Saturday, 18 November 2017

ZIMBABWE: Harare, Condition Of Roads Is Bad And Street Lights Are Lacking, Without A National Currency

Harare is the capital of Zimbabwe.

Harare is home to some two million people, with most in central Harare but some 500,000 in the surrounding districts of Rural Harare, Chintungwiza and Epworth.

Once a city of modern buildings, wide thoroughfares, numerous parks and gardens, it suffered from increasing disrepair thanks to Zimbabwe's economic downward spiral.

However, there have recently been a few signs of improvement as the decision of the country to adopt the US dollar as its currency has begun to facilitate some investments.

The capital city retained the name Salisbury until 1982.

The name of the city was changed to Harare on 18 April 1982, the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence, taking its name from the village near Harare Kopje of the Shona chief Neharawa, whose nickname was "he who does not sleep".

Prior to independence, Harare was the name of the black residential area now known as Mbare.

In the early 21st century Harare has been adversely affected by the political and economic crisis that is currently plaguing Zimbabwe, after the contested 2002 presidential election and 2005 parliamentary elections.

The elected council was replaced by a government-appointed commission for alleged inefficiency, but essential services such as rubbish collection and street repairs have rapidly worsened, and are now virtually non-existent.

Harare officially called Salisbury until 1982 is the capital and most populous city of Zimbabwe.

Situated in the north-east of the country in the heart of historic Mashonaland, the city has an estimated population of 1,606,000, with 2,800,000 in its metropolitan area.

Administratively, Harare is a metropolitan province, which also incorporates Chitungwiza town and Epworth. It is situated at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet) above sea level and its climate falls into the subtropical highland category.

The city was founded in 1890 by the Pioneer Column, a small military force in the service of the British South Africa Company, and named Fort Salisbury after the British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury.

Company administrators demarcated the city and ran it until Southern Rhodesia achieved responsible government in 1923. Salisbury was thereafter the seat of the Southern Rhodesian later Rhodesian government and, between 1953 and 1963, the capital of the Central African Federation.

It retained the name Salisbury until 1982, when it was renamed Harare on the second anniversary of Zimbabwean independence.

Harare is Zimbabwe's leading financial, commercial, and communications centre, and a trade centre for tobacco, maize, cotton, and citrus fruits.

Manufactured goods include textiles, steel and chemicals, and gold is mined in the area.

The city's suburbs include Borrowdale, Helensvale, Greendale, Chisipite, Shawasha hills, Mbare, HIghfields, Kuwadzana, Marlboro, Marlbereign, Vainona, Mount Pleasant and Avondale, Glen View, Budiriro, Southly Park, Warren Park; the most affluent neighbourhoods are to the north.

The University of Zimbabwe, the country's oldest university founded in 1952, is situated in Mount Pleasant, about 6 km (3.7 mi) north of the city centre.

Harare is home to the country's main Test cricket ground, Harare Sports Club, and to Dynamos F.C., Zimbabwe's most successful association football team.

In May 2006 the Zimbabwean newspaper the Financial Gazette, described the city in an editorial as a sunshine city-turned-sewage farm.

In 2009, Harare was voted to be the toughest city to live in according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's livability poll.

The situation was unchanged in 2011, according to the same poll, which is based on stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

In May 2005 the Zimbabwean government demolished shanties and backyard cottages in Harare and the other cities in the country in Operation Murambatsvina or Drive Out Trash.

It was widely alleged by residents and politicians that the true purpose of the campaign was to punish the urban poor for supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and to reduce the likelihood of mass action against the government by driving people out of the cities.

The government claimed it was necessitated by a rise of criminality and disease.

This was followed by Operation Garikayi/Hlalani Kuhle or Operation "Better Living" a year later which consisted of building concrete housing of poor quality.

In late March 2010, Harare's Joina City Tower was finally opened after 14 years of on-off construction, marketed as Harare's new Pride.

Initially, uptake of space in the tower was low, with office occupancy at only 3% in October 2011. By May 2013, office occupancy had risen to around half, with all the retail space occupied.

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Harare as the world's least liveable city out of 140 surveyed in February 2011, rising to 137th out of 140 in August 2012.

During late 2012, plans to build a new capital district in Mt. Hampden, about twenty kilometres (12 miles) north-west of Harare's central business district, were announced and illustrations shown in Harare's daily newspapers.

The location of this new district would imply an expansion into Zvimba District. The plan generated varied opinions.

In March 2015, Harare City Council planned a two-year project to install 4,000 solar streetlights, at a cost of $15 million, starting in the central business district.

The city sits on the one of the higher parts of the Highveld plateau of Zimbabwe at an elevation of 1,483 metres (4,865 feet). The original landscape could be described as a parkland.

Harare has a subtropical highland climate. The average annual temperature is 17.95 °C (64.3 °F), rather low for the tropics, and this is due to its high altitude position and the prevalence of a cool south-easterly airflow.

There are three main seasons: a warm, wet season from November to March/April; a cool, dry season from May to August (corresponding to winter in the Southern Hemisphere); and a hot, dry season in September/October.

Daily temperature ranges are about 7–22 °C (45–72 °F) in July (the coldest month), about 15–29 °C (59–84 °F) in October (the hottest month) and about 16–26 °C (61–79 °F) in January (midsummer).

The hottest year on record was 1914 with 19.73 °C (67.5 °F) and the coldest year was 1965 with 17.13 °C (62.8 °F).

The average annual rainfall is about 825 mm (32.5 in) in the southwest, rising to 855 mm (33.7 in) on the higher land of the northeast,from around Borrowdale to Glen Lorne. Very little rain typically falls during the period May to September, although sporadic showers occur most years.

Rainfall varies a great deal from year to year and follows cycles of wet and dry periods from 7 to 10 years long. Records begin in October 1890 but all three Harare stations stopped reporting in early 2004.

The climate supports a natural vegetation of open woodland. The most common tree of the local region is the Msasa Brachystegia spiciformis that colours the landscape wine red with its new leaves in late August.

Two introduced species of trees, the Jacaranda and the Flamboyant from South America and Madagascar respectively, which were introduced during the colonial era, contribute to the city's colour palette with streets lined with either the lilac blossoms of the Jacaranda or the flame red blooms from the Flamboyant.

They flower in October/November and are planted on alternative streets in the capital. Also prevalent is Bougainvillea.

Harare has been the location of several international summits such as the 8th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (6 September 1986) and Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1991.

The latter produced the Harare Declaration, dictating the membership criteria of the Commonwealth. In 1998 Harare was the host city of the 8th Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

In 1995, Harare hosted most of the 6th All-Africa Games, sharing the event with other Zimbabwean cities such as Bulawayo and Chitungwiza.

It has hosted some of the matches of 2003 Cricket World Cup which was hosted jointly by Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Several of the matches were also held in Bulawayo.

The city is also the site of one of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), which has featured such acclaimed artists as Cape Verdean singer Sara Tavares.

The public transport system within the city includes both public and private sector operations.

The former consist of ZUPCO buses and National Railways of Zimbabwe commuter trains.

Privately owned public transport comprised licensed station wagons, nicknamed emergency taxis until the mid-1990s, when they were replaced by licensed buses and minibuses, referred to officially as commuter omnibuses or Makombi.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe operates a daily overnight passenger train service that runs from Harare to Mutare and another one from Harare to Bulawayo. Harare is linked by long distance bus services to most parts of Zimbabwe.

The largest airport of the country Harare International Airport serves Harare.

Soccer is most popular among the people of Harare. Harare is home to Harare Sports Club ground. It has hosted many Test, One Day Internationals and T20I Cricket matches.

Harare is also home to the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League clubs Dynamos F.C., Harare City, Black Rhinos F.C. and CAPS United F.C..

Residents are exposed to a variety of sources for information. In the print media, there is the Herald, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Independent, Standard, NewsDay, H-Metro, Daily News and Kwayedza.

There has been an increase of online media outlets. These include ZimOnline, ZimDaily, Guardian, NewZimbabwe, Times, Harare Tribune, Zimbabwe Metro, The Zimbabwean, The Zimbabwe Mail and many others; however, a number of factors have combined to effectively eliminate all media except those controlled by the state.

Therefore, it is difficult to find a news source that is not bribed or influenced by the government.

The government controls all the electronic media, though Voice of America, Voice of the people and SW Radio Africa beam broadcasts into the country without the clearance of the regulatory authority.

Harare's airport is the major gateway for flights into the country. Air Zimbabwe also operated a small network of domestic flights before ceasing operations.

The National Archives has a priceless collection of maps, sketches, books, diaries and documents, as well as most of Thomas Baines' paintings.

The National Art Gallery holds frequent exhibitions of both indigenous and foreign works of art. The National Museum's specialty is the Story of Man and the Story of Animals in Mashonaland.

Ten minutes from the city you'll find Chapungu Kraal, in pastoral surroundings, where there is a magnificent collection of soapstone and verdite sculpture and an authentic 19th century Shona village complete with n'anga (traditional doctor).

Watersports of all kinds are available on the resort-filled north Shore of Lake Chivero, just a few minutes out of Harare, and the Lake's south shore is 2 023,4 ha of fascinating wilderness, where zebra, giraffe, sable, white rhino, tsessebe and eland roam.

Bird life is so prolific that, in one day, ornithologists recorded 200 species.

In the granite hills you can find many Bushmen paintings. Lodges and chalets on the lake shore are available.

Drive through the city for an appreciation of the Sunshine City’s historical buildings to Kopje hill for a 360-degree panorama of the city.

Bargain for exquisite hand-crafted souvenirs at the bustling Mbare Musika, and sample the swinging action at the Tobacco Auction floors in season.

Mukuvisi Woodlands - Call in on elephant, impala, ostrich and giraffe in a natural woodland reserve set aside and run by the Wildlife Society of Zimbabwe.

Only 15 minutes from the city centre.

Chengeta Safari Day Trip - Visit Mashonaland’s largest private game reserve with over 45 mammal and more than 180 bird species. Tailor-made safari options include horseback, canoe, game drives, walking and fishing. Unspoilt Africa at its best!

Kuimba Shiri Bird Gardens and Snake World - Here’s another aspect of Zimbabwe’s wildlife – 100s of exotic and indigenous birds at Kuimba Shiri.

At the nearby Snake World, you’ll face some of Africa’s most venomous vipers – all in one place. Definitely not something you’ll see anywhere else!

Lion & Lake Chivero Game Park - The wilds of Africa right on the city outskirts. Your chance to see the big cats and rare nocturnal species up close.

At Lake Chivero, free-ranging plains game abound and you may even catch a glimpse of the why white rhino.

Lake Manyame Recreational Park - Lake Manyame is one of the best angling environments in the world.

Challenge the staggering Bass fishing record of 18,4 pounds, experience stunning and breathtaking views of the lake from the dam wall and picnic sites, try out a variety of water sports or enjoy bird watching in this peaceful and tranquil environment.

Located 76 kilometres west of the capital city of Harare, Lake Manyame (formerly Darwendale) Recreational Park occupies a total area of 11,200 hectares.

Of this area, Lake Mayame water body swallows 8,100 hectares, just under three quarters of the parks total area.

The dam wall is 2 kilometres long and the maximum water depth is 226 metres. It took about three years to construct the dam, from 1973 to 1976. The park was established in 1973 but was officially opened in 1976.

The recreational park has a small area reserved for game. Here you can expect to see the less dangerous and smaller animals, mainly herbivores.

The most prevalent species are sable, kudu, waterbuck, bush pig, reedbuck, common duiker, warthog, baboon, vervet monkey, oribi and porcupine.

This park is a prime fishing destination attracting local, regional and international fishing enthusiasts. The major fish species within the lake are Mozambique and blue bream, Hunyani salmon, mud sucker, tiger fish, barbel, parrot fish, bulldog, spot tail, minnow bass and African mottled eel.

Fishing is the main attraction and bass fishing attracts thousands of enthusiasts annually. Fishing tournaments are held frequently with the most distinguished and world renowned being the Bass Masters Tournament.

The record catch on 25 July 2004 was a bass weighing 18,4 pounds.
The vegetation is well fed by the thick soils made fertile by humus derived from falling leaves and dying tall grass and other plants coupled with favourable rainfall.

The park is able to sustain a variety of tree species among them; musasa, munhondo, mukarati, ficus, capensis, dicyrostachys, cinera, pseudolachnostylls, maprononeifolia, euphorbia ingens, diopyros.

The park has two well sited lodges, camping sites, caravan sites, and picnic sites. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.

The park has 2 lodges situated less than 2 kilometres from the main entrance and 500 metres from the main park office. The lodges have views which overlook the water body, have 2 bedrooms each with 2 beds.

There is a dining room, kitchen and bathroom with hot and cold running water for each lodge. All cooking utensils are provided complete with cutlery and crockery.

The kitchens are fully equipped with refrigrators and four plate stoves with grills.

Each lodge has an open air braai point where visitors can catch the fresh water breeze rising from the sprawling lake. The lodges have electricity for lighting and for energy.

The camping site is situated close to the launching point for boats making it an ideal camping point for both fishing enthusiasts and water sport enthusiasts.

There are communal ablution blocks with bathrooms and showers providing both hot and cold running water.

Water points and braai points are dotted around the camping site, while the lake is only a stone's throw away for those who may need fresh untreated water.

For those campers who may need electricity for their sites, it can be sourced from the nearby ablution block.

In such cases the Parks authorities encourage you to carry long extension cables in the event that your site may be situated a few metres away from the ablution block.

The camp site and caravan site share the same ablution facilities. Firewood for your braai and cooking purposes can be purchased from the main park office.

The picnic sites are sprinkled along the north-western shore of the lake. The beauty of the lake can be savoured from the 10 rondavels at the picnic site.

Each picnic rondavel has its own individual braai point. There is also an ablution block in close proximity to all the rondavels.

The following are some of the main activities offered at Darwendale Recreational Park:

- Fishing, angling

- Boating, water skiing, yatching

- Camping

- Picnicking

- Walking

- Bird watching

Chinhoyi Caves - The Chinhoyi Caves consist of a system of tunnels, dark caverns & sunlit pools.

Explore The Wonder Hole, a large collapsed cavern whose walls drop vertically down into the depths of the unbelievably blue and crystal clear Sleeping Pool.

Historically, the first white man believed to have discovered the Caves was Frederick Selous, the famous European hunter, during his wanderings in 1887.

It was believed that prior to that the Caves were being used as a stronghold by an outlaw called Nyamakwere who murdered many victims by throwing them into the "Silent Pool".

The notorious Nyamakwere was eventually defeated and killed by a Headman called Chinhoyi who became a Mashona Chief, hence the name Chinhoyi given to the nearby town.

Chief Chinhoyi and his followers used the Caves as a refuge from raiding tribes such as the Matebele. Until a few years ago the remains of Chief Chinhoyi's grain bins could be seen in some of the underground passages.

The traditional name for the Caves is "Chirorodziva" which means the "Pool of the Fallen". The name was derived from an incident which took place in the 1830s when the Angoni Tribe, who were moving northwards surprised people living near the Caves and flung them into the pool.

The area close to the caves was first declared a National Monument and in 1957 it was declared a National Park with its existing boundaries. It was then redesignated as a Recreational Park in 1975.

The Caves consist of a system of tunnels and caverns. This system is a dying one (in geological time spans), in that they are slowly collapsing. These collapses can be noticed by the sink holes and depressions within the surrounding area.

The Wonder Hole, which is the main feature of the Caves, is in fact a "swallow hole" or a large cavern with a collapsed roof.

The walls or sides of the Wonder Hole drop vertically down for 150 feet to the Sleeping Pool. The pool is unbelievably blue and crystal clear which reflects great depth and non-flowing water.

Exploration by the Zimbabwe Sub-Aqua Spelaelogical Research Group has revealed that the depth of the water in the Sleeping Pool varies between 80 metres and 91 metres.

This fluctuation in depths is attributable to the amount of rainfall received in a particular season. Several under water passages have been found leading from the Sleeping Pool, but all those so far explored lead back into the Pool.

Near the end of the Dark Cave is a small cavern accessible only to diver known as the Blind Cave. A second one connects with the Sleeping Pool 58 metres below the surface and the third one is yet to be fully explored.

The Caves are composed mainly of the sunlit "Sleeping Pool" and the artificially lit Dark Cave.

The Sleeping Pool 46 metres below the ground level is accessible in two ways:

- Through the main entrance with an inclined passage, where the view of the water has been compared to the famous Blue Grotto of Capri

- Through the Dark Cave, which leads down steps and along a narrow passage to a point just above the water at the far side of the Sleeping Pool.

The exit from the Dark Cave is demanding, as the steps are very steep.

Therefore, less agile visitors would be well advised to avoid this latter option.

It seems probable that further caves remain to be discovered. Research suggests that the water in the cave is connected to an even bigger body of water in view of the fact that the temperature in the Sleeping Pool never varies from 22 degrees Celsius.

