05 August 2015, 16:08
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What and Where in Yerevan: Ornamental Art

Let’s have a virtual tour and wander in the streets of Yerevan to discover the buildings decorated with floral, geometric or animal ornaments that have become an essential part of the city’s look. Being one of the oldest cities, Yerevan has much to offer in terms of typical ornamental art. It stands out with its uniqueness and symbolism.

As an urban fortification Yerevan dates back to 782 BC. It was known as Erebuni and stood alongside with the world’s most ancient cities such as Rome. 

Yerevan got its modern look at the beginning of the 20th century. Alexander Tamanyan, the great Armenian architect is the author of general city planning scheme. In 1937, one of his famous creations the Armenian National Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet won a Grand Prix at the World Exhibition (International Exposition dedicated to Art and Technology in Modern Life) held in Paris. Tamanyan used the best traditions of medieval Armenian architecture and stylized folk ornamental art in his works. His creativity was a key to understanding an architectural heritage and key to making completely new history of architectural design based on tradition evolution.


Armenian ornamental art can be acknowledged as a way of communication with history, experience and customs of an old civilization. As sophisticated geometric objects and as elements of graphic design in modern creative art, ornaments convey and reflect more of complex ideas, stimulating memory, emotions, sense of beauty and space. They recreate the history of ancestors’ activities. 

Ornamental art took its roots from rock-painting that came through centuries, transformed and now depicts the world, national rituals, natural phenomenon, life itself and philosophy shaped into geometrical lines and different kind of floral or animal motives.

Abstract geometric and fauna floristic motives are widely used as well. Pomegranate and grape have their special place in Armenian art, symbolizing fertility and prosperity. Their presence also can be found in ceramics, paintings, book art, metal art, and jewelry crafts.

Visually and aesthetically ornaments give a special vibrance to the city’s look. Incredible diversity of animal, floral and geometric forms is carefully depicted and conveys the significance of Armenian history, mythology and religion. 

Well, when walking the streets of Yerevan now you know – What…? The Armenian Ornamental Art! Where…? On the buildings almost anywhere in the city.

This discovering-Yerevan series is created under the cooperation with Wandelion.

Photo courtesy: Sonia Baghdasarian

Author: Sonia Baghdasarian, blogger in Wandelion Blog.

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