Museums of Armenia
A brief introduction to each of the museums of Armenia - with links to individual pages.
Also create a list of Armenian Museums outside of Armenia.
Armenian Craft Museum (Yerevan)Abovian Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 57-56-83
Before leaving Abovian Street, drop into the Armenian Craft Museum (No. 64), with its unique examples of silver and German silver jewellery, woodwork, carpets, earthenware and embossed goods. Armenia today has many skilled craftsmen, who continue and develop the traditional folk crafts, and their products have been successfully displayed in many Soviet cities, France, the USA, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Argentina, Japan, Algeria and Nigeria. The museum is open from 11:00 to 16:00 every day except Monday. Entrance is free. (Source: Yerevan Guide)
National Gallery of Armenia (Yerevan)Republic Square, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-08-12, 56-18-12
The floors above the National History Museum contain the National Picture Gallery. Start by taking the elevator to the top, then descend through the huge collection of Russian, Armenian, and European works, some of the latter copies or else spoils of WWII divided among the various Soviet republics. (Source: RDA)
Minas Avetisyan Museum (Yerevan)
29 Nalbandian Street, Yerevan (+374-10)56-07-87
Cafesjian Museum of Contemporary Art (Yerevan)
Under construction at the top of Cascade in Yerevan, to open in 2007. Will house Gerard Cafesjian's pre-eminent collection of glass artwork, including the definitive collection of works by renowned artists Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova. The permanent displays will also include a broad range of prominent 20th century pieces including both paintings and sculpture.
Yeghishe Charents House-Museum (Yerevan)Mashtots Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 53-55-94
The outstanding Soviet Armenian poet Yeghishe Charents (1897-1937) lived a little further up the avenue, in No. 17 on the second floor. His flat has been made into a museum, which is visited by thousands of the poet's admirers and visitors to the city. (Source: Yerevan Guide)
Children's Art Gallery (Yerevan)Abovian Street, Yerevan
Armenia has long been famed for its artists, sculptors and stone-carvers, and children are brought up to love art. For this reason the world’s first Children’s Picture Gallery (No. 13 on the corner of Abovian Street and Sayat Nova Street) is of interest. Over the years the gallery has developed into a true centre for developing an aesthetic sense in the rising generation. The spacious building includes exhibition halls, workshops, a concert ball and a library. There have been exhibitions of works by children from the Soviet republics, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the GDR, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, Britain, France, the USA, Canada, India and Japan. Every year there are several one-man exhibitions of works by children aged from three to 16. By tradition, all the works exhibited remain the property of the gallery, which now has a collection of over 100,000 drawings. When the modern artist David Siqueiros visited the gallery he called it "a true festival for the children of the planet". (Source: Yerevan Guide)
Contemporary Art Museum (Yerevan)Mashtots Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 53-56-61, 53-53-59
The Museum of Modern Art occupies the ground floor of No. 7. Frequent exhibitions of works by Soviet and foreign artists are held here, always attracting many lovers of painting, drawing and sculpture. (Source: Yerevan Guide)
Erebuni Fortress Museum (Yerevan)
The Urartian kingdom centered on Lake Van in Eastern Turkey gave Yerevan its first major impetus. The Urartians built the citadel of Erebuni, on the hill of that name in SE Yerevan. (Take Tigran Mets Blvd from Republic Square, then turn left following the trolley tracks on the major street about half a km past the train station). A substantial museum at the base of the hill formerly known as Arin Berd houses many of the finds, including a few examples of Urartu's splendid metalwork. The citadel itself was founded by Argishti I son of Menua, King of Urartu in the year 782, the first Urartian conquest on the East side of the Arax. We know this on the basis of a cuneiform inscription discovered built into the fortification wall by the gate, an inscription which reads roughly as follows: "By the greatness of the god Khaldi, Argishti son of Menua built this great fortress, named it Erebuni, to the power of Biainili and the terror of its enemies. Argishti says: the land was waste, I undertook here great works..." Armenian scientists argue that one can derive the name Yerevan from Erebuni by a series of simple phonological shifts, suggesting that modern Yerevan is the lineal descendant of this 8th c. B.C. citadel. In 1998, the Mayor of Yerevan arranged a festivity marking the 2780th birthday of Yerevan. A good time was had by all. [Source: RDA]
Genocide Museum (Yerevan)
The Genocide Memorial and Museum at Tsitsernakaberd ("Swallow Castle") sits on the site of a Iron Age fortress, all above-ground trace of which seems to have disappeared. The Museum's testimony to the 1915 destruction of the Armenian communities of Eastern Anatolia is moving, and the monument itself is austere but powerful. The riven spire symbolizes the sundering of the Eastern and Western branches of the Armenian people. The view over the Ararat valley is striking. [Source: RDA]
Geological Museum (Yerevan)
10 Abovian Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-06-63
The museum houses a display of various building materials: tufas, pumice-stones, slags, basalts, granites and marbles of the most varied shades, and the metals and minerals in which the republic abounds. There are also fossilised fauna and flora from ancient times. The largest single exhibit is the unusually big restored skeleton of a primordial elephant. The museum is open from 10:00 to 17:00 every day except Sunday and Monday. (Source: Yerevan Guide)
National History Museum (Yerevan)Republic Square, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-27-61, 52-14-57
The State History Museum in Republic Square (formerly Lenin Square) is notable for the statues of Catherine the Great and Lenin squirreled away in a back courtyard ready for any change in the political winds. The important archaeological collection from Stone Age through Medieval periods is dark and almost unlabeled, but should not be missed. Note a Latin inscription from Ejmiatsin attesting to the presence of a Roman garrison. There are some interesting models of early modern Yerevan and other historical exhibits of interest to those comfortable in Armenian or Russian. [Source: RDA]
Avetik Isahakian House-Museum (Yerevan)
20 Zarubyan Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 56-24-24
Avetik Isahakian was one of Soviet Armenia's foremost poets. The last 5 years of his life he spent in Yerevan in a house which was converted into a museum in 1963. The museum consists of Avetik's workroom, bedroom, garden, and drawing-room, as well as a number of exhibition halls which focus on different periods of his life.
