With the majestic snow-capped Caucasus Mountain range as a backdrop, Yerevan is one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities, formerly known as the 'pink city' due to the colour of the stone used in its buildings.
Most tourists tend to stick to the centre of the city, where they can expect to see some fantastic architecture, wide avenues and an atmosphere reminiscent of Vienna or Paris. The Republic Square Singing Fountains, which are illuminated and accompanied by music every night for two hours, are a must see. The rest of the city is easily traversed by a reliable metro system, which is beautifully decorated and worth using just to see the blend of Armenian motifs and ex-Soviet architecture.
Yerevan is rich in culture and lovers of classical music will be entertained by concerts at the Cascades and Lover's Park. Cafe culture is predominant, with many sidewalk venues staying open late. Local pandoks (taverns) serve khorovats (barbecued meat) and oghee (fruit vodka) to patrons, who can enjoy traditional music while they dine. Visitors can enjoy a glass of locally brewed Cognac and even tour the Ararat Cognac Factory.
Travellers should also note that smoking is a national pastime and although smoking laws are gradually being implemented, many restaurants and public places can still be polluted with cigarette smoke, especially during the winter months when it is too cold to smoke outside. So, the best time to visit Yerevan is during the summer months when the air is fresh and the days are warm.