Excavations in and near the Caves have revealed that people have stayed around the area from early times. Pottery and human remains were unearthed from the area which radio-carbon dated around AD 650.

Although Chinhoyi Caves Recreational Park covers a large area only 20 acres of it in the vicinity of the actual Caves are used by the public. The remainder of the Park is largely taken up with dolomite mining claims and wooded scrubland.

The Picnic sites and camp sites are serviced by three ablution blocks with hot and cold water, baths, toilets and showers.

The Park's flora is made up largely of indigenous species and a few exotics. In the indigenous group, there are: Mukwa (pterocarpus angolencis), Cape Fig (ficus capensis), Combretum species, Terminalia species, Msasa (brachystegia), Violet tree (securidaca longipediculata), Yellow wood (monotas glaber) and Pink Jacaranda (stereospermum).

Although birds are not numerous, there is a wide variety of species, especially during the dry months of winter.

The Park's bird diversity includes the Arnot's Chat, Angola Rock Thrush, Mocking Chat, Large Striped Pipit, Woodpecker species, Black Tit, Redwing Starling, Batis, Flycatcher, Penduline Tit, Glossy Starling, Bat Hawk, Tree Creeper, Familiar Chat, Paradise Flycatcher and other species.

There are virtually no large animals in the Park. However, monkeys, baboons, bushpigs and rock hares can occasionally be sighted.


- Photographing - scenic photographs can be taken from the Viewpoint of the

- Wonder Hole

- Exploring the caves

- Leisurely strolls in the Park

- Picnicking

Amanzi Restaurant - Situated in the heart of the Northern Suburbs of Harare, Amanzi Restaurant is set well back from the road in 4 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens.

An old farmhouse, architecturally converted to a stylish modern restaurant, Amanzi has the capacity to seat 100 people.

Its versatile interior, with rooms linked through open arches, guests can sit in one of 2 main rooms, a private function room or the large terrace surrounding the restaurant.

The décor is a sophisticated blend of interior styles created to form a backdrop for unusual collections of African antiquities and contemporary art. The water feature is stocked with koi carp, and is floodlit at night.

The property is noted for its collection of indigenous trees, predominately msasa, and colourful shrubs, which provide a cool, restful atmosphere.

Amanzi Restaurant has recently gone green! Lime, leaf, sage and avocado - the full range of the green palette, has given the interior décor a whole fresh new look.

A look in line with Amanzi's philosophy of eco-conciousness: many ingredients used in Amanzi's kitchens are organically grown in our own garden; kitchen scraps are composted; paper, glass and plastic are recycled; staff are trained in energy saving practices.

Amanzi offers its customers "fusion" cuisine - a combination of the best food taken from different countries & cultures around the world.

The concept behind the new A La Carte menu at Amanzi Restaurant is Fusion Cuisine. It is an exciting and creative blend of Eastern and Western elements, combined together on one plate.

Recipes created for the menu are inspired from spices and ingredients from Nigeria, Morocco, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, the Mediterranean and back again to Zimbabwe. The current new menu offers a wide variety of fusion tapas-style starters for the casual diner.

These can form the basis of a formal four-course meal when enjoyed with soups, main courses and a selection of delicious desserts. Or just pop in for a plate of tapas and a drink.

At Amanzi the choice is yours! they stock a comprehensive and unusual collection of both local and imported wines.

They are open for both Lunch and Dinner, and cater for cocktail parties, wedding parties and corporate functions.

Open Monday to Saturday from 12pm for lunch and from 7pm for dinner.


- Fire Room - 25 people

- Main Room - 25 people

- Private Room - 12 people

- Terrace - 38 people

Special Occasions: They will be happy to quote for weddings, cocktail parties, birthdays & Christmas parties.

National Herbarium and Botanic Garden - The 58-hectare National Botanic Gardens contain examples of the diverse plant life that thrive in Harare's pleasant climate.

Most Zimbabwean species are represented, as well as specimens from Southern Africa. It's a great place to spend the day. One can walk one's dog, have a light meal in the restaurant and generally enjoy the situation.

For anyone interested in Zimbabwe plants this is one definate place to visit.

The National Herbarium and Botanic Garden is a center for research and information on the indigenous plants of Zimbabwe. It s responsible for the study of Zimbabwe flora in order to promote its conservation, development and sustainable use.

Its mission is To Increase Knowledge and Appreciation of Zimbabwean Plants. It fulfills this mission by looking after the plant specimens that are the essential resource material required in studying plant characters in order to arrive at their identity and names.

The National Herbarium stores preserved plant specimens while the living specimens are grown in the National Botanic Garden.

The Herbarium has about 500 000 plant specimens. It is the main reference center for research on identifying and naming plants of the Flora Zambesiaca Region.

This region comprises Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana and the Caprivi.

The Botanic Garden grows over 900 trees and shrubs of Zimbabwe in groups to show the associations that are found in various parts of the country. It has sections with trees of the Highveld, Lowveld and Eastern Highlands.

Also growing are a number of trees from other countries that have climatic conditions similar to Zimbabwe e.g. Asia and Australia.

The Education Centre disseminates information on the plants of Zimbabwe and the plant kingdom in general to educational institutions especially schools.

Aims and Objectives

To conserve, enhance and curate Zimbabwe's principal collection of botanical specimens for national and international reference and study.

To do scientific research and documentation on Zimbabwean plants and plant communities based on the herbarium collection and field surveys
To provide botanical services to Government Departments, NGOs, students, researchers and the public.

To provide a focal point for the international network of herbaria, in order to facilitate research on the flora of Zimbabwe and the region by national and international researchers.

To provide a pleasant and peaceful environment in which the Harare community can enjoy activities that are compatible with Botanic Garden management.

To raise revenue that will help in the development and maintenance of the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden.


The Botanic Garden Restaurant / Teahouse
This is open daily from 0730 hours to 1800 hours.


This open-air-under-thatch building is hired out for meetings and workshops.

Venue for Photography / Films

The Botanic Garden is a popular spot for wedding photos, especially around the lake. It is also used by a number of companies in the shooting of films and adverts.

The Desert House

In this house are plants from the dry areas of Southern Africa.

Mazowe Botanic Reserve - This is a 48-hactare outstation of the National Herbarium and Botanic Garden. It is located some 30km North of Harare in Christonbank Township.

It provides a good example of the vegetation of the highveld (miombo). The Reserve has over 300 plant species representing about 70 families.

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park - Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is situated on the shores of Lake Chivero, in a National Park boasting over 460 species of indigenous birds in the wild.

Established over 20 years ago Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is the only bird park in Zimbabwe and is home to orphaned, injured and abandoned birds.

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is situated on the shores of Lake Chivero, in a National Park boasting over 460 species of indigenous birds in the wild.

Established over 20 years ago Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is the only bird park in Zimbabwe and is home to orphaned, injured and abandoned birds.

The bird park was founded by owner and falconer, Gary Stafford, whilst he was training eagles for a number of BBC WILDLIFE documentaries including “Eagles “ and “The Life of Birds”.

Kuimba Shiri boasts the first free flying bird display in Africa. Their birds of prey are flown daily at 16:00hrs.

Visitors can enjoy waterfront chalets or the camp site and fish for carp, bream and bass to name a few. They hosted two Tri-Nations Bank Angling competitions in 2006 and 2009. In 2009 five international records were broken in three days of fishing.

Guests can enjoy game viewing by boat and a tasty meal at the Admiral’s Cabin Restaurant, whilst enjoying the spectacular view of the vast Lake. Sunday afternoons can be spent relaxing under the Msasa trees listening to live music. An ideal family venue, run by a family, for families.

Bird Park

Kuimba Shiri Bird Park is now enjoying a long overdue facelift, after nearly ten years of economic turmoil. They are home to an ever increasing number of orphaned and injured birds.

The bird park is important as it offers a home to birds that otherwise would have died, offering an opportunity to educate people and allow these birds to breed in captivity, where the offspring may be released.

The National Parks surrounding Kuimba Shiri Bird Park will keep birdwatchers busy marking off in excess of 460 species from their bird list including the “Spotted Creeper”.

Top recognised international Falconers have visited to enjoy flights with Peregrine and Lanner Falcons not to mention their African Goshawk, Ovambo Sparrow Hawk and African Hawk Eagles


Boating & Game Viewing

A cruise in a speed boat 7 kilometers across the lake brings you into the Game Park, where if you are lucky, you can sneak up to White Rhino grazing the water hyacinths only a few meters away.

Other game to be spotted along the lake shore are Giraffe, Zebra, Impala, Ostrich, Eland, Waterbuck, Crocodile and a host of water birds.

Alternatively, guests can enjoy water tubing, or for those wanting to chill and relax, a late afternoon sunset booze cruise.


Kuimba Shiri Bird Park hosted the Tri-Nations bank angling competition between Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia in 2006 & 2009. The largest fish caught, in this off season event, was a carp weighing in at approx. 9kg. Other fish caught were barbel, bream and bass.

Their favourite competition is the annual “Rapala Kid’s Classic” which last year attracted over 100 entrants. This competition epitomises commitment to family values, as it encourages fathers to fish with their children.

All the children are winners as they all receive a prize. The children may catch fish off the bank or from a boat. Favourite fishing spots on the lake are along ” Vorley Bay”, ” M.O.T.H Island ” or “Crocodile Creek”.

Horse Riding

An hour long outride can be arranged for an enjoyable hack through the old farmlands and along the stream that flows into Hippo Creek.


Admiral’s Cabin Marina is one of the oldest operating marina’s, with a concrete slipway and the deepest harbour on the lake. Their tractor will launch and recover your boat and they also have fuel, oil, drinks, ice and snacks available.

Live Music

Sunday afternoons can be spent relaxing under the Msasa trees listening to live music provided by their resident band “Cornerstone”.

Sunday’s are an ideal day out for the whole family. Whilst Mom and Dad are enjoying a meal from the Admiral’s Cabin restaurant, the children can play in the pool, ride a pony or fish in the harbour.

Cornerstone is a four-piece band and regularly perform at parties and weddings, entertaining with their unique style of music. Lead singer Stuart, an accomplished flutist and harp player, is joined by lead and rhythm guitarist Gerald, bass player Sidney and Steve on drums.

Conferences & Camps

The Conference facility is capable of hosting up to 20 delegates & has proved popular with groups wanting to get away from the City’s hustle and bustle. Overnight accommodation, meals, drinks and tea are available.

School groups book children’s camps in the five “barrack” rooms overlooking a ” Dare” (a campfire meeting place) where children visit the bird park, the National Park and enjoy all the other facilities available.

Kuimba Shiri has seven well appointed ”A” framed thatched chalets, comprising of en suite shower, wc and basin and power points. Each chalet has one double bed and up to three single beds per unit.

The chalets are 10 metres from the waterfront overlooking “Hippo Creek” and the magnificent Msasa covered Hunyani Hills in the back ground.

The Camping Site is situated alongside the chalets, nestled under the Msasa trees & has the same spectacular view as the chalets.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden - Ewanrigg Botanical Garden is situated north-east of Harare. The most accessible road is the Shamva road.

Visitors to Harare should take the Enterprise road, passing through Newlands and Highlands, continuing on the highway until the Shamva and Mutoko road junction is reached approximately 29 km from Harare.

Take the left fork sign posted Shamva road and follow this road until you reach the sign post indicating a right turn, Christian Road, and drive 4 km to Ewanrigg Botanical Garden.

Christian is a loop road which links the Shamva road and the Mutoko roads, hence the alternative is to use the Mutoko road. The Muoko road should always be avoided during the rainy season, owing to a high flow of water over the low causeway at the Mvinzi River.

Generally, the roads are always kept in good condition throughout the year.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden is noted for its wide collection of indigenous and exotic plants and is one of the world's largest aloe and cycad gardens. It has a calm and peaceful environment, scenic views and wide variety of plant species.

Ewanrigg Botanical Garden owes its origin to the late Mr. Harold Basil Christian. Mr. Christian came to the then Rhodesia in 1914 as a farmer. He later turned his attention to botany and horticulture.

It was in the field of botany and in the study of the genus aloe that he made many valuable scientific contributions.

Building on his success with aloes, he later turned his attention to a cycad collection.

In his garden which covered, 1,5 hectares, a very comprehensive collection of aloes, cycads and many species of small succulent plants was acquired - all of which were planted with considerable care and particular attention to their physical arrangement.

Some months prior to his death in 1950, he donated his garden with some additional land to the Governement. The cultivated area was very small, comprising some 1.6ha.

During the past 40 years, considerable development has been made. When the garden was eventually opened to the public and became widely known throughout the region, the need for expansion was identified in order to capture the interest of visitors throughout the year.

With this in mind many hectares of land were brought under cultivation incorporating several features that include spacious lawns with grouped trees and shrubs, a water garden and collections of cactii and bougainvillea.

Progress made over the past few years has brought 100 hectares under cultivation.

Ewanrigg has become widely known abroad and possibly the most favourable outcome of Mr. Christian's work has been the garden's capacity to create meaningful plant specie exchanges with other botanical gardens and numerous plant collectors as well as to create a richly endowed botanical habitat for both indigenous and exotic species.

Ewanrigg has now become one of the largest aloe and cycad gardens in the world.

The area is predominantly a habitat for the indigenous miombo wooodland, which is the most common in the garden, with brachstagia species and parinari species appearing here and there.

Exotic species have also been introduced in the landscaped regions of the Garden.

Picnic Site

The serene, calm and scenic environment of the gardens make Ewanrigg an ideal picnicking area. The sites are well serviced with ablution facilities, braai stands and water points.

For those that may need to sweat a little there is an open ground where visitors can play volleyball and many other ball games.


Garden viewing - aloe viewing is ideal from May to September when the aloes are in bloom

Winter time bird watching - aloes and cycads attract a wide variety of bird species.

When in bloom, aloes and cycads become a special fascination for sunbirds, which at times concentrate in large numbers to obtain nectar

Bird watchers should make this a key port of call

- Picnicking

- Photographing

- Walks - guided and unguided

However, an increasing number of foreign airlines are flying into Harare these days.

They include South African Airways with direct flights from Johannesburg. Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa, Kenya Airways from Nairobi, TAAG Angola Airlines from Luanda and Egypt Air from Cairo via Dar es Salaam and KLM from Amsterdam.

Taxis from the airport to the main hotels cost $25. This exhorbitant fixed price, given the relatively short distance and great age of the taxis, is attributed by the drivers to the high fees that they have to pay to the airport authority.

Bulawayo sees departures three times a week at 8PM, arriving next morning around 8AM. $12 for a sleeper and $10 for a seat.

Trains from Mutare at the border with Mozambique runs three times a week departing Mutare also at 9PM, arrival time in Harare is early morning at 6AM. $7 for 1st class sleeper. $5 for 2nd class sleeper.

There are currently no international trains to Harare except occasional cruise trains.

Harare railway station is located on Kenneth Kaunda Ave, just south of the city centre.

A good road from Johannesburg allows easy access. However, be careful of the sometimes frightening drops at the side of the roads, at the edge of the tarmac, particularly with oncoming trucks at night. In fact, night driving is not advised.

Buses from Johannesburg are easily available ranging from Eagle Liner (for R330). Greyhound (for R450) and Intercape (R420). The bus takes between 16-24 hours. Delays at the border are very common and typically range 3-8 h, but they can be as much as 20 h at Christmas time.

Intercape, which has the largest intercity network in southern Africa also have buses from Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo.

Most ordinary long-distance bus services arrive at the Mbare Terminal, located 3 km southwest of the Central district. The terminal itself is giant, hectic, confusing, and dangerous.

There are several disconnected regions of the terminal, and finding something as simple as a taxi can require walking over 500 m through markets and alleys.

Although minibuses to Mbare depart from the 4th Street Terminal in Central located at 4th and Mugabe, it may be worth taking a taxi, which will be able to find a bus to your destination for you.

Luxury buses including Eagle Liner/Greyhound/Intercape arrive and depart from the modern Roadport terminal at 5th & Mugabe.

Harare is very spread out. The best option to get around is by car, which is easier now that dollarization has made fuel shortages a thing of the past. Fuel is freely available at most outlets for cash or through a coupon system.

Most operators now import fuel by themselves and prices are independently set. Most service stations close at around p.m. although there are a number that offer 24-hour service.

Taxis: in 4+1 style taxis, it is very common to fit as many as 8 people inside. Rides around town should cost about $5 for the entire cab at night, typically $2 or $3 during the day, unless you are going to the suburbs. Make sure you negotiate the price before you get inside the car

Minibus taxis are readily available with frequent services between central and all suburbs. Ask around for the terminal for your destination. Typically the fare is about $0.50c.

There is a strong appreciation for the city's cultural and historical heritage and a number of the older buildings have been preserved.

The Mining Pension Fund Building at Central Avenue and Second Street is one example and many more are to be found along Robert Mugabe Road between Second Street and Julius Nyerere Way.

