Down the Hrazdan river from Central Yerevan, in the village of Argavand, lies a peculiar site. The Mausoleum of the Turkmen Emirs is a large stone phallic structure.
Since the village is only around 7km away from central Yerevan, I love to take my bike down there with my friends during the summer. We pack a lunch and have a picnic by the monument before heading back home. It’s great exercise AND it’s educational. The road to the monument also goes by a few interesting sites, including the military pantheon and a few medieval churches, so it’s worth the trip.
It was built, like many others like it across the Caucasus and Anatolia, by the nomadic “black sheep” Turkmen tribe, which had invaded the region from Central Asia. It was meant to honour the memory of one of their fallen leaders.
This perfectly-preserved monument is also a well-kept secret, since most Yerevan locals don’t even know about it.