Blog Archives

LA hotel adds digital signage as art (Video)

The Luxe City Center Hotel in downtown Los Angeles has deployed the new Studio Montage and Video Rail digital signage video display system from multisensory advertising and marketing solutions manufacturer Americhip to create new visual sensory experiences for the hotel’s patrons, according to an announcement from Americhip.

The hotel recently completed a multimillion-dollar makeover with 178 guestrooms, including 16 luxury suites.

“We want our guests to have an immersive multilevel sensory experience, from the décor and artwork to the food they eat to the interaction with our hotel staff,” said John Kelly, Luxe City Center Hotel vice president and general manager, in the announcement.

Americhip’s Studio Montage and Video Rail were placed in strategic locales to complete the immersive visual experience. “Our interior design firm SANDdesign recommended Americhip’s new video art technology to be the cornerstone of our guest experience, adding that it would complement our décor and ambience philosophy perfectly,” Kelly said. “We installed the Studio Montage featuring Van Gogh’s Starry Night video animation behind our front reception desk and the 168 display Video Rail, with each display featuring individual artist vignettes as the centerpiece for our new bar — all high-traffic areas where we could create a visually emotional experience.”

The Studio Montage and Video Rail incorporate visually appealing aesthetic display and record/playback technologies that allow users to configure content to match the mood and setting of the environment. Imagery, animations or video are edited, compiled and software encoded to an AVI file and input to each high-resolution display and accompanying video processor/memory unit via a USB port. In turn, each screen can play back up to 45 minutes of unique video content.

“Our new interactive video art technology gives the Luxe City Center Hotel a compelling alternative to traditional static art, single video display or static signage in delivering their brand message or helping to create a compelling immersive experience,” said Americhip CEO Tim Clegg. “The Studio Montage brings to life the works of artists like Monet, Sisley, Renoir, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Klimt in an intensely original moving presentation that combines fine art and digital technology that is pixel perfect and true to the original works’ intent.”

Watch a short video of the Luxe City Center Hotel deployment below:

Read more about hotel digital signage.

Jockstrip: The world as we know it.

Hotel offers stays in exchange for art

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 8 (UPI) — A hotel in the Swedish capital is offering free stays to guests who donate a piece of self-made art to the facility.

The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm said the art-for-stays scheme was inspired by New York’s Chelsea Hotel, which allowed prominent artists and musicians to stay for free in exchange for their works of art, The Local.se reported Thursday.

“It all started with the fact that our general manager’s grandfather was an artist,” said Tess Mattisson, public relations and marketing manager for the Clarion Hotel. “He actually had some of his work hanging in the Chelsea Hotel and now that their hotel has closed down, the manager was so inspired that our hotel will continue the tradition.”

Mattisson said there would be no limitations on the art, provided it can fit on a sheet of paper.

“Who are we to be judgmental about art? Accommodation is what we know and we’re happy to provide it. Everyone is welcome here, from young and upcoming artists to those that are already established,” she said.

The manager said the term “artists” would apply to anyone who puts their paintings, poetry or other work of art to paper.


$25k fines for keeping theme park tickets

NEW YORK, June 8 (UPI) — A pair of assistant principals at a New York school were each fined $25,000 for keeping more than $20,000 worth of theme park tickets meant for students.

City officials said Assistant Principal Richard Gilberto and Assistant Principal Derric Borrero of IS 24 kept the Great Adventure tickets, which were each worth $64.19 but marked “complimentary,” after they were donated to the school for use by students, the New York Post reported Thursday.

Officials said Borrero gave 25 of the tickets to his brother, who sold them for $30 each on eBay and told an undercover investigator he had access to the tickets every year.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott described the penalties as “one of, if not the largest fines issued against individuals in a conflict-of-interest case. I took this very seriously.”


Misspelled road signs may be sold

TAMPA, Fla., June 8 (UPI) — Officials in a Florida city are considering selling old Spanish street signs that are scheduled to be replaced due to a misspelling.

The Tampa City Council voted to change the signs for Seventh Avenue from “La Setima” to “La Septima” after hearing from residents who explained the latter is the correct Spanish spelling for “The Seventh” and the council will now vote Thursday to decide whether the old signs will go on sale to the public, the Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday.

Council Chairman Charlie Miranda, who was the only council member to oppose the spelling change, proposed the scheme to sell the signs, which were put in place in 1998.

“I think you’ll be surprised what someone will pay for an old sign,” Miranda said. “If, legally, I can be a bidder, I will bid.”


Officer fired for writing too many tickets

PALM BEACH, Fla., June 8 (UPI) — A lawyer for a Florida police officer fired for issuing too many traffic tickets said the officer will fight to be reinstated.

The Palm Beach director of public safety said in a Tuesday termination letter Officer William Eaton violated department rules, including conduct unbecoming and using his position to intimidate the citizenry, when he wrote 115 traffic tickets in a single month earlier this year, the Palm Beach Post reported Thursday.

Union leaders said two other officers are facing similar terminations.

Elizabeth Parker, Eaton’s attorney, said her client will fight to be reinstated. She said he started writing more tickets to more effectively perform his duties when the town changed rules in January to give bonuses based on merit instead of longevity.

However, Public Safety Director Kirk Blouin said officials believe Eaton wrote the tickets as retaliation for contract changes and the city reducing police pension benefits.

Hotel offers stays in exchange for art

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, June 7 (UPI) — A hotel in the Swedish capital is offering free stays to guests who donate a piece of self-made art to the facility.

The Clarion Hotel in Stockholm said the art-for-stays scheme was inspired by New York’s Chelsea Hotel, which allowed prominent artists and musicians to stay for free in exchange for their works of art, The Local.se reported Thursday.

“It all started with the fact that our general manager’s grandfather was an artist,” said Tess Mattisson, public relations and marketing manager for the Clarion Hotel. “He actually had some of his work hanging in the Chelsea Hotel and now that their hotel has closed down, the manager was so inspired that our hotel will continue the tradition.”

Mattisson said there would be no limitations on the art, provided it can fit on a sheet of paper.

“Who are we to be judgmental about art? Accommodation is what we know and we’re happy to provide it. Everyone is welcome here, from young and upcoming artists to those that are already established,” she said.

The manager said the term “artists” would apply to anyone who puts their paintings, poetry or other work of art to paper.

Conrad hotel gives Battery Park a surge of cool

The path to wow in Battery Park City is paved with green marble steps.

That was the material New York-based and internationally acclaimed architects Kohn Pedersen Fox used to turn the Conrad New York hotel by Hilton Worldwide into a feast for the eyes. Imported from India, the marble lines a grand staircase that lures visitors and guests to the hotel’s stunning entrance.

Inside are more wonders to behold, starting with a 16-story atrium lobby dominated by a visually arresting “Loopy Doopy (Blue and Purple)” mural by Sol LeWitt and a sculptural symphony of cable-like strings by Monica Ponce De Leon called “Veils.”

CONRAD1BPW_13_WEB

Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News

The Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar will be a regular stop for locals.

The lighting through the atrium and hotel, designed by New York-based Herve Descotte’s L’Observatoire International, is ever-changing and can spread light in seven colors.

“It looks wild when it’s red,” said Patrick Roy, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. “The place really comes alive in the dark.”

T then there’s the art. Works by Julian Schnabel, Ross Bleckner and Ellsworth Kelly grace what was once an unremarkable Embassy Suites hotel. Curated with help from New York’s Public Art Fund, the collection of contemporary art in the hotel is as strong as that in museums in some small cities. Many of the works, like the LeWitt mural, are original to the building.

CONRAD1BPW_12_WEB

Conrad New York

The lounge around the ballroom hsa views of 200 Chambers and Tribeca.

“The idea of Conrad as a brand is to embrace the neighborhood,” said Roy. “Everyone is welcome here, and the art and design is one way to bring them in.”

The building was bought by Goldman Sachs in 2006 from Forest City Ratner for $300 million. A 14-month makeover costing a reported $75 million gutted the hotel’s interior. The Venezuelan-born Ponce De Leon handled the lobby and restaurant interiors. Custom-made half-moon-shaped gray seating blends with the blue LeWitt mural and green marble. Octagonal pylons and the white steel tubular frames of the “Veils” hanging sculpture give it the feel of an entrance hall to a marvelous orchestral theater. Birds would love it in here.

Most of the 463 rooms at the all-suites luxury hotel start at $299. It features a rooftop bar, fine dining at a lobby restaurant called Atrio and a ballroom where the award ceremony for the Tribeca Film Festival was recently held. The hallways have lights hidden in the doorways. At night, the darkness adds to the sexy walkways.

Warhol stunt turns into 15 minutes of infamy

Reality check-in: Art at the Olsen Hotel, South Yarra.

Reality check-in: Art at the Olsen Hotel, South Yarra. Photo: John Woudstra

A MARKETING stunt by a hotel group involving a convicted forger has provoked anger in the art world.

New York’s Andy Warhol Foundation and Melbourne forensic art expert Robyn Sloggett have condemned the commissioning of forged Andy Warhol works for a marketing competition by Art Series Hotels.

American forger Tony Tetro, jailed for five years in 1989 for producing counterfeit art, was commissioned by the hotel group to produce nine copies of the pop artist’s work to hang alongside a real Warhol.

Devised to enhance the hotel chain’s ”edgy” brand – an earlier publicity event invited guests to ”steal a Banksy” – the competition was launched last week and remains open until August 3. Hotel guests are invited to spot the real one and go into a draw to win a forgery or ”an original Warhol print” (not the one on display, according to the competition’s fine print). The forgeries are stamped and signed on the back as Tetro copies.

The Warhol Foundation, notorious for its protection of the artist’s copyright and licensing – despite disbanding its authentication board this year – has denounced the stunt.

”The Andy Warhol Foundation is appalled to learn that a hotel would think it wise to commission forgeries in an attempt to market its services,” director of licensing Michael Herman told New York-based website ArtInfo.

Art Series Hotel chief executive Will Deague defended the initiative. He said the purpose of the competition was to educate guests about the problem of suspect art, estimated to be up to 15 per cent of the market.

He said his lawyer had contacted the Warhol Foundation in April, which advised that its only objection would be to the use of any images on advertising material.

Robyn Sloggett withdrew from a panel to promote the competition – which included Tetro, art dealer John Buckley and writer Linda Jaivin – when she learnt about the commissioned fakes.

”[Forgery] is a criminal activity that has real victims – and those victims are vulnerable,” she said. ”By the time an artist gets to the point where someone’s going to forge their work, generally they’re old or dead, and they’re not in a good position to defend themselves.”

”[Using fakes as a stunt] sends a message that there’s no victim here, it’s just part of the art market, we all have a bit of fun. That’s what I take exception to, because there are real victims. And they really hurt.”

One such victim is artist Charles Blackman, after whom, ironically, one of the Art Series Hotels is named. Along with Robert Dickerson, Blackman, who suffers from dementia, took art dealer Peter Gant to the Victorian Supreme Court in 2010 for selling fake drawings. The court ordered the three drawings be destroyed.

It is not the only irony in the affair. Warhol was an artist who used techniques and objects of mass production in his work. Works produced by others in his studio, known as The Factory, but signed by him are legitimate Warhols.

Artist Sam Leach, who was himself caught in a plagiarism controversy when he won the Wynne Prize for Landscape Painting in 2010, insists the difference between a real Warhol and a fake can be justified.

”Where Warhol had someone produce the work for him, it’s a work that hasn’t existed before – he’s caused a new object to be put into the world,” he said.

”That’s materially different to someone later coming back and reproducing a Warhol.”

EDINBURGH

Edinburgh

Table of Contents

Districts
Understand
Orientation
History
Profile
Climate
When to go
By plane
By train
By road
By bus
By boat
Get around
By bus
By train
By car
By foot
By tram
By taxi
See
Landmarks
Museum and galleries
Do
Festivals
Hogmanay
Cinema
Sport
Learn
Buy
Eat
Drink
Sleep
Internet
Stay safe
Stay healthy
Pharmacy
Babysitting
Deputy High Commissions
Laundry
Clothing Repairs
Cash Machines

Get out

Edinburgh (Gaelic: Dùn Èideann; ) is the capital of Scotland located in the Central Belt region of the country. With a population of approximately 450,000 (1 million in the city region), “Auld Reekie” (Edinburgh) manages to combine both ancient and modern in a uniquely Scottish atmosphere. Watched over by the imposing castle, the symbol of the city, Edinburgh combines medieval relics, Georgian grandeur and a powerful layer of modern life with contemporary avant-garde. In Edinburgh, medieval palaces rub shoulders with the best of modern architecture, Gothic churches with amazing museums and galleries. Scotland’s throbbing night-life centre, Edinburgh, “the Athens of the North”, is also a feast for the mind and the senses, playing host to great restaurants, shops and an unequaled programme of city festivals throughout the year. Hogmanay, the Scottish New Year, kicks off the festivities, which culminate in the high summer with the Tattoo, the International and the Fringe, amongst many others.

The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1995. In 2004, Edinburgh became the first member of the UNESCO Creative Cities initiative when it was designated a City of Literature. In a 2009 poll by YouGov, Edinburgh was voted the most desirable city to live in the UK.

