No state in the world has had as many capitals as Armenia. Prior to Yerevan, currently home to over one million residents and one-third of the country’s overall population, 11 cities have assumed the role of Armenia’s capital. These cities, from oldest to more recent, are Armavir, Yervandashat, Artashat, Tirgranakert, Vagharshapat, Dvin, Bagaran, Shirakavan, Kars, Ani, and Sis.
Despite the rich history of Armenia’s many capital cities, Yerevan itself is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities. Twenty-nine years older than Rome, Armenia’s current capital is steeped in history with magnificent examples of art and architecture. Most of its buildings are faced with a rosy stone, “tuff,” that is quarried in Armenia, and the city is rich in monuments and historical sites. Located on the large, dry Ararat plain, Yerevan is beautiful any season of the year and is the most popular of Armenia’s tourist destinations.
Aside from the country’s capital of Yerevan, Armenia is divided up into 10 provinces, or “marzes”: Shirak, Lori, Tavush, Aragatsotn, Kotayk, Gegharkunik, Armavir, Ararat, Vayots Dzor, and Syunik. Each province has its own capital city, as well as several towns, villages and small communities within. Though populations vary from province to province, the average amount of residents for each “marz” is somewhere around 200,000.
As for the largest cities in Armenia, excluding Yerevan, towns like Gyumri, Vanadzor, Vagharshapat, Abovyan, and Kapan have the biggest populations. Though nowhere near Yerevan’s one million residents, these cities are home to some of the biggest populations in one town — 122,000; 86,000; 46,000; 43,000; and 43,000 residents, respectively.