{Armenia} The Yerevan ‘Cascade’

November 12, 2012


Yerevan Cascade

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is an interesting city. It expanded rapidly during the 20th century, evolving from a town of a few thousand residents to Armenia’s cultural and industrial centre with a population of over 1 million. Even in the 21st century it has continued to undergo major transformations. The result is a mixture of wide avenues reminiscent of Parisian boulevards, interspersed with sleepy little lanes, the magnificent opera house sits in the middle surrounded by open air cafes and restaurants that seem to merge in to one. There’s a man-made lake with swans and half a dozen pianos randomly scattered around its shores, and fountains at almost every public square and park, of which there are many.

Yerevan Cascade

But the most impressive feature has to be the ‘Cascade’, a giant stairway designed to join the residential part of the city with the cultural centre. At a 15 degree incline and over 570 steps, a series of sculpture gardens and fountains which stretch along the length of the staircase literally cascade down the hillside and continue into a sculpture park at the bottom.

Yerevan Cascade

If climbing all those steps sounds like too much hard work, there’s a series of escalators on the interior of the staircase that take you almost all the way to the top. You can also access the landings with the sculpture gardens from here, as well as a multitude of rooms that comprise the exhibition galleries of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts, to which the ‘Cascade’ belongs.

Yerevan Cascade

Named after American-Armenian businessman Gerard Cafesjian, who purchased the half finished construction which had fallen victim to the collapse of the USSR, the complex was completely renovated and transformed in the early 2000s. Now it houses a wide variety of exhibitions, derived largely from Cafesjian’s own extensive collection of contemporary art, alongside a diverse programme of temporary exhibitions, visiting lecturers, film screenings and concerts.

Yerevan Cascade

On my last evening in Armenia, we had our conference gala dinner on the top floor of the art centre, overlooking a night-lit Yerevan. What an amazing view, and what a wonderful end to a wonderful week.

View from the top of Yerevan Cascade


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6 Responses to “{Armenia} The Yerevan ‘Cascade’”

  1. Theresa Macaulay Says:

    Wow, that looks incredible!



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