Aram Khachaturian Museum (Yerevan)Baghramian Street) Yerevan (+374-10) 58-94-18, 58-01-78
The Aram Khachaturian museum is located off of Baghramian Street, two minutes walking distance from Moskovyan Street in downtown Yerevan. The building has 5 high arches and houses a very complete collection of memorabilia from the course of Khachaturian's illustrious career. Posters, costumes, notes and more fill room after room. You will also see where he lived, and can listen to many of his works in a well equipped listening room full of CD's.
Manougian Museum (Echmiadzin)Ejmiatsin Cathedral Compound, Echmiadzin
This museum houses an impressive collection of primarily non-secular art as well as a very colorful sampling of the gifts Catholicos Vasgen received from around the world during his leadership. The historical crowns and staffs of gold and gems, the highly decorated priests garbs, the rugs, the ceramics, and many other items are displayed in this large museum, just past the arch across from the main cathedral's entrance.
Matenadaran Manuscript Museum (Yerevan)Mashtots Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-32-92
The Matenadaran (manuscripts library) is the other world-class museum in Yerevan, not for its exhibitions per se, but rather for its status as the eternal (one hopes) repository for Armenia's medieval written culture. A vast gray basalt mass at the top of Mashtots Blvd. (built 1945-57, architect M. Grigorian), the Matenadaran is guarded by the statue of primordial alphabet-giver S. Mashtots (ca. 400) and those of the other main figures of Armenian literature: Movses Khorenatsi (5th -- or maybe 8th -- century "father of Armenian history"); T'oros Roslin (13th c. manuscript illuminator in Hromkla/Rum Qalat near Edessa); Grigor Tatevatsi (theologian of Tatev Monastery, died 1409); Anania Shirakatsi (7th c. mathematician, studied in Trebizond, fixed the Armenian calendar); Mkhitar Gosh (died 1213, cleric and law codifier); and Frik (ca. 1230-1310, poet). There are khachkars and other ancient carved stones in the side porticos. The entry hall has a mosaic of the Battle of Avarayr, and the central stair frescos of Armenian history, all by H. Khachatrian. English-speaking guides are usually on deck. Beside the exhibit hall (and a small gift shop with excellent hand-painted reproductions of important manuscript miniatures), there are conservation rooms and shelf on shelf of storage (closed except to specialists with advance permission) for the 17000 manuscripts in a dozen languages. Cut deep in the hillside behind, and shielded by double steel blast doors, is a splendid marble tomb designed to preserve the collection against nuclear holocaust. Alas, the execution did not live up to the grandiosity of the conception -- water from a series of underground springs drips through the vaults, making them unusable until a few million dollars are found for a total reworking. [Source: RDA]
Middle East Museum (Yerevan)Aram Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 56-37-14
Accessible from the street running behind the State History Museum is the Middle Eastern Museum and Museum of Literature. The former has an interesting collection, including a carpet-weaving display. [Source: RDA]
Migoyan Brothers Museum (Sanahin)
Sanahin was the birthplace of Artashes Mikoyants, better known to history as Anastas Mikoyan (1895-1978). His father was a capable but illiterate carpenter at the mines. According to Mikoyan's memoirs, the village of Sanahin had only two literate men, the priest and the (sole) monk of Sanahin monastery. The village itself was impoverished, a holding of the Argutinskii family. Mikoyan was educated at the seminary in Tbilisi at the behest of the visiting Armenian bishop, joined up with Stepan Shahumian, whom he deeply admired, and was the sole survivor of the Baku Commissars, his name somehow left off the list of those to be executed. Uniquely among Bolsheviks of his generation, Anastas survived every purge and change of leadership to become Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, perhaps the most successful Armenian ever to settle in Soviet Moscow. His brother Artyom (1905-1970) was the famous aeronautical engineer, designer of the MIG fighter series. A third brother was killed in WWII. The house-museum of the Mikoyan brothers is downhill from the monastery. [Source: RDA]
Parajanov Museum (Yerevan)Proshyan Street) Yerevan (+374-10) 53-84-73