Districts

Understand

Edinburgh is on the east coast of Scotland’s central Lowlands, situated on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. Edinburgh’s landscape is the product of ancient volcanism (both the Castle crag and Arthur’s Seat are the eroded plugs of volcanoes) and more recent glaciation (carving out valleys south of the castle and the old Nor’Loch, presently the site of the Princes Street Gardens). Impress the locals by knowing that Princes Street is the correct spelling (dedicated plurally and not possessively for King George III’s sons – hence the absence of an apostrophe). Don’t make the mistake of pronouncing it Princess Street – though many of the locals won’t know the difference! And watch out for these two commonly mis-pronounced streets as well: Cockburn (coe-burn) and Buccleuch (buh-clue) are nearly always gotten wrong, to the amusement of the locals.
Orientation

Edinburgh’s historic centre is bisected by Princes Street Gardens, a broad swathe of parkland in the heart of the city. Southwards of the gardens is the castle, perched on top of an extinct volcanic crag, and flanked by the medieval streets of the Old Town following the Royal Mile along the ridge to the east. To the north of Princes Street Gardens lies Princes Street itself – Edinburgh’s main shopping boulevard – and the Georgian period New Town, built after 1766 on a regular grid plan.
History

Edinburgh has been the royal capital of Scotland since 1437.
Profile

Edinburgh is noted as a long-lived literary capital of the English-speaking world. The great Scottish historical novelist Sir Walter Scott was born in the city and has his great monument on Princes Street. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also a native of Edinburgh. More recently, Edinburgh has variously been the home and inspiration for such well-known modern writers as Muriel Spark (author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie), Irvine Welsh (author of the 1993 novel Trainspotting, set in the gritty district of Leith), Ian Rankin (a crime writer best known for the Inspector Rebus series, set in Edinburgh), Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Lady Detective’s Agency and several novels set in the Scottish capital) and J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame.
Climate

Edinburgh’s climate is most comfortable for the traveler from May to September. That said, the weather in Edinburgh is always changeable and visitors should expect both sunshine and rain, whatever the season. Edinburgh tends to get windy while it rains as well, so be sure to pack either a raincoat or a sturdy umbrella! Many a tourist has abandoned an inverted umbrella due to the persistent, whipping winds. Summer, the main festival season, combines long daylight hours with lengthy evenings (being so far north, it rarely gets dark before 10 or 11 at night!). Winter can feel bitterly cold, with short daylight hours, however snow is rare and of a short duration, and most of Edinburgh’s winter precipitation comes in the form of a chilly rain and sleet. Edinburgh has an abundance of indoor attractions and activities that make the cold winter days fly by. In other words, bring a coat big lad, will ya? Do not worry about being cold in winter, because like many modern countries all buildings including the old ones are warm, dry and insulated.

When to go

Travellers should note that Edinburgh becomes overwhelmingly crowded (accommodation-wise) during the main festival periods of high summer (August to early September) and Hogmanay (around New Year’s Day / 1 January). Visitors at these times should plan well ahead (even more than a year in advance!) for booking central accommodation and event tickets at these times.
By plane

Edinburgh International Airport () , the busiest airport in Scotland, is situated some 10 miles west of the city. The airport offers a wide range of domestic and international flights to Europe and North America. Many visitors to the city arrive via a connecting flight from London. Edinburgh Airport does, however, have a daily flight to and from Newark (Continental Airlines), a 25 minute train ride or drive from New York City and also a daily flight to and from Atlanta, Georgia and New York City (Delta Air Lines). In comparison to most Scottish airports, Edinburgh’s European flight network is well developed, with frequent scheduled flights to destinations such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Helsinki, Kaunas, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Rome, Stockholm,Warsaw and Zurich. A dedicated airport bus service, Airlink Express , service 100, runs from outside the terminal building to Edinburgh city centre (Waverley Bridge) at least every 10 minutes until 00.22 and then every 30 minutes until 04.45. The bus leaves from Waverley Bridge (opposite entrance to train station) for the Airport at the same intervals 24/7. Adult fares are £3.50 for a single, £6 for an open return and the journey takes an average 25 mins. The buses offer free wi-fi connection, sockets for charging electrical equipment, CCTV allowing top-deck passengers to monitor their luggage, and electronic “next-stop” information. The Airlink buses have a dedicated blue livery which makes them easy to distinguish from the rest of the Lothian fleet. A cheaper alternative is the ordinary Lothian Buses service 35, which runs from the bus stance outside the arrivals building to Ocean Terminal via the Royal Mile/High Street. Although much slower and with less provision for baggage than the 100, it is far cheaper at £1.30 a single and also allows the use of day tickets and other options that work on all Lothian Buses services, a great option for getting straight to the city if travelling lightly or on a budget.
By train

The main railway station in Edinburgh is called Waverley Railway Station and is an attraction in itself. First opened in 1846, Waverley Station was rebuilt 1892-1902. It lies between the Old and New Towns, adjacent to Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the Princes Street Gardens, where it serves over 14 million people per annum. Despite various refurbishments, the past still survives in the station’s elaborate, domed ceiling where wreathed cherubs leap amid a wealth of scrolled ironwork. Waverley Station is a major hub for the Scottish rail network, operated by First Scotrail . There is an hourly service to Dundee and Aberdeen, and two hourly to Inverness. Shuttle trains to Glasgow (Queen Street) run every 15 minutes throughout the day, dropping to 30 minutes on evenings and Sundays, and the journey takes 45-50 minutes. There are also services which operate via Bathgate and Airdrie to Glasgow Queen Street Low Level at a 15 minute interval. Stopping patterns differ on this route, meaning that every half hour, the service takes approx. 1 hour whereas every other half hour services take around 1 hour 15 minutes to complete the journey. Some services run to Glasgow Central instead, but run via Lanarkshire with many more stops. Certain CrossCountry trains originating from Birmingham and the south west also continue to Glasgow Central – again your ticket will be valid on these services but the journey will take slightly longer than the shuttle. The vast majority of train services to Edinburgh from London (and most of eastern England) are operated by East Coast (which replaced National Express on 14 November 2009) ; an hourly service leaves from London Kings Cross station throughout the day until 6PM. Journey time is between 4hrs 20min and 5 hours. The cheapest tickets (£16 to £90) are advance single (one-way) fares for a fixed train time bought 2-12 weeks in advance, and the flexible Saver Ticket (roughly £100 single or return) is not valid at some times to/from London. Virgin Trains operate a 2 hourly service from Birmingham New Street via the West Coast Mainline with an average journey time of 4hrs 4 mins. For a different travel experience from London, try the Caledonian Sleeper service , which runs every night from London’s Euston Station except Saturdays, and the journey takes approximately 8 hours. Bear in mind that if you are travelling alone you may have to share the sleeping compartment with a stranger of the same sex. Tickets can be booked in the usual manner at any main line railway station in Britain, and the cost of a return journey to Edinburgh from London varies from around £100 for two one-way “Advance” tickets rising to the full open return fare of £165. You can also travel for around £23 one-way in a seated carriage or £95 return (full fare). BritRail passes can be used to reserve tickets on the sleeper trains. However, heavily discounted one-way tickets on the Caledonian Sleeper known as “Bargain Berths” are available for £19, £29, £39 or £49 depending on how early you book, but, confusingly, these cannot be bought from a railway station in the normal way but only from the First ScotRail website, and you will be emailed an e-ticket (similar to an airline), which you must print out and show to the conductor at the platform before getting on the train. Trains to other English cities are operated by Arriva Cross Country (services via York, Birmingham and central England to the south coast and West Country) and Trans-Pennine Express (services to Manchester via Carlisle) from Waverley. The “charged by the piece” left luggage service at Waverley railway station is much more expensive (£7 per item for 0-24 hours!) than the lockers a few blocks away at the Edinburgh bus station on St. Andrew’s Square. There is a second railway station in the centre of Edinburgh, Haymarket, around a mile to the west of Waverley. If you are arriving from the north, west or southwest, Haymarket is a better station to exit at if you are heading straight for the airport, zoo, or modern art gallery or if your accommodation is on the west side of town as you will avoid the city centre traffic, and it is on the major westbound bus routes. Both Waverley and Haymarket stations had ticket barriers installed in 2004 so you will need to purchase a ticket in order to enter or leave the platform area. If you get on a train at an unmanned station, you can purchase a ticket from the conductor on the train or a ticket inspector near the barrier gates: note that there is usually a long queue during the peak rush hour period. The barrier gates will retain single journey tickets so be sure to get a receipt if you need one. If you have the larger kind of ticket that does not fit in the barrier, you will need to go to the gate manned by a member of staff who will check your ticket and let you through. If you do not have a ticket, you will need to go to the ticket office behind the barrier (platform 14 at Waverley) to buy one. Edinburgh Park is a new train station that opened in 2004, which is some way from the city centre, serves business parks and “The Gyle” shopping centre. As of December 2010, direct trains to and from Glasgow Queen Street Low Level began to serve Edinburgh Park, on the Airdrie-Bathgate route (or A2B) operating on a 15 minute interval. There services will take around an hour to get to Glasgow from Edinburgh Park.
By road

By road, Edinburgh can be reached most immediately by the M8 motorway (from Glasgow and the west), M9 (from Stirling and the north-west), A90/M90 (from Perth, Dundee and northern Scotland), the A1 (from Newcastle upon Tyne and north-east England) and A702/M74 (from Carlisle and north-western England). From London the fastest route to Edinburgh is the M1 motorway, followed by the A1(M) and the A1 – a journey of 640 km (398 mi) and approximately 8-9 hrs driving time. Edinburgh is not a particularly car friendly city with the myriad of one-way streets and the Old Town’s medieval layout, and the dedication of parking wardens to ticketing anything that is not moving is legendary. In addition, the works to install the new tram line will be ongoing until 2012, and have caused numerous road closures and diversions throughout the City Centre and Leith. Finding parking can be difficult, though there are several multi-story car parks in the city centre (Castle Terrace for the West End, try St James Centre or Greenside at the East End). It is often cheaper and quicker to use the new Park and Ride systems now in place on all approaches to the City, (National Park and Ride Directory is available online ), so it’s even easy to just abandon your car on the outskirts. For visitors arriving from the M8, follow directions for Edinburgh Airport to reach Ingliston Park and Ride; this facility is half a mile from the airport terminal.
By bus

The city is served by the major inter-city bus companies from around Scotland and England. Most long distance services start and end in the Bus Station in St Andrew Square. The left luggage lockers at the Bus station are much cheaper than the “charged by the piece” left luggage service at Waverly train station.
By boat

A ferry/bus service from Belfast to Edinburgh can be booked through Citylink .
Passenger cruise liners are a common sight in summer at Leith Docks, where a new terminal has been built next to the Ocean Terminal shopping/leisure complex.
Get around

Edinburgh is a compact city – most of the sights and major tourist attractions are within the Old Town and New Town and are no further than a 15 minute walk apart. Walking along elegant or atmospheric streets is one of the pleasures of the city. There are however, a number of hills to be navigated; for example from Princes Street, up The Mound towards Edinburgh Castle requires some significant legwork, but it’s worth it for the views en route. The city’s public transport system is relatively poor next to London and other major European cities – being heavily reliant on buses, which have to navigate the city’s sometimes bustling traffic. Congestion charging similar to that found in the English capital has been proposed but was defeated at a referendum. Equally, the suburban railway network is very sparse compared to that of Glasgow, although there have been some slow and steady improvements over the years with work now begun on a tram system linking the city centre to Leith and to the airport. The tram line is due to open in 2012.
By bus

Edinburgh has two main bus companies, Lothian , which is majority-owned by the Edinburgh City Council, and First , a private operator. These two companies share the same bus stops, but the route numbers and tickets are not interchangeable and they operate different fare structures.
Lothian are the larger operator in the city itself whose distinctive madder-red (burgundy) and cream coloured buses had become as much a symbol of Edinburgh as its buildings. For some reason Lothian saw this as a negative and this livery was almost completely phased out in favour of Harlequin colours, which are predominantly white, with red and gold rhombuses of different sizes along the sides. Some of the more important routes also have different colours on the front and roof of the bus to help passengers spot their required bus. As of March 2010, they have started to repaint the fleet into the traditional “madder” livery. By 2012, the Harlequin livery will have been consigned to the history books, but in the short term travellers should be aware that both colour schemes will be in operation. Single tickets for Lothian Buses are £1.30 (70p for under 16s) and are valid for only one journey. If you have to change bus, you have to buy another £1.30 ticket! Bear in mind that bus drivers will not give change, so save up those £1.00 and 10p coins. More conveniently, Lothian offer an all-day ticket for £3.20 (as of April 2011) that covers all transport (except sightseeing, airport express and night services). The all-day ticket is a great way to see the city without the expense of the tour buses, as you can get on and off all Lothian buses for the whole day. Kids’ day tickets are generously discounted to £2. You can buy these from any bus driver, or from Lothian Buses offices. Lothian are in the process of rolling out their BusTracker service. This provides “real time” bus service information. Electronic signs are being installed along major routes, showing the wait time for the next bus on each service at that stop. Online, it’s possible to view the information for every bus stop in the city, not just those stops with electronic signs. Every stop has a unique eight-figure code, which are listed on the website and also displayed at the stop. You can access Bus Tracker via a mobile phone at mobile.mybustracker.co.uk. A free apps named “Edinbus” for iPhone and “My Bus Edinburgh” for Android provide similar information with route maps and a stop locator. First buses mostly service farther-flung areas to the east and west of the city. Edinburgh Coach Lines operate service 13 , a bus of use to many visitors as it is the only route serving the National Gallery of Modern Art and the Dean Gallery. Single tickets are in line with Lothian fares at £1.20 for adults and 70p for children (under 16). Lothian season tickets and day tickets are not valid on service 13. There are also four companies that operate sightseeing buses , all of which are now owned by Lothian Buses. All have a policy that a sightseeing ticket is valid for 24 hours, so you can get around central Edinburgh quite handily using the sightseeing buses. Each sightseeing bus follows a different route around the city, but they all start and finish at Waverley Bridge, adjacent to Waverley Station on Princes Street.

