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History of Yerevan

The history of Yerevan begins in 782 BC, when Argishti I, the king of Urartu, founded the city-fortress of Erebuni in the Ararat valley. This is evidenced by cave inscription found in 1950 near the city: "By the greatness of God, Khaldi Argishti, son of Menua, built this mighty stronghold and called it Erebuni for the glory of the Biaini and to instill the fear among the king’s enemies...». In addition to this, archaeologists found written records and coins of V century BC, which confirm the existence of the city before Christ.

By the way, there is a folk legend about the origin of the city: it is attributed to Noah. The first land, which Noah reached after the Flood, was the peak of Ararat mountain and he founded the settlement on that land.

As far back as in V century BC Yerevan and its surrounding lands had already been attractive for invaders from neighboring countries. From the IV century BC and up to the III century AD it was the period of silence: no any written records about the city and no monuments of that period. The first reference appeared in the records of the III century, describing the formation of Manichean and Christian communities. Also, this text describes a ruler. In the V century Church of St. Peter and Paul (Surb Poghos-Petros was built, which survived until 1931.

In the early Middle Ages, Yerevan is mentioned in Armenian sources, called as "The Book of letters”. It is referred to the beginning of VII century. In 650 the city was besieged by the Arabs, but they managed to capture it only in 658 year. In 660 there was an anti-Arab uprising which led to expulsion of the Arabs and restoration of Armenian statehood. In the XI century the town was captured by the Seljuks, and in the XIV century it was completely destroyed by Tamerlane. However, Yerevan has been restored soon, and its population was approximately 15-20 thousand people. At the same time it began forming as an important cultural center of the Caucasus region.

During the XVI-XVIII centuries, Yerevan was the scene of many wars in which the Ottoman Empire fought against the Safavid state (Persia) for these rich lands. Over three centuries, native population has been exterminated and taken into slavery. It led to a demographic crisis. At the same time, these lands were populated by Turkmen, Iraqi and other tribes. Devastating wars and forced migration have led to the fact that population of Yerevan numbered only 6,000 people at the beginning of the XIX century. 

At the beginning of the XIX century, during the Russian-Persian War, Yerevan was twice besieged by Russians (in 1804 and in 1808), and only in 1827 they managed to seize Erivan fortress. A year later, Yerevan became a part of the Russian Empire under the Treaty of Turkmanchay. At the same time Yerevan was declared as the capital of the Armenian region. The Treaty of Turkmanchay also stipulated the resettlement of Armenians from Persia. Armenians returned to Armenia from Persia and Persians, as well as other Muslim population went to the south, outside of Russia.

Because of the post-war migration the population of Yerevan was only 12 thousand people, though the proportion of Armenians has increased up to 40%. And at the beginning of the XX century the population has increased up to 30,000 and the proportion of Armenians rose up to almost 50% of the total population.

Having arrived in Yerevan Russians gradually boosted local industries. On the site of Erivan Fortress ruins they erected Yerevan Brandy Factory, which later became one of the leading enterprises of the city. At the beginning of the XX century works for laying down the railroad were commenced; it connected Russia to Persia. But despite of the industry development and creation of educational institutions, Yerevan still has kept the form of a provincial town with winding streets between mud houses. 

In 1918, during the February and October revolutions in Russia, Armenia declared its independence. In 1920, Yerevan was occupied by the Soviet Red Army and on February 18, 1921 during the rebellion the Soviet regime was overthrown, but later, on April 2 of that year it was reinstated. Yerevan was the capital of Armenian SSR for 70 years. During that time the city got its present name (instead of Erivan) and it was the period of complete reconstruction of the city. General plan of building of the city was drawn up according to the project of Academician Tamanyan, who studied the topography of the city and the compass rose. Armenia adopted a modern look. 

The beginning of 1988 year started from mass rallies in Armenian capital which quickly grew into a movement for the independence of the republic. And on September 21 Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union, which was almost non-existent.

The construction in Yerevan was highly developed for the last years. The city became a full-fledged political, economic, cultural and scientific center of the country. Updated Armenian capital has a lot of embassies and consulates. The influence of Yerevan is not limited within the republic but spreads over it. Today it is the beautiful modern city with unique architecture, increased on the relief slopes and hills.