Commonly called Hraparak or the square, equipped with wonderful musical fountains in a pool, famously known as the Heart of Yerevan, the Republic Square is the central town square in Yerevan, the capital and the largest city of Armenia. Located in the centre of Yerevan, in the proximity of Abovyan and Amiryan streets, it is an embodiment of the Armenian culture and creative mind, incorporating national stones and national symbols.
Even, the five major buildings that surround the Square are made of Armenian felsite pink and yellow tufa stone, typical to Yerevan’s architecture and constructed in neoclassical style with extensive use of Armenian motifs. This architectural ensemble includes the History Museum and the National Gallery of Armenia, the Government House, two buildings that formerly housed the ministries of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the Central Post Office, along the privately owned Armenia Marriott Hotel. While the construction of most of those buildings was completed by the 1950s, the building of the National Gallery of Armenia was completed as late as 1977.
The idea of the square was conceptualized long back during the pre-Soviet days and was included in the design of Boris Megrabov’s general plan in 1906-1911, for the upgradation of Yerevan.
However, no action to upgrade the square took place during the century. But an extensive excavation took place at the site as late as 2003, when an older layer of asphalt from the 18th-19th centuries was uncovered, discovering deep pits, ruins and remains of the old stone walls, finished black and red tufa stone slabs, roof tiles and clay vessel fragments and even tufa stone water mains. Finally, the Armenian government considered uncovering the older layers and turning it into a museum in January 2020. With the beginning of the Government House, the construction of the square began in 1926 and was completed in 1977, when the National Gallery was built. However, the design of the current square was included by Alexander in 1924, within his general plan of Yerevan.
Until the Declaration of Independence of Armenia, the square was named Lenin Square during Soviet rule, where military parades were held. During that period, a statue of Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the founder of the Russian Communist Party and the founding head of government of Soviet Russia, was installed in the square on 24 November 1940. However, the statue was dismantled later, on 13 April 1991, before the independence of Armenia, when the square was also renamed.
Much later, Republic Square attracted the attention of the world as the main site of demonstrations during the Velvet Revolution of 2018.
The Republic Square in Yerevan consists of an oval roundabout and a trapezoid section containing a pool with beautiful musical fountains. The Government House, which initially housed the People's Commissariat, the executive of Soviet Armenia, was the first building that came up on the central oval-shaped section of the square, made of rose felsite tufa stone resting on a basalt-made ground anchor. The North-West part of the present building, designed by Alexander Tamanian, was built in 1926–29 as a separate building. However, a decade later, the construction of the rest of the building was taken up by his son, Gevorg Tamanian in 1938, which was completed in 1941. Due to the gradual and smooth angular passages of the building, the whole design of the structure is perceived as a harmonious integrity and in 1942, Alexander Tamanian was conferred upon a Soviet State Award for its design. The tower of the building is faced with the country’s main clock, set with bells.
The construction of the other government building on the square that housed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1996 and 2016, was completed in 1955, except the friezes above first-floor windows, the wide central section part of the entablatures. Subsequently, the building was sold by the government of Armenia in 2013 to a company owned by the Argentine businessman. The government also intended to privatize the building of the Post Office, built between 1933 and 1956 and belonging to the Ministry of Transport and Communications. But it remains unsold so far.
Designed by Mark Grigorian and Eduard Sarapian, the construction of the building, shared by the History Museum and the National Gallery, began in the 1950s, with the National Gallery building completed in 1977. Another important building on the square houses the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan. Constructed on the original plan of Yerevan composed by Alexander Tamanian and designed by architects Mark Grigorian and Eduard Sarapian, it was opened in 1958 as Armenia Hotel, a state-owned enterprise during the Soviet period. Located behind the National Gallery and the government buildings, the hotel was privatized in 1998, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. However, following a major renovation of the building, the hotel was reopened in 1999, as the Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan.
Apart from the above, there is also a Drinking Fountain next to the museum building, which consists of seven fountains. Known as the Seven Springs, it was originally installed in 1965 and renovated in 2010. There are also several restaurants and cafes around the square to entertain the visitors. The square also hosts open-air concerts for major special events and public holiday celebrations. However, the most interesting attraction of Republic Square in Yerevan is the Singing Fountains, where people assemble to enjoy a unique combination of dancing water and music. Operating between spring and fall, the fountains include a colourful and rhythmic light show, representing an extraordinary visualization of the classical and popular music to fill the atmosphere and the hearts of the people.