By train

A small number of suburban rail routes run from Waverley station, most of the stations lying in the south west and south east suburbs of the city, and are useful for reaching the outer suburbs and towns of Balerno, Currie, Wester Hailes, Wallyford, Prestonpans, Musselburgh, South Queensferry, Newcraighall and a useful link to Edinburgh Park which is adjacent to the Gyle shopping complex. Services to North Berwick, Bathgate, Fife or Glasgow Central will make stops at these various stations. Note that standard National Rail fares apply to these trains – there are no credible daily season ticket options available. Check at the station before you board! The “charged by the piece” left luggage service at Waverly train station is far more expensive than the storage lockers a few blocks away at the Bus station on St Andrew’s square.
By car

Central Edinburgh is a nightmare to drive in, particularly the Old Town with its tangle of medieval streets with their associated one way systems. The New Town fares slightly better, but the scourge “Blue Meanies” who mercilessly swoop on vehicles which may have only been illegally parked for a matter of minutes. Edinburgh operates a “controlled parking zone” – on-street parking is illegal within a large central area (see map ) without a residents parking permit. Parking fines are £40 and vehicles parked in an obstructive manner are liable to be towed away with a £150 release fee to be paid for its retrieval. Even the suburbs (especially Morningside, The Grange, The Meadows) have little parking available (and on-street parking is illegal within the controlled parking zone). Take a bus and/or walk. Leith seems to fare a bit better for parking, but there’s no guarantee. Park and Ride facilities provide access to the city centre . Additionally, until (at least) 2012 drivers should take heed of tram construction taking place at various loctions throughout the city centre, Leith, and the west of the city.
By foot

Edinburgh is a beautiful city that’s full of history. There is no better way to see it than to walk.
Edinburgh walking directions can be planned online with the walkit.com walking route planner.
By tram

There is a single tram line currently being built in Edinburgh that will link Leith on the east to Edinburgh Airport on the west, passing through the New Town in the city centre. This is due to be finished by 2012, but disputes with the main construction contractor and delays in construction may mean that the project will not be completed until 2014, if at all. As it will link the airport, rugby stadium, both main train stations, Princes Street, Leith and the Cruise Liner terminal it may be helpful for some visitors to the city. However, buses are likely to remain the main and most practical method of public transport in Edinburgh for the foreseeable future.
By taxi

Like most major British cities, Edinburgh offers a choice between Black Cabs, carrying up to 5 passengers, which can be hailed on the street, and minicabs, which must be pre-booked. Black cabs display an orange light above the windscreen to indicate that they are available to hire. It’s usually quite easy to find a cab in and around the city centre, and on the main radial routes running out of the centre. There are also Taxi Ranks dotted around the city, where black cabs will line up to be hired. Taxi Rank locations include:
Outside the main entrances of Haymarket and Waverley train stations.
Opposite the Caledonian Hotel and Sheraton Hotel (both near the West End), The George Hotel (east end of George Street) and the Crowne Plaza Hotel (High Street, Royal Mile).
St Patrick’s Square, off South Bridge
Leith Bridge, close to The Shore and Commercial Quay, in Leith
The main taxi firms operating within the city are:
Central Radio Taxis (Black Cabs) – 0131 229 2468
City Cabs (Black Cabs) – 0131 228 1211
Edinburgh Taxi (minicabs) – 0131 610 1234 (saloon cars, MPV’s with 8 seats and chauffeur driven vehicles)
Festival Cars (minicabs – mostly saloon cars but also have people carriers with up to 8 seats. Let them know the number in your party when you book) – 0131 552 1777
See

For the budget-conscious and/or avid sightseer, the Edinburgh Pass is well worth bearing in mind, offering a maximum of £155 worth of entry to 27 of Edinburgh’s top attractions, a 90-page guidebook, retail and restaurant offers and discounts. All this, as well as free public transport around the city and airport transfers. A one-day pass costs £29, two days £39, three days £49 (2011 prices). Can be purchased online or at Tourist Information Centres.
If you are staying in Scotland a little while, it might be worth getting a Historic Scotland Membership . Passes last for a year, and cost about £40 for adults and £30 for concessions (including full-time students). They provide unlimited access to about 70 paying sites in Scotland, including Edinburgh’s Castle and Craigmillar Castle. You also get a lot of discounts for their shops, a quarterly magazine, and 50% off all English, Welsh and Manx historical sites.

Edinburgh Doors Open Day is an annual event, co-ordinated by the Cockburn Association, where many important and/or historic buildings across the city open up their doors to the public at no charge. Many of the buildings are not normally accessible so this can present a unique opportunity to see some of the city’s lesser-known architectural marvels. It usually takes place on the last weekend in September. Brochures with details of the participating sites, opening times, access details etc., can be picked up from city libraries in the run up to the day, or downloaded from the website.
Landmarks

Edinburgh Castle Old Town, (http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/edinburghcastle)
Abbey and Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town, — The Palace is a royal residence, and hosts the Queen’s Gallery containing a collection of art from the Royal Collection.
St Giles’ Cathedral, Old Town, — The historic City Church of Edinburgh is also known as the High Kirk of Edinburgh and takes its name from the city’s patron saint.
Mary King’s Close, Old Town, — Warriston’s Close (opposite St Giles’ Cathedral), open daily except 25 Dec – a slice of Edinburgh’s medieval history, preserved since being closed over in the 18th century – watch out for the haunting.
Gladstone’s Land, Old Town, — In the Lawnmarket at the top of the Royal Mile. It is a 17th century Old Town tenement (known as a ‘Land’) decorated with period furniture. It has an impressive painted ceiling.
Greyfriars Kirkyard, Old Town. A very old graveyard in Old Town off the Southwest corner of George IV Bridge, made famous by Disney as the home of Greyfriars Bobby.
Camera Obscura, Old Town, — Castle Hill. Over 150 years old, the Camera Obscura focuses light from the top of the tower onto a large dish in a dark room below, allowing a 360-degree view of all of Edinburgh!
The Scottish Parliament, Old Town, , (eastern end of the Royal Mile, opposite the Palace of Holyrood House)— A unique building designed by the Spanish (Catalan) architect Enric Miralles. It is necessary to get (free) tickets to watch the Parliament in session from the Public Gallery.
Scott Monument E Princes Street Gardens, New Ton, Price: £3
The Royal Yacht Britannia, Ocean Terminal, Leith, Jan-Mar, Nov-Dec 10AM-5PM, Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct 10AM-5:30PM, Jul 9:30AM-5:30PM, Aug 9:30AM-6PM last entry 1.5 hrs before closing, closed 1 Jan and 25 Dec, £10, seniors £8.75, child 5-17 yrs and students with ID £8.75, children under 5 free – decommissioned from royal use in recent years and voted one of Edinburgh’s best new attractions, Britannia offers visitors the chance to tour the royal apartments and view a selection of the many gifts offered to the royals by dignitaries worldwide.
Royal Botanic Garden , Inverleith Row (East Gate) / Arboretum Place (West Gate), Stockbridge. Very impressive gardens with a collection of interesting plants. Great place to wander around on a sunny day, or to sit and have a picnic. Free entry to the gardens. £3.50, £3 concessions, £1 children.
Edinburgh Zoo , West, . Watch the world famous Penguin Parade.
Rosslyn Chapel , South, Take bus number 15 to see this chapel, featured in “The Da Vinci Code” novel and film.
Museum and galleries

Museum of Scotland and Royal Museum , Chambers St, Old Town tel 0131 247 4422. fax 0131 220 4819. typetalk 18001 0131 247 4422. email info@nms.ac.uk. The museum mixes innovative modern architecture with the best of Scotland’s heritage. The Royal Museum has a magnificent airy Victorian atrium now with the Millennium Clock at one end – arrange to be there when it is chiming. Exhibits in the Museum of Scotland include Scottish pottery and weapons from the Roman era and the Renaissance. M-Sa 10AM-5PM with extended opening to 8PM on Tuesdays, and Su noon-5PM. Free.
The National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town tel. +44 131 624 6200, holds much of Scotland’s fine artwork and carries exhibitions that change seasonally. The new Western Link was opened in 2004 with an entrance from Princes Street Gardens. It joins The National Gallery with the neighbouring Scottish Academy gallery and gives Scotland it’s first world class art space.
The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 74 Belford Rd on the western fringe of the New Town, +44 131 624 6200, contains a fine selection of modern art from Scotland and other countries.
The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market St, behind the Edinburgh Waverley Rail Station, Old Town . Aims to find the most appropriate way to bring artists and audiences together. It is a not-for-profit organization and a registered charity. M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Free.
There are a number of independent galleries in the St Stephen Street area of Stockbridge
Do

Refer to the district articles for listings.
Walk along the Water of Leith, a small river that meanders through Edinburgh, providing a peaceful haven from the busy city. Check out the Leith or Stockbridge and Canonmills sections of the route.
Edinburgh has an excellent theatre and concert life. Europe’s largest theatre, the 3000-seat Edinburgh Playhouse (top of Leith Walk, New Town) hosts major West End shows. The Festival Theatre (Old Town) frequently hosts opera and ballet, and the Usher Hall (Lothian Road) has weekly orchestral concerts all year round with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The Queen’s Hall (South Clerk Street, (Old Town) is home to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. For a cheaper option, the excellent Bedlam Theatre (Bristo Place, Old Town) regularly puts on good student theatre and is the home to Scotland’s oldest improvised comedy troupe, The Improverts.
Experience traditional Folk Music at one of the pubs in the Old Town or Leith which host regular sessions.
Arthur
Festivals

Edinburgh in the summer becomes “festival city” when a huge number of major national and international arts festivals are hosted by the city. Most of these occur virtually simultaneously in August. These cater for a wide variety of interests and include:
The Edinburgh International Festival — The original that spawned all the rest. Founded in 1947 and still seen as more “high-brow” than any of its offspring. Surprisingly, tickets are often priced more reasonably than for many Fringe shows.
The Edinburgh Military Tattoo — One of the iconic images of Edinburgh for millions worldwide is the yearly Tattoo, kilted pipers skirling below the battlements of Edinburgh Castle. Although tickets sell out well in advance, persevering individuals are likely to find one or two tickets still for sale due to cancellations… just be prepared to ask, ask, and ask again!
The Edinburgh Fringe Festival — As the name might suggest, this Festival developed on the “Fringe” of the main International Festival and offers more alternative performances, with an emphasis on comedy and avant-garde; it is now the largest arts festival in the world.
The Edge Festival (formerly known as “T on the Fringe”)— Music festival which takes place alongside the Fringe Festival.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival.
The Edinburgh International Book Festival — Takes place in a temporary village of marquees at Charlotte Square (West End of George Street, New Town).
The Edinburgh International Film Festival — Now moved to June from its former slot in August, so that it no longer clashes with all the others! Centred around the Filmhouse Cinema on Lothian Road, though other cinemas take part too.
The Edinburgh International Television Festival — Predominantly a “closed shop” for industry professionals only.
The Edinburgh Mela — Multicultural festival held in Leith.
Imaginate Festival — Every May/June, an international festival of children’s theatre.
Edinburgh International Science Festival — Takes place annually in March or April. Emphasis on “hands-on” science.
One important thing to decide when planning a trip to Edinburgh is whether you wish to go at festival time, which runs from early August through to mid-September. Hotel rooms in and around the city are noticeably much more expensive then, and you will need to book well (at least six months!) in advance.
Hogmanay

Edinburgh in the winter festive season is also huge with various concerts and other activities taking place starting a couple of weeks before Christmas and running up to a week into January. Princes Street Gardens play host to a Big Wheel, outdoor ice rink and various festive markets. As in most of the rest of Scotland, Hogmanay, the New Year celebrations, are the main focus of the festive season rather than Christmas. On the night itself whole sections of central Edinburgh are roped off and accessible only by ticket for the Hogmanay street party , which takes place across several stages and is easily the largest in Scotland. Hogmany and Edinburgh fit together like hand and glove.
Cinema

Go to the cinema. Edinburgh has a number of cinemas covering mainstream, foreign language and arthouse films.
* Cineworld, 130 Dundee St, 0871 200 2000. Mainly mainstream and arthouse. This is about 20 mins on foot from Princes Street and a Number 1 34 or 35 bus will take you.
* Cameo Cinema, Home St, 0131 228 4141. Mainstream & alternative films, in remarkable surroundings. A much-loved venue that’s well worth a visit.
* Dominion, Newbattle Terrace, 0131 447 4771. Mainstream & alternative films. One screen is full of two- and three-person leather sofas for the ultimate cinema-going experience.
* Filmhouse, Lothian Rd, 0131 228 2688. Edinburgh’s (and Scotland’s) largest venue for arthouse and foreign language films. Great café and bar, and hub of the annual Film Festival.
* Odeon Cinema, Lothian Rd, 0870 505 0007.
* Vue, Leith Walk, 0870 240 6020. Large multiplex.
* “‘Vue'”, Ocean Terminal, Leith. Large multiplex.
Sport

See a 6 Nations Championship rugby match at Murrayfield Stadium . The 6 Nations is effectively the European Championship of rugby, taking place every spring between Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France, Italy and England. The teams play each other once per year, and alternate home and away games. In even-numbered years, England and France visit Murrayfield, while in odd-numbered years, Scotland host Wales, Ireland and Italy. On the weekend of a home match, Edinburgh is absolutely full to bursting, and the atmosphere is like nothing else, especially if Wales or Ireland are in town. If you plan to visit in February or March, be sure to check the fixtures and book accommodation well in advance if your trip coincides with a home match (Edinburgh/West).
Take in a football match at Heart of Midlothian FC’s Tynecastle Park (Edinburgh/West), or Hibernian F.C.’s”’ Easter Road Stadium (Leith).
Catch a match of the city’s professional rugby club, Edinburgh Rugby, at Murrayfield (Edinburgh/West).
Catch an American Football match at the Edinburgh Wolves’s home venue of Meadowbank Stadium (Edinburgh/East).
For a different type of rugby, come to Edinburgh when the Edinburgh Sevens Rugby Festival is held at Murrayfield—a weekend typically at the end of May. For background, sevens is a version of rugby union with 7 players per side instead of the normal 15, and generally sees fast-paced, action-packed games. Every year, the [[:wikipedia:IRB Sevens World Series|IRB Sevens World Series]] travels the world, pitting the world’s top teams in rugby sevens against each other—and Edinburgh is the circuit’s final stop each season.
Learn

Edinburgh is host to a number of higher and further education organisations including 4 Universities. The following offer summer schools of a week or more on topics such as creative writing or printmaking:
The University of Edinburgh – A prestigious university over 400 years old.
Edinburgh College of Art .
Colleges
Stevenson College Edinburgh . – Offers courses for UK and international students throughout the year and also runs an English Language summer school accredited by the British Council.
Private schools: Edinburgh is a popular destination for language students, looking to learn English, or build on their existing English language skills. Most schools offer a “homestay” option where accommodation is with a local family, which can be a great introduction to Scottish life. Language schools in the city include:
EAC School 45 Frederick St, ☎ 0131 477 7570, fax: 0131 477 7571, (http://www.eac4english.com/English_Language_School_Edinburgh.html)
Edinburgh School of English 271 Canongate, ☎ 0131 557 9200, fax: 0131 557 9192, (http://www.edinburghschoolofenglish.com/)
MacKenzie School of English 6 John, ☎ 0131 555 5315, fax: 0131 555 5155, (http://www.mackenzieschool.com/)
TLI English Language School 48 Palmerston Pl, ☎ 0131 226 6975, fax: 0131 226 6975, (http://www.tlieurope.com/)
Other resources
National Archives of Scotland 2 Princes St (at Waverley Station) ☎ +44 131 535 1334, (http://www.nas.gov.uk/)
Buy

