Trans Eurasia travel

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Instead of continuing along the green belt, turn left across Khanjian Street and take the left hand of the two streets, Buzand Street, heading back towards the art gallery. If you are here during the week you will see a broad street with some non-functioning fountains down the middle and a handful of stalls. At the weekend you will, by contrast, be confronted by the justly celebrated market of Vernissage. (Vernissage is a French word, literally meaning 'varnishing' or 'glazing' but also used in the sense of 'preview', or 'private viewing', at an art gallery.) Vernissage is unquestionably the best place in Armenia, and possibly in the Caucasus, to buy souvenirs and craft items with a huge range of items being sold, for the most part by the people who made them. The range covers carpets, embroideries, wood and stone carvings, paintings, metalwork, etc and the quality ranges from the superb to the tacky. It is generally possible to pay in either drams or US dollars, bargaining is acceptable. As well as craft items there are also stalls selling various antique items, from old radios and Soviet-era medals to secondhand books.

Continue the length of Vernissage, repeatedly doubling back so as to visit each of the aisles. Outside the Experimental Art Complex (1/3 Buzand St) is another statue by Ervand Kochar, his bronze Melancholy. At the far end, on the left, is the side of the art gallery whose front is on Republic Square. To the right, down some steps, is Hanrapetutian Hraparak ('Republic Square') underground station. Depending on the weight or bulk of any purchases made at Vernissage, this may be a good place to break the walk.

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