region, then a district center; it became the administrative center of the Erivan’ Province in 1849. The connection of Yerevan by rail with Tbilisi through Aleksandropol’ (now Leninakan) in 1902 and with Dzhulfa in 1908 facilitated the economic growth of the city; in 1912 industrial turnover was 847,700 rubles, of which 600,900 rubles went to wine-making.

At the beginning of the 20th century the Social Democratic movement emerged in Yerevan; a Bolshevik organization was formed in 1903-05. A strike by the workers of the Saradzhev and Shustov wine and brandy enterprises took place in Yerevan in April and May 1905; Yerevan workers participated in the October all-Russian Political Strike of 1905. S. G. Shaumian was the delegate of the Yerevan Social Democratic organization at the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the RSDLP in 1906. On Mar. 9 (22), 1917, after the overthrow of tsarism, power in Yerevan reverted to the regional body of the Provisional Government of Russia, the Special Trans-caucasian Committee (OZAKOM), which was in power until Nov. 15 (28), 1917, when the Transcaucasian Commissariat was formed. In May 1918 the dictatorship of the Armenian bourgeois-nationalist Dashnaktsutiun party, which was supported by foreign military interventionists, took power in Yerevan. The city’s workers, under Bolshevik leadership, began the struggle to overthrow the Dashnaks and interventionists. Delegates to a clandestine convention of representatives of Bolshevik party organizations in Yerevan in September 1919 elected the Armenian Committee of the RCP(B), or Armenkom, which in January 1920 called a clandestine party conference at which the unification of Armenian Bolshevik organizations was effected. On Nov. 29, 1920, the workers and peasants of Armenia, led by the Bolsheviks, began an armed uprising and, having overthrown the Dashnak dictatorship with the help of the Eleventh Red Army, established Soviet power. In February 1921 the Dashnaks, supported by the imperialists of the Entente, began a counterrevolutionary rebellion and seized power in Yerevan, but the rebellion was crushed on Apr. 2, 1921, and Soviet power was permanently consolidated. Yerevan became the capital of the Armenian SSR. During the prewar five-year plans, Yerevan was transformed into a major industrial, cultural, and scientific center; about 200 large industrial enterprises were built. The volume of industrial production in 1940 was 18 times greater than in 1913. The 2,750th anniversary of the foundation of Yerevan was celebrated in 1968. Over the years of Soviet power, Yerevan has been transformed from a small city into one of the largest industrial centers of Transcaucasia.

Economy. Yerevan has numerous industrial enterprises, 98 percent of which were built after the October Revolution and about half of which were built after 1950. The volume of industrial production in 1970 was 30 times greater than in 1940. Yerevan is an important power production center, providing most of the electrical power generated in the Armenian SSR. The Yerevan Heat and Electric Power Plant (550,000 kilowatts), the Kanaker and Yerevan stations of the SevanRazdan Hydroelectric Power Grid, and the Yerevan Hydroelectric Power Plant No. 2 are located in Yerevan.

The leading branches of industry are machine building, metalworking, chemicals and petrochemicals, food, light industry, and the production of building materials. Machine building has been developed during the years of Soviet power.

The city’s major enterprises are the V. I. Lenin Armelektrozavod Plant; plants producing electric tubes, cables, and timepieces; the F. E. Dzerzhinskii Machine Tool Plant; electrical-engineering and electrical equipment plants; the Elektrotochpribor plant; plants producing instruments and milling machines; the Gidroprivod plant; a compressor plant; the Elektrodvigatel’ and Almaz plants; plants producing semiconductors and metal ceramics; the Elektron plant; a plant producing spare parts for motor vehicles; and a motor-vehicle plant. The chemical and petrochemical industry has developed greatly; the S. M. Kirov Synthetic Rubber Combine, the Polivinilatsetat plant, a tire plant, the Plastik plant, plants producing lacquer, paint, and chemical reagents, and a pharmaceutical factory are located in Yerevan. Nonferrous metallurgy is represented by an aluminum plant. The main food-industry enterprises are a wine-making combine, a brandy distillery, and a plant producing sparkling wines, a cannery, a meat-packing plant, a butter and oil combine, a saltworks, and an experimental tobacco combine. Light industry is represented by the V. I. Lenin Silk Combine, a worsted combine, and felt, knitwear, cotton-textile, clothing, rug-weaving, and glove and shoe factories. The building-materials industry is represented by the Armmramor combine, ceramic-products and building-materials combines, and plants producing reinforced-concrete structural members. As of Jan. 1,1971, Yerevan’s housing resources were more than 7 million sq m. Yerevan is the primary transportation junction of the Armenian SSR; it is linked by rail with Tbilisi, Baku, and Sevan and has six highways and two airports.