Refer to individual district articles for detailed listings.
Princes Street (New Town), north of the castle, is the main shopping street in Edinburgh. It runs through the middle of the city from the train station to Lothian Road. It contains large chain stores such as HMV for music, Topshop and H&M for clothes, tourist oriented shops, and department stores.
There are many more upmarket shops, restaurants and bars on George Street (New Town), which runs parallel to Princes Street.
Cockburn Street (pronounced “co-burn”) in the (Old Town) has many small alternative shops selling music, novelty toys, underground clothing, body piercings and spiritual items.
The Royal Mile (Old Town), especially the higher end near the castle, has many tourist-oriented shops selling Scottish souvenirs from postcards to whisky and kilts.
Victoria Street (Old Town) is a nice street which is well worth a visit. You can find colourful buildings and interesting boutiques which are worth having a look at.
Victoria Street also leads onto the Grassmarket (Old Town), a street which gives stunning views of the castle, which dominates right over it, and is also full of interesting and nice shops, as well as several pubs and restaurants. The Grassmarket is definitly well worth visiting.
Multrees Walk (also known as The Walk), for high-end labels such as Vidal Sasoon, Armani, Vuitton, Harvey Nichols or Calvin Klein (New Town).
Other malls include Princes Mall or St James Mall which are both just off Princes Street, and Ocean Terminal in Leith.
Take home a bottle of Scotland’s finest export, a single malt whisky.
Eat

Edinburgh is a great city for the food lover. There is a vast selection of eateries scattered throughout every part of the city, catering for all tastes, prices and styles – from fast-food to Michelin-starred grandeur. Just be careful around the castle and in the Grassmarket area, where many restaurants are tourist traps. Refer to the District articles for individual listings. As well as the centre of Edinburgh, it is also worth checking out Leith and the West End when looking for a place to eat. Rose St, running parallel to Princes St is a pedestrian precinct that has a huge number of pubs offering a variety of pub fare food. The Scots are well known for having a penchant for fried food which has resulted in such gastronomic delights as deep fried pizza, deep fried hamburgers, deep fried Black Pudding (a type of blood sausage), deep fried haggis and deep fried Mars bars. If you’re up to it, be sure to drop by a chippy (fish and chip shop) and experience these Scottish delights. Edinburgh chippys are unique in the UK for offering salt’n’sauce as standard in place of the salt’n’vinegar usually provided elsewhere in the country. The sauce is a kind of runny, vinegary version of HP or Daddys style brown sauce. Most chippys will provide vinegar on request if you prefer, but you really should try salt’n’sauce at least once!
Drink

There are establishments to suit all tastes scattered throughout every pocket of the city. Be careful, some of the more local pubs can be a little rough around the edges, especially in Leith. For a non-alcoholic beverage give Scotland’s second national drink a try – Irn-Bru . It’s a great cure for hangover.
As for Scotland’s first drink, you will find The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre at the top of The Royal Mile, which offers an interactive “tour” of the history and practise of Whisky distilling, complete with a rather sedate barrel ride. This is a good place to go if you want to sample whisky, as they have a very large selection (200+?) at a fairly reasonable price. Older whiskys tend to cost more and the rarest on offer can cost up to £50.00 per measure! The atmosphere is less pub-like than some might like as it tends to be fairly quiet – if you don’t fancy the interactive tour and just want to try some whiskys then check the listings for some good whisky pubs but in any event, the majority of Edinburgh pubs tend to have a reasonable array of Scotch whiskys on offer. The food at the Centre is reasonably priced and fairly good.

Lots of traditional pubs are all around the city.
Many famous traditional pubs on the Grassmarket, Old Town. These pubs are tourist traps and tend to be very popular with visiting stag and hen parties, so locals tend to keep clear.
Lots of modern clubs are around Cowgate and Lothian road including Base, Gig and Diva.* George Street in the New Town hosts many of Edinburgh’s trendier bars
George IV Bridge in the Old Town is another trendy style bar area.
Other night clubs around the city include Opal Lounge, Shanghai, Bacaro, GHQ, The Hive, Octopussy (Thursday’s at HMV Picture House) and Why Not.
Sleep

See the district articles for individual listings. Edinburgh has been established as a tourist destination for centuries, and so there is a huge choice of accommodation available for travellers. If you’re planning a visit during festival time (Aug), around Christmas and New Year, or on the weekend of a Scotland home game in the 6-nations Rugby (Mar/Apr, 2 or 3 matches per year), then you will find that all types of accommodation get booked up well in advance, and a premium may be applied to the room-rate. It’s not impossible to get somewhere to stay at short notice at these times, but you won’t be able to be fussy and it will probably be expensive. Note however that the average cost of hotel accommodation in Edinburgh is higher than anywhere else in Scotland. For those on a budget, there are cheap youth hostels available with prices from £10 and above. The private/independent hostels centre around the Cowgate area, the lower Royal Mile and its side streets. The hostels of the HI affiliated Scottish Youth Hostel Association can be booked on-line and are an especially good deal during summer, when the SYHA rents student accommodation as summer hostels: Single rooms in the city centre for a very modest price. There are Guest Houses and small hotels dotted around almost every part of the city, however there are high concentrations in 2 areas, namely around Newington Road and Minto Street on the South side, and on Pilrig Street and Newhaven Road in Leith. Both areas are within a brisk 15-20 minute walk of the city centre and both have excellent round-the-clock bus services. If arriving in town without having booked accommodation, it may be worth heading for one or other of these areas and looking out for the “Vacancies” signs, though probably not during the festival or around Hogmanay. Some of the Guest Houses and even hotels can be booked for as little as the hostels at certain times of year, while more upmarket accommodation ranges from boutique B&B’s, with just a few rooms, lovingly run by a family, to world-renowned large 5-star hotels. Another good alternative for accommodation is self-catering holiday apartments. Edinburgh has a wide offer of short term holiday apartments steps away from its main tourist attractions. It is a great opportunity to experience the city as a local. Apartments can be booked on-line. For summer months, especially August, it is highly recommended to book well in advance as most tourists tend to make their bookings in February for this period. Due to the excellent and frequent rail links between the two cities, savvy travellers can cut the costs by basing themselves in Glasgow, where deals in mainstream chain hotels are easier to come by – and you get the advantage of being able to “do” both cities – bear in mind of course when your last train leaves!
Internet

Multiple internet cafés and hotspot venues exist throughout Edinburgh (see district articles for details).
Many of the municipal libraries throughout the city have PCs with free internet access. Some of the most prominent are listed in the relevant district articles.
The city’s largest independent internet cafe is Mossco Internet Cafe, located near Haymarket Station (18 West Maitland Street), .
Stay safe

In general Edinburgh can be considered a safe destination for visitors, but like all other major cities, it pays to remain attentive and use some common sense.
Try not to get too drunk: if you have had too much, it might be wise to get a taxi home. There are taxi ranks all around the City Centre.
Night buses (which depart from Waverley Bridge next to the train station) are affordable and safe alternatives to taxis, but stay on the lower deck. Night buses cost £3.00 for unlimited travel on a single night, so for groups of three or more travelling moderate distances, taxis can be more cost effective for single journeys.
Like most other cities, there are some rundown areas. For its size, Edinburgh does not have many, but there are still some suburbs that are better avoided by anyone unfamiliar with the area such as the following:
* Niddrie and Craigmillar in the southeast of the city.
* Sighthill and Wester Hailes in the west.
* Muirhouse and Pilton in the north.
Stay healthy

In emergency, dial 999 (preferably from a landline, a free call from any phone including payphones), 112 also works. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24-hour NHS 24 service on 0845 424 2424.
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (R.I.E.) 51 Little France Cres, Old Dalkeith Rd (On the southern fringe of the city, it can take up to 30 min from the city centre in a bus or taxi) ☎ 0131 536 1000, (http://www.nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk/hospitals/rie.asp)
Pharmacy

During normal shopping hours (M-F 9AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-12:30PM), you won’t have any problem locating a pharmacy as they are dotted all around the city. Any row of local shops will usually include one. Common brands include Boots (city centre branches in the New Town at St James Shopping Centre, 11 Princes St, 101-103 Princes St and 48 Shandwick Pl; in the Old Town at 40-44 North Bridge), Alliance and Numark. Outside of these hours you will face more of a challenge. There are no 24 h pharmacies in the city. In the city centre the best option is probably the Boots branch at 48 Shandwick Pl (western extension of Princes Street), M-F 7:30AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-6PM, Su 10:30AM-4:30PM. Some of the major supermakets include a pharmacy counter, but note that the pharmacy does not necessarily follow the same opening hours as the supermarket itself. The pharmacy counter within the Tesco supermarket at 7 Broughton Road in Canonmills is quite close to the city centre and opens M-Sa 8AM-8PM and Su 10AM-5PM.
Babysitting

Super Mums Childcare Agency, +44 131 225 1744 or +44 7748 964144. Bookings 24hr service, Card payments only (Amex, Visa,Mastercard, Maestro). Round-the-clock baby-sitting is available short- or long-term from £8.50 per hour (3 hour minimum) and travel expenses home (approx. £7). Multilingual sitters are also available.
Deputy High Commissions

Many countries run consulates in Edinburgh
Australia 93 George St, ☎ 0131 243 2589,
Canada 50 Lothian Rd, ☎ 0131 473 6100,
China 55 Corstorphine Rd, ☎ 0131 337 9896, fax: 0131 337 7866,
Denmark 48 Melville St, ☎ 0131 220 0300,
France 11 Randolph Cres, ☎ 0131 220 0141,
Germany 16 Eglinton Cres, ☎ 0131 337 2323,
India 17 Rutland Sq, ☎ 0131 229 2144, (http://www.cgiedinburgh.org)
Ireland 16 Randolph Cres, ☎ 0131 226 7711,
Italy 32 Melville St, ☎ 0131 226 3631, fax: 0131 226 6260,
Japan 2 Melville Cres, ☎ 0131 225 4777,
Monaco 39-43 Castle St, ☎ 0131 225 1200,
New Zealand 5 Rutland Sq, ☎ 0131 222 8109,
Poland 2 Kinnear Rd, ☎ 0131 552 0301,
Russia 58 Melville St, ☎ 0131 225 7098,
Spain 63 N Castle St, ☎ 0131 220 1843,
Sweden 22 Hanover St, ☎ 0131 220 6050,
Ukraine 8 Windsor St, ☎ 0131 556 0023,
United States 3 Regent Ter, ☎ 0131 556 8315,
Laundry

Bendix Self-Service Launderette 342-346 Leith Wk, ☎ 0131 554 2180,
Raeburn Launderama 59 Raeburn Pl, Stockbridge, ☎ 0131 343 3399,  (http://www.laundryandironing.co.uk/)

Direct Dry Cleaning 47 Bread St, ☎ 0844 800 3033,  (http://www.ddcexpress.com/)
Clothing Repairs

Oscars 371 Leith Walk, ☎ 0131 553 3662,
Huttons Shoe Repairs 11 Elgin Ter (Just off Easter Rd near its junction with London Rd) ☎ 0131 661 6164,
Cash Machines

Almost all cash machines in Edinburgh will dispense Scottish bank notes, but there are a few listed here that usually have Bank of England notes, which may be convenient if you are leaving Scotland, (for more info see Scotland#Currency).
HSBC, 118 Princes St
NatWest, 8 George St
Barclays, 1 St Andrew Sq (this one has been known to stock Scottish notes on occasion)
Get out

South Queensferry— On the north-western fringe of the city, site of the contrasting engineering marvels that are the Forth Bridges (one road and one rail). Quite a few hotels here and with good transport links to the city centre it can be a good base for visitors.
Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is located 46 miles west of Edinburgh and is easily reached via train (see above), bus (running from the main bus terminal) or via the M8 motorway. Great for shopping and has some excellent museums and galleries.
Fife is a predominantly rural county, with some lovely old towns and villages dotted throughout. This is the coast which can be seen across the Firth of Forth from many viewpoints around the city. It’s easy to get to via the twin road and rail bridges across the Forth.
* Dunfermline, previously the capital of Scotland, makes an excellent day trip. It is easily accessed by car via the Forth Road Bridge. There is a half hourly service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
*Aberdour— Described as “The Jewel of Fife”, Aberdour is a historic and stunningly attractive coastal village 40 minutes drive North of Edinburgh. Aberdour Castle is a must-see, as well as the Blue-Flag awarded beach the Silver Sands. There are also several pubs, restaurants, and boutique shops.
* St Andrews— Ancient university town, former ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, and home of the Royal and Ancient – the ruling body of Golf.
East Lothian, immediately to the east of the city, offers rolling green countryside, golden sandy beaches, dozens of golf courses, and more annual sunshine hours than any other part of the UK. The area has a number of picturesque villages and small towns, including North Berwick, with webcams at the Scottish Seabird Centre giving live pictures of thousands of birds on the Bass Rock; Gullane, a mecca for golfers; Musselburgh for ice cream and horse racing; and Dunbar, a pleasant harbour town famous as the birthplace of conservationist John Muir.
*The Museum of Flight in East Fortune is about 30 minutes drive along the A1 towards Dunbar. It is also close to Drem station on the Edinburgh to North Berwick line. It is home to a number of historic aircraft from across the history of flight, including British Airways Concorde G-BOAA. Remember to book in advance to see inside Concorde as these tickets are generally sold out on the day. Another rather good attraction (and well worth the look) is the De-Havilland Comet 4C, a modified version of the Worlds first jetliner.
West Lothian is the area to the west of the city. Generally less pretty than its eastern counterpart, but does have a couple of destinations worth the effort.
* Linlithgow with its Palace, and links to Mary, Queen of Scots, is a great little town for a day trip from Edinburgh. It is a short drive by car on the M9. There is also a frequent service by train from Waverley station (also stopping at Haymarket).
* Livingston— One of Scotland’s New Towns, it is one of Scotland’s most popular shopping spots, only a short drive from Edinburgh on the M8 or A70. Plus there are also bus and rail services to the new town.
The Falkirk Wheel Built in 2001 to reconnect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, it is the world’s only rotating boat lift. Free entry to the visitor centre / cafe / gift shop. Boat trips up on the Wheel take about an hour, and cost £8 adults, £4.25 children, £6.50 concessions. Half hourly buses from Falkirk town centre, or a good walk from the Falkirk “Camelon” railway station. You can also cycle along the Union Canal from Edinburgh – the route is part of the National Cycle Network.
The Glentress Moutain Biking Centre is the largest mountain biking centre in Scotland, and one of the best in the UK. You can hire a bike and helmet for around £20 a day. Routes are provided for cyclists of different skill levels, and are signposted so you won’t get lost. You can get there on the 62 bus from Edinburgh in just over 1 hour (see Traveline Scotland for travel info).
The Pentlands Hills Regional Park is a low-lying hill range to the South of Edinburgh, popular with walkers and cyclists. Getting there takes around 30 minutes on the bus, or 45 minutes by bicycle from central Edinburgh. Cyclists are allowed to take bikes on buses run by MacEwans’s Coach Services which stop at the Flotterstone Inn. Map of official mountain bike routes . Local walks – look for ones with “Pentland” in title
National Cycle Network routes around Edinburgh Edinburgh is well connected to the NCN with a variety of places accessible within a days cycling – Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Musselburgh, and Dunbar – all of which have train stations for the return journey. The number 1 route which goes south from Edinburgh to Melrose in the borders and then east to Berwick-upon-Tweed (and then back on the train) can be done in one weekend with a variety of accommodation available for an overnight stay in the historic border town of Melrose.

