In Armenia, it is allowed to have picnics within the city, but you must follow certain rules — without this you can’t go anywhere. According to the law, picnics can only be held in specially designated places, such as parks, squares, forest parks or other public recreation areas. In general, being located with your barbecue in the very center of the city — is not the most common way of leisure, but the closer you are to the outskirts, the more opportunities there are for this and the more natural it will look. You can sit on a blanket with a couple of sandwiches almost anywhere, but the more attributes of street recreation that accompany your picnic, the more careful you need to be about following the rules.
To cut it short, the basic rules are as follows:
- You cannot make fires within the city limits. At all;
- Barbecues can be used in specially designated areas.
To dot the i’s, we contacted the Yerevan Tourism Department. This is what she told us Seda Aghbalyan, head of the Tourism Department of the Yerevan Municipality, told us:
“Although there is no separate regulation on organizing picnics within the city, issues related to this topic are regulated by the mayor's law on administrative offenses. In particular, you can not litter, make noise, cook and smoke during picnic: this is a violation of public order and will entail administrative punishment in accordance with the law. For example, garbage past the bins is a fine of 20 to 30 times the minimum wage. It is important to remain calm and not disturb other citizens.
The parks in Yerevan are mostly owned by the city, but there are a few parks that are on long-term lease. In such cases, the tenant monitors the behavior of citizens in the park, and the internal rules of this territory are regulated by an agreement between the tenant and the municipality.
As for any activities on the territory of private houses (inner courtyards, balconies, etc.), it's at the discretion of the property owner.
Like many processes in Armenia, the story of outdoor picnics and rest becomes much clearer when viewed through the prism of personal experience. Ilya Devedjian (co-founder of the bar 2022) talked about how he twice organized a massive potluck picnic for more than fifty guests. The word “potlak” means the custom of North American Indians to demonstratively exchange household utensils, clothing, and food in order to redistribute community property and establish social ties. At the picnic organized by Ilya, everyone was invited to prepare and bring one or a couple of dishes with them.
“We held general potluck picnics twice — in April 2022 and April 2023. The first time there were 50+ people, this year probably a little less came. When I was looking for a place for our first big picnic, I was walking through the park "Victory" and saw a building with an excellent view and terraces — it turned out to be the abandoned restaurant "Aragil". We wrote to the park administration about our desire to clean up the area and have a picnic. Our idea was supported: the administration staff promised to remove the collected garbage, although they mentioned in advance that the restaurant building did not belong to them. Over the course of the year, it so happened that we met the owner of “Aragil” and this year we coordinated the cleaning and picnic-potluck directly with him. He not only allowed it, but also set the table for all participants! I hope we’ll do it again in 2024!”
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide a clear list of instructions for all parks, because in some territories separate rules apply to a specific zone. For example, in the parkLovers” cannot sit on the lawns at all —, neither with a barbecue, nor with a blanket, nor with a lover. But in Tumo Park there is a special designated area for picnics.
To be sure that a picnic will not hurt anyone, it is best to clarify the rules for each specific park by contacting the administration.
A complete list of parks (with contact numbers) can be found here. We have selected some of the most popular places for you:
One of the most popular holiday destinations, located right in the city center. "The English Park is also called the Theater Park because the Gabriel Sundukyan Academic Theater is located in this area.
Address: st. Italy
Tel.: +374 10 448805
The park was designed by architects S. Knegtsyan and A. Zurabyan. It is located in the very center of Yerevan, not far from the buildings of the parliament and the presidential administration.
Address: Marshal Baghramyan Ave., 21
Tel.: +374 11 966868
Park "2 800th anniversary of Yerevan"
It is located behind the monument to A. Myasnikyan, opposite the city hall. About 250 species of trees are planted in the park, the park's fountain has 2,800 jets, and 5,420 m² of area is lined with seven types of granite stone depicting patterns of old Armenian carpets.
Address: st. Italy, no. 2
Victory Park (Monument)
Located on a hill, right above the Cascade, offering one of the best panoramic views of Yerevan. In 1950, a monument to Stalin was erected in the park, which stood for 12 years. In 1967, a monument was erected on the same pedestal.Mother Armenia."
Address: Azatutyan Ave., 2
Tel.: +374 10 205881; +374 95 900060
Yerevan Botanical Garden was founded in 1935. It currently occupies 80 hectares. The garden belongs to the National Academy of Scinece of the Republic of Armenia; a research institute functions on its territory. There are 200 species of endemic, rare and endangered plants in the Garden. We love this place so much that we talked about it in great detail in the article "A Walk in the Jurassic Botanical Garden" . You can see the amazing climatron greenhouse in this video.
Address: st. Acharyan, 1
Tel.: +374 10 614847
Children's Railway Park
The Children's Railway Park is one of the most beautiful parts of the Hrazdan Gorge. In the warm season, you can ride a train and take a short walk through the Hrazdan Gorge, walking about 600 m, and return to the starting point. There are many quiet corners for a picnic in the park, there is a swimming lot for a convenient entry into the Hrazdan River.
Address: st. Dzorapi, 130
Tel.: +374 77 423618
Park named after Tumanyan
It is located in the administrative district of Ajapnyak, near the technological center "Tumo". The park was founded in 1970 in honor of the 100th anniversary of Armenian writer Hovhannes Tumanyan. It has many equipped picnic areas and playgrounds.
Address: st. Alabyana, 13
Jrvezh Forest Park
Forest Park "Jrvezh" is located in the village of the same name in the Kotayk region near Yerevan. The village is small, but is very popular among the residents of Yerevan, as it is located only 12 km from the center of the capital. The park was divided into sections, each of which symbolized one of the republics of the USSR and the regions of the RSFSR. From these places, planting material of plants that were most characteristic of a particular region was delivered.
Address: Kotayk marz, village. Jrvezh
Tel.: +374 10 688204; +374 93 077094
Stepanavan Arboretum "Sochut"
Stepanavan Arboretum, or Arboretum "Sosnyaki" — arboretum in Armenia, near the city of Stepanavan and the village of Gyulagarak. The area of the — arboretum is 35 hectares, of which one half is — natural forests, and the other — is ornamental trees.
Address: Kotayk marz, village. Gyulagarak
Tel.: +37410 253141
A separate, but no less important issue is alcohol. Can you drink alcohol on the streets?
On one hand, Art. 175 of the Administrative Code states that drinking alcohol in public places or being drunk is considered an administrative offense. Punishment is a fine of 10 times the minimum wage; if the violation is repeated within a year, the fine is doubled. The minimum salary in Armenia from January 1, 2023 is — 75,000 drams.
On the other hand, the issue of drinking (if it looks civilized and does not interfere with the rest of other citizens) is treated very loyally in Armenia, as evidenced, for example, by the participants of a recent social experiment, graduates of the Yerevan College of Informatics, 18-year-old Erik Aydinyan and Eduard Petrosyan. The essence of the experiment was to find out how the police react to drinking of alcohol in public places. Out of 13 attempts, the reaction from law enforcement officers followed only in a couple of times; the police asked to finish drinking the beer and throw away the bottle. Zero fines were issued.
We can only add that the main rule of a pleasant stay in any city is to be polite and not disturb others. Moreover, all city organizations welcome public initiatives for garbage collection. You can follow their announcements on the social networks of Armenian eco-activists, such as Ecoparsec or Green Green,or self-organize with friends and arrange your own cleaning of the territory.