National Gallery of Zimbabwe. Houses not only a valuable and interesting national collection but also hosts travelling international exhibitions and has a permanent display of some outstanding Shona soft-stone carvings.

National Heroes Arc.

National Archives. Houses a priceless collection of Rhodesiana and Africana in the form of diaries, notebooks and reports of various origins. Some of the original works of some of the greatest names in African exploration and missionary can be viewed.

Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences. Formerly the Queen Victoria Museum.

Harare City Library. Formerly the Queen Victoria Memorial Library

The Kopje. A granite hill rising above the southwest corner of central Harare, is a great place to go for views of the city.

Chapungu Sculpture Park. The vast number of rocks of black serpentine stone found around Zimbabwe, and noticeable even as you drive in from the airport, have encouraged the development of stone carvings by Zimbabwe's talented artists.

This large area has exhibitions by numerous artists.

Harare Botanical Gardens, Sandringham Dr. 68ha and hosts more than 900 species of wild trees and shrubs from all over the country.

Mukuvisi Woodlands, Hillside Rd, 277 hectares of remarkably preserved natural woodland that straddles the banks of the small Mukuvisi stream. A variety of bird and of wild animal species such as giraffe, zebra, impala, tsessche, wildebeest, bushbuck, steenbuck, reed buck and eland can be viewed.

All purchases in larger stores are made with US dollars, which is the national currency.

Anything made locally is inexpensive. Packets of Zimbabwe cigarettes cost $0.50. Everything that is imported is relatively expensive compared to South Africa. Cans of Coca-cola typically cost $1, for example.

If you want to experience shopping the way it is traditionally done in many African countries, you could stroll around at the open flea-market at Mbare.

Here tourists could feast their eyes on a colourful array of baskets, food, clothing and other items.

ATMs give US dollars. The ATMs at Ecobank, Stanbic, Standard Charted will accept most international Visa or Master cards'

Eastgate Centre, Robert Mugabe Rd. One of the largest shopping malls in Harare, centrally located.

Spar Supermarkets. there are 64 Spar stores all over Zimbabwe.

TM-Pick N Pay Supermarkers. there are over 50 TM-Pick N Pay stores all over Zimbabwe.

OK Supermarkets. there are over 50 OK stores in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's staple food is Sadza: a thick white porridge a bit like mashed potato, that's made from corn (maize) meal. It's eaten at every meal, accompanied by vegetables or meat in some form.

In Harare there are many westernised restaurants serving European or American style food, but far more exciting are the outdoor cafes:

Cafe espresso on Cork Road, Avondale, Harare has a brilliantly landscaped garden and a wifi spot - excellent coffees
40 Cork Road, Avondale, Harare is an outdoor cafe, art gallery, and sculpture garden. Very much the place to be seen.

167 Enterprise Road, Chisipite, Harare - an old house converted into a restaurant with a huge garden with a pool, an art shop, gallery etc.

With the dollarisation of the economy, there has been a big increase in the number of restaurants and coffee shops in Harare. The Zimbabwe Tourism website has also recently been upgraded.

Amanzi Restaurant, 158 Enterprise Road, Highlands. Generally considered Harare's best restaurant, Amanzi is a long ($10-15 each way) drive out of town into the upmarket suburbs but worth it. A booking is essential, or you probably will not get past the gatekeeper.

2 Coimbra, 61 Selous Avenue, corner 7th St,$5 taxi ride from the main hotels. This Portuguese restaurant has invested little in the decor but that is no problem. You go for the food, not the wall decorations, and the food is very good. Quick Service - Half a Chicken and Chips only $10 $25.

Try Chibuku, a popular local beer. It comes in "scuds" - large 2 litre brown plastic containers. The beer is lumpy and opaque beige, but is good and painfully cheap.

Shake-shake is prepackaged sorghum beer brewed in the traditional African style and is very thick and filling, and comes in milk cartons.

The locally brewed Castle, Lion, Zambesi and Bohlingers are definitely worth trying.

Harare has a vibrant club scene that goes on until the early hours.

Stars, located next to the Rainbow hotel, is a high class bar/club/lounge that plays hip hop and house music. It can be expensive but a lot of fun.

Symphony is a hip hop club/lounge very similar to Stars.

Globe Trotters, also known as GT, is a much less expensive club.

Balcony is very similar to Globe Trotters.

Beverlino Restaurant, 100 Nelson Mandela Corner Fourth/Nelson Mandela (Opposite Quality International Hotel. Beverlino Restaurant, well known for its baskets, offered a wide range of food and beverages prepared to your taste.

Wherever, you are in town, the warm savoury food will be brought to your door step. Place an order for food now.

The city boasts an internationally recognized 5 star hotel (The Meikles Hotel), but also has a significant number of three to four star hotels that offer affordable accommodation without compromising on quality.

These include The Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, The Cresta Lodge and The Holiday Inn. There is now only one cheap backpackers lodge. Harare also has quite a number of bed and breakfast/guest houses, mostly set in former residential houses with extensive gardens.

Small World Backpackers Lodge, five avenue and Ninth street in down town Harare. and At the corner of Ridge and Argyle in Avondale.

It costs $12 per person in the dorm and $7 per person camping. some private rooms are available. the only backpacker hostel in Harare. $7/$12.

Bowood Lodge, est House, 8, Gu Bowood Road, Mount Pleasant, North Harare, has 4 double rooms. It is set in beautiful grounds and has internet and a pool.

Very peaceful. Costs are around $75 per night for bed & breakfast. Evening meals are also available.

Cresta Oasis, Nelson Mandela Way. Three-star hotel just to the east of the Central Business District (walkable during the day, not advisable at night). Around $100.

Simba Harare, est House, 522, Gu Westgate, New Adyllin, North Harare, has 8 double rooms, and a large swimming pool. Own water supply (borehole) and el (Solar energy). Internet. Safe.

Costs are from $20 per night (cabin) to $ 50(Main House) for bed & breakfast.Larger groups have been accommodated. Airport pickup arranged per request.

1 Crowne Plaza Monomotapa, 54 Park Ln, Northwest corner of the Central Business District. Backing onto the Harare Gardens park, this moon-shaped hotel provides comfortable accommodation.

2 Holiday Inn, Samora Machel Ave.

3 Meikles Hotel, Jason Moyo Avenue,Next to Africa Unity Square. Despite the problems experienced in Zimbabwe in recent years Meikles has managed to maintain its standards as one of Africa's best hotels.

All the usual amenities and excellent service. Prices start at $200 per night.

WiFi is available around the city provided by private from as little one as 1 USD

Walking around the town after dark should be avoided. If you leave your hotel to visit restaurants, take a taxi.

Epworth Balancing Rocks are located on Chiremba Road, 10km Southwest of Central. Looks for the signs on the left. 4th Street Terminal has frequent minibus services to the Balacing Rocks--the driver will know where to let you out.

Be careful of your personal safety inside the park. The cost is between $2 and $10 per person depending on the situation.

The condition of the roads in Zimbabwe has deteriorated dramatically in recent years since the government has failed to maintain them. Most of the country is now without street lights.

The main highways are still in a good state of repair outside of the cities: traffic is so light now that damage from trucks is minimal. You should be all right without a 4x4 unless you head into rural areas and game parks.

If you enter from South Africa, be sure that your insurance waiver is valid for travel in Zimbabwe.

Tourism Observer

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

ZIMBABWE: Robert Mugabe And Wife In Custody,Former Vice Emmerson Mnangagwa Jets Back To Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe is under heavy guard after soldiers have cordoned off the parliament building and the defence headquarters as the security situation deteriorates in the southern African country.

Two journalists have reportedly been hospitalised after they were allegedly assaulted by the military while covering the unfolding events in the Zimbabwean capital.

The recently renamed international airport has also been sealed off. No official comment has been issued by authorities thus far.

The American embassy has also issued a warning to its citizens to stay indoors.

In the wake of the military takeover in Zimbabwe, the national police force has recalled all officers on leave.

A top police official who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press told The Associated Press that all police on leave have been ordered to return to their posts immediately.

Zimbabwe's army said Wednesday it has President Robert Mugabe and his wife in custody and is securing government offices and patrolling the capital's streets following a night of unrest that included a military takeover of the state broadcaster.

The night's action triggered speculation of a coup, but the military's supporters praised it as a "bloodless correction."

Armed soldiers in armoured personnel carriers stationed themselves at key points in Harare, while Zimbabweans formed long lines at banks in order to draw the limited cash available, a routine chore in the country's ongoing financial crisis.

People looked at their phones to read about the army takeover and others went to work or to shops.

In an address to the nation after taking control of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, an army spokesman said early Wednesday the military is targeting "criminals" around Mugabe, and sought to reassure the country that order will be restored.

We are only targeting criminals.

It was not clear where Mugabe, 93, and his wife were on Wednesday but it seems they are in the custody of the military.

Their security is guaranteed, the army spokesperson said.

"We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover," the army statement said.

"We are only targeting criminals around Mugabe who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice."

The spokesman added "as soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy." The army spokesman called on churches to pray for the nation. He urged other security forces to "cooperate for the good of our country," warning that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."

The statement called on troops to return to barracks immediately, with all leave canceled.

Overnight, at least three explosions were heard in the capital, Harare, and military vehicles were seen in the streets.

The military actions appear to put the army in control of the country. Army commander Constantino Chiwenga had threatened on Monday to "step in" to calm political tensions.

Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party responded by accusing the general of "treasonable conduct." But now Chiwenga appears to be in control.

The army has been praised by the nation's war veterans for carrying out "a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power."

The military will return Zimbabwe to "genuine democracy" and make the country a "modern model nation," said Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the war veterans' association, told The Associated Press in Johannesburg.

Mutsvangwa and the war veterans are staunch allies of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired from his post of vice president by Mugabe last week. Mnangagwa fled Zimbabwe last week but said he would return to lead the country.

The U.S. Embassy closed to the public Wednesday and encouraged citizens to shelter in place, citing "the ongoing political uncertainty through the night." The British Embassy issued a similar warning, citing "reports of unusual military activity."

For the first time, this southern African nation is seeing an open rift between the military and Mugabe, the world's oldest head of state who has ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980. The military has been a key pillar of his power.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president fired by Mugabe, is back in the country.

He flew into Manyame airbase this morning.

He’s always had a lot of support in the army and it’s very likely he’ll be taking over as the de facto head of government, with Mugabe, 93, as a figurehead.

It is fairly clear the armed forces have taken power,they control the state broadcaster, the streets of the capital and, most importantly, the personal residence of the head of state.

It is also fairly clear why they have acted now. This is a pre-emptive strike to stop Grace Mugabe, the president’s 53-year-old wife, and her clique taking pole position in the race to succeed the oldest living ruler in the world.

The fortunes of the first lady have been rising in recent months, at the expense of the allies of the military within the ruling Zanu-PF party.

The most obvious example is Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice-president and veteran of Zimbabwe’s liberation war who was fired unceremoniously last week, clearing the way for Grace to be appointed in his place.

But there are others who have been sidelined. Senior soldiers fear they will suffer if Grace and her associates take over.

They also believe she will be corrupt, vindictive and incompetent, and know that the first lady’s violent outbursts and extravagance – as well as that of her entourage and sons – have already made her very unpopular.

The soldiers are also concerned about a further massive deterioration of the economy.

Inflation and the collapse of the Zimbabwean currency has already impoverished many rank and file soldiers, and hit the incomes of officers too.

The wages of the millions of government employees – troops, police, civil servants and others – often go unpaid for months on end. This means the seizure of power today will be greeted by many with relief, if not enthusiasm.

The course of events over the next few days is harder to see clearly. Whatever happens is likely to be chaotic and fast-moving – though it will be a surprise if there is any violent resistance to the takeover.

Once the dust settles, and the rise of Grace and her faction has been reversed, the soldiers will have to decide. Will they return power to the civilians – particularly the ageing head of state and commander-in-chief, Mugabe – or will the temptation to run the country themselves prove too great? Will they call back Mnangagwa to take power himself with Mugabe perhaps reduced to a figurehead?

Two key markers will be the annual convention of the Zanu-PF next month, and the elections next year. Observers will be looking for an early commitment from the military to allowing both to go ahead.

The opposition MDC party has said it wants to see a peaceful, constitutional democratisation of Zimbabwe following the army move, Reuters reports.

In a statement, the MDC says it urges the establishment of a stable, democratic and progressive nation state.

Chris Mutsvangwa, chairman of the Zimbabwe war veterans’ group, has praised the night’s events as a bloodless correction of gross abuse of power by members of Robert Mugabe’s government.

Mutsvangwa said he believed the army would return Zimbabwe to genuine democracy and make the country a “modern model nation.”

The war veterans are supporters of Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former vice-president who was fired Mugabe last week following a power struggle over succession with the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, dismissed as vice-president last week in a move that was widely interpreted as clearing the way for the promotion of Grace Mugabe, is reported to have returned to Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean defence forces have seized control of the state broadcaster ZBC overnight, screening a statement declaring that it is “targeting criminals” around the president, Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe and his family are “safe and sound”, said the army spokesman Maj Gen SB Moyo said. Mugabe has not appeared in public or issued a statement. It is unclear whether he is in military custody.

Armoured vehicles and troops have on Wednesday morning blocked roads in central Harare around government buildings and the presidential residence.

There are reports that at least one minister, Ignatius Chombo, who holds the finance brief, has been detained by the military.

Chombo is a leading member of the G40 faction of the ruling Zanu-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who is vying to succeed the 93-year-old president. This faction is believed to be the target of the military’s action.

The national police force has recalled all officers on leave.

A senior police official, who insisted on anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press, said all officers have been ordered to return to their posts immediately.

Tourism Observer

ZIMBABWE: Army Captures Power, Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo Arrested

Zimbabwe Army General Constantino Chiwenga Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces

Zimbabwe’s military on Wednesday confirmed that it had seized power in a targeted assault on “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe, but gave assurances that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.

In a short broadcast on national television, which was seized overnight by soldiers, a spokesman for the military said it expected “normalcy” to return as soon as it had completed its “mission”.

According to a government source, Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo among those detained by army.

Chombo was a leading member of the so-called ‘G40’ faction of the ruling ZANU-PF party, led by Mugabe’s wife Grace, that had been vying to succeed the 93-year-old president.

Major General SB Moyo, Chief of Staff Logistics announcement on national television after the military seized power:

"We wish to assure the nation that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and commander in chief of Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Comrade RG Mugabe, and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.

We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice.

As soon as we have accomplished our mission, we expect that the situation will return to normalcy.

To the civil servants, as you are aware, there is a plan by the same people to influence the current purging that is taking place in the political sphere to the civil service. We are against that act of injustice and we intend to protect every one of you against that.

To the judiciary, the measures underway are intended to assure that as an independent arm of the state you are able to exercise your independent authority without fear of being obstructed as has been the case with this group of individuals.

To our members of parliament, your legislative role is of paramount importance, of peace and stability in this country, and it is our desire that a dispensation is created that allows you to serve your respective political constituencies according to democratic tenets.

To the generality of the people of Zimbabwe, we urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement.

However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual.

Our wish is that you will enjoy your rights and freedoms and that we return our country to a dispensation that allows for investment, development and prosperity that we all fought for and for which many of our citizens paid the supreme sacrifice.

To political parties, we urge you to discourage your members from engaging in violent behaviour. To the youth, we call upon you to realise that the future of this country is yours.

Do not be enticed with the dirty coins of silver, be disciplined and remain committed to the efforts and values of this great nation.

To all churches and religious organisations in Zimbabwe we call upon your congregations to pray for our country and preach the gospel of love, peace and unity and development.

To both our people and the world beyond our borders, we wish to make this abundantly clear this is not a military takeover of government.

What Zimbabwe defence forces is doing is to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country which if not addressed may result in violent conflict.

We call upon all the war veterans to play a positive role in ensuring peace, stability and unity in the country. To members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, all leave is cancelled and you are all to return to your barracks with immediate effect.

To the other security forces, we urge you to cooperate for the good of our country. Let it be clear we intend to address the human security threats in our country.

Therefore any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.

And to the media, we urge you to report fairly and responsibly.

We thank you.”

Tourism Observer

PANAMA: Top 10 New Restaurants In Panama City

Panama City has long been recognized as a cosmopolitan culinary capital the kind of place where new restaurants pop up almost every day.

The food landscape is exciting, with fusion, ethnic, gourmet, and casual eateries all making their way into the mix.

Whether you’re in the mood for Indian, Argentinean, Korean, Swiss, Thai, Mexican, or virtually anything else, you’ll find it here.

Older places that have stood the test of time are well worth visiting.

But to see and be seen or just enjoy a different culinary experience—there’s nothing like a trendy new restaurant.

Ready for a fun night out on the town?

Start your evening with one of Panama City’s best new eateries…just try to book ahead, as most of these places are always hopping:

1. Try Humo for Panama’s best BBQ

Known for great meat and fish dishes, this joint has a small but satisfying menu and great casual-country ambiance.

