My Favorite Part of Yerevan: "The Cascade"

Posted in Armenia| Art| Yerevan
One of my favorite places in my home town of Los Angeles is the Getty Center Museum complex. With a world renowned permanent collection of art and constantly changing visiting exhibits, there’s never a shortage of great artworks to appreciate. But more than just a museum, you can spend just as much time outside the museum’s buildings as inside of them. There are outdoor cafes, rolling grassy hillsides (which are at a premium in Los Angeles) and a beautiful conical-shaped garden that I love to wander through. When I come to the Getty Center, I easily spend 75% of my time outdoors.

Who knew that I’d find a similar type of space on my trip to Yerevan, Armenia?  The Cascade is often described as a giant stairway covered in gardens, water fountains and sculptures.  These sculptures are part of the collection of the Cafesjian Center for the Arts which is housed inside the Cascade building. Originally conceived in the first part of the 20th century, built in the 1970’s and 1980’s and then not opened until 2009, this gleaming white complex is its own piece of art. With 527 steps leading up, you can get a beautiful view of Yerevan at 991 feet above the city.

Official photo of the Cascades on display inside the Cafesjian Center for the Arts

Sadly we arrived just as the interior art galleries were closing, but still I had a chance to enjoy the artwork on display in the interior halls and the many sculptures that dot the massive outdoor decks at each landing. We used the escalators indoors to get from floor to floor, then once we reached the top floor, we stepped out onto the patio and walked the whole way back down, while taking in the stunning views of city at a distance and beautiful flowers just within arms reach.

A visit to the Cascade and the surrounding gardens and sidewalk cafes should be included in any visit to Yerevan. Especially in the warm summer months, I could spend hours just taking in the scenery and enjoying the artwork.  It is a pedestrian friendly area, so there is definitely a sense of calm that is well appreciated in a busy capital city.

Statue of Alexander Tamanyan, the architect who originally envisioned the Cascades

Colorful art installation

I can’t help but smile at this statue, in the gardens in front of the Cascades.

Detailed orchid scuplture inside the Cafesjian Center for the Arts

A majestic lion made out of cut tires

The Cafesjian Art Center is known for its collection of beautiful glass works

Diver Statues high above the city of Yerevan

View from the top

Brightly colored artwork against the early evening sky

Many people bring their dates to sit and enjoy the warm summer sun and beautiful views. 

A version of the famous Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture found its way to Yerevan

Though the architecture did remind me of Soviet era massiveness, I found the Cascades to be one of my favorite parts of Yerevan. 
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