Architecture. Yerevan’s medieval monuments are the 13th-century cross-vaulted, domed Katogike Church, built of tuff, and the Zoravar Church (1691-1705), with eight apses. Yerevan has been transformed over the years of Soviet power as a result of vast urban construction projects; the first general plan was set forth by the architect A. I. Tamanian in 1924. The main architectural ensemble of the city is Lenin Square, at which several streets converge. On the square are a monument to V. I. Lenin (cast bronze, 1940, sculptor S. D. Merkurov), the Government House of the Armenian SSR (1926-41, A. I. and G. A. Tamanian), the second Government House (1955, S. A. Safarian, V. A. Arevshatian, and R. S. Israelian), the Armenian Historical Museum (1975), the Hotel Armenia (1958), and the building of the Communications Ministry and the Trade Union Council (1956-58); the last three were designed by M. V. Grigorian and E. A. Sarapian. New thoroughfares have been created and old ones have been reconstructed and given a unified architectural aspect—for example, Lenin Prospekt and Tamanian Street (architect O. T. Babadzhanian). Among public buildings are the A. A. Spendiarov Theater of Opera and Ballet (1926-39, architect A.I. Tamanian; completed in 1953), the central covered market (1952; architect G. G. Agababian, engineer A. A. Arakelian), the brandy distillery complex (1952, architect O. S. Markarian), the Matenadaran ancient manuscript depository (1959, architect M. V. Grigorian), the G. Sundukian Theater (1965, architects R. B. Alaverdian and R. A. Badalian), and the Yerevan History Museum (1968, architects Sh. R. Azatian and B. A. Arzumanian; sculptor A. A. Arutiunian). There are monuments to Stepan Shaumian (granite, 1931, sculptor S. D. Merkurov, architect I. V. Zholtovskii), David Sasuntsi (cast bronze, 1959, sculptor E. S. Kochar), the victims of the 1915 massacre of Armenians (stone and sheet steel, 1967, architects A. A. Tarkhanian and S. G. Kalashian), the establishment of Soviet power (reinforced concrete and basalt, 1967, architects S. A. Gurzadian and D. P. Torosian), and victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 (cast bronze and tuff, 1970, architect R. S. Israelian, sculptor A. A. Arutiunian).

Since the 1960’s, complexes of residential mikroraions (neighborhood units in urban planning) have been under construction on open areas in the districts of Achapniak, Nor-Zeitun, and Nork. Ensembles of buildings have been constructed for the campus of the Institute of Physics in Achapniak (architects G. A. Tamanian and M. M. Sogomonian) and for the student dormitories in Nor-Zeitun (architects Sh. R. Azatian and G. B. Kochar). The city is surrounded by a green belt. The 1969 Yerevan general plan (approved in 1970; architects M. D. Mazmanian and E. A. Papian) envisages increased development of the planned structure of the city, with high-rise construction predominating. See alsoARMENIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, Architecture and art.


Cultural construction. Yerevan is a major cultural and scientific center; the Academy of Sciences of the Armenian SSR (founded 1943), as well as most of the scientific research institutes belonging to it, is located there. In the 1970-71 academic year, 48,200 students were enrolled in ten institutions of higher learning, among them the University of Yerevan and polytechnic, medical, pedagogical, agricultural, and theater institutes. The 24 secondary specialized institutions had 26,800 students; there were 6,500 students in the 16 professional and technical schools; and there were 166,600 students at the 212 general-educational schools. In 1970 more than 35,000 children were enrolled at the 240 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1971, Yerevan had 116 public libraries (with 2,603,000 books and periodicals), the A. F. Miasnikian State Library of the Armenian SSR, and the Matenadaran ancient manuscript depository. Museums include the Armenian State Historical Museum, the Museum of the Revolution of the Armenian SSR, museums of geology and zoology, the Yerevan History Museum, the Armenian Art Gallery, the E. Charents Museum of Literature and Art, the Armenian Nature Museum, and the house museums of Kh. Abovian, M. Sar’ian, A. Isaakian, A. Spendiarov, O. Tumanian, and E. Charents. There are eight theaters: the A. A. Spendiarov Theater of Opera and Ballet, the G. Sundukian Drama Theater, the K. S. Stanislavsky Russian Drama Theater, the Yerevan Armenian Drama Theater, the Musical Comedy Theater, the Young People’s Theater, the Dzh. Dzhabarly Azerbaijani Theater, and the Puppet Theater. Yerevan has 65 clubs and 44 film projection units, as well as extracurricular institutions, including the Palace of Pioneers, the Young Engineers’ and Young Naturalists’ stations, and a children’s railroad.

The Aiastan and Luis state publishng houses, as well as the republic radio and television stations, a television center, and the Armenian Telegraph Agency, are located in Yerevan. Eleven republic-wide newspapers, as well as several magazines in Armenian, Russian, and Azerbaijani, are published in Yerevan (see ARMENIAN SOVIET SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, Press, radio, and television). The city’s evening newspaper, Erekoian Erevan (Evening Yerevan; in Armenian), has been published since 1957.

Public health. In 1970 there were 37 hospitals, with 7,500 beds (9.5 beds per thousand inhabitants) and 90 outpatient polyclinics, including the polyclinic divisions of hospitals and infirmaries. There were 4,900 doctors in all branches of medicine (one doctor per 162 inhabitants) and 7,300 auxiliary medical personnel. Yerevan has two sanatoriums and one tourist center. There is an institute for advanced training of doctors and eight medical-scientific research institutions.



Akopian, T. Kh. Istoriia Erevana (1801-1879 gg.). Yerevan, 1959.
Simonian, A. P. Erevan. Yerevan, 1965.
Armeniia. Moscow, 1966. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
laralov, lu. S. Erevan. Moscow, 1960.
Arutiunian, V. M., M. M. Asratian, and A. A. Melikian. Erevan. Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


the capital of Armenia: founded in the 8th century bc; an industrial city and a main focus of trade routes since ancient times; university. Pop.: 1 066 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005