To get an idea of how old Yerevan is, consider that the city celebrated its 2,750th anniversary nearly 30 years ago. In fact, Yerevan is one of the world's oldest cities, which was proved by archeological findings in 1950 that showed the city dated to the fortress of Yerbuni, built in 783 B.C.
Located in a mountainous area on the Razdan River 14 miles from the Turkish border, Yerevan (pop. 1.2 million) is the capital of Armenia. It was under Soviet rule from 1920 until 1991, when Armenia became independent. Under Soviet occupation, Yerevan became an industrial city noted for petrochemicals.
Yerevan is the center of Armenian culture. It is the location of the National Academy of Sciences as well as the Matenadaran Archives, which contain thousands of ancient manuscripts. There are several other institutes of higher learning, as well as museums and music houses.
Republic Square is the center of the city and is dominated by government buildings such as the Council of Ministers. The singing fountains with colored jets of water are another attraction in the square, as are the Museum of the History of Armenia, the Art Gallery of Armenia and the Armenia Hotel.
Nearby are the Matenardaran, Yerevan University and the Opera House, which is named in honor of Armenian composer Alexander Spendarian.