It’s the brainchild of owner and chef Mario Castrellón, who uses local ingredients to put a Panamanian spin on U.S.-style barbecue.

Located in the San Francisco district of Panama City, Humo is close to nightspots like Libar and pubs like Brew Stop.

Try the pulled pork tacos and sangria, then head out for cocktails or dancing.

2. The award for most innovative goes to Madrigal

Panama’s most popular nightlife spots are in beautiful Casco Viejo.

The colonial buildings lend instant charm to any locale but not every eatery here is worth the often hefty prices.

Madrigal, however, is always changing it up and surprising diners which may be a big reason this restaurant is always full.

We love inventive dishes like tongue with risotto and ceviche covered in coconut foam.

Though a bit pricey for Panama, Madrigal always delivers a unique dining experience.

Definitely the best restaurant in the touristy Casco Viejo district.

3. Cocina de la India has a big, varied menu

There’s nothing like Indian cuisine to satisfy your craving for spicy food.

Though Panama City has several excellent offerings, this new eatery is a head above the rest when it comes to variety.

Located in the food court of the Balboa Boutique street mall, Cocina de la India boasts traditional breakfast items you won’t find anywhere else.

Try the savory idli cakes, a South Indian specialty that’ll wake up your taste buds, as it comes served with a fiery soup called sambar.

4. Enjoy Japanese fusion at ZK Nikkei

Long-time patrons of this restaurant, formerly known as Sake, may protest that it’s not new at all. But as the restaurant has been re-branded and is more popular than ever, we thought it deserved a place on our list.

For an upscale décor and delectable Japanese food with a Latin American twist, ZK cannot be beat.

Plus, it’s conveniently located in the Torre de las Americas building, across from Multiplaza mall. Reserve online at

5. Gula, the go-to place for great ambiance and live music

Historically, the Costa del Este sector hasn’t been known for its nightlife.

But with a growing offering of new restaurants and cafes, Costa del Este is changing.

At the head of the pack is Gula, a trendy restaurant that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn.

The sepia lighting and warehouse dEcor are the perfect backdrop for bluesy live music and hipster-inspired cocktails.

It can get loud here, so think dinner and drinks with friends rather than family gathering.

6. Find iconic French macaroons and more at Ladurée

A Parisian chain known for impossibly beautiful desserts, Ladurée recently opened its first Panama store at the brand new Soho mall.

A great place for gourmet macaroons, it also offers a good variety of savory dishes, like foie gras and old-fashioned vol au vents.

Our advice? Take in a movie at the mall’s upscale VIP theaters, then treat yourself to a kir royal and sweet treat at Ladurée.

7. Try Le & Möet & Chandon for fancy Sunday brunches

This newly opened café is fittingly located atop the beautiful Hermes shop in Multiplaza mall.

The well-trained service staff exists to pamper guests, and the menu includes impressive offerings like champagne and oysters.

Don’t expect heavy dinner dishes in Le & Möet & Chandon, as the menu is tapas-inspired. Perfect for an evening of light bites and adult beverages.

8. Casco Viejo’s well-kept secret is Barrio Pizza

For casual, inexpensive, and incredibly good food, head to Barrio Pizza.

Tucked away on Avenida Central, near the Plaza Catedral, this is a hole-in-the-wall pizzeria with limited seating and cool graffitied walls.

You can order to go or wait for one of the few tables to free up.

You’ll be entertained by the pizza chef, who churns out fresh pizzas in full view of his hungry customers.

Craft beer and wine by the glass are also on the creative menu featuring unusual toppings like eggplant and Roquefort.

9. II Tula, authentic Italian in an intimate setting

Typically booked a week or so in advance, II Tula is a place worth waiting for.

Just don’t let the unassuming façade on Via Porras fool you.

Locals are whispering that this tiny restaurant with just six tables offers up the best Italian fare in the city.

Reserve for an upcoming birthday and then count the days, dreaming of green peppercorn spaghetti and lamb-stuffed tortellini.

10. Breakfast and outstanding coffee await at Café Unido

In quiet Coco del Mar you’ll find a small café and some of the best coffee in Panama.

If you’re not a coffee drinker, never fear—the selection of teas and chocolate frappes is also fantastic.

But for bitter bean enthusiasts, there are world-famous brews like geisha and arpia to choose from.

Plus, breakfast items like huevos rancheros and pain-au-chocolate are fast becoming local favorites.

Unido also has locales in Marbella, Costa del Este, and Casco Viejo.

All offer wifi, so bring your laptop and stay a while!

Tourism Observer

PANAMA: Ten Popular Panamanian Treats And Where To Find Them

Panama is arguably Latin America’s most international destination.

Thanks in large part to the Panama Canal, this tiny isthmus is home to populations from all over the world: Israel, India, Lebanon, China, France, Brazil, and Argentina to name just a few.

So what is true Panamanian cuisine?

The spicy, fiery flavors of the Caribbean? The seafood-rich diet of the Guna tribes? Or briny Mediterranean flavors dating back to the times of the conquistadors?

When it comes to Panama’s signature dishes, the answer is: all of the above. Happily, in every town and region, there’s a tasty treat just waiting to tempt you.

1. Conch Fritters Fresh from the Caribbean

If you truly want to taste the Caribbean, try the Bocas del Toro archipelago.

Here, restaurants serve up a variety of cuisines with a Caribbean kick.

Most visitors stay on the main island of Isla Colon.

But here's a little secret: a five-minute boat ride will get you to Carenero, where Cosmic Crab Cafe serves up mouth-watering conch fritters.

2. Saus: An Afro-Antillean “Guilty Pleasure”

For something a bit more adventurous try spicy pickled pigs’ feet.

A party tradition stemming from Panama’s rich Afro-Antillean heritage, this treat known as saus is often served at parties, festivals and culinary fairs.

A down-home cafeteria called El Sabroson serves up a slightly sweet version in the mountain town of Boquete. For generous portions and inexpensive fare, this eatery can’t be beat!

3. Guacho: Stick-to-Your Ribs Rice

A favorite for working guys and gals on the go, guacho fuses mild Latin American flavors with spiced meat or seafood.

This “meal in a bowl” comes in dozens of variations, all building on a hearty rice base.

For an elevated seafood version by star chef Mario Castrellón, head to Panama City’s Maito restaurant.

4. The Pigeon Pea: Panama’s Most Prized Legume

Some guachos in Panama feature earthy pigeon peas or guandu.

These tiny green and black legumes are highly nutritious and flavorful.

They’re also the key component in another traditional rice dish: arroz con guandu.

A simple “rice and beans” type dish, it relies on the guandu’s umami quality for depth of flavor.

In island locations like Isla Grande, the dish is made with coconut milk for added richness.

If you find yourself on this “big island” (so small, you can boat around it in an hour), head to La Cholita for an exemplary arroz con coco y guandu.

5. Ceviche: A Panamanian Twist on a Latin American Staple

Speaking of seafood, you can’t leave Panama without sampling some ceviche.

Unlike spicier Peruvian versions, Panama’s take on this dish is all about the tart flavor of citrus.

Locals “cook” fish, shrimp, and other types of seafood by soaking in lime.

The marinated ceviche is then served with crackers or fried plantains.

With a light Panama beer, it’s a perfect pre-dinner snack. Every town in Panama has a good ceviche spot. But at Panama City’s seafood market (Mercado de Mariscos) you can sample a range of different varieties.

6. Flaky Fish With Butter & Garlic

Panama’s most popular signature dish may well be corvina al ajillo.

In this dish corvina, a light flaky fish, is lightly poached in a garlic and butter sauce.

It’s a meal best enjoyed overlooking the Pacific.

Head to the capital’s Amador Causeway, where restaurants like Al Dente serve it up with a side of patacones or fried green plantains—Panama's most beloved side dish.

Locals say that the word Panama means “an abundance of fish”…and there are plenty more signature dishes you can sample from both oceans.

But there are also many sweet and savory treats here that don’t come from the sea.

7. Sancocho is Panama’s “Penicillin Soup”
Panama’s version of the cure-all that is chicken soup, sancocho is usually made with big hunks of chicken and starchy root vegetables.

Some of these, such as the purple-hued otoe may be completely foreign to first-time visitors.

But not to worry, they taste much like that other popular tuber, the potato.

Where to get the best sancocho? The competition is fierce, so sample as many versions as you can …starting with El Trapiche Restaurant in Panama City.

8. Not Your Mexican Mama’s Tamale

Panamanian tamales are moist bundles of ground corn filled with chicken and olives.

If you think you’ve had tamales, think again.

The Panamanian ones are very different from their Mexican counterparts, which tend to be more crumbly in texture.

Though often served at weddings, tamales are also popular workday snacks.

You can pick them up ready-made at local Riba Smith supermarkets.

Better yet, find tamales and many other delicacies at Grand Deli Gourmet cafés.

9. Pesada de Nance: “Pucker-Up Pudding”

Once you’ve had your meal, try a little postre—that is, something to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Unusual Panamanian desserts available at shops like Deli Gourmet include pesada de nance.

A pudding made from the nance or golden spoon fruit, it’s an acquired taste due to its sour flavor.

La Batea, a Panamanian-style restaurant in the Rio Hato beach district makes a “crème brûlée” version that takes this dessert up a notch.

10. Cocada: Looks Like a Chocolate Truffle, Tastes Even Better

If you’re in the countryside, keep an eye peeled for little sweets referred to as cocada.

A sticky mass of coconut and sugar cane juice, this decadent dessert has a rich, molasses flavor.

Look for it at roadside kiosks or at Panama’s most famous outdoor market, in the crater town of El Valle.

11. Sweet and Refreshing Chicheme in a Cup

If you’re in the mood to sip a sugary treat, try a glass of chicheme.

Made from fresh corn ground to a milky pulp, this drink is popular all over Panama…and even in Costa Rica.

Not going quite that far? Make a pit stop at Quesos Chela en route from Panama City to Coronado Beach.

A Panamanian institution, this shop in Capira usually has a line of locals out the door. Along with ice-cold chicheme, you’ll find soft curd cheeses, fresh baked empanadas, and much more.

Happy eating!

Tourism Observer

PANAMA: Three Types of Easter Treats You Won’t Want to Miss

Easter time in North America conjures up images of beautiful baskets brimming with colorful eggs and sweet treats. Kids stuff their faces with chocolate bunnies and cream filled eggs, cute baby chicks made of sugary marshmallow, and Jordan almonds in pastel shades.

A good Easter supper might feature hot cross buns and a baked ham or roast lamb, not to mention an assortment of casseroles, cakes, and pies.

But if you’re in Panama, what can you expect? Never fear!

As in other countries around the globe, here ‘tis a time for great food and cheer.

Easter traditions abound, so get out there and sample some of Panama’s classic seasonal treats.

Culminating in Easter, Panama’s Holy Week or Semana Santa comes around every March or April.

The exact dates vary in accordance with the lunar calendar, which is packed with holidays and observances this time of year.

First comes the Carnival season (usually in February), then Lent, which is typically a time of sacrifice.

Finally, with Easter comes a time for family trips and special meals.

During Lent and Holy Week, many abstain from eating meats such as beef, pork, and chicken, choosing instead to dine on fish.

So it should be no surprise that delicacies from the Pacific and Atlantic top the list of popular summertime treats in Panama.

But that’s not all! Traditional Holy Week treats run the gamut, from savory to sweet.

Here are some traditional eats to track down during your visit:

1. Fish dishes for the Easter season:
During the Lent and Holy Week season, corvina and red snapper sales shoot through the roof as thousands of Panamanians eschew meat dishes. Instead, they choose cold ceviches or hot preparations al ajillo (with garlic and butter) or a la criolla (a red-tinged annatto sauce of peppers, tomato and onion).

Looking for something a little bit different? The different regions of Panama have their own particular Easter season dishes.

In the Herrera province, Lent and Holy Week breakfasts typically consist of polenta-like bollo, a simple farmer’s cheese, and dried or smoked fish known as bacalao.

In the Caribbean province of Colon, this dried fish is often served up on Good Friday in escabeche, a vinegary concoction made with veggies and hot peppers.

2. Unique treats with a twist:
Popular ingredients like beans and yuca are featured in many a savory preparation.

But during the Easter season, these ingredients find their way into unusual sweets.

A dish that’s typical of Panama’s Caribbean Coast is enyucado.

It’s said that this dish originated when Panama was part of Colombia, where this dish is also popular.

A cross between pudding and casserole, the dish consists of sweetened grated yucca, fragrant anise seeds, shredded coconut, and crumbles of white farmer’s cheese.

In rural Panama, unshelled cashews are traditionally roasted over an open fire and eaten two days before Easter, on Good Friday.

It’s a laborious process that takes hours and a careful eye to ensure the husks blacken but don’t burn.

A unique sweet called cocada is also made with these flavorful nuts.

Cashews are pried from the “apples” on which they grow around this time of year.

Each delicious cashew fruit sports a single nut.

They are roasted and shelled—often by hand—then added to a sweet, gooey mixture of coconut and sugar cane syrup spiced with cinnamon.

The mixture is allowed to cool, then formed into little molasses-colored balls.

You’ll find these for sale all over the Chiriqui province and in other regions during the Holy Week holidays.

Even more unusual is a similar preparation made in traditional towns like Penonome, province of Cocle. Instead of cashews, cooked beans are the main ingredient in this Holy Week sweet, known simply as dulce de frijoles.

3. Sweets with universal appeal:
Two of the most delicious dessert items sold this time of year are bon and bienmesabe.

These are labor intensive to make. But as they are made with simple ingredients—no nuts or beans here—they’re universally popular.

Present these sweet treats to kids and grown-ups, foreigners and locals they’re sure to be a hit!

Bon is widely associated with the Colon Province, where it has been popular for as long as locals can remember. With a population predominantly descended from Afro-Antilleans, Colon has a cuisine all its own.

During Holy Week, Panamanians all over the country (many of them of Afro-Antillean descent) petition local bakers for bon bread.

Said to represent the bread that Jesus broke at the Last Supper, circular loaves of bon are made with dried fruit, raisins, local cheese, and orange rinds.

The dark, molasses coated dough is often topped with a bit of lighter dough in the shape of a crown or cross, to symbolize the life and travails of Jesus Christ.

It takes hours to make bon, because the dough is worked and left to rise several times.

To make bienmesabe, on the other hand, one must be prepared to spend hours at a hot stove.

The recipe makes use of the blank palate that is rice—either in the form of rice flour, or cooked and processed to create a rice “cream.” Mixed with raspadura (unrefined cane sugar) and milk, it is cooked down over a period of four hours, stirring all the while to avoid lumps.

Once the milk has darkened and the mixture is very tick, it is molded into small circular patties.

As they cool, the bienmesabe rounds take on a rubbery consistency.

Traditionally, big leaves are trimmed and used to form the molds.

As a result, these sweet treats look like large, caramel-topped pieces of sushi! The best thing about bienmesabe? The name. Roughly translated, it means: “tastes good to me.”

Savory, sweet, or somewhere in-between, traditional Semana Santa eats are fun to seek out and try. No matter which regions of Panama you visit, locals will be happy to tell you about their favorite Holy Week foods and traditions.

And if you want them, you’ll be able to find Easter eggs and bunnies, as well.

Being such an international destination, Panama has adopted plenty of traditions from overseas.

Tourism Observer

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

UGANDA: Sudan’s Tarco Air To Commence Khartoum To Entebbe Flights

Sudan airline, Tarco Air is set to start direct flights between Khartoum and Entebbe only waiting for clearance from Civil Aviation Authority and Ministry of Works.

Tarco Airways or Tarco Air is an airline based in Khartoum, Sudan, established in 2009.

The Tarco Airlines fleet comprises the following aircraft:

- 4 Boeing 737-300 (149 Passengers)

- 1 Boeing 737-500 (110 Passengers)

Tarco Air flys to Chad, Nigeria, South Sudan, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates since 2009.

Sudanese government has designated Tarco airline to fly to Entebbe, easing flights between Uganda and Sudan.

Sudan President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir is in Uganda for a two-day visit at the invitation of President Yoweri Museveni.

Museveni observed that the designation of the flight route would greatly improve connectivity between the two countries and promote trade, tourism and investment.

Sudan is one of Uganda's major coffee export markets importing 20 per cent of Ugandan coffee.

The country is also the single biggest export market for the product from which about $100 million is earned, according to data released by the ministry of foreign affairs.

The presidents also observed that the lifting of trade and economic sanctions that had been unilaterally imposed on Sudan by the United States for nearly 20 years, is an opportunity for boosting trade volumes between the countries and called upon the business communities and private sectors to take advantage of this positive development.

According to the joint communique issued after a meeting between the two presidents last night, the two presidents also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in higher education between the two countries.

They directed their respective ministers to fast-track implementation of all decisions agreed upon and conclude all pending MoU for cooperation in the areas of agriculture, sports and youth as well as security before the next Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) to be hosted by Uganda by March 2018.