TEHRAN

Tehran

Table of Contents

Understand
By plane
By train
By car
By bus
Get around
By bus
BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation)
By metro
By taxi
See
Museums
Do
Learn
Money
Buy
Budget
Mid-range
Splurge
Drink
Sleep
Splurge
Telephone
Internet
Stay safe
Cope
Embassies
Get out
Tehran (also spelled Teheran) (Persian: تهران), is the capital city of Iran. A bustling metropolis of 14 million people, it is situated at the foot of the towering Alborz mountain range.

Understand

Tehran is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants, warm friendly people. It deserves at least a few days of your Iranian itinerary. The city can be roughly divided into two different parts – north and south. The northern districts of Tehran are more prosperous, modern, cosmopolitan and expensive while southern parts is less attractive but cheaper. At the time of the Zand dynasty, it was a little town that was significant from a strategic point of view. The first of the Qajar kings, Agha Mohammed Khan, named Tehran as the country’s capital in 1778, and most of its growth started during the reign of a subsequent Qajar monarch, Fath-Ali Shah. The castle which Agha Mohammed Khan had built was to contain the new majestic buildings. At the same time, the city’s populace was redoubled. Due to the increasing significance of the city, gates, squares and mosques were built and it was at the time of Nassereddin Shah that the city’s master sketch was prepared and modern streets were constructed. Later, huge central squares like Toopkhaneh square (now Imam Khomeini) and quite a few military buildings were built. Event though the the Qajar dynasty was in a period of decline, Tehran soon took the shape of a modern city. The structure of large government buildings, new streets, recreation centres, urban service organizations, and academic and methodical centres were started, even as most of the old gates and buildings were destroyed and the city’s old architectural fabric replaced by a contemporary one. Tehran has also earned itself the rather unenviable reputation as a smog-filled, traffic-clogged and featureless sprawl of concrete bursting at the seams with 14 million residents. But you can also find an endless number of nice and cosy places in and around the city – if you know where to look. Tehran is also a city of parks and possesses more than 800 of them, all well-kept. The city is nearly a mile high above sea level and as a result is cooler than other cities in the middle east. Summer temperatures are around 32°C or about 90-95°F. The air tends to be very dry. A combination of factors make Tehran a pleasant place to visit: The dry climate which is constantly cool (at least in the evenings), the proximity of the mountains, the parks and gardens where flowers blossom all through the year, the alleys of trees in the avenues or even smaller streets, and even the water that runs down from the upper city along deep and wide gutters which look like small rivers during spring. The Alborz range on the north of Tehran, which hosts the highest peak in Iran, provides fantastic conditions for ski lovers in the winter. In winter, the mountain hotels and ski-clubs at Shemshak, and Dizine are full several days a week. Some specialist skiers consider the snow value in northern Tehran to be one of the most excellent in the world.
By plane

There are no direct flights from North America or Australia, but there are flights direct from numerous European, African and Asian cities as well as cities in the Middle East. Iran Air , the national carrier of Iran, flies to many destinations such as London (Heathrow), Amsterdam, Vienna, Istanbul and Tokyo. You can also fly direct from London (Heathrow) with BMI (previously known as British Midland). Alternatively, you can enter via Dubai and then take Emirates or Air Arabia to Tehran. Tehran’s Mehrabad airport ( ) is the old pre-revolution airport and has been partially replaced with the new Imam Khomeini International Airport ( ) . Recently all International flights are designated to Imam Khomeini and Mehrabad is only used for regional and cargo flights. The old airport is located relatively close to the city centre and the abundant taxis available are definitely the best way to get into Tehran. There is a booth organizing taxis for you right outside the arrivals hall. WARNING: you will not be allowed to enter Iran if there is an Israeli stamp on your passport, and you’ll be in even bigger trouble if you come with an Israeli passport. Imam Khomeini Airport is a significant improvement over Mehrabad and it is still only in International use. Be warned that it can take up to an hour and a half to get to the airport in bad traffic but if you book your departure early in the morning it can be much faster. Taxis are cheap and plentiful. A taxi to any destination in Tehran costs from 200,000 Rials for Samand or few dollars more for Toyota Camry. Bus services have recently been added from Mehrabad Terminal 5, and Behesh-e-Zahra (Haram-e-Motahhar) Metro Station to Imam Khomeini Airport. You may have to ask a few people about the service as it is relatively new and not well known yet. Despite the warnings in some travel guides, there is no “exit fee” for foreign travelers, neither in Mehrabad nor in Imam Khomeini Airport. The “exit fee” applies to foreign travelers only when leaving Iran on land or by sea.
By train

Tehran has rail connections to other cities in Iran and neighbouring countries. If travelling within Iran, train tickets should be bought outside the station, in travel agencies or through internet from Raja passenger train company that is the passenger daughter company of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) .
There is a three-day train service departing from Istanbul to Tehran every Wednesday at 11.55PM, costing 96.20 Turkish lira (August 2010). You change trains on Friday at Lake Van which requires a four hour ferry ride to get across. Both the Turkish and Iranian trains are comfortable and clean. Waggon restaurants are rather cheap. Arrival on Saturday at 6.45PM (but expect up to 10 hours delay…).
There is a three-day train from Damascus, crossing Turkey via Lake Van.
Several trains a day from Mashhad, including night trains.
There are at least one train each day to Isfahan, Tabriz, Kerman, Yazd, Sari, Gorgan, Ahvaz and Bandar Abbas in Iran.
By car

Traffic is very congested but has improved with the completion of several new tunnels and highways (referred to as autobahns by the locals) across the city. You can drive in from Turkey fairly easily as well as from the Southern parts of Iran. Driving is often dangerous and seat belts should be worn at all times.
By bus

Almost every city and far-flung village in Iran has bus services to Tehran, as evidenced by the hundreds of buses that pour in and out of the capital each day. Most buses arrive to, or depart from one of four major bus terminals:
The Western bus terminal (Terminal-e-gharb) is the biggest, busiest and best equipped of Tehran’s terminals. Most international buses, as well as those heading to the Caspian Sea region and destinations west of Tehran originate and terminate here. The terminal is a ten minute walk north-west from Azadi Square, and a few minutes walk west from the Tehran (Sadaghieh) metro station.
The Eastern bus terminal (Terminal-e-shargh), seven kilometres north-west of Emam Hossein square, handles buses to/from Khorasan province, as well a small number of services to the north.
The Southern bus terminal (Terminal-e-jonoob) is well equipped and handles buses head to and from destinations south of Tehran. It is 2 km east of Tehran’s main train station and easily accessible via the dedicated Terminal-e-Jonoob metro stop.
The Central bus terminal (Terminal-e-arzhantin) is located beside Arzhantin Square, around 1.5 km south-west of the Mossallah metro stop. (Frequent shared taxis to/from the metro should be no more than IR 1,000). The station has services to /from most major destinations in Iran including Mashhad, Esfahan, Rasht, Shiraz, Tabriz and Yazd.
Get around

Getting around traffic-clogged, sprawling Tehran is a true test of patience. While taxis are your best bet, they are pricier here than the rest of the country. A large local bus network will also take you almost anywhere you need to go, as long you can make sense of the routes and Persian line numbers. The true star of Tehran’s transport system however, is the brand new metro.
By bus

Tehran has an expansive but confusing bus network. Some require tickets (IR 200), which can be bought from booths beside the bus stops and handed to the driver when entering the bus, and some should be paid (ranging from 1,000 IRR to 4,000 IRR) when you get off the bus. Note that the buses are partitioned in two sections, men-only (the front section) and women-only(the back section). Note that in the BRT lines, the women-only section is at the front. Also, the fee is paid on the station, either by putting the paper ticket in a basket, using the prepaid contactless card (shared with Metro), or paying to the guard. Since bus numbers, route descriptions and other information is in Persian, your best bet is to look confused at a bus terminal; a local will surely stop to help. Each bus line has a certain and almost invariable path but only people know exactly which bus stations exist for a certain road. You shouldn’t expect a map or guides even in Persian showing the bus network or bus stations. Even asking the bus driver wouldn’t be a great help for you to find your way either. If you get in a bus and looking for a certain station to alight, ask one to help you – you will find many people wish to help you to find your way, most of the time!
BRT (Bus Rapid Transportation)

The BRT buses are coloured in red. BRTs has special lines and travels very quickly from Azadi square (west of Tehran) directly to the East (Terminal-e-Shargh) and Imam Khomeini square (South of Tehran) directly to the North (Tajrish square) . Costs IR 2000. In high-traffic hours (7AM to 9AM & 4PM to 8PM) it is the best to travel West-East-West part of your way. BRT has too many stations near main streets. Although you may not find an empty seat on the bus because of the crowds, people give their place to you if they know you are a tourist! The women’s and men’s seats and queues are separate.
By metro

Tehran’s new metro system is comprised of three lines that will whisk you quickly from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with the noise, pollution and chaos of Tehrani traffic. However, many residents decided to leave their cars and commute by metro, so expect huge crowds during rush hours. There are four lines (numbered strangely 1, 2, 4 and 5) but the two most useful are lines 1 (north to south- currently from to ) and 2 (east to west) which connect at the central . All stations have signs in both Persian and English. Trains run every 10 minutes or less on rush hours (15 minutes on Fridays and holidays) from around 5:30AM until 11PM every day. Tickets are valid for 1, 2 or 10 trips (including change of lines) and cost 2500, 4500 and 14000 IRR respectively. There are ticket booths at every station. You can also buy a contactless fare card which is the best option if you are going to use metro a lot, or simply want to have less hassle by paying 20,000 IRR for a card and use it on both metro and some city buses (note that if you use this card, you usually pay less than any other tickets, since they charge for the longest trip on the network). There are two dedicated women-only carriages at one end of the train. Women can anyway choose to travel aboard the other carriages.
By taxi

As with the rest of the country private and shared taxis are abound in Tehran, although you may find flagging down a shared taxi more difficult amid the traffic and chaos, while private taxis are more expensive than in the smaller cities. See the Get Around information on Iran for details on flagging a taxi. If you want to get around by shared taxi, your best bet is to hop from square to square, as drivers will be reluctant to pick you up if your shouted destination deviates too far from their route. In each square you will find certain places where the private taxis are lined up in a queue and drivers call for passengers to a destination. (mostly happening during the times when the number of waiting taxis exceeds the number of passengers). In this case, they would wait until the car gets full of passengers (mostly one people at front and 3 people at back, excluding the driver). Otherwise the people have to line up in a queue waiting for the taxis to come. This is the case during rush hours (approximately 7AM to 8AM and 5PM to 8PM). All these depend upon finding their regular station in the square. You can also ask them to alight sooner than your destination wherever you like but you have to pay their total fee up to destination. The cost of such a ride from Azadi square to Vanak Square is around 5,000 Rls (500 Tomans) for each person. Most drivers are very poor at English though. Motorcycle taxis are a Tehran specialty and offer a way to weave quickly through the city’s traffic-clogged streets. You’ll see plenty of these drivers standing at the side of the road calling “motor” at all who pass by. Keep in mind motor taxi operators can seem even more suicidal than the average Tehran driver when driving. Agree on a price before you take off and expect to pay slightly less than chartering a private taxi. Airport taxis can be difficult to find and even the most expensive hotels provide poor quality vehicles. Airport Seiro Safar Co. has a fleet of yellow-greenish cars (Toyota Camry, Samand, and Mazda 321) which are both new and comfortable. You can call or email them in advance of your trip to/from the airport and reduce the discomfort and inconvenience that the long trek out to the airport can cause. The fee is the same for any source/destination in Tehran to/from Imam Khoemini Aiport(varies from 200,000 IRR to 400,000 IRR depending on the car; Samand the least expensive and Camry the most expensive). In order to prevent any request for more than the official fee, tell the driver that you need a receipt before getting on the car.
See

If you want to drool over gold and glitter, take a look at the Treasury of the National Jewels (Ferdosi St, near the corner of Jomhuriyeh Eslami Ave; Metro: Saadi; look for the heavy iron gate and rife wielding guards beside the Central Bank). Open Sa, Su, M, Tu 2PM-4:30PM. For the IR 30,000 admission fee you’ll get to see a collection of some of the most expensive jewels in the world. Highlights include the world’s largest uncut ruby, the world’s largest pink diamond (the Sea of Light) and a free standing golden globe made from 34 kilograms of gold and an astounding 51,366 precious stones. An informative IR 6,000 information book is available at the ticket counter.
The National Museum of Iran has ceramics, stone figures and carvings dating all the way back to around the 5th millennium BC.
The gigantic Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini (Metro: Haram-e-Motahar) is on the southern edge of the city. The sheer size of the shrine/shopping centre is enough to make the trip worth it. Entrance to the actual mausoleum is free.
Milad Tower
Jamshidieh Park which is in the Niavaran district at the base of the Kolakchal Mountain, is one of the most picturesque and beautiful parks in Tehran. Mellat Park in Valiasr street is one of the largest recreation areas in the Middle-East. Niavaran Park is one of Tehran’s famous and most pleasant public city parks. It is located within the Niavaran district and is situated immediately south of the Niavaran Palace Complex. Additionally there are some large parks called “park-e-jangali” (literally “forest park”) around (and some inside) the city which are very popular among the locals for picnic. The most famous one is Chitgar in the west of the city and is accessible via Karaj road.
Museums