The best museum in Yerevan is small and idiosyncratic, the would-be final home of famed Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990). Though an ethnic Armenian (Parajanian), he was born in Tbilisi and spent most of his professional career in Kiev or Tbilisi. He won international fame with "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" and "The Color of Pomegranates," but his career was crippled by imprisonment (for homosexual liaisons) and denial of resources. Under perestroika, Yerevan claimed him as its own, and built him a lovely house overlooking the Hrazdan gorge in an area of ersatz "ethnographic" buildings on the site of the former Dzoragyugh village (just behind and left of the upscale restaurant "Dzoragyugh," commonly but no longer accurately known as the "Mafia Restaurant" due to a leather-clad clientele, a mysteriously reliable electrical supply during the dark nights of 1993-95, and the occasional use of firearms). Alas, Parajanov died before the house was finished, but it became a lovely museum/memorial that also hosts dinners and receptions to raise funds. Parajanov's visual imagination and subversive humor are represented in a series of compositions from broken glass and found objects. His figurines from prison-issue toilet brushes are proof that a totalitarian, materialist bureaucracy need not prevail. Look for "The Childhood of Genghis Khan" and Fellini's letter thanking him for the pair of socks. [Source: RDA]
Sardarapat Ethnographic Museum (Armavir)
Bearing left before the Sardarapat battle monument, a driveway skirts the monument ridge to reach a tourist pavilion (refreshments) and the highly attractive Sardarapat museum. Director (at least of the military museum) is the head (since the untimely 1999 death of Sergei Grigorevich Badalian) of the Armenian Communist Party. The ground floor central hall contains commemorative material from the battle. Starting from the right, the lower galleries present archaeological materials from Neolithic to Medieval, and implements for various traditional handicrafts. Upstairs are exhibits of carpets and embroidery, modern Armenian decorative ceramics, and jewelry. [Source: RDA]
Martiros Saryan House-Museum (Yerevan)Saryan Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-17-62
Martiros Saryan studied in the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. He was greatly influenced by Russian art, especially by such painters as Valentin Serov and Konstantin Korovin. Even Saryan’s first canvases show his penchant for bright colours, his original vision of the world around him, expressiveness and unusual composition. His cycle of works painted after trips to Turkey, Iran and Egypt first brought him renown.
In 1921, Saryan settled in Yerevan, and from then on Armenia, its countryside and people, became the main theme in his work. He is particularly famous for his landscapes, including the astonishing "Saryan’s Armenia", in which he celebrates the beauty of his land renewed. He also painted a fair number of portraits, which are remarkable for their psychological depth and philosophical approach. Saryan was also productive as a book illustrator and stage designer.
The museum is open from 10:30 to 16:00 (to 15:00 on Wednesdays) every day except Thursday. [Source: Yerevan Guide]
Alexander Spendiaryan Museum (Yerevan)
21 Nalbandian Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-07-83, 52-12-99
In 1967, the second storey house-museum of Alexander Spendiaryan opened to the public on the corner of Nalbandian Street and Tumanian Street. A favorite musical composer and conductor, his violin, baton, piano and many other personal and professional items are on display. One display case shows the handwritten romance "Ay, vardi!" (Oh, Rose), and on his desk by the inkwell is an unfinished composition...
Tumanyan Museum (Yerevan)Moskovyan Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 58-12-71, 56-00-21
A native of the high mountain village of Lsakh (now Tumanyan), Ovanes Tumanyan (1869-1923) produced masterpieces of national poetry. His verse reflects the sorrow of the Armenian people and a burning protest against their oppressors. His epic works are particularly important in that they depict everyday life in an Armenian village. Some of his poems take historical events as their theme, and are imbued with the ideals of patriotism and the liberation struggle against the foreign invaders.
The nineteen rooms of the museum contain an interesting exhibition which describes the life and work of the poet. On the first storey there is a re-creation of the flat in which Tumanyan lived in Tbilisi for many years (he is buried there). The museum is open from 11:00 to 17:00 every day except Monday. (Source: Yerevan Guide)
Tumanyan House Museum (Dsegh, Lori Marz)
Wood Carving Museum (Yerevan)
2,4 Paronyan Street, Yerevan (+374-10) 53-24-61