The presidents also reviewed the implementation of the decisions made during President Museveni's official visit to Sudan in September 2015 as well as the 5th Joint Ministerial Commission.

They noted the progress being made in cooperation between the two countries particularly in the sectors of trade and investment, transport, security and education.

Tourism Observer

KENYA: $400 Million Of Kenya Airways’ Debt Converted Into Equity

The Kenyan government and domestic lenders have agreed to convert more than $400 million of Kenya Airways’ debt into equity, increasing the State’s stake in the airline to almost 50%.

The Kenyan government has given Kenya Airways more than $200 million of Kenyan shilling and dollar-dominated loans, the airline said in a statement yesterday to the Nairobi stock exchange.

The agreement will increase the Kenyan government’s stake from 29,8% to 48,9%. Air France-KLM has a 26,7% stake in the airline.

Kenya Airways announced a nearly $700 million restructuring last year and the airline has since reduced its fleet size and workforce and cut unprofitable routes.

The company is trying to return to profit after it posted a loss in 2016 of more than $250 million.

The company last month announced it was in talks with the government as it sought help in coping with competition from foreign carriers operating flights to its Nairobi hub.

Tourism Observer

Monday, 13 November 2017

ARMENIA: Yerevan Among Top 10 Safest Cities In The World, Violence Almost Non Existent

Yerevan is the capital of the Republic of Armenia and one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus. It's home to over a million people - the largest Armenian community in the world.

Yerevan has been the capital of Armenia since the independence of the First Republic in 1918. Situated in the Ararat plain, the historic lands of Armenia, it served as the best logical choice for capital of the young republic at the time.

When Armenia became a republic of the Soviet Union, Yerevan remained as capital and accommodated all the political and diplomatic institutions in the republic.

In 1991 with the independence of Armenia, Yerevan continued with its status as the political and cultural centre of the country, being home to all the national institutions: the Government House, the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace, the Central Bank, the Constitutional Court, all ministries, judicial bodies and other government organizations.

In Soviet years, Yerevan underwent massive reconstruction, following architect Alexander Tamanyan's new plans to make a perfect city. His vision was a neo-Classical town with wide avenues to resembe Paris, Vienna and Saint Petersburg.

Central Yerevan is a true jewel of early Soviet architecture. She is also home to some large scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels which are mostly the result of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania.

In Soviet days Yerevan had already become known as the Pink City as much due to the colour of the stone used for building as for the flamboyant spirit of her young population.

Most of tourist Yerevan is concentrated in the centre. The centre is very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options. The rest of the city is mostly sleeping or business quarters, so a typical tourist will not have much incentive to leave the centre.

Kentron, Centre City or Downtown - is central Yerevan, locally called as kentron. This is the heart of Yerevan and indeed Armenia.

Though Kentron's architecture is diverse, ranging from Belle Epoque to Soviet Panel blocks, the great majority of the centre is in Beaux-Arts tradition.

Downtown Yerevan follows Tamanyan's plan for a circular city with two hubs - grand Republic Square, and the more elegant and soft Opera district Opera house, Freedom Square and the Swan Lake Park. The two are linked with newly-constructed pedestrian-only Northern Avenue.

The Main Avenue standard South European Corso is still under construction. For the last 60 years, although on a greater scale during the last couple of years and will eventually reach the hill on which the historical Kond district rests.

Kentron is also home to the University City, where the campuses of State University, Medical University, Engineering University, Agricultural University, Economics University, Pedagogical and some other universities come together in one big group.

Virtually all of the museums, hotels and popular places to eat and drink are in Kentron, so most visitors will probably not venture much past it.

Barekamutyun - Meaning friendship, Barekamutyun is the area around the metro stop of the same name. The neighboring district is Arabkir, which is considered small downtown,Pokr Kendron.

This hub is home to the Hayastan Hanrakhanut department store which is more of an indoor bazaar than an actual department store. The hub branches off to Kievyan and nearby Komitas streets.

Monument - At the top of the Cascade steps rests the towering monument to Soviet victory in WW2. Directly adjacent is the large construction site of the Cafesjian Museum, which houses a large collection of contemporary art, including perhaps the best glass art collection in the world.

Beyond the monument is Victory Park, and the district around it is known as Monument as well.

Erebuni - In this district is situated the ruins of the fortress of Erebuni, founded in 782BC by king Argishti.

Bangladesh - Not to be confused with country in Asia! Not much to offer a tourist, the name however is worth an explanation.

At the time this was one of the furthest new districts built in Yerevan, and because of the distance, locals quickly began calling it Bangladesh, which has stuck to this day. The biggest outdoor bazaar of Yerevan is located in this district.

Nor Nork district is the last Soviet project of residential expansion of Yerevan. It entirely consists of standardised Soviet Panel blocs.

As of 2013, the share of Yerevan in the annual total industrial product of Armenia is 41%.

The industry of Yerevan is quite diversified including chemicals, primary metals and steel products, machinery, rubber products, plastics, rugs and carpets, textiles, clothing and footwear, jewellery, wood products and furniture, building materials and stone-processing, alcoholic beverages, mineral water, dairy product and processed food.

Even though the economic crisis of the '90s ravaged the industry of the country, several factories remain always in service, notably in the petrochemical and the aluminium sectors.

Armenian beverages, especially Armenian cognac and beer, have a worldwide fame. Hence, Yerevan is home to many leading enterprises of Armenia and the Caucasus for the production of alcoholic beverages, such as the Yerevan Ararat Brandy Factory, Yerevan Brandy Company, Yerevan Champagne Wines Factory, "Beer of Yerevan" (Kilikia Beer) brewery, Armco Brandy Factory, Proshyan Brandy Factory and Astafian Wine-Brandy Factory.

The 2 tobacco producers in Yerevan are the "Cigaronne" and "Grand Tabak" companies.

Carpet industry in Armenia has a deeply rooted history with ancient traditions, therefore, carpet production is rather developed in Yerevan with three major factories that also produce hand-made rugs. The "Megerian Carpet" factory is the leading in this sector.

Other major plants in the city include the "Nairit" chemical and rubber plant, Rusal Armenal aluminum foil mill, "Grand Candy" Armenian-Canadian confectionery manufacturers, "Arcolad" chocolate factory, "Marianna" factory for dairy products, "Talgrig Group" for wheat and flour products, "Shant" ice cream factory, "Crown Chemicals" for paints, "ATMC" travertine mining company, Yerevan Watch Factory "AWI watches", Yerevan Jewellry Plant, and the mineral water factories of "Arzni", "Sil", and "Dilijan Frolova".

Food products include processed meat, all types of canneries, wheat and flour, sweets and chocolate, dried fruits, soft drinks and beverages. Building materials mainly include travertine, crushed stones, asphalt and asphalt concrete.

Tourism in Armenia is developing year by year and the capital city of Yerevan is one of the major tourist destinations. The city has a majority of luxury hotels, modern restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs. Zvartnots airport has also conducted renovation projects with the growing number of tourists visiting the country.

Numerous places in Yerevan are attractive for tourists, such as the dancing fountains of the Republic Square, the State Opera House, the Cascade complex, the ruins of the Urartian city of Erebuni (Arin Berd), the historical site of Karmir Blur (Teishebaini), etc.

The largest hotel of the city is the Ani Plaza Hotel. The Armenia Marriott Hotel is located at the Republic Square at the centre of Yerevan, while the Radisson Blu Hotel is located near the Victory Park.

Other major chains operating in central Yerevan include the Grand Hotel Yerevan of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the Best Western Congress Hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton, the Hyatt Place, and the Ibis Yerevan Center.

The location of Yerevan itself, is an inspiring factor for the foreigners to visit the city in order to enjoy the view of the biblical mount of Ararat, as the city lies on the feet of the mountain forming the shape of a Roman amphitheatre.

There are many historical sites, churches and citadels in areas and regions surrounding the city of Yerevan, such as Garni Temple, Zvartnots Cathedral, the monasteries of Khor Virap and Geghard, etc.

Being among the top 10 safest cities in the world, Yerevan has an extensive nightlife scene with a variety of nightclubs, live venues, pedestrian zones, street cafés, jazz cafés, tea houses, casinos, pubs, karaoke clubs and restaurants. Casino Shangri La and Pharaon Complex are among the largest leisure and entertainment centres of the city.

Many world-famous music stars, Russian music celebrities, as well as Armenian singers from diaspora, occasionally perform in concerts in Yerevan.

The Yerevan Zoo founded in 1940,[163] the Yerevan Circus opened in 1956, and the Yerevan Water World opened in 2001, are among the popular entertaining centres in the city.

The Northern Avenue that connects the Opera House with Abovyan street is a popular pedestrian zone in Yerevan with modern residential buildings, business centres, restaurants, bars and cafés. Another popular landmarks is the Yerevan Cascade and the "Cafesjian Sculpture Garden" on Tamanyan Street with its pedestrian zone, featuring many coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and pubs at the sidewalks.

The "Cafesjian Center for the Arts" regularly organizes art events throughout the year, including classical music series, traditional folk dance events, and live concerts of jazz, pop and rock music.

As of 2017, Yerevan has 3 shopping malls: Dalma Garden Mall opened in October 2012, followed by Yerevan Mall opened in February 2014, and Rossia Mall opened in March 2016.

However, every tourist crosses this district on the way to obligatory Garni temple and Geghard monastery as the highway to that direction is connected to the main avenue of this district.

The main attraction of this district would be the Gay Statue, though the name has nothing to do with homosexuality to avoid this interesting misunderstanding most often the name of the avenue and statue is Romanised as Guy.

Even though people call it Gai ardzan, it is the statue of Hayk Bzhshkyants to meet someone, it is enough to say "Gayi Ardzan" and people will know.

Unfortunately not everyone knows about Hayk himself. He was a member of people's volunteer corps (Kamavorakan), and participated in fights near Mush and Erzrum in Western Armenia. It's just the Russians gave him such nickname since there is no sound H in Russian.

By the way, it is the tallest statue in the world among the ones that have the horse standing on their back two legs. It's height is 12.5 meters and it weighs 30 tons and was erected in 1978.

Even though the history of Yerevan dates back to the Erebuni fortress, making it at least 2800 years old, little remains of what was small settlement saving the excavations at Hrazdan river gorge, Erebuni, Karmir Berd and Avan.

These sites have been excavated, and the artefacts found are in museums today. Being on a strategically important place Yerevan was a constant war stage for rival Ottoman, Persian and Russian Empires.

It has been repeatedly ruined by those wars or natural disasters e.g. an earthquake in 17th century almost entirely destroyed the town. Few buildings of the old Erivan survived to the present-day Yerevan.

At the time of Armenia's independence in 1918, when Yerevan was made the capital of an independent Armenia, Yerevan was a town of just 20,000. Large scale construction began, which took a more holistic approach under the new city plan laid out by Alexander Tamanyan.

The plan involved the demolition of much of what existed, in favour of concentric circles, parks, and taller structures. He planned for Yerevan to become a metropolis of 200,000 people.

Yerevan is a very homogeneous city, though tiny Yezidi and Molokan (Russian) minorities exist. Because the population of the city was only 20,000 a century ago, the vast majority of the Armenians are immigrants themselves, from all over the world.

From the villages and towns of Armenia, from Tbilisi which was the centre of Eastern Armenian culture before 1918, from Western Armenia as genocide survivors poured in, and even from the middle east and Europe in a large, post-WWII wave of immigration.

Since independence, the city has become the heart of the entire Armenian world, as the divisive communist governments demise has allowed the Diaspora – larger in number than the population of Armenia itself, to embrace the city as its own.

Many visitors will be surprised to know that Armenia is not just an outcrop of Christianity in the Caucasus, but was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The king declared Christianity the state religion in 301AD.

Christianity has been uninterruptedly practised in Armenia ever since in its own traditions.

The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church, or just Apostolic Church, is the National Church of Armenia. It is very traditional; in practices but not history, is similar to both Orthodox and Catholic movements as well as to the Reformed Churches, e.g. the Church of England.

At the same time the Armenian Apostolic Church has some strikingly different practices, like allowing animal sacrifices or celebrating Christmas on 6 January.

The great majority of Armenians identify themselves as Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos religious leader, like the Pope for Catholics.

Today, the vast majority of Armenians do not attend church each Sunday, with visits revolving around weddings and baptisms, or occasionally dropping in to light a candle.

Soviet restructuring of the city left Yerevan with very few churches: Currently some new ones are being built, and old ones rehabilitated.

The Protestant or Evangelical Armenians are rather few in number with only one church on Baghramyan street. Anglican or Episcopal Christians congregate at St Zoravor church for Sunday Eucharist.

In April 2013 a new Anglican Chaplain, Fr John Barker, arrived in Yerevan and services of Holy Communion in English take place every Sunday at 18:30.

Orthodox Christians currently maintain one church in Kanaker district of Yerevan. A new, large-scale, onion-domed Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Cross is under construction at Yerevan Lake district, visible from the highway coming from the airport.

However, this will have mostly symbolic structure as the Orthodox Christians are very few in number.

Assyrians do not have a church in Yerevan, but rather in the villages around Yerevan.

Yezidi or pagan religious and ethnic minority in Armenia religious rituals, as most of that religion, are kept secret. So no Yezidian practice can be observed easily in Yerevan.

Muslims are steadily growing in numbers since the collapse of the Soviet State, fuelled by Iranian immigration. There is currently one Mosque on Mashtots Ave.

Many Christian independent churches are also present in Yerevan, and they congregate in schools, sport clubs, concert halls and the like.

With a continental climate, Yerevan experiences long hot summers, and cold winters, both with little or no humidity. Spring offers mild but sometimes wet weather, and lots of green hills and wildflowers.

Summer is very hot, but the long, late nights at the cafes, and the fruits and vegetables are amazing. Fall is the most popular, with perfect weather, and great farm fresh foods.

Most of the sights in Yerevan are concentrated in the centre, which is very walkable. Spending a few days visiting the major sights should be enough time, and try to get in a trip to Vernissage flea market on the weekend.

Much of Armenia could theoretically be seen on day trips from Yerevan, but within about an hour of the city are a number of major and worthy trips.

- Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery

- Echmiadzin Mother Cathedral and museums plus Sardarabad monument/museum.

- Ashtarak churches, Hovhannavank and Saghmosavank

- Khor Virap Monastery on a day where Mt Ararat is clear

- Exploring Khosrov Reserve via Garni - including Havuts Tar Monastery, S Stepanos Monastery, Azat Caves and Kakavaberd Fortress

Smoking may appear to be the national pastime, and indeed, Armenia has one of the highest rates of smoking in all of Europe.

To avoid the smoke, stick to restaurants with outdoor seating, let your taxi driver know it is not okay to smoke, and sit near the door when in a smokier cafe, and ask to have it left open when possible. Some restaurants have non smoking sections, but rarely is there separate ventilation.

Yum-Yum Donuts and The Green Bean Cafe are strictly non-smoking, and Melody cafe has a walled off section for non-smoking all year round. Artbridge and Twinings have separate rooms for non-smokers.

Zvartnots International Airport is the main gate to Armenia. In 2006, a new terminal was opened, where most arrivals and departures are now based. It remains a smaller airport however, so navigating your way around is easy and fast.

Yerevan is served by the Zvartnots International Airport, located 12 kilometres (7 miles) west of the city center. It is the primary airport of the country.

Inaugurated in 1961 during the Soviet era, Zvartnots airport was renovated for the first time in 1985 and a second time in 2002 in order to adapt to international norms. It went through a facelift starting in 2004 with the construction of a new terminal.

The first phase of the construction ended in September 2006 with the opening of the arrivals zone. A second section designated for departures was inaugurated in May 2007. The departure terminal is anticipated, October 2011 housing state of the art facilities and technology.

This will make Yerevan Zvartnots International Airport, the largest, busiest and most modern airport in the entire Caucasus.The entire project costs more than $100 million USD.

A second airport, Erebuni Airport, is located just south of the city. Since the independence, "Erebuni" is mainly used for military or private flights. The Armenian Air Force has equally installed its base there and there are several MiG-29s stationed on Erebuni's tarmac.

Free Wi-Fi access is available in the departure terminal.

Numerous carriers fly to Yerevan aside from Armavia: AirFrance, Lufthansa, Iran Air, Czech Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Aeroflot and the like.

Yerevan is connected to all major European and Middle Eastern cities: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Moscow, Vienna, Berlin, Prague, St Petersburg, Zurich, Minsk, Riga, Kiev, Istanbul, Dubai, Aleppo, Tehran, Beirut and so on.

Air Arabia connects Yerevan to the Gulf states, Egypt and India via Sharjah. Armavia reopened the Route Yerevan - Tbilisi - Yerevan again, with two daily flights

Between the airport and the city, Zvartnots is only 14km from Yerevan city centre by road.

A mini-bus 18 is going to/from airport and it stops at Yeritasardakan bus stop in front of SAS Supermarket. The cost is 200-250 Dram.

A taxi ride from the airport to the city will cost from AMD4,200 (USD10) to the centre, and up to AMD6,700 (USD16) for the most distant parts of the city.

