Armenians had told us before we came to Armenia that Yerevan didn't have many tourist highlights, that it was the people that would be the highlight of our visit to Armenia. While this has been true, and about which we will write much more later, I wanted to highlight one of the striking aspects of Yerevan, one we noticed our first evening in town, when we were taken to the "Cascade" area, where a huge, multi-story park has been built along a hill leading up to a monument overlooking downtown Yerevan.
It struck me that though this country is not wealthy, it had allocated a lot of prime real estate and funds for an expansive and impressive collection of public architecture, sculpture and art. The Cascade houses the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, which displays its much of its modern sculpture collection in the park and on the different levels of the Cascade, in the open air.
It is true that we did not come to Armenia to be tourists, and that seeing interesting art and architecture is neither the purpose nor the highlight of our trip. But it is also clear that people here are duly proud of their city, its Cascade and its Republic Square with its museums and fountains, and we have enjoyed walking through this beautiful and well-designed city. As Yerevan celebrates its 2796th anniversary this month (it is 29 years older than Rome), it is worth drawing attention to this city's culture and accomplishments.
Rich and Lisa Lamb