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Tumanian Street

Continue uphill across Tumanian Street beyond which Abovian Street widens considerably and is lined with trees. Most of the buildings here date from the 1940s. On the right just after crossing Tumanian Street is a statue of two men who look as if they have imbibed the contents of the wine jar on which they sit. Higher up on the left is the superb Children's Art Gallery which is well worth visiting. Continue across Sayat Nova Avenue.

Katoghike in YerevanIn the first block on the right is the 16-storey Ani Plaza Hotel built in 1970. On the left is the remaining part of the only one of Yerevan's churches to have at least partially survived the 1679 earthquake. Known as the Katoghike (literally 'cathedral', singularly inappropriate for the tiny building still standing), its current form dates from 1936 when the main church, a substantial basilica without a dome rebuilt in 1693-94, was demolished in the name of urban redevelopment. It was known that there had been a church on this site since the 13th century but until the demolition was underway nobody realised that the apse and sanctuary actually comprised this old church. Inscriptions of 1229 and 1282 on the newly revealed southern facade as well as one of 1264 on the wall proved this to be the case. Public and scientific outcry won the newly revealed church a reprieve, although until recently it was tucked away behind the 1930s buildings for which the 17th-century church was demolished. These buildings have, in turn, now been demolished and there are plans to rebuild the larger church, although this time beside the small one rather than around it. Since independence it has resumed a religious function and services are held there although it is so tiny that there is hardly room for the officiating priest let alone any congregation. To either side of the bema are carvings, some of which appear to have been defaced. In front of the church is a small collection of khachkars and other sculpted fragments from the core of the destroyed basilica.

Continue up the hill. On the right, plaques on numbers 28, 30 and 32 commemorate residents of these buildings which were put up in the 1930s to house artists and intellectuals: trying, however, to get biographical details of these individuals named on the plaques, I drew an almost complete blank. Slightly higher up, also on the right, is a 1930s Art Deco building sporting the Russian word for bread. Continuing uphill Abovian Street meets the circular green belt. Steps lead down to a pedestrian underpass beneath Moscovian Street which on closer inspection proves also to house a large subterranean department store as well as a considerable part of Yerevan's secondhand book trade, including a selection of often unexpected titles in English.

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