Some drivers may try to convince you to pay more, but don’t ever believe them, and telling them you will call the police who will help you should straighten out any opportunists.

Almost 100% of taxis are using a taxi meter or sheochik, so, the best if you have local currency with you to pay for the trip.

You may want to use taxis that are the official transport of Zvartnots Airport - AeroTaxi so that in case of losing your baggage, you always know where to find it. Do not agree on a flat fee, but insist on the meter being used and switched on, even with AeroTaxi.

In these cars you'll also find free Wi-Fi internet, and payment can be also done by POS terminals. You can book a taxi on-line and be sure that your driver is waiting for you. You can also book your taxi far in advance or just appear to AeroTaxi's desk inside the airport; the taxis are just outside the door.

An overnight sleeper train runs every second day from Tbilisi in Georgia.

After departing at 22:15 the journey takes nine hours with a scheduled arrival time in Yerevan of 07:18. Border formalities will be at 23:00, expect it to take some time.

The wagons are the standard Soviet era hold-overs but they are fairly comfortable. Bring your own food and water as there is no restaurant car onboard. Fares start at 31 laris per bed includes sheets, pillow and towel. Make sure you get a ticket early on the day you travel as the lower bunks sell out fast.

Overnight trains in the winter depart at 20:20 or 22:00, you should check at the station which time is valid for any day. The journey takes approximately 11 hours.

The cheapest seating place in obschij vagon is 22 lari, but you may find yourself being seated among hundreds of boxes of mandarins and other fruits, since this is one of the ways of moving goods to Armenia.

Notice that during the summer months this train runs from Batumi instead, arriving at 21:40 in Tbilisi. It takes around 10 hours from there, border formalities are uncomfortably around 02:00.

Snacks/water gifts will be provided on the train.

Train departs at 20:20, arrives at 6:55, bed costs 50 Georgian Lari (22 USD)

There is metro station right at the train station. Easy to reach city center. Money exchange open after 9 or 10 am. But you can use ATM inside railway station building.

Options include arriving into Armenia via Georgia or Iran. A drive to Yerevan from Armenia-Iran border will take approximately 6 hours, and is a great way to explore Southern Armenia, cities like Meghri, Kapan, Goris, Sisian, etc.

Arriving from Georgia will allow you to drive trough Northern Armenia and driving to Yerevan will take 4-5 hours.

Highways are high standard, although sometimes can be narrow (1 line to each direction) due to mountainous terrain.

You can reach Yerevan by bus from Tbilisi, fare costs 15 lari ($10US) and takes about 12 hours. More expensive is to take a 30 lari ($20 US) marshutka/minibus but it’s much faster at about 5 hours.

Sometimes you can take a shared car from Tbilisi as well. Again, a bit more expensive than minibus, but faster and more comfortable.

Bus service to Yerevan also is available in Istanbul, or many of the cities on the Black Sea coast of Turkey en route to Yerevan, with a detour through Georgia.

There is also a daily service to/from Tehran and Tabriz. Buy ticket at Kilikia bus station, 25000 dram (55USD) the same for Tabriz and Tehran.

Ticket office with old lady probably speaks no English works till 17:00. Bring passport with you. Departure around 12:00. The bus is extremely comfortable, a small bag of snacks and water is provided, it stops at least once each side of the border and the scenery is incredible, however it does take about 22 hours.

The border crossing is, of course, an absolute nightmare beyond imagination. Was very easy, but took 2.5 hours in total.

After you clear Iranian border you can change money. Rate is good. Almost the same as in Tehran.

In Yerevan some of the bus lines from Turkey are: Karbut Tour, Oz Aybaki. Yerevan Central Bus Station: Armenia, Yerevan, Tsovakal Isakovi Ave., 6 Building, Bus to Istanbul is around 60 USD

There many buses to Russia as well. As far as Moscow.

Marshrutka to Karabakh (Stepanakert) costs 5000 dram, departs every hour from 7.00 to 10.00, takes 5 hours

The center of Yerevan is very compact and easy to get around by foot. Be aware, that there are recently introduced penalties for jaywalking and crossing the streets in non-designated areas, and once spotted by police, you will have to pay a fine of AMD 3000 ($9).

A nice walk if you like nature and not cars, is through the Hrazdan gorge on the margins of the city center.

The Subway system in Yerevan - people call it metro, is quite reliable and relatively modern, having been built in the early 1980s. It is the quickest way around town, and at 100 dram (less than US$0.30), the cheapest aside from walking.

Today the metro operates as a single line, with a shuttle branch and covers 12km (7.5 miles), with trains running every five minutes from 6:30 a.m. till 11 p.m. Due to Yerevan's uneven landscape, the metro in some cases goes above ground.

Continuing the tradition of all ex-Soviet underground systems, most of the stations are exquisitely decorated, often blending Armenian national motifs with late-Soviet architecture.

More than a hundred minibus or marshrutka, routes exist that criss-cross the city and travel to the suburbs and beyond such as to Georgia or Karabagh. At 100 dram (US$0.33) a ride in Yerevan, they are a bargain.

The minibuses are often overcrowded, and you may find yourself standing, crouched without a seat during rush hour. The route number is displayed prominently in the window, along with Armenian text listing the major landmarks and streets of the route.

The Opera is an easy Armenian word to recognize on these signs, and is the main crossing point of many of the lines. When you want to get off, you should say “kangnek” or “ijnokh ka” for the driver to hear, or else, just say “stop” in English.

The numbers of the minibuses are written on the bus stations though and the webpage of the tourist information has the whole list with destinations. Pay when leaving a minibus.

Yerevan has lots of buses and a few trolley lines , operated by Yergortrans. The fare is very inexpensive 100 dram for busses, nearly $0.25 and 50 dram for trolleys and the vehicles are not too crowded. Pay when leaving a bus or trolley.

Buses and minivans are the major means of transportation within the country. From Yerevan you can get to literally every place in Armenia within a day.

To make things confusing for foreigners, there are several different regional bus-stations in Yerevan and the minivans tend to leave from hard to find places just somewhere at the side of the road.

When heading into Yerevan, they are not unknown to drop you at random spots somewhere in the city, so ask the driver beforehand to drop you at a convenient place. The following is a incomplete list of the major bus stations.

Central/Kilikia Bus StationThe biggest bus station in Yerevan. It is located to the south-west of the city center on Admiral Isakov Avenue, around one kilometer form the shuka at the end of Mashtots Avenue.

To get there, take Minibus 13 from Barekamutsun Metro, 23 from the Train Station or 15, 68 and 75 from Republic Square. No. 5 from Mashots Av. nr opera house. Also, there is a modern bus number 259 that connects Kilikia bus station with the Northern bus station.

It goes at Komitas and other central points too and unlike other buses costs 200 dram per person. Note that this bus number is not written at bus stop signs. The buses from here serve for example Sisian, Goris, Kapan, Gyumri and Vanadzor.

Buses to Tehran via Tabriz leave from this bus station at 10am every day - 24 hours, 22,000 Dram, arrive at Azadi bus station. Lunch and dinner stops on the way,one in Armenia, so keep some Dram.

Northern Bus Station - This bus station lies around 5km north of the city center on the Yerevan-Sevan Highway. It is worth visiting just for its soviet architecture and the desperate feeling the huge and empty building gives.

To get there take bus 113 or Minibus 101,both from somewhere on Komitas. Another option is bus number 259 that connects Kilikia bus station and this bus station. It goes at Komitas and other central points too and unlike other buses costs 200 dram per person.

Note that this bus number is not written at bus stop signs. Buses and Minivans from here go to for example Dillijan and Sevan.

Kayakan Bus Station - This station is located a bit south from the Yerevan main train station close to the Sasuntsidavit metro stop. Taxi drivers know the way, you might be able to get there on foot from the metro exit too.

It's pretty hidden, so the foot option needs to be confirmed. Unlike in the past, at least marshrutni to Meghri via Kapan and Goris now go from here and not from Kilikia anymore. Marshrutki to Gyumri also go from here and probably not from the Northern Station anymore.

There were several other marshrutnis too whose destinations need to be outlined here.

Trains are cheap but inconvenient and uncomfortable options, but for the adventurous they can be taken on the Yerevan - Lake Sevan, Yerevan - Gyumri, Vanadzor - Alaverdi - Yevlakh routes. The overnight sleeper train that runs between Tbilisi and Yerevan is fine.

Abundant throughout the city, a taxi ride anywhere downtown should not cost more than 1000 dram (US$3). Almost all taxis with company names on the sides have meters, and prices tend to be competitive among taxi companies.

To flag an empty one down on the street, just hold your arm out and pat your hand in the air, if they’re free they’ll stop. Taxis without a logo on the side tend to charge more, and may to try to get more out of foreigners.

To avoid being ripped off, either call a taxi from a big company or head for the most modern looking ones which usually have a meter. Make sure that the driver switches it on when you start and politely remind him to do so if he has forgotten it.

If taxi has meter and the driver hasn't turned it on, in most cases passenger can not pay for the trip. Carry some coins to prevent the drivers from telling you that they have no change on them.

Standard price is a minimum of 500-600 Dram for the first 5 km and than 100 Dram for every further km. A car and driver can easily be rented for day trip outside of Yerevan, for as little as $20 plus gas.

Beware of moonlighting taxi drivers at the airport who will try to charge you ridiculous amounts - 20,000 dram or more to get to the city.

Finally never ever believe any taxi driver who wants to convince you that there is no bus or minivan to the destination you are heading to.

Download apps such as GG or Yandex, both similar to uber, makes getting around very easy and cheap for tourists. GG works in many parts of Armenia.

Erebuni Fortress – the excavations, recreations and museum of the nearly 3,000 year old fortress that established Yerevan. Fairly well (and maybe the best) preserved fortress of Urartian Period in Armenia.

Republic Square - Make sure to see the main square. Though it never took the planed shape of the Grand Square of a perfect city of Tamanyan, it still can be considered the finest example of Soviet era architecture as far as squares go.

The early buildings like the Houses of Government, the Ministry of Communications, and the Marriott Hotel are fine example of Neo-Classical architecture with Armenian hints. The buildings from later period,the Foreign Ministry, and Art Gallery are Modernist imitations of previous ones.

Northern Avenue - impossible to miss, this pedestrian avenue was just opened in 2008 connecting Opera with Republic Square, the two hubs of central Yerevan. It's a Post-Modern response to post-WWII Soviet Yerevan architecture. It is emerging as the shopping district, together with Sayat-Nova ave., Terian st., Tumanian st., and Abovian st.

Abovian street - It's home to very few remaining Belle Epoque period structures of Republican Armenia. Some gems of Art Nouveau, early Modern constructivist and the like, and Moorish Revival style can be found in the backyards of Abovian, Nalbandian, and Hanrapetutian streets.

Most often they are in a very poor condition due to neglect. Hanrapetutian st. might get a special attention if you are not time constrained.

The Opera – It's the soft center of the city. It is topped by the magnificent building of the Opera House. The building is perhaps modeled after SemperOper of Dresden, however it is supposed to be double as beautiful as the Yerevan building is two sided: One side with entrance from the Theatrical/Freedom square is home to Opera and Ballet Theatre, while the street side houses the Khachaturian Concert Hall.

Freedom or Theatrical Square is part of The Opera. North side of the square is the Opera House, followed by a park full of open air cafés on the West, from South it borders the Northern Avenue, and on the East the square slowly transforms into park with Swan Lake.

The Swan Lake park ends with the controversial statue of the composer Arno Babajanyan, which already was majorly reshaped twice during the first year of its placement. The Swan Lake park usually hosts various open air art exhibitions.

Cascades, Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Museum – The Sculpture Park is a small green zone in the immediate North of The Opera. Sculptures from Botero and other artists of international fame decorate the Park.

The park itself is part of Cafesjian Museum - the Armenian version of Guggenheim. The main part of the museum is in the Cascades - an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stretching nearly the height of the Empire State Building.

It's a massive white stairway up a hillside of central Yerevan, decorated with green stretches, fountains and waterfalls. Higher level of the Cascades give a spectacular view of Mount Ararat and panorama of central Yerevan with it's hilariously multi-colour roofs.

The first floor and the bookstore of the museum as well as the indoor escalators to the top of the Cascades are free of charge.

Mashtots avenue - It's the eight-lane highway in the center of the city which somehow also accommodates a pedestrian zones on the sides result of standard Soviet planning of mainProspekts.

It is overly noisy because of the heavy traffic mostly unorganised public transportation but the parts close to The Opera is a favourite hangout place for the locals. There are 3 buildings on the avenue which are well worth attention - Matenadaran, and the Blue Mosque.

Matenadaran – Houses the worlds largest collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, and one of the largest such collections of any kind in the world. A display room has a sampling of some of the finest works, and the additional cost of the guided tour is worthwhile. The building is dug into the hill and can withstand a nuclear attack.

Blue Mosque - is an 18th century Shia Islamic Mosque, one of the extreme few surviving structures of once before Soviet secularisation prospering Muslim Community of Yerevan.

Covered Market - It's an original building, a combination of Jungenstil and Beaux-Arts. It still houses a market of fresh, sun-dried and conserved produce.

Main Railway Station is a Neo-classical building, small scale version of Soviet skyscrapers such as Moscow State University or Warsaw Culture Palace, with a red-star-topped high spire serving as a symmetry axis.

The Railway Station building dominates the David of Sasoun Square which has the statue of David of Sasoun ,hero of the Armenian epic tale as a centerpiece.

The statue itself is worth seeing,some would claim more than the building: It is the masterpiece of Kotchar - the mastermind of Cubism driven Dimentionalism movement in Armenia, a very dynamic Equestrian statue.

The metro stop Sasuntsi David opens into the square. Unfortunately, the square, the building and the statue are in a measly condition now, as the blockade-driven underusage of the railway left the place unattended.

Victory Park/Monument - Amusement park. Features a huge monument of Mother Armenia as well as some Soviet military equipment on display. Very nice view of the city center.

Lover's Park - the oldest park of Yerevan. Recently renovated in tradition of Japanese landscaping with Armenian spirit. It often hosts open air art exhibitions and concerts. It is best reachable by metro, station Marshal Baghramian - perhaps the most underused building and allegedly the best in Modernist style.

Children's Park - This is yet another beautiful remnant of Soviet urban planning in Yerevan. The park, opened in 1937, is situated in a gorgeous canyon of Hrazdan river and features a Children's railway.

The park was renovated in 2012, so the ghost park atmosphere is not that present anymore. In order to find it you will need a direction from a local.

The Singing Fountains - From early Spring to late Autumn each evening there is a fountain and light show in front of the Art Gallery at the Republic square. The program includes some classical favorites, as well as contemporary Jazz, Rock and Pop (US or Russian). Usually it spans from 10pm to 11pm. It is free of charge.

Parajanov Museum - The House-Museum of Sergei Parajanov, a famous Soviet film director. The museum is best known for special Parajanov collages and art that everybody loves and enjoys. It is equally highly appreciated by children, teenage and most demanding art critic.

Many highest level official informal meetings are conducted here. The entrance is about 2 euros and the guided tours are offered for about 8 euro. It is a must to see!

Saryan Museum If you are a lover of bright colours and enjoy Expressionist Art then House Museum of Martiros Saryan is a place for you. It's a 3 floor structure, built during the lifetime of the artist, as his house and house for his heritage after his life.

So most of the Museum is designed by the artist himself.

Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art is a museum of modern art, house to the collection of Gerard Cafesjian.

It has Arshile Gorky, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and other big names on display. The collection is very rich in Glass Art, has many pieces of Libensky-Brychtova couple, including special-made For Armenia series.

A separate floor is devoted to Swarovski Chandelier collection. The inside elevator is opened 8-20, the exhibition halls are opened until 5pm on weekdays and until 8 on weekends.

The National Art Gallery - Located at Republic Square in the same building as the National History Museum. Features several floors full of mostly paintings, organized by their country of origin.

The Armenian collection is the best and of very high quality, the Russian is quite good (Kandinsky, Serov, Chagall), and art lovers will enjoy the European collection as well.

The Armenian Genocide Memorial (Genocide Museum & Tsitsernakaberd Monument) is on a hill above the city centre. A very austere monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide and well worth seeing.

Tsitsernakaberd meaning Fortress of swallows is probably best reached by taxi. Genocide Museum is home to French artist Jean Jansem's startling collection of paintings named Genocide. The museum is currently under renovation in preparation for the 100 year anniversary of the genocide.

The City Museum of Yerevan presents all periods of the life in Yerevan starting from the palaeolithic settlements of 50,000 years ago to modern times. Ancient maps and pictures of the lost city - pre-Soviet Erivan - are of special interest.

Museum of Woodwork houses some artefacts of Armenian historical wood carving culture - doors, furniture and the like as well as wood-based sculptures of modern day artists. Situated at the address Paronyan 2 at a ring border of downtown.

