First of all, was going to publish this post when read at bekaisa, later confirmed by a friend about an environmental open air conference and action to take place tomorrow, July 26 in the Opera area by the Arno Babajanyan statue aimed to protesting against environmental destruction, namely the construction of a new café-restaurant right next to the statue where a huge hole is already dug.
It’s really about the time, if not late though, and hopefully something may be done to stop further destruction of that area. But to tell the truth, at the moment the city center seems so horrifying to me, with its dust, con-destruction, traffic noise, people cursing each other in traffic jams, that I don’t really envy the center dwellers and I assume, given the fact that more villas appear in the outskirts of the city, some 2 years later the center will be inhabited by diasporans living in “elite” buildings built especially for them, and tourists only.
On that, how many parks do you know in Yerevan where there are more trees than cafe tables? Dreading to mention the city center which is rather a café area with several trees than a park, I double dread to mention the Botanic Garden learning the latest news that a huge area separated for construction of a new closed garden in a hotbed, turned out to be privatized by one of the heads of the garden, who actually intended to build kind of a villa for himself. After all, one can only hope that the entrance to “Pushkin” Park, which is being re-constructed now by means of All-Armenian Foundation, will be free after it, as was reported by them. Let’s see.
However, there is one park in the center where you can just sit calmly on the bench or somewhere on the grass and no rabiz music coming from corny cafes will disturb you. There is a cafe or probably two with some 3-4 tables which are very ordinary and humble enough if compared with the luxury of cafes around Opera house. That’s the so called “Komaygi” in front of “Shirak” Hotel. Nice place, when I’m in the center and have free time to kill or need rest I usually go there. (not to jinx…thu..thu…thu…)
But probably not many of you know about another park in the suburbs of Yerevan – known as “Togh-Magh” and now renamed into “Vardavar” Park. My place is close to this park and probably that’s why I don’t mind living in a suburb, some 15 minutes away from the city center, although it’s a task to return home on late hours. That’s a huge park, with huge trees, memorials, playing areas, merry-go-rounds which are incidentally free of charge, flowers, pavilions, benches and etc. But what is the most beautiful component of this park is the pool “Togh-Magh” which is bigger and deeper than the pool in Victory Park. It used to be the artificial reservoir of Erebuni Fortress dating back to 782 BC. Usually I go there with a book if I don’t want anyone to disturb my reading, besides the atmosphere is calm and clean, the water is soothening and serene, the chirping of birds is heard. In daily hours children are swimming in the pool, though it’s a bit dangerous, some people are fishing but only if they have permission, the others are boating. And what is more important – there are no mosquitoes, as the park is looked after very well.
It’s also very beautiful at night, when the lights and the moon are reflected in the water. There is one café, an ordinary one, but recently an open restaurant was erected right on the water which makes part of the closed restaurant next to it from the road side. I didn’t like it first, especially when they cover it by curtains from all sides because a strong wind is blowing from the waterside and I imagine that people inside should feel like in a vacuum, so probably there was no need to build it on the water, anyways. But it looks good from a distance with its sparkling lights.
Recently a guy living in the center near the Republic Square asked in a tone typical to center-dwellers whether it’s not dangerous in that area, that’s probably because Erebuni district is a bit notorious in that sense. Well, actually it’s not dangerous, because the house of head of local-governing body is on the left hand of the park and policemen are wandering from time to time (if their presence is not dangerous of course), besides the park has its guard. If anything goes wrong that will be among the “neighborhood guys” only. But you see, the “neighborhood gals” do not have a problem there 😉
And actually, at least, I never had problems be I alone or with friends, in daytime or at night.
For everything not to sound so perfect I should also note that part of the park, that is before you enter the main area of the park, where once the tram rails were located, was destroyed and the trees were cut. Instead, it was paved with asphalt and a huge gas filling station was constructed by the same head of municipality some 15 meters away from a school, the municipality and houses. Actually the majority of these areas is his private property. A real capitalist! (well, all of them are).
However, I think this park is one of the few beautiful areas in Yerevan. Check it up by your own if you happen to pass it by!
Meanwhile, I charge my camera to take some photos and post them here.