Golestan Palace, , the oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran. The Golestan (Rose Garden) citadel is one of mainly visited places in Tehran, which was the Qajars’ royal residence, and its garden is an oasis of coolness and peace in the heart of the city. The major building, architecturally unpretentious, houses a museum with objects from the Qajar period in the self-important style of last century. In the Golestan garden, a one-story pavilion to the right and a short distance from the entrance, shelters one of the best organized museums in Tehran. It encloses about thirty showcases presenting almost everything related to Iran, which makes up the critical originality of Iranian life in the a variety of provinces of the country.
Niavaran Palace,
Kolahstudio-an Art Basement,
Safir Office Machines Museum,
Crown Jewels of Iran, located in Central Bank of Iran. The crown jewels are the largest collection of jewels anywhere in the world.
Sa’d Abad Gallery of Fine Arts,
Glassware Museum of Tehran,
Iran’s National Rug Gallery,
Reza Abbasi Museum,
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art,
Tehran Theater of the Performing Arts (Te’atr e Shahr)”’
Talar Vahdat Theater
National Museum of Iran,
Darabad Museum of Natural History
Saadabad Palace, (Persian site).
Time Museum, Evolution of time-measurement instruments. Located in Farmaniye district, north of Tehran
Money Museum, Coins and banknotes from different historic periods. Located in Mirdamad street.
National Arts Museum, Located in Baharestan district.
Ebrat Museum, The prison of Shah ages.
A1one (aka Alonewriter, tanha) graffitis and street art works are a sort of interesting stuff in Tehran’s Urban Space. A famous local graffiti artist is currently at the centre of controversy about whether his work is art or vandalism, and you can see his early works on the Tehran-Karaj Expressway, on the southern side walls UP in Ekbatan and Apadana districts. A more recent work of stencil art is located at the entrance of the Saba Art Institute.
Do

Tochal Sport and Recreational Complex (تله‌کابین توچال) end of Velenjak St (take the Metro line 1 to Gheytarieh, then any bus or taxi to Tajrish Square (about 5 minutes). Ask the driver to let you off at Meidan Tajrish. If you visit on a holiday when Tehranis flock to the mountain, you should be able to jump in a shared taxi to the telecabin entry gate for IR 4,000. Otherwise charter one privately from Tajrish Square) ☎ +98 (21)22404001-4, (http://www.tochal.org/en/) Price: Tickets range from IR 10,000 to IR 50,000 depending on how far up the mountain you want to go. From the entry gate a minibus service (IR 1,500) can take you to the base station
The Darband chair lift is an alternative to the one at Tochal. Taxis to Darband go from Tajrish Square.
Darake is another entry point into nearby mountains. Like Darband, Darake hiking trail begins with tens of open-air restaurants alongside a stream. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi or minibus from Tajrish Square.
Wander around Tehran’s massive bazaar (بازار) in the city’s south (Metro: Panzdah-e-khordad). The main entrance on 15 Khordad Ave leads to a labyrinth of stalls and shops that were once the engine room of Iran’s commodity markets and one of Imam Khomeini’s greatest sources of conservative, pro-Revolution support. As usual, shops are clustered according to the products they sell. If you’re planning on heading out into remote areas, the bazaar is an ideal and cheap place to stock up on almost anything you need.
Learn

AmirKabir University of Technology,
K.N.Toosi University of Technology,
Iran University of Science and Technology
Shahid Beheshti University
Sharif University of Technology,
University of Tehran,
University of Social welfare & Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Allameh TabaTabaei,
University of Art,
Power & Water University of Technology,
Islamic Azad University,
Alzahra University,
Imam Sadiq University,
Tarbiat Modares University,
Iran University of Medical Sciences
Tehran University of Medical Sciences,
Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences & Health Services,
Loghatnameh Dehkhoda Institute & International Center for Persian Studies is the only school which offers Persian courses and can arrange student visas for foreigners. Consult the timetable at their website and apply at least 3 months before. People with tourist visas are not allowed to attend classes.
It is easy to find work in Tehran, but you must have a university diploma to be applicable for good jobs. Although there is some inflation, many of the people in Tehran have good and well paying jobs. Like every other big developing world city, there’s a big difference between poor and rich.
Money

For information on Iranian currency go to the country page. You can exchange your currency in most banks for a small commission after filling out between two and five forms. If you know the exchange rate then it is a better option to visit one of the many exchange offices on Ferdosi St that begins from Imam Khomeini Square. All will give you a good rate but some might give slightly less than the official rate or claim a commission. Just say no and go to the next one. Do not exchange your money with one of the many individuals offering to exchange along Ferdosi St. It is a lot more risky and illegal.
Buy

Those looking to stock up on computer software (copied, but legal thanks to Iran’s refusal to sign up to the Bern Convention) can start looking at the computer bazaar on the corner of Vali-e-Asr Ave and Enghelab Ave., Bazar-e-Reza, or Bazar-e-Iran. Just remember that importing these CDs into any country that is a signatory to the Convention may be a criminal offence. You can also try “Paytakht Computer Complex” at intersection of Vali-e-Asr and Mirdamad, a 7-story modern complex filled with computer equipments but also latest pirated copies of every software imaginable. The prices at “bazaar reza” (at charrah-e-vali-asr) are usually less. In both these malls you also may find individual hardware parts. You may find some famous hardware brands really cheap but you should be careful not to buy the fake one. It is hard to distinguish the original one. Sometimes even the fake one would work quite well comparing to its cheap price! To save even more money you can buy one of those software packages . For example you can buy “King of the Programs” with about 70,000 Rls . This is a 5 or 6 CD package of compressed programs which contains almost any well-known software you can imagine . Jewellery & Gold boutiques located in Geisha, Milade Noor, Karim Khaan St.The most beautiful golds, gems, diamonds you could ever see. To buy a very good set of gold, it costs around 2,000,000 toman minimum which is equivalent to £1400-£2000. Designers bags and shoes such as Gucci, Versace,Dior, Armani in Golestan shopping centre & Milade noor Visit the Bazar, very appropriate for shopping. It ranges from cheap things to very expensive luxury things. You can find almost anything in Bazar, from clothing to carpets, kitchen accessories, decoratings, jewellery…. When in the Bazar, don’t miss out the ‘Sharafol-eslam’ restaurant located in the Bazar. It is very famous for its kebabs and chickens, excellent food, excellent quality, you’ll never have enough. It gets really crowded though, which requires some patience. There are also numerous shopping malls in the city. Valiasr Street and Tajrish Square (also includes a traditional bazaar) are two of the many locations full of shopping centres in Tehran.
Budget

Some of the best of Iran’s ubiquitous falafels are to be found sizzling away in stalls on 15 Khordad Ave, across the road from the bazaar. The cost greatly depends upon lots of aspects but there you should expect like 5,000-7,500 Rls(500-750 Tomans) for such a budget type meal.
The Iranian Traditional Restaurant (Agha Bozorg) on 28 Keshavarz Blvd offers great and cheap dizi (2500 tomans). Afterwards there is the option to sit back with a flavored Qalyan water pipe and people-watch the Iranians who gather in this place.
You’ll find cheap & good enough abgoosht stew in any of the places they call ghahvekhuneh (قهوه‌خانه) which you can find in any non-strictly-residential area. Just ask for a ghahvekhuneh or get this قهوه‌خانه printed and show it! Nice traditional working class ambience as a rule.
You can find several food courts around Tehran with a variety of cuisines from Thailand, India, Italy, China and Turkey.
Note that the Jaam-e-Jam food court at the moment only sports an Italian restaurant, a Boof branch and a coffee shop. You can find western import products in several stores underneath however. There is also a decent bakery here with western type bread.
Boof is a fast food chain serving burgers etc, similar to McDonalds.
SFC is the Iranian version of KFC. Serves very good chicken burgers.
Kabab and sandwich joints are found everywhere.
Mid-range

For a somewhat exhilarating experience, head to Armenian Club on 68 Khark Street, corner France Ave. Almost like walking into another world (or country rather) you will be surprised to see women not wearing their hejab, which they can choose not to as it is a Christian establishment – for non-Muslims only, however.
Try Khayam Restaurant just some metres from Khayam Metro Station. It is the one on the street right opposite to the Mosque. A no-limits evening of a chef kabab with rice and drink – and qalyan pipe, tea and sweets for dessert will set you back around 120,000 rials in total. Worth it.
Coffee Shop & Veggie Restaurant at Iranian Artists Baghe Honarmandan, Moosavie Str, Taleghani Ave. (just behind the Den of Espionage (former US Embassy)inside the Iranian Artists) ☎ +98 21 88310462, There are two restaurants at Artists Forum, the vegetarian one is reached from inside the building (turn right as you go in) and has a terrace overlooking the park.
A new Kabob restaurant called Naveed has opened that offers excellent food comparable to Alborz but at lower prices. The atmosphere is very European looking and feeling but not as high end as Alborz.
Splurge

Many locals regard the upper class Alborz Restaurant, Nikoo Ghadam Alley (North Sohrevardi Avenue) as a fairly good chelo kababi in Tehran. There are also many western style restaurants around the city with more interesting food.
For something different try Monsoon. A trendy Asian restaurant serving good Thai curries and decent sushi. Located in Gandhi Shopping centre.
Boulevard is a cool and modern place on a small street heading east of Valiasr Avenue between Vanaq Square and Park-e Mellat serves very good French and Italian food.
‘Nayeb’ in Tajrish is in north of Tehran. It’s a prestigeous restaurant and it costs around 30,000 tomans per person. It is very chic and offers excellent services to its customers.
Dashte-Behesht is a traditional restuarant located in Saadat-Abad. It’s very high class, the menu consists of different Kebabs and stews. There is always live music to make the atmosphere more enjoyable.
Other places of this kind include: ”’-Barbod in Vanak -S.P.U in Darake -AAli Ghaapoo in Gaandi”’
Drink

For all you coffee-starved travellers through Iran (or the soon to be coffee-starved if Tehran is your first port of call in the country) you’ll be glad to find the string of coffee shops on the south side of Jomhuriyeh Eslami Ave, a couple of hundred metres west of Ferdosi St. You can stock up on coffee beans and related paraphernalia, or even sample a cup for IR 4,000. There is also a well-known, but small coffee shop called Hot Chocolate – they stock cigars and a number of European cigarettes as well. This coffee shop is on occasion, a meeting place for some of Iran’s sporting elite. A few doors west of these shops is a delightful coffee shop next to Hotel Naderi. They serve coffee, tea and pastries to a mix of Tehran’s intelligentsia and bohemian elite. It’s a great place to sit and watch hip young guys eyeing gossiping girls while old men reminisce about the “good ol’ days” under the Shah. Coffee shops (called “coffeeshop” in Persian, versus “ghaveh-khane” (literally, coffee house) which instead means a tea house) have become especially popular in the affluent North, so if need, a visit to the White Tower (Borj-e Sefid) along Pasdaran Ave, or any other mall in the area should suffice. These coffee shops can also be very appealing to tourists interested in watching how young, affluent locals deviously bend the government regulations on contact between the sexes. Definitely worth a visit if in the area- try “White Rose” in the White Tower.
A visit to Sanaee Coffee Shop on Sanaee Street, 13th Street is definitely worth it for their absolutely fabulous chocolate milkshakes.
Try the ‘Icepack’ chain with their huge sortiment of milk- and ice-shakes. Popular with the Iranian youth.
Many places you can find fresh sickly-sweet carrot juice – as well as some other juices – for just 500 tomans a cup.
By most main bazaar in Tehran you can get a drink of blended honeydew melon with ice and sugar. Its delicious and extremely refreshing on a hot day.
The quintessential Persian drink is a Doogh. Its is a mixture of yoghurt, water, salt and spices. It can be purchased at almost any establishment and is often consumed in the afternoon while eating kababs. It comes in two main varieties fizzy (gaz-daar) and non-fizzy (bigaz). Typically the flavour has a slightly subtle mint flavour and is a good accompaniment to most foods.
For trendy cafes filled with liberal Iranins try Gandhi Shopping centre where you will find about ten coffeshops as well as a few very good restaurants, including Monsoon.
The best and most atmospheric cafe in Tehran must be Entracte Cafe . Bohemic cafe operated by actress Leila Hatami and her husband. Ask for the traditional Iranian tea which is amazing. They serve a fantastic brunch between 11AM and 2PM on Fridays and it includes sausages, normal bread and brie! It is located upstairs in a cinema on Jomhuri Avenue, just west of Valiasr Avenue.(This Cafe and the Cinema burnt down some months ago,so don’t count on it.)
Gramophone Cafe Charrahe Vali-e Asr (Vali-e Asr St. – In front of Theatre building)
Chai bar (Anjoman Khoshnevisan) 145 North Salimi Blvd (Farmanieh) ☎ 22210310,
Sleep

Amir Kabir Street a grubby street filled with car-repair shops near Imam Khomeini square offers accommodation options for the budget-minded. Be aware that prices have increased in Tehran [MAY-2011].
Firouzeh Hotel Dolat Abadi Alley, Amir Kabir Street, ☎ Phone: +98 21 33113508 Cell: +98 9124361974, (http://www.firouzehhotel.com) Price: Single room from 300,000 Rial
Hotel Khazar Sea 12 Ohady Alley, Amir Kabir Street, ☎ +98 21 33113860, Price: Single room from: 140,000 Rial
Mashhad Hostel 416 West Amir Kabir Avenue, Amir Kabir Street, ☎ +98 21 33113062, (http://www.mashhadhostel.com) Price: Dorm beds for 70,000 rials, Single Rooms 115,000 rials and Double Rooms for 160,000 rials
Hotel Naderi Jomhuri Ave., Price: 300,000 Rial for a single
Yas Hotel (Guesthouse) 458 Laleh Zarno St, Tehran (before Manouchehri St), ☎ 33903796 – 33902111, Price: Single from 200,000
Hotel Saadi 375 Laleh Zarno St (Get off Metro at Saadi Station. Walk down Jomhouri, it) ☎ 33117653, Price: 40,000 Tomans (400,000 Rial)
Yas Guesthouse 458 Laleh Zarno St (See directions for Hotel Saadi – Yas is a little further along Laleh Zarno st but on the left side of the street) ☎ 33903796, Price: 20,000 Toman (200,000 Rial)
Splurge

Espinas Persian Gulf Hotel (5 Star), Keshavarz Blvd.
Simorgh Hotel, Valiasr Street near Saei Park, . 3-4 star standard. Cheapest rooms currently (2011) US$168 for single, $205 for double. Nice location on cosmopolitan upmarket section of Valiasr St. Saei Park is almost next door and a beautiful green/concrete oasis in a deep valley. Hotel was once the Miami Hotel, and on the top floor is still the Miami Restaurant. Fairly good food – try the estrogen (sturgeon) fish kebabs, and the chicken cordon bleu. Good coffee in ground floor cafe. Rooms are comfortable and well equipped although rather dark. Business centre with fast internet. Wifi in most rooms. Terrific indoor pool with separate bathing times for men and women. The hotel’s cars are in very poor condition, better to take a taxi from the street.
Telephone

