Museums and exhibitions
During your stay in the capital of
Armenia you will, of course, have many opportunities to visit its museums.
Matenadaran - is one of the world's largest repositories of
ancient manuscripts. Its collection runs into more than 14,000 manuscripts
pertaining to all branches of knowledge, to ancient and medieval Armenia,
the peoples of the Middle and Near East, North Africa, Greece and Rome.
All this makes the Matenadaran a real treasure-house of world culture.
Its manuscripts also possess great scientific significance. Many of them
are scientific treatises on history, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy,
medicine, literature, law, painting, etc., written in ancient Armenian,
Greek, Persian, Arabic, Georgian and other languages.
Among the treasures of the repository
are works of ancient Greek scholars and scientists which no longer exist
in the original and have come down to us only in Armenian translations.
Among them are the manuscripts "Chronicle" by Eusebius of Coesarea, "About
Nature" by Zeno, "Boundaries" by Hermes, "The Art of Oratory" by Philo
The manuscripts are amazing in the
artistry shown by the scribes who wrote them. The intricate ornament, subtle
and exquisite miniatures gleam like precious stones, bright and dazzling
in their many colours, undimmed by the passing ages.
The Matenadaran, which has been reorganized
and is now the Institute of Ancient Manuscripts named after Mesrop
Mashotts, carries out important research work. Only now, in
our time, have these wonderful masterpieces of the past become accessible
to scientists, scholars and the general public.
History Museum - Its permanent exhibits demonstrate original
items of material culture, which have come down to us from remote ages.
The exhibition begins with objects relating to the period of primitive-communal
society. The most ancient exhibits here, simple obsidian implements were
made by primitive inhabitants more than 600,000 years ago. Other items
of more accurate workmanship, some of them even polished-such as stone
axes, knives scrapers, arrow and spear heads -belong to a later period-the
The museum possesses a unique collection
of ancient vehicles-carts and chariots-some of which are more than 3500
years old. Many of them are richly decorated with fine carvings.
The pride of the museum is the section
devoted to the formation of the state of Urartu. Here you can see the bronze
armour of King Argishti I, the founder of Yerevan (787-760 B.C.) and King
Sardura (760-730 B.C.) and also many utensils, etc.
Other sections of the museum contain
exhibits relating to various periods in the history of the Armenian people-from
the establishment of the kingdom of Great Armenia to the present day.
Museum of Erebuni - is located at Mt. Arin-Berd, the site of
the ruins of the Fortress City of Erebuni, ancient forerunner of Yerevan.
The ancient fortress was ringed by a whole system of walls with buttresses
and towers. During excavations made here the remains of three monumental
structures were unearthed - the temple of the supreme deity Khalda, the
palace of King Argishti, and another building with 14 separate premises
and a large hall of 500 sq.m. The walls of this hall were covered with
frescoes, which indicates that it was used for ceremonial occasions.
Gallery of Armenia - is one of the leading art museums of the
region. Its collections include outstanding examples of Armenian, Russian
and European art. Guests of the Armenian capital have the opportunity to
see here the canvases by Aivazovsky, the well-known painter of seascapes,
many works by Saryan, a painter of highly original and vivid style who
wonderfully expressed in his works the creative labour of Arminian people.
Altogether the museum numbers more than ' twenty thousand works of painting,
sculpture and graphic art in its collections.
The works of Bryullov, Levitan, Borovikovsky,
Repin, Shishkin, Perov and others represents Russian art. In the section
of West-European art there are canvases by Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens,
Th. Rousseau, Courbet and many other masters.
of the City of Yerevan - Its 11 halls contain 16,000 exhibits
illustrating the history of the city from the most ancient times (4,000-3,000
B.C.) to the present day. Particularly interesting are items from the ancient
settlement of Shengavit and the Urartu strongholds of Teishebaini and Erebuni
located on the site of present-day Yerevan. The exhibits are arranged in
chronological order, demonstrating the various periods in the history of
the city. They tell of the state of Urartu, ancient and medieval Armenia,
and the history of Yerevan to this date.
House of Folk Art - Its collections include several thousand
exquisite items made from silver and copper, stone and ceramics, bone and
glass, as well as paintings and sculptures by talented craftsmen.
You will also enjoy visiting the
of Martiros Saryan, Ovanes Tumanyan, Avetik Isahakyan, and Alexander Spendiaryan,
which tell of the life, work and artistic careers of these outstanding
representatives of Armenian culture.
theatre art of Armenia can trace its history back to ancient times. The
ancient Armenian theatre was a contemporary of the Greek and Roman theatre.
This is borne out by the Greek historian Plutarch in his "Parallel Lives".
He notes, in particular, that a theatre already existed in 69 B.C. in the
Armenian capital Tigranakert and that Euripides tragedy "Bacchae" was performed
in another Armenian capital-Artashat - in the year 53.
The first of these references is
connected with the name of Tigran II, called the Great (95-55 B.C.) and
the second with the name of his son Artavazd II, who is also considered
the first Armenian dramatist. Both these references, however, cannot be
taken as the beginning of Armenian theatre art, the sources of which go
back to even more ancient times. This is proved by the findings of many
archaeological excavations and the traditions, which have been preserved
among the Armenian people.
important role in the development of ' the modern Armenian theatre was
played by two large cities - Constantinople and Tiflis. They provided the
impulse for the development of modern Armenian national dramaturgy, the
most brilliant representatives of which were Gabriel Sundukyan, Akop Paronyan,
Alexander Shirvanzade and Levon Shant, now recognized Armenian classics.
Yerevan can boast many excellent
theatres, among which mention may be made of the State Academic Armenian
Drama Theatre named after Gabriel Sundukyan, the State Academic Opera and
Ballet Theatre named after Alexander Spendiaryan, the Musical Comedy Theatre,
and the Drama Theatre named after Konstantin Stanislavsky. Other important
theatres in cities of the republic are drama theatres in Leninakan, Kirovakan,
Artashat, Kamo, Kafan, and Goris and also numerous amateur theatres and
The State Academic Armenian Drama
Theatre named after Gabriel Sundukyan was founded in 1922. Its repertory
over these years runs into scores of interesting productions, many of which
now hold a firm place in the history of the Armenian theatre. G. Sundukyan's
plays "Khatabala" and "Pepo", Shirvanzade's "Because of Honour", L. Tolstoy's
"The Living Corpse", M. Lermontov's"Masquerade", N. Gogol's "The Inspector-General",
F. Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot", Moliere's "Tartuffe", Beaumarchais' "The
Marriage of Figaro" and many others have won the recognition of audiences
as true achievements of creative art. Productions of Shakespeare's tragedies
among the successes scored by this theatre.
The history of the Sundukyan Drama
Theatre is closely bound up with the names of such outstanding actors as
Vagharsh Vagharshyan, Hrachiya Nersesyan, Vahram Papazyan who are recognized
figures in the history of Armenian and world theatre art.
The State Academic Opera and Ballet
Theatre named after Alexander Spendiaryan is housed in a building designed
by A. Tamanyan and is one of the architectural highlights of Yerevan. The
main auditorium is designed in the form of an amphitheatre, thus making
the stage visible to every spectator.