Churches in Yerevan are open from early morning till very late evening. There is no entrance fee ever charged. If you manage to find the priest you can ask him to bless you and any object of non-violent usage that belongs to you including friendship and other relationships.

Katoghike is the oldest surviving church of Yerevan. It is a tiny structure constructed in typical Armenian style. Currently, the area of Katoghike also named St Holy Mother of God church is under construction.

It is planed that a white stone based St Anne Monastery will be built, of which Katoghike church will be only a minor part. On the crossroads of Sayat-Nova ave. and Abovian st.

St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral was completed in 2001 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Armenia as a Christian nation. The holy relics of St Gregory the Armenian were given back to the Armenian Church by the Vatican in 2001 and placed in this cathedral.

The building is a megalomaniac exaggeration of traditional Armenian Church Architecture. As opposed to all other churches in Yerevan and Armenia, the Cathedral is full of light and does not carry any stand for candles. The candle-house is a separate structure next door.

However, the complex is vastly and visibly unfinished. Not far from the Republic Square also visible from there.

St Sargis Vicarial Church is at the border of the city centre, on a picturesque gorge of Hrazdan River. From the Victory Bridge or alternatively the Brandy Factory building there is a beautiful view on the church and surroundings,structures of different shades constructed in immediate proximity to the church during the Soviet years of forced secularisation.

The church is always crowded. Usually there are also many young people as St Sargis (or St Sergius in Western churches) is the patron saint of young people and of lovers.

St Astvatsatsin of Nork is the replica of a beautiful 18th century St Holy Mother of God (Sb Astvatsatsin in Armenian) church destroyed during the Soviet years of forced secularisation. Because of the sudden death of the benefactor the church complex was never finished.

The most convenient way for reaching the church is using Yerevan funicular. The funicular itself is a special experience. However the church is not immediately next to the funicular stop so you may need some help of the locals at the end.

The entrance to funicular is at the crossroad of Nalbandian and Charents streets. The church is in the Nork district of Yerevan - the sleeping quarter of rich.

Ararat Cognac Factory – The oldest factory in Armenia. Offers tours and tasting.

AquaWorld – a water park which is popular with the locals in the summers.

L'atelier Restaurant Salon Imperial Russian Antiques at the address Mashtots 37, near Opera.

Levon's Amazing Underground World – see what happened when Levon set out to dig a potato storage cellar for his wife, you won’t be disappointed.

Join one of the tours organized by Yerevan Free Walking Tour on your first day of arrival. It's a must-do 2.5 hour tour in the center of the city covering architecture, history, art, cuisine, etc.

For music fans, attend cheap and excellent performances at the Opera and/or the Chamber Music Orchestra. If a national dance group is performing, don’t miss it.

Spend a late night at a cafe in the Opera park. Station yourself by the sidewalk at Melody Cafe for some of the best people watching in Yerevan.

Chill out in Yerevan Green Belt. The most popular among the locals are the Paplavok Park near Moscovyan and Teryan and the Czerny Fountain Park near Sayat-Nova and Khanjyan.

Visit one of the themed restaurants in the Hrazdan Gorge to see the locals partying. The food does not tend to venture far from barbeque and crayfish, but it is usually good barbecue, and the prices range from very reasonable to the unreasonable.

Check the prices on the hard liquor and wines before ordering a bottle if you’re price sensitive.

Climb the Cascades or take the escalator inside one evening for the great views of the city and Mt. Ararat, then head across the street to the amusement park inside Victory Park for some cotton candy and a ride on the rickety ferris wheel.

A walk through the weekend Vernissage a block east of Republic Square metro through the park is a must. From rugs, souvenirs, instruments and paintings, to pets and chemistry supplies, this outdoor market seemingly has everything.

Catch a concert on the Cascades or the Lover's Park, and an art exhibition at Swan Lake park or Lover's Park.

Do not miss an evening with the Republic square Singing Fountains, 9-11p.m.

Ice-skate with many locals at the Swan Lake next to the Opera House during winter months.

Cool down in the WaterWorld

Medical Procedures - Yerevan offers some world class medical treatments for fraction of the price in the west. The most common are heart surgeries, fertility treatments, nose jobs, hair removal and laser eye surgery.

Vardavar is the pagan holiday of water, currently a church holiday. It is a summertime movable feast that is mostly enjoyed by virtually everyone, grown and child alike: litres of water is poured on everyone by everyone. Some parks have administered events.

Trndez is the pagan holiday of fire,currently a church holiday. It is observed on 13 February. Huge bonfire can be observed in each courtyard with people merrily singing around, youngsters jumping over and the like.

Yerevan Birthday is celebrated on the second Saturday of each October. That's usually a huge event, with central Yerevan being pedestrian only: Many stages all over the city for theatrical or music usually thematic - ethnic minorities, folk, jazz, rock, pop, classics and the like performances with a culmination on Republic square.

ARvesT Expo is an annual international visual art festival/exhibition held in a local gallery in May.

Golden Apricot is a fairly well established international film festival, usually held in July. Armenians take pride in it.

ReAnimania is an emerging international animated film festival. It's held in Autumn.

Diaspora Armenians may obtain a residency permit to live and work in Armenia without a problem. The 10 year visa/permit for USD350 is the best deal. Non-Armenians should have an invitation, or establish a business to get a work/business visa.

Volunteering in Armenia may be a suitable for those wanting the experience. Armenian Volunteer Corps can organize a volunteer placement and visa for you.

For those of Ethnic Armenian Descent, there are programs such as Birthright Armenia, which will pay for your trip if you participate in their program.

Tutoring in English is always an option for native English speakers. Demand to learn English, and practice English conversation is high.

Armenian brandy locally called Cognac as well is considered one of the world's finest brandies and is accordingly a popular gift to take home for tourists. It was Winston Churchill's brandy of choice.

There are many shops within central Yerevan centre devoted solely to brandy from the Ararat Cognac Factory; the airport is also a good place to stock up at duty free. As a rule, the more aged the brandy, the more refined the taste and the more expensive.

Armenian rugs, new and old are a favourite choice. New carpets can be purchased at the Mergeryan Rug Factory for a good price. More upmarket is the international brand “Tufenkian Carpets”, with a shop on Tumanyan near Abovyan.

Both will add your name or inscription request into an existing rug, or do a custom rug for you. There is no problem with exporting these. Old rugs are found in shops all over town, or in Vernissage.

Be sure the seller obtains an export certificate from the ministry of culture for you – or you’re taking a chance that it may be confiscated.

Negotiate to have the certificate delivered to you as part of the purchase price, and buy your rug a week before you go to give them time to obtain this certificate. New rugs do not require certification, but keep your factory certificate as proof that it is new.

More fragile, but maybe worth the effort are some of the more exotic jams and preserves made in Armenia. From walnut preserves, to Sea Buckthorne (Chichkhan), virtually everything that grows in Armenia is canned.

Armenian Vodka is made out of fruit mainly peach or apricot and is a typical Armenian brevage. The bottle is recognizable as it has a fruit drawn on it. It's branded АРЦАХ (in Russian), ԱՐՑԱԽ in Armenian or Artsakh in latin Armenian characters.

Cigarettes are cheap, but you better buy them before you go to the airport, as they are more than twice more expensive when bought at the duty free


The dram (AMD) is the national currency of Armenia.

In December 2016

EUR1 = AMD510

GBP1 = AMD602

USD1 = AMD485

Rates vary widely.

When arriving in Zvartnots International Airport exchange only small amounts for taxi or airport service as the exchange rate at the airport is always poor. Exchanges can be found all over the city, and do not charge a commission – count your money on the spot, though they tend to be patently honest.

Banks tend to be the least convenient place to exchange, and tend to have the worst rates – exchange on the streets.

Exchange rates on the streets are almost all quite competitive, so shopping around is only worthwhile for very large amounts. Shops and restaurants will frequently accept dollars in a pinch, though they prefer dram.

Cash in dram only can be withdrawn from numerous ATMs located in the city, but you may have to try several machines before getting money. Try local banks (like Ararat). HSBC ATMs usually refuse to recognise non-Armenian cards.

Though Visa and Master Card are accepted in many restaurants, supermarkets and shops in Yerevan, carry some cash. To withdraw dollars from your credit card, you can go into a bank.

Stands selling Armenian-style pizzas called lamehjun or lahmajoun are prevalent throughout Yerevan. This cheap snack consists of a thin layer of dough topped with an herb and meat paste. Another option if you like fresh vegetables and lean meat is to use buffets in supermarkets and shops.

Many locals buy lunch and dinner at these places. Good value for money and though dishes are cold, food that is served in restaurants often is cold as well. Expect to pay 1200 to 1500 Dram for a vegetable salad of your choice, a piece of meat and fried potatoes or buckwheat.

Dona Bakery The underground Dona bakery located on Mesrop Mashtots avenue close to the Matenadaran offers delicious pastries, both European and Armenian. A good place to catch an inexpensive snack.

Jazve Cafe Lunch and appetizer menu. Watch out for its misspellings on the menu. Jazve's wonderful costumers can correct it, but, sadly, they don't get paid. There are plenty of these cafe's across Yerevan.

Khingali, on Tumanyan next to Mer Tagh has excellent khingali or dumplings with meat or cheese filling. Either can be served boiled or fried.

Lagonid is a Middle Eastern restaurant with sandwiches starting from $3. On Nalbandyan St, north of Sayat Nova.

Mer Tagh is a small lahmejun joint on Tumanyan, and their lahmejuns have a big following. Tumanyan St, west of Abovyan.

Anteb a family-run joint that serves a huge variety of kebabs in a very casual cafe-type setting. The Adana and Urfa are a bargain at about AMD800 each and the Iskender, though slightly more expensive (AMD3000) rivals the best.

The rice pudding is pricey but tasty. Cheap drinks and free lavash. On Koghbatsi Street, between Pushkin and Aram Street.

Artbridge. The food strong on breakfasts and lighter fare. Specifically, the French toast is a must. A nice selection of foreign language books and Western periodicals if you are desperate for some new reading material. Abovyan St, north of Tumanyan St.

Artashi Mot is considered by many to be the finest khorovats (BBQ) joint in Armenia. Judge for yourself, but not before trying the horti (beef) and sunki (mushroom) barbeques. They are both delicious, when they have them.

Other nice alternatives include the fish barbeque and the piti soup. Whichever barbeque you get, get some of the tomato sauce mix that Artash makes to put on your meat, or just to dip your bread into. On Spendiaryan St, across Mashdots Ave from the Opera.

Cactus Mexican restaurant, located near the Opera off Mesrop Mashtots Avenue. The food is decent imitation Mexican with all the usual dishes - burritos, tacos, etc. The prices are a bit steep by Yerevan standards, but not that expensive for Western travellers. The decor gets an "A" for effort. 42 Mastots Ave.

Cafe Central a solid place for a meal, reminiscent of a Viennese cafe. Abovyan St., south of Moscovyan.

Caucasus, on Hanrapetutyun near Sayat Nova. Extensive menu of Caucasian dishes in 5 languages plus photos. Starter c. AMD1000, main dish c. AMD2500. You can order fish straight from the aquarium.

Charentsi 28 is a fully restored two-story house turned restaurant, serving a variety of dishes from Mediterranean, Indian, Thai, Western Armenian, to continental cuisines. They manage to do all of these justice.

There is also seating outside in the summer and fall, on the balcony or front-yard courtyard. Starters ~1200 AMD ($3), main dishes c. AMD2600+ (USD7+). A 10-15 minute walk from the Opera House, across the German Embassy.

L’Orange has great service and a good menu. 21 Tumanyan St.

Mer Gyugh. Traditional Armenian cuisine with a village atmosphere. Located on Sayat Nova, west of Teryan Street. The chicken "Ararat" comes with a dried fruit pilav that is quite a treat! Menu items are often unavailable, so have a backup in mind when ordering.

The restaurant often features traditional folk music in the evenings.

Old Yerevan (Hin Yerevan) has traditional foods, song, dance, and the decor will make you think Disney has come to town. Almost a must for any visitor. 2 Northern Ave.

Taboule is a lebanese restaurant. Nice atmosphere and decoration. Starters ~1400 AMD, main dishes ~3000+ AMD. Traditional lebanese mezze and grilled food nicely served. 8 Zakyan Street not far from Grigor Lusavoritch Ave.

Tavern Yerevan (Pandok Yerevan) is a local chain of 4 restaurants comfortably positioned in the centre of Yerevan. Traditional Armenian and Caucasian dishes are on offer to tantalize your pallet.

Traditional folk music is performed in the evenings tempting you to try Armenian dance moves. Tavern Yerevan on 91 Teryan Street is more outstanding for its exceptional service, which attracts more tourists from all over the world.

It is located in front of the HSBC branch on Teryan Street. Famous Armenian compote made of fresh Armenian fruits is served on arrival,on the house. The restaurant’s cuisine is exceptional however very affordable.

It is mostly popular for its lamb, beef and pork barbecues and traditional vegetable barbecues of aromatic Armenian tomatoes, peppers, eggplants with a drizzle of mixed fresh herbs. The other 3 resataurants are located in Movses Khorenatsu St., 29/2 Building, Paronyan St., 7 Building and Amiryan St., 5 Building.

Winehouse 'Mamulyan and Friends' Amazing Armenian food in the basement restaurant. They have a good menu of local specialities, including meat dishes, dolma, soups, salads, etc. 69 Yeznik Koghbati Str. there is a souvenir shop on the ground floor, from there you should go down to the restaurant

Al Leoni on Tumanyan just west of Parpetsi and Hotel Yerevan on Abovyan for some fine Italian dining.

Dolmama – fusion Armenian-World cuisine. Excellent food, service and ambiance. The outdoor seating out back is a way to experience the old courtyards that filled central Yerevan in the past. 10 Pushkin St.

Rossini - central location, Italian Executive Chef, European and Armenian cuisine, customer oriented staff, elegant and relaxing atmosphere, extended wine list, free Wi-Fi. Open 7:30 - 23:30, 14 Abovian, Golden Tulip Hotel.

Raffaello Restaurant - Italian, European and Armenian cuisine - Free Wi-Fi in all the area of the restaurant, friendly and customer oriented staff. Open 07:00-23:00

The Club has some excellent Western Armenian dishes, including manti, su borek and the amazing midia dolma. The underground space is very hip, and the tea room, when not too smoky is a great place to sit on a bean back and chat.

For a budget option, you can order one of their very filling thin crust pizzas, starting at USD5. 40 Tumanyan St.

AEON Anti-Café, 3a Teryan St (next to Teryan-Pushkin intersection, entrance from Pushkin St).- A type of public space, first of its kind in Yerevan, where people can work/co-work/network; have fun with friends, celebrate birthdays; participate in film screenings, music events, exhibitions, discussions, meetings with interesting people, lectures etc.

You pay only for the time you spend at AEON: 10 AMD per minute / 600 AMD per hour from 12:00-18:00; 17 AMD per minute / 1,000 AMD per hour from 18:00-24:00. Everything else is free: tea/coffee/natural ice teas/fruits/biscuits; more than 30 board games like Game of Thrones, Munchkin, Scrabble, Settlers of Catan, etc.

Wi-Fi & Notebooks/tablets; projector and screen; painting, handicrafts and music corners; brand new popular books and print media; scan/copy/print first 5 copies; lectures/seminars and experience-sharing events.

Show student ID and pay only 500 AMD from 12PM to 6PM. Check-in on foursquare and get 20% discount. Also, if you're a member of Couchsurfing, BeWelcome or TrustRoots and your profile is older than 1 year, they offer to stay at AEON for half an hour free of charge.

You can have tea, coffee, check you mail, or take a short rest before continuing your way. Or, if you choose to stay longer, you can have a 20% discount.

There is also a tourist information corner with free maps/guides and useful information on traveling around Armenia, such as visa info, destinations, camping areas, where to stay.

Some of the staff members are experienced hitchhikers so they can provide hitchhiking related information, too. The staff members are friendly and helpful. They are travelers and hitchhikers themselves and they'll be happy to help a fellow traveler/hitchhiker.

A coworking space close to Metro Station "Hanrapetutian Hraparak", good if you need a desk and internet access for a couple of days, also convenient to meet local people, mainly IT people.

Armenia itself is a place to drink, with no prohibition against drinking in public. Cafés, bars, restaurants, clubs and the countryside on a picnic are all popular places for vodka, the usual drink of choice, with wine, beer, champagne and brandy all popular as well.

You can even drink in a car – as long as you’re not driving. Drivers cannot have a drop of alcohol in them, with Zero being the legal threshold – and the penalties for violating this are stiff.

Drink water. Yerevan has numerous small fountains with crystal clear drinking water of the kind that Western entrepreneurs put in bottles and sell.

The most popular places to drink in the summer tend to be outdoor cafés and cafés/restaurants. The cafés by the Opera and Republic Square are always packed.

Cheers Pub Yerevan, 3 Abovyan St, is the most popular bar for tourists, locals and the ex-pat community. Cool drinks, great music and friendly/multilingual staff.