Mobile phone roaming is working. Check with your phone company if they have agreements with Iranian mobile operators. One very good one is purchasing a regular telephone card for local calls and then the Pars Net international telephone card. It offers international calls to anywhere in the world at the comparatively cheap price of IR 1,500 a minute and with the regular phone card you can use it from any of the abundant public phones or the phone at your hotel. TMobile UK has roaming in Iran.
Internet

Note: the internet is heavily censored, and most international newspapers and social networking sites are blocked in Tehran.
Ferdosi Coffee Net (Enghelab Ave, a few doors east of Ferdosi Square) is hard to find (look for the small sign plastered to a building) has two banks of computers for IR 8,000 an hour.
Pars Net is one of south Tehran’s hottest coffee nets, dishing up reasonable speed for IR 9,000 an hour. It is on the eastern side of Ferdosi St, between Jomhuiyeh Eslami Ave and Enghelab Ave, across from the British embassy. They also provide fax and long distance phone services.
Another place in Tehran’s south is the Coffee net Firouzeh which you find in the nice and very friendly Firouzeh Hotel. They charge you IR 10,000 an hour.
Iranian Trade Center around Valiasr Square offers several Internet cafes (coffee nets) lined up.
Stay safe

Tehran is still relatively one of the safest cities to travel through, particularly considering its size and security. Common sense and the usual precautions against pickpockets in bazaars and crowds should ensure your visit is hassle free. Never take unmarked taxis. Even late at the mid-night it is safe in most parts of the city while you will find the city still crowded. It is advisable not to take a private taxi for instance at 2:00AM. The fake police that target Esfahan’s tourists have also found their way to Tehran in recent years. These are usually uniformed men in unmarked cars flashing phoney IDs are requesting to see you passport or search your luggage. It goes without saying that you should just ignore such requests and head to the nearest police station if you feel unsafe. The trouble is that it can be a little hard for the untrained tourist eye to tell these from the real police. The traffic in Tehran is very dangerous and should be considered some of the worlds worst. Try to cross the street when the locals do. At first it looks impossible but the drivers do a very good job to avoid pedestrians even though they drive crazy. Gay and lesbian travellers should be extremely careful when traveling to Tehran due to strict and harsh regulations on homosexual activity. Iran justice has death penalty for homosexuals, even teenagers. Exercising extreme caution in public is the key thing to remember, and in fact, it is mandatory to abstain from any kind of intimacy even for heterosexual couples, as even a simple holding hands can be seriously frowned upon. It is also recommended, even for westerners and non-Muslim women, to wear a head scarf or veil, on their head, when exiting their apartment or hotel rooms. If you decide to smoke the qalyan (waterpipe), make sure that you are not smoking opium or other kind of drugs if you didn’t intend to do it! Although drugs and alcohol are illegal in Iran, it is very easy to obtain it, especially in Tehran. Since the Iranian government decided to ban the qalyan and cigarettes in public places, it is very difficult to find a decent place for smoking. And if you really want to try the qalyan, you can expect to find this in dodgy places.
Cope

The traffic in Tehran is horrendous. To get a break from it head to the parks in the north of the city.
Embassies

Greece 43 Esfandiar Av., Africa Express Way – P.O.Box 11155-1151 Tehran 19679, ☎ +9821 22050533, Emergencies:0098912 1582533, fax: +9821 22057431,
Embassy of the Republic of Serbia 9th Street, nr. 9, Velenjak, Tehran, ☎ +9821 / 2241 25 69, fax: +9821 / 2240 28 69,
Embassy of Turkey Ave. Ferdowsi, No: 314, Tehran, ☎ +9821 / 311 8997, fax: +9821 / 311 7928,
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany Ferdowsi Ave., No 320-324, Tehran, ☎ +9821 / 39 99 00 00, fax: +9821 / 39 99 18 90, (http://www.teheran.diplo.de)
Chinese Embassy No. 13 Narenjestan 7th
Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran, ☎ +9821 / 22291240, fax: +9821 / 22291243, (http://www.china-embassy.org/chn/)
Get out

If the hustle and bustle of Tehran becomes too much, it’s possible to go to the Caspian Sea for a day or two. The holiday town of Ramsar is about five hours away, and the drive across the Alborz Mountains is spectacular. A taxi round-trip for a day shouldn’t set you back more than IR 500,000 (ask for taxis near Azadi Square).
Namakabrud Villa city and gondola lift in beautiful green coasts of Caspian Sea in the northern Iran is about 4.5 hours away.
Qom (The most religious city of Iran followed by Mahshhad) is about two hours away from Tehran by bus and one hour by car [120 km].
Two of Iran’s biggest ski resorts are 1-2 hours north of Tehran in the Alborz Mountains. Shemshak is the closest of the two and its steep slopes are considered more appropriate for expert skiers and boarders. Dizin is the larger resort with more facilities and is considered better for beginners and intermediates. The resorts generate some rivalry amongst the locals, with some ‘Shemshakis’ looking upon those who ski in Dizin as ‘kids in the park’ and see Shemshak as the place for ‘true skiers’.

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TBILISI

Tbilisi

Table of Contents

Understand
By plane
By train
By bus
By minibus
By boat
Get around
By metro
By bus
By Cab
See
Museums
Art Centers & Galleries
Churches/Synagogue
Other Sights
Do
Buy
Georgian Cuisine
Asian Cuisine
European/American
Italian cuisine
Other
Drink
Cafés
Clubs
Budget
Mid-range
Splurge
Stay safe
Contact
Cope
Embassies
Get out
Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისი) is the capital city of the country of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mtkvari river. The city covers an area of 726 km² (280.3 square miles) and has a population of approximately 1,345,000.

Understand

Tbilisi lies in the centre of eastern Georgia, in the foothills of the Trialeti mountain range. According to Georgian legends, it was founded in the 5th century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali who, while hunting, shot a pheasant which fell into a warm spring and was either boiled or healed. Either way, the king was inspired to found a city on the site, and the name of the city derives from the Georgian word tbili meaning “warm”. Although the city has been destroyed and rebuilt some 29 times, the layout of the Old Town is largely intact with narrow alleys and big crooked houses built around courtyards.
By plane

Tbilisi International Airport () (), is 17km southeast of the city centre. A new, modern terminal was inaugurated on February 7, 2007. George W. Bush Avenue leads from the airport to downtown Tbilisi. The following airlines operate service to/from Tbilisi: Aerosvit Airlines (Kiev-Boryspil, Odessa), airBaltic (Riga), Arkia Israel Airlines (Tel Aviv), Austrian Airlines (Vienna), Azerbaijan Airlines (Baku), Belavia (Minsk), bmi (London-Heathrow), Czech Airlines (Prague), Donbassaero (Donetsk), Dniproavia (Dnepropetrovsk), Euroline (Almaty, Donetsk, Dubai, Kharkiv, Odessa, Vilnius) Georgian Airways (Amsterdam, Athens, Dubai, Kiev-Boryspil, Minsk, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Tel Aviv, Vienna), LOT Polish Airlines (Warsaw), Lufthansa (Munich), Pegasus Airlines (Istanbul-Sabiha Gokcen), SCAT (Aktau), Sky Georgia (Batumi, Antalya), TAM Air (Donetsk, Kharkiv), Turkish Airlines (Istanbul-Atatürk), and Ukraine International Airlines (Kiev-Boryspil) Bus #37 leaves from the right corner of the arrival area every 15-30 minutes, between 8:00 and 23:00 to the city center. It travels via Freedom Square, Rustaveli, Republic Square and Tamar Bridge, to the main train station (Vagzal). The trip can take up to 50 minutes. The fare is 0.50 GEL. Taxis between the airport and the city cost 20-25 Lari. Negotiate the price beforehand because meters are not used. Trains from the airport to the main train station cost 2 GEL and are fast. The train runs only 6 or 7 times a day but the trips are synchronized with flight arrivals so it’s worth to check the schedule. If you are traveling to/from Mestia, there are flights available 5 days per week for 75 lari. You can reserve tickets in the Courtyard Mariott on Freedom Square from 9am-1pm in the Pegasus airlines office.
By train

Domestic trains run between Tbilisi and Batumi, Gori, Kutaisi, Samtskhe Javakheti, Marneuli, Poti, and Zugdidi. International Trains run regularly between Tbilisi and Yerevan or Baku. The train from Baku to Tbilisi is not very nice and is pretty hot. The train will have to wait for a pretty long time at the border crossing, and you will have to pay fee for everything that you bring, mostly if it is for sale or in big quantities.
By bus

Luks Karadeniz operates a daily bus from Turkey, costing 70 YTL. Bus services from Russia have been suspended. Regular buses or marshrutkas run between Tbilisi and Batumi or Kazbegi as well as Azerbaijan and locations in Armenia. Neo-Turs bus company offers bus transfers Tbilsi – Saloniki – Athens and back, starting from Didube bus station (price: 100 US-$).
By minibus

The main mini-bus station can be found at Didube. Buses 21 and 46 lead there from the city center. It’s rather large, and you’ll find minibuses to almost anywhere.
By boat

Tbilisi is located inland and does not have ferry connections. You may be able to catch a ferry from the Ukraine to Batumi, six hours away.
Get around

Main transport inside and outside the Tbilisi city is bus and minibus – marshrutka.
By metro

Tbilisi has a two-line metro system, which are served from 6:00 AM until midnight. All signs inside the metro are in Georgian, but some stations feature Georgian and English signs. Station names are announced in both English and Georgian, but text on signs is often in the Georgian alphabet only, which makes figuring out which direction you are going in somewhat taxing. There are rarely system maps on the train cars themselves. You will be lucky to find English speakers riding the Metro, since the riders are mainly older people; you will however have better luck with Russian which is widely spoken. Take a bilingual map with you if you are not proficient with the local alphabet/pronunciation. A trip with the metro in Tbilisi costs 0.50 GEL. But you will have to buy a card (2 GEL) at the counter. You can load the card with any amount you like, and use it for travel both on the metro and on buses. Using the metro card, metros and buses cost 0.50 GEL the first time in the day, then decreases to 0.30 GEL the second time, then 0.20 GEL the third time and all future rides on that day.
By bus

City buses are yellow, and come in various sizes. The bus number and a description of the route are usually listed on signs in the bus windows, but only in Georgian. The city recently installed electronic arrival boards, with reasonably accurate estimated arrival times, at bus stops on major roads. The signs are in English and Georgian, and display the bus number, minutes to arrival, and destination. Board through any door you like, usually the double doors in the middle are easiest. A journey costs 0.50 GEL, and exact change is required if you don’t have a touch card (which can be purchased at metro stations). Hold onto the ticket you receive on the bus; you will need to present it to the yellow-shirted ticket checkers. Marshrutkas are vans which service the side streets of the city; they are independently owned. Like buses, the route is posted in the front window, but marshrutkas use a different route numbering system, and the route descriptions may be more general than the buses (e.g. “Vake” rather than a specific street in the Vake area). Fare is 0.50 GEL; shout “gacheret” when you want to get off, and hand the driver your fare on the way out.
By Cab

Taxis in Tbilisi are typically privately owned vehicles, and don’t run on a meter. If you’re going anywhere other than the nearest metro station, major hotels, or tourist destinations, or if you don’t speak Georgian or Russian, it’s likely that your driver will stop multiple times and ask pedestrians for directions. Even then, he may not know how to get to your destination. If the driver has difficulty finding your destination, he will charge you for his trouble. ALWAYS negotiate a price beforehand, and insist on paying before departing. A trip anywhere in the city should never cost more than 10 lari, unless you’re going to the airport.
See

Museums

G. Chitaia Ethnographical Open-Air Museum Tortoise’s pond lane, Price: Adults: 3 GEL; Students: 1.5 GEL; Guided tour: 10 GEL
Numismatic Museum G. Leonidze str.N3/5 (Building of the National Bank of Georgia)
Museum of Art L. Gudiashvilistreet 1, ☎ (+995 32) 99 99 09, Price: Adults: 3 GEL; Students: 1.5 GEL; Guided tour: 10 GEL
Janashia Museum Rustaveli avenue 3,, Price: Adults: 3 GEL; Students: 1.5 GEL; Guided tour: 10 GEL
Puppet Museum Shavteli N 17a, ☎ (+995 32) 99 53 37, Price: Adults: 3 GEL; Children: 1 GEL
Galaktion Tabidze Museum Marjanishvili N 4,
Art Centers & Galleries

Tiflis Avenue is an art center and a gallery that represents a variety of Georgian artists working in different media. The gallery is located in an old town, on King Erekle II Street, where exhibitions of art are held regularly. Tiflis Avenue also runs an online art store with the largest selection of contemporary Georgian art. Gallery open Tuesday-Sunday 12noon-9pm. Entrance free.
Churches/Synagogue

Mamadaviti (south –west of Tbilisi on Mtatsminda)
Sioni Church (upper Kala)
Sameba Cathedral/Holy Trinity Cathedral Church
Synagogue K. Leselidze street,
Other Sights

Mtatsminda Pantheon of Writers and Public Figures (Mtatsminda Mountain, in the churchyard around St. David’s Church – Mamadaviti)
Old Tbilisi
Vake
Do

Sulfur Baths Price: Public Pool: 2 GEL; Private Pool: 15-80 GEL per hour; Massage 5-20 GEL
Tea Plantation
Turtle Lake (Kus Tba) (Take a taxi or walk up from Saburtalo)
Fox Lake (Lisi Tba)
Climb up to the Narikala Fortress
Buy

