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The green belt

The walk round Yerevan continues by ascending the steps on the left-hand side halfway along the underpass to emerge into the circular green belt with Moscovian Street on the left and Isahakian Street on the right. The first statue encountered, an old man with a walking stick, dates from 1965 and is of the poet Avedik Isahakian (1875-1957) whose early work reflected sorrow and anguish for the fate of humankind. He left Armenia in 1911 as a result of Tsarist oppression but returned in 1936. The statue is by Sergei Bagdasarian. To the right just past the statue, the building which looks like a large upside-down spaceship is Yeridasardakan ('Youth') metro station which opened in 1981: the name reflects the number of students in this part of the city owing to the proximity of the university.

Further along is a large pair of marble hands, a gift from Yerevan's twin city of Carrara in Tuscany; Yerevan achieved its first twinning in 1965 when it was linked with both Carrara and Kiev. Yerevan's response to the gift was to send in return a model of a spring of water carved in tuft' and decorated with Armenian motifs - an exact copy also stands a little further on across Terian Street. Immediately across Terian Street is a new memorial to the victims of both the Jewish Holocaust and the Armenian genocide which seems to have replaced that to the Jewish Holocaust which stood a little further on. Uniting the two khachkar-like halves of the memorial is a brass representation of the eternal flame. The Armenian inscription reads 'Live but do not forget', presumably the Hebrew reads likewise.

Continuing along the green belt, the next statue is of a pensive-looking individual. This was erected in 2000 of the poet Vahan Terian (1885-1920) after whom the street was named. There is a small lake on which it is possible to hire battery-operated boats: the Aragast restaurant on the north side is itself built in imitation of a boat. One of the cafes here may be a pleasant place to break the walk, partly because, unlike most, they do not (yet?) blast excessively loud music at customers and partly because the remaining section of Tamanian's planned circular green belt back to Republic Square was never built so that this tour must revert meanwhile to city streets. At the end of the green belt to the left is the music school named after Sayat Nova (1712-95), composer and poet in Armenian, Georgian and Persian languages. Outside the music school is a bust of Sayat Nova and to the left in front of the Armenian State Conservatory is a 1986 statue of a man leaning back on a tree: he is the composer Komitas (1869-1935). The conservatory itself has busts outside of Bach, Shostakovich, Khachaturian and Beethoven. At the northeast corner of France Square stands the statue of a rather consumptive-looking William Saroyan.

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