Bars such as Tro's Pub, Saryan 5 St, Troll Pub, Calumet are popular spots with visitors as is the Dolce Vita bar of the Hotel Yerevan (Golden Tulip, 14 Abovian) open round the clock.

Jazzve Café is also a wonderful place to meet up with someone for a drink; make sure to try its wonderful strawberry coffee as that is a drink like no other.

Purpur cafe (yerevan), parpetsi street few doors up from envoy hostel. early till midnight. new licensed café - owners Ike a and Maria are very welcoming - up-beath atmosphere , clients very warm and inviting - lots of eclectic music that would suit most tastes, true hospitality average.

Homemade fruit vodkas – these are not flavoured from fruit like most of the western vodkas, they are actually made from pure fruit. The most popular is the Tutti Oghi (Mulberry Vodka), but just as impressive if you can find them are the Cornelian Cherry (Hon), Pear, Apricot and Peach.

Wine – Areni grapes are only grown in Armenia, which is in the oldest grape and wine producing part of the world. Old Yerevan is the best brand.

Compote – if you can get it, this usually home made fruit juice is fantastic. Ask locals, and if some of them have it at home, they will drag you in to try.

Tan – blended plain yoghurt with water and a dash of salt, this drink is often an acquired taste, and very refreshing. It’s a healthy alternative to soda, so give it a try. You can sometimes find bottled fizzy tan, which is an even more acquired taste!

Popular nightclubs are mainly in the centre, with long time standbys such as Atlantic, Relax, Astral and Club One usually full on the weekends.

Bunker Club No. 12, Sayat-Nova street.

Opera Club the basement of the Opera building. No. 54, Tumanyan St, 13:00-18:00, 19:00-12:00, males: AMD1000

Kami Club No. 18, Abovyan st. near Moscow cinema.

Champs-Élysées Club on Northern Avenue.

Ego Club on Kuryun St, Citadel Business Centre area.

The Club on Tumanyan street.

Tochka Club Opera Area, Address: 1/1 Baghramyan Ave. from 21:00, males: AMD2000.

Stop Clup Moscovyan street , Address: 37 Moskovian St.

Tornado Club Brand-new huge club in Bangladesh area

UPtown, 19A, Koryun street,Big residential building with few other bars, discos and shops on 1st floor, enter through the small dark backyard in the right half of the facade; you will hear the music from the street. 23:00-02:00.

Cosy basement bar / dark night club packed on weekends with 25-35 years behaved and fun loving crowd, full dance floor and some tables, contemporary pop-rock-dance-live music, national anthem at midnight and friendly bartenders who occasionally might join dancing with you on the bar.

Irish 26 pub Parpetsi St.

Calumet Ethnic Lounge Bar a very cozy place, Best of the Best Yerevan can offer to foreigners, diaspora and local Armenians alike, with great atmosphere and fab music! Located on Pushkin 56-a St, 17:00-24:00

Pub Red Bull Moscovyan St.

Wild West Pub Tumanyan St.

Yerevan Night Life is famous for its Strip Clubs.

Omega Club No. 59, Teryan street.

Pyramida Club No. 20/2, Sayat-Nova street.

Charlotte Cabaret No. 25 Baghramyan Ave from 18:00

Cherry Club Leningradyan St.

Safari Club Set of Clubs, Republic Sq area and a brand-new club on Arshakunyats St, on of those branches is in Deghatan St, Shahumyan Sq.

Club Delise 15A Amiryan St.

Ella Clubs.

Galaxy Club near the Marriott, Amirian St.

Manhattan Club located just off Republic Sq essentially behind the Foreign Ministry building, Abovyan St, Byuzand St.

Favourite Karaoke Clubs are:

- Mama-Mia Large set of Karaoke clubs

- 7Notes Sayat-Nova street

- Iceberg Northern avenue

- 96 Club Sayat-Nova street

Yerevan has a wide variety of accommodations but for the most part they are overpriced. If you're staying for an extended period of time, rent an apartment.

It's almost impossible to sleep cheaply in a hotel in Yerevan. Try home stays with Armenian families that rent out rooms. There are many of these places and they cost from USD8-12 per night per person.

Many are located in the centre of Yerevan and if you can handle not having your own space they are a wonderful way to truly see Armenian hospitality up close. You can get a list of these home stays by contacting the Armenian Tourism Development Agency (ATDA).

Hostel Bivouac, 9 Parpetsi Street, Yerewan. Possibly the cleanest hostel you will ever find, located in the city center. Free breakfast, good wifi and individual place to lock away your valuables under each bunk. A/C Dorm beds from 6k, double dorm bed 9k.

JR's House. Located close to the American University and U.K. Embassy this hostel offers free wifi and a huge spacious living room and dining room with access to a open kitchen with all cooking utensils. Washing machine and a laundry service is available.

Staff is very organised and structured and speaks English,Russian,German,French,Polish and Indonesian. WIFI is free and the breakfast in the morning is provided for no additional cost.

Prices in dorms start from 3000AMD and for private rooms from 9600AMD. Free towel and lockable wardrobes are available too.

Yerevan Hostel. Located in the centre, 3 minutes from the metro station and the Republic Square. Surrounded by restaurants, shops and markets. Friendly, knowledgeable English speaking staff available 24 hours a day. Very clean hostel, clean showers with hot water available day and night.

Staff will work with you to design a tour of your choice to see Armenia,individual and group tours, Free Wi-Fi is available, also a computer for guests in the living room. Breakfast prepared for you every morning upon request, so always fresh. Flexible check in/check out times. Bag storage.

Yerevan Apartments at Vardanants Street. Apartments at Vardanants Street are located in the centre of Yerevan, 5 minutes’ walk from the Republic Square. Hanrapetutyan Hraparak Metro Station is 500 metres away. All apartments come with air conditioning and free WiFi.

Guests can use a fully equipped kitchen, and it’s possible to order breakfast at surcharge. Various cafes, bars and restaurant are located within 10 minutes’ walk from the apartments.

Apartments at Vardanants Street include a comfortable bedroom, nicely decorated living room and modern bathroom. Slippers, hairdryer, washing machine and ironing facilities are available. Zvartnots International Airport is 14 km away, and a shuttle service is available on request.

Yerevan Central Railway Station is about 8 minutes’ drive from the apartments

Anahit Stepanyan's B&B, 5 Sayat-Nova ave, apt.25 Across the Opera house square. Brabion flower shop right underneath the house.

The oldest bed and breakfast in the heart of the city with a view on the Opera house and the Swan Lake. Breakfast is included, there is free Wi-Fi in the apartment. They speak English, Russian, Italian and Arabic. From AMD4000/€7.

Apricot Hostel, Kajaznuni 14-4. Located in the centre of Yerevan, a 15-minute walk from Republic Square, this hostel has a fully equipped shared kitchen, daily morning breakfast, and free Wi-Fi throughout. Rooms here provide guests with towels and linens, and a shared bathroom with free toiletries.

The dormitory rooms have lockers for guests to secure their valuables. Other hostel facilities include a shared lounge, a tour desk, ironing and laundry services, and a shuttle service, homemade traditional Armenian cuisine.

Hostel regularly organize free food, walking, city tours, trips to the sights of Armenia, meetings with locals and enjoying tasty regional eco, agro food and beverages. from USD9 per person.

Balcony Hostel, Hovsep Emin 3/1, Arabkir. Take the metro to Barekamutyun station the last one and from there walk down H. Hakobyan st until you get to a little hill. Up the hill and to the right, it's the small metal door on your left.

A taxi from the airport here should cost AMD3000-4000. checkout: 12:00, but flexible. A small, budget hostel. Offers free Wi-Fi, laundry, a kitchen and shared bathrooms that are cleaned daily. English speaking, friendly; coffee and tea are free.

AMD9000 for single room, AMD6000 for shared room with locker, AMD6500 for room with light breakfast, AMD7000 for full breakfast. Between November and May rooms are AMD5000..

Grammy Hostel The brand new Grammy Hostel is a vibrant and trendy hostel ideally located in the centre of Yerevan, only 5min walk from the heart of the city,address 15 Aghayan st. Free internet access, tasty breakfast just for extra 500 AMD , laundry.

Yerevan and Armenia tourist information, public transport timetables, info on excursions, travellers' services, TV , little garden of the hostel Prices are flexible AMD 4000-7000.

GuestHouse, Mashtots 52. They are very kind and it is very clean. However, they are almost always full.

Heghine apartment, 10min walking from Garegina Sq. A kind and hospitable lady runs this old house. Stove and bath is available. She speaks Armenian, Russian and Persian. $15 per person.

Hostel Glide is a private house located in the centre of the city, but in a quiet and safe place. It's very close to bus stations and a 3 minute-walk from metro station “Barekamutyun” . It's possible to see Ararat mountain from the windows. It is run by a very hospitable family. The prices for beds start from AMD4500.

Kesabella Touristic House Located in Parakar, 9.5km (5.9 mi) from the centre of Yerevan (Republic Square). The price of USD60/day per person includes stay and daily tours in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, breakfast and lunch/or dinner (Middle Eastern and Armenian cuisine) and daily housekeeping.

ree shuttle service to/from Yerevan 09:00-23:00, free airport pick-up and drop-off, free coffee and tea, free Wi-Fi. Laundry/ironing services are available at a low cost. Doctor on call. Special rate for groups of 8 or more. The staff speak Armenian (Eastern & Western), English, Arabic, Turkish and Persian.

Penthouse Hotel & Hostel 5 Koryun St, apt 33/2 (near Matenadaran, Medical University, Abovyan Street, the metro station Eritasardakan) An elegant duplex, clean, comfortable, with the amazing view of biblical Mount Ararat. From AMD5000-5800 (€9-10.40), including Armenian/continental breakfast.

Rafael (Hostel), Khanjyan 39, apt 5 (Tumanyan-Khanjyan). checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. Within walking distance of Republic Square. Nice common room with a fireplace, where you can relax and kitchen. Free Wi-Fi, tasty breakfast and washing machines. AMD4000-15500.

Theatre Hostel A small and cosy hostel just 5min walking distance from the main square. It's very clean, has many free facilities, such as Wi-Fi internet access, bicycle parking zone, etc. The prices start from AMD4500 with light breakfast included.

Minotel Barsam Suites 8 Mher Mkrtchyan St next to Republic Sq. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00 noon. Minotel Barsam Suites is a Swiss brand hotel located in the heart of Yerevan, only in a few steps away from the Republic Square, within a short walking distance to downtown Yerevan’s attractions and entertainment, featuring lobby bar, meeting facilities, business lounge, free Wi-Fi throughout hotel.

Armenian Royal Palace Hotel In the outskirts of Yerevan, quiet location checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Sgl from USD69.88, dbl from USD81.93, (incl 20% VAT)

Areg Hotel, near Sasuntsi David Square, south and not too far from downtown. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Sgl USD50, dbl USD73, tpl USD86 tax and breakfast incl.

Golden Tulip Hotel. First hotel built in 1926, has the charm of an old grand hotel with all of the amenities of a modern, upmarket rooftop pool, elegant guestrooms, exquisite restaurant, conference halls, winter garden with 24h bar and other services.

Hotel Latar,far on the outskirts of the city. The massive circular pool is a sight to behold.

Olympia Hotel, situated in one of the most prestigious parts of Yerevan. The outstanding view from your balcony you'll see Mountain Ararat, Mountain Aragats, Hrazdan valley and hear the sound of the waterfall just in front of you Paris Hotel Yerevan, 4/6 Amiryan St next to Republic Sq. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00 noon.

An upmarket hotel in central Yerevan featuring the biggest beds in Yerevan, a rooftop cafe-bar-restaurant called "Montmartre", meeting facilities, business lounge, fitness centre, free Wi-Fi throughout hotel.

Royal Plaza Hotel (in the downtown of Yerevan) Sgl from USD80, dbl/twin from USD100, taxes of 20% and breakfast incl.

Yerevan is generally safer than many western-European cities. Crime and street violence is almost non-existent here. Nevertheless, as in the most cities of its size, in crowded places and transport beware of pickpockets.

The traffic can be quite rough, so pay close attention when crossing the street, especially in non designated area. There are about 3000 Dram (9 USD) fine for jaywalking.

Scams Yerevan has its share of scams. A common one is that at the end of a restaurant visit, you will be presented with a bill that is much higher that the sum of what you ordered.

It is normal that tax / service is added, but especially with European / American tourists restaurant owners tend to add many other things in Armenian language to the bill or do not specify the bill at all, but only present you with a total amount that you have to pay.

If in doubt, ask for a specified bill and challenge the extras charged if they don't make sense.

A more advanced scam happens in night clubs. Upon entry, you will be warmly welcomed and probably have a great time. At then end of the evening however, a ridiculous amount of money (e.g. 5000 Dram per person) is added to the bill as entrance fee.

When you mention that this was not clear beforehand or displayed anywhere at the entrance / inside the club, their friendliness changes.

Uniformed Military / Police-look-a-like men enter the bar and behave very aggressive, saying that you have to pay now or will end up in jail.

Specifically Palazzo di Lusso on Nothern Avenue has a bad reputation. Pay attention at bars / clubs that are (almost) empty, for example during the week or in low season and when going out with foreigners only.

Armenian Tourism Development Agency, 3 Nalbandyan Street.

There are three GSM service providers operating in Armenia. It is strongly advised to acquire a temporary prepaid SIM card as they are cheap and convenient, allowing both local and international calls, no charge for incoming calls and no monthly fee.

Mobile internet and UTMS are also offered from all companies, as well as the normal full range of wireless services.

VivaCell and Orange have booths offering free SIM-Cards to incomming visitors at the airport. They are also easiest to top-up at pretty much any store or kisok in the country,and have better English service, rates and coverage.

Majority of foreign visitors find their unlocked mobile phones compatible with Armenian SIM cards (GSM 900/1800). GSM coverage maps of Armenia.

VivaCell,Armenian, English, and Russian is the leading GSM service provider in Armenia and offers quality service at reasonable rates owned by the Russian giant MTS.

They have the best coverage outside of Yerevan. VivaCell pre-paid SIM card "ALO" card costs AMD 1100-7000 (USD 3-20) depending on how much starting credit you want.

At their flagship store off of Republic Square, VivaCell is very helpful to forgeiners and will make sure that you understand everything in English, French or Russian.

They offer very low prices for international calls from your phone via a VoIP, be sure to dial 77 00+country code+the number, i.e.77001... for US or 770048... for Poland, infact it is much cheaper per minute to call the US or Canada(13AMD/$0.03) or Russia(30AMD/$0.08) than it is to dail Armenian networks.

Beeline,Armenian and Russian formerly ArmenTel but have switched to the Russian brand also have a pre-paid card. Note: this option may no longer be available to those without Armenian residency, although Russians and Ukrainians seem to be exempted.

Orange,Armenian and English, The French multi-national is a newcommer, in the country since mid-2009 offers a pre-paid card called Let's Talk with complicated but competitive rates.

All networks in Armenia(35AMD/$0.09) lower rates may apply within the network or for night-time calls, US or Canada(15AMD/$0.04), Russia(30AMD/$0.08).

Venders, small and big shopkeepers, taxi and marshrutka drivers tend to overcharge tourists, particularly Western tourists without knowledge of Russian. Observe what common people are paying and just follow their example or ask them.

Traffic in Yerevan is not as chaotic as in Tbilisi (Georgia) and more car and bus drivers tend to reckon with pedestrians who have a green light when crossing a street.

Strange that all zebra crossings are marked with the word STOP not at the point where cars start to cross, but at the sides where pedestrians start to cross. Strange and perhaps unique in the world. Once you are on the zebra cars usually stop. However not always. So pay attention.

There are many convenient day trips based from Yerevan, including a bunch better saved as overnight trips.

Garni and Geghard (UNESCO world heritage site) are an absolute must, or people will not believe you've been to Armenia. Take mini van from Mercedes show room in Gai avenue northeast of the center at 10am to Garni or further to Goght, then walk to Geghard. 40 minutes, 250dram.
Zvartnots Cathedral ruins and Echmiadzin (also UNESCO world heritage sites).

Saghmosavank and Hovhannavank monasteries overlooking the Kasagh River Canyon and the churches of Ashtarak.

Khor Virap Monastery, Noravank Monastery, Noravank Canyon and Areni Wine Country. The van to Khor Virap leaves from a bus station behind the central train station,you have to go through the underpass under the tracks and metro station.

It leaves at 11:00 am and returns from Khor Virap at 1:20 pm. The fare is 500 AMD.

Lake Sevan, Sevanavank and Hayravank Monasteries, and Noratus Khachkar Cemetary.

Dilijan old town, Haghartsin and Goshavank Monasteries.

The Debed Canyon and the monasteries of Lori, UNESCO World Heritage sites of Haghpat and Sanahin, plus Odzun, Kobayr, Horomayri and Surp Grigori.

Tourism Observer