Mother Armenia is one of Yerevan’s most iconic monuments. It dots the cityscape from its position in the city’s Victory Park, on a hill overlooking downtown Yerevan. Though the statue itself dates from 1967, its pedestal has a much older, and more intriguing history.
Originally commissioned as a statue honouring Soviet Strongman Joseph Stalin, the monument was meant to crown the new Victory Park, commemorating the defeat over Nazi Germany during World War Two.
According to a popular local legend, the renowned Armenian architect, Raphael Israelian, foresaw destalinisation, and designed the statue’s pedestal to be multifunctional. It was then reused when the Mother Armenia Statue was erected on the site 17 years later.
Though the outside may seem like your typical drab, Soviet-style monumental architectural archetype, the interior holds quite a few surprises for visitors.
Israelian, who made his career designing Armenian churches, built the interior to closely resemble the distinct style of Armenian ecclesiastical buildings. The cathedral-like vaulted ceilings cover a central nave.
If the architecture alone isn’t enough to warrant a visit, the military museum hosted within its walls might just do it. The museum, dedicated to the memory of Armenia’s contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany hosts a pretty large collection of World War II-era weapons, machinery, and memorabilia.
I would suggest visiting it as part of a wider visit to the Victory Park. Views on the city and mount Ararat are also quite spectacular.