The Saturday flea market by the river (on the “Dry Overpass” and surrounding areas) is one of the best places to get jewelry, antiques, and even antiques swords, as well as musical instruments and electronics. Haggling is encouraged, although if you speak little Georgian or Russian you may experience the odd juxtaposition of bargaining for antiques using the type-pad of your vendor’s mobile phone. The daily main marketplace – for fruits and vegetables as well as electronics and DIY/hardware-store type supplies is across the river, near Didube.
Gold, Silver, Precious Stones, and Other Jewelry – Many foreigners visit Georgia to buy jewelry, because of its cheap cost and superior quality.
Art & Paintings – Georgian artists, such as Pirosmani, Gigo Gabashvili, David Kakabadze, Lado Gudiashvili, Korneli Sanadze, Elene Akhvlediani, Sergo Kobuladze, Simon Virsaladze, Ekaterine Baghdavadze, Maka Kiknadze-Kipiani and others, are famous for their work. In Georgia you will find many various art shops, paintings and painters who sell their works on the streets, including during the Saturday antique market. Their work is amazing and prices are very reasonable as well.
Tiflis Avenue art center offers artworks by a variety of Georgian artists working in different media. It keeps an online gallery with the largest selection of art in Georgia. Tiflis Avenue keeps a physical gallery in an old town, on King Erekle II Street, where it regularly handles solo and group exhibitions by young or established artists. Open Tuesday-Sunday 12noon-9pm. The quality of art is outstanding and the prices reasonable.
Antiques & Other Misc. Gifts – in Georgia you will able to find many antiques not only from Georgia, but Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, Russian and European as well.
Georgian Wine – Georgia is the cradle of wine making, and with 521 original varieties of grape you will be sure to find excellent wines.
Cognac – Georgian cognac is unique as it’s made from Georgian wine.
Mineral Waters – Try Borjomi, Sairme, Nabeghlavi mineral waters from famouse Georgian resort places.
Carpets – Outside the cities, you might find an original hand-made carpet for sale.
Chacha – Grape vodka, a Georgian version of Everclear.
Goodwill Chavchavadze Avenue,
Georgian Cuisine

Dzveli Saxli (Old House) 3 Sanapiro St. (Right on the Mtkvari River) (http://www.gmcgroup.ge/en/dzveli_saxli.shtml)
Cafe Gabriadze) Shavtelis Qucha (Right off Baratashvili street, next to the puppet theatre)
Kala 8/10 Erekle II St., ☎ 899 79 97 37, (http://kala.ge/) Price: 20-25 GEL
KGBs 8/10 Erekle II St. (right next to Kala) Price: 15 GEL
Khinklis Sakhli (Khinkali House) 37 Rustaveli Ave., ☎ 893 75 66 71, Price: 12 GEL
Kopala 8/10 Chekhov str (In the Kopala Hotel) (http://www.kopala.ge/)
Machakhela
Tamada 37 Orbeliani St, Price: 25 GEL
Taglaura (http://taglaura.ge/index.php?action=213&lang=eng)
Tsisqvili (Windmill)
Caravan Purseladze Street. (off Rustaveli Avenue by the cinema) Price: 15 GEL
Cafe Flowers Avlabari Ascent (in the pink house overlooking Europa Square) Price: 30 GEL
Lunch ladies Corner of Zubalashvilebi and Laghidze (From Rustaveli, turn uphill at the big Magti store (number 22). Head uphill past the Music Conservatory and look for a tiny hut on the street corner at the T-junction.) Price: 5 GEL
Asian Cuisine

Chinese Restaurant (Off Perovskaya St)
Vong (I. Abadshize Qucha)
Korean Restaurant (Next to Avlabari train station)
New Asia Restaurant (Up the hill from Rustaveli at the corner where Nikala restaurant is.)
Qalaquri
Sushi (Perovskaya Street)
Tokyo (in Vake, on Abashidze Street)
Baan Thai 4 Tabukashvili St. (Follow the road leading to the Radisson and continue past the Radisson as the road curves right. The restaurant is on the left side of the road, if you see the back side of the Opera house, you) Price: 10-15 GEL
European/American

Cafe de Paris Saakadze square (in the city center)
Cafe Canape Abashidze Street (Vake)
Graz Austrian Restaurant (Behind City Hall off Freedom Square (go to the left of City Hall, back 1 block; restaurant is on your right at the first intersection, down the stairs)
Hadson and Hooker Beliashvili Street (next to Cruise) ☎ (822)-53-10-18,
Restaurant Mediterranean 5 Irakli Abashidze, ☎ 22-10-15, (http://www.hospitality.com.ge)
Steak Hall Perovskaya street,
Steak Place Erekle st.,
Zandukeli 40 Zandukeli Street (Straight up the hill from the Philharmony)
Ronny 3 Vaja Pshavelas (next to the archive building in Saburtalo) ☎ 2-472-472, (http://www.ronnyspizza.com) Price: $$
Italian cuisine

Segafredo Zanetti Espresso 26 Chavchavadze Avenue Ave,
coffee.ge Three locations (24 Abashidze Str., 41 Chavchavadze Ave., 154 Aghmashenebeli Ave.),
Fiorino 77 Kostava St. – Saakadze square,
Il Garage Mozashvili street 26 (50m from Vake park)
Prego Three locations (Saburtalo, intersection of Vazha-Pshavela and Pekini St.; Vake, on Paliashvili, just below the round (UN) garden and the third in the old town, Erekle II st.),
Piano Tabidze Street (right next to People,
Other

Prospero 34 Rustaveli Avenue (located in a courtyard by the entrance to the overpass near the opera, past the Sony store in the direction of the Rustaveli metro stop)
Drink

Georgia is well known as the cradle of wine. Georgian wine was and still is the best in post-Soviet culture. Georgia produces wine, and Georgians respect wine culture. Try one of the famous wines. The region which is popular for its wine production is Kakheti. This place has a great history of wine.
Dublin 8 Akhvlediani Street (off Rustaveli) ☎ +995 32 98 44 67, Price: 30 GEL
Fahrenheit 5 Vashlovani Street, ☎ 855 97 51 17,
Hadson & Hooker 67 Beliashvili Street (Next to Cruise) ☎ +995 55 32 83 60,
Marco Polo 44 Rustaveli Ave, ☎ +995 32 93 53 83,
Old London 6 Akhvlediani street, ☎ +995 57 27 91 94,
Pub Kolkheti The left bank of the River Mtkvari, ☎ 8 99 76 06 54,
Salve Shalva Dadiani St 15 (located in the basement of an apartment building on a street off Freedom Square) ☎ (+99532)920131,
Scarlet Sails 25 Leselidze Street, ☎ +995 32 93 10 28,
Toucan 8 Kiacheli Street, ☎ 99 65 53; 92 25 54, Price: 30-35 GEL
Cafés

Bamba Rooms Lounge Bambis Rigi st. 12 (Chardin area) (http://www.bambarooms.ge/)
Cafe Rustaveli 30 Rustaveli Ave, ☎ 032 98-58-800, fax: 032 93-58-80, (http://www.cafe-rustaveli.ge/eng/index.html) Price: 2-4 USD
Entree 20 Rustaveli Ave, ☎ 891-193-968, Price: 5-10 GEL
Four Seasons 4 Mickevich Street (Steps from Gamsakhurdia ave) ☎ 99532-144440, Price: 15 GEL
Cafe Casablanca Bambis Riga (Chardini St. Area) (Towards the end of Bambis Riga)
Elvis Cafe just opened in about July 2010 in the Philharmonic Center (hint: take the underground walkway to get over – traffic is busy and unpredictable). Elvis Cafe offers American, Italian, Thai/Asian fusion cuisine and sushi. They also have a bar (alcohol) and a nice selection of deserts. Food is fast and tasty, very clean and bright. Staff speaks English.
People 10 Tabidze street (steps from Freedom Square) ☎ 995 32 45 0505; 984851, (http://www.peoplescafe.org/) Price: 10-15 USD
Clubs

Bamba Rooms Lounge Bambis Rigi st. 7 (Chardin area) (http://www.bambarooms.ge/)
Cubic 45 Kostava Str, Price: Entrance: 30 GEL
GURU Club 12 Rustaveli Ave, ☎ +995 32 98 38 03, (http://www.myspace.com/gurunightclub)
KalaKuri Restaurant/Club 13 Shavteli St. (Mtatsminda District) ☎ +995 32 99 66 83,
Night Office Baratashvili Street (Under Baratashvili bridge) Price: Entrance: 30 GEL
Budget

Star Hostel 45 Verckhlis str (From Freedom Square walk north down Pushkini street, take first right at Vertskhli and you will see the sign.) ☎ +995 32 995099, Price: Dorm: €12 per person per night
Boombully Flashpackers Tbilisi Rustaveli Ave. 24 (Right on Rustaveli across from Opera House) ☎ +995 551 100 172, +995 595 715 745,+995 322 931 638,, (http://boombully.com/) Price: 13 EUR.
Hostel REST Tbilisi 68 Dimitri Uznadze St (Near Marjanishvili metro station) ☎ +995 322 966940;info@mountaintravel.ge, (http://www.mountaintravel.ge/) Price: €10.5
Why Not Tbilisi Legend Hostel Tabukashvili 15/4 (in the center of the town) ☎ (+995)99007030, (http://whynothostels.com/index.html) Price: €10-15
City Hostel Waltzing Matilda 11, Al. Chavchavadze str. (from Rustaveli near the opera house turn up the hill and go two blocks) ☎ +995 55 554 590, (http://http://cityhostel.ge/) Price: Shared dorm price is $10 (17 GEL)
Old Town Hostel Khodasheni st.7 (Walk down from Freedom Sq. to Leselidze st. and in 2 minutes you will see turn on your right (in front of TBC Bank Leselidze branch)) ☎ +99571004002, +99532986188, Price: 10-14EUR. Comfortable beds, clean, cozy, and friendly hostel within walking distance of the main sights. Airport transfer is possible
Rover Hostel 14 Purtseladze St (From Rustaveli Avenue turn down at the crossroads with Purtseladze St (next to the Rustaveli Cinema, in front of the building of parliament) and in one and a half blocks you are there) ☎ +995 32 93 65 20, (http://www.roverhostel.com) Price: $15
SkadaVeli 27 Vertskhli str, (http://www.ska.ge/#/content/skadaveli%5Finfo/) Price: €30 per room of 2-3 beds
Tamuna 32. Chijobava str. near sabchos moedani (Close to the Marjanishvili Metro) ☎ +995 99 18 35 55 , +955 90 52 78 18, Price: 20 – 25 Lari per person/per night
Tbilisi Hostel Avlabari, Makhati turn 22 (near Avlabari merto station, from the exit turn right and pass the market and bear right. Ask people, they should show the way.) Price: dorm: 10.55 euro
Veziko apartments:warm and cosy apartments to stay at, a lovely and hospitable family run this place in the central district of tbilisi(old tbilisi) , so backpackers and tourists who are into local lifestyle would be able to feel it by staying in a real georgian house, moreover the price is really reasonable,about 25$ per night/double bed. internet, stove and bath is available . no 10, Chonkadze st, Sololaki (old tibilisi) +995 93 16 39 36.email:niki.niki.apartments@gmail.com
Mid-range

Beaumonde 11 Chavchavadze St (Next to Rustaveli Avenue) ☎ 986-003, (http://www.beaumondehotel.com/) Price: Single: €70; Double: €88, breakfast included
Betsy 32-34 Makashvili Street, ☎ +995 931404, 923996, 982615, (http://www.betsyshotel.com/)
Hotel Ata 17, Leselidze Street, ☎ +995 (32) 987715, fax: +995 (32) 986026, (http://www.hotelata.com/) Price: Double: 100 Lari
Hotel British House 32 Belinski Street, ☎ (+995 32) 98 87 83, (http://www.british-house.ge/) Price: €70-100
Hotel Vere Inn 53 Barnov street, ☎ (+995 32) 291252, (http://www.tourvereinn.com) Price: US$50-US$100, breakfast included
Hotel Charm 11 Chakhrukhadze street, ☎ (+995 32) 985333, (http://www.hotelcharm.ge/) Price: US$40-US$100, breakfast included
Hotel Georgian House 38 Vakhtang VI street, ☎ +995 (32) 791919, fax: +995 (32) 791920, (http://www.exotour.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=16.php) Price: Single: €35; Double: €45 including breakfast and VAT
Prestige Hotel 51 Marjanishvili Street (in north, central Tbilisi on a quiet street) ☎ 995 32.940505, 32.942974, 32.952974 or 91.141500, (http://www.riverside.ge/) Price: US$50 including breakfast
Hotel River Side Brosse Street Turn | Right side of Mtkvari, (http://www.riverside.ge/) Price: US$110-US$140
Hotel VIP Victoria Arakishvili1st al. 3, ☎ (+99532) 291877, 251247, (http://www.victoria.com.ge/)
TBILOTEL 8, Daraselia str, ☎ +995 32 387804, (http://www.tbilotel.ge/) Price: Double: 170-190 Lari
VIP Hotel 31, Leselidze Street. This is a lovely hotel in a quiet coutyard with views over the river. The owners are really charming people and the breakfast is excellent., Price: €50-60 per night
Splurge

Betsy 32-34 Makashvili St., 0108, Tbilisi, Georgia, ☎ Tel.: (+995 32 ) 931404, 923996, 982615, fax: (995 32) 999311, (http://www.betsyshotel.com/?page=home)
Courtyard Marriott Tbilisi 4 Freedom Square, ☎ +995 (32) 779200, fax: +995 (32) 779210, (http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/TBSCY) Price: US$185+ per night
Hotel Vere Palace 22-24 Kuchishvili street (Near the Zoo and Hero) ☎ +995 32 253340/41/42, (http://www.verepalace.com.ge)
Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel Rose Revolution Square 1
, ☎ +995 32 402200, (http://www.radissonblu.com/hotel-tbilisi)
Sheraton Metechi Palace Hotel Issani, ☎ +995 (32) 772020, fax: +995 (32) 772120, (http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=132&localeoverwrite=) Price: US$225+ per night
Tbilisi Marriott Hotel 13 Rustaveli Prospekt, ☎ +995 (32) 779200, fax: +995 (32) 779210, (http://marriott.com/property/propertypage/TBSMC) Price: €212+ per night
Stay safe

Tbilisi is very safe after the Rose Revolution. The police system was reformed completely and the recent polls show that public’s trust in police shifted from nearly 10% to 88%. The police are usually quick to respond. Take taxis home at night. Use common sense and big-city awareness. Night time at the clubs and bars are safe, and taxi service is safe as long as it’s a company taxi like “009” or others. If you know the place well and have lived there for a while, you can also take a public bus. They are usually clean and safe.
Police Tel: 022. or 112 from Mobiles.
Ambulance tel: 022 or 033 or 031.
Contact

There are 3 GSM operators of mobile phone service:
Magticom: provides 3G
Geocell: provides 3G, covers all of Georgia, packet data deals available for prepaid
Beeline: russian company, the cheapest of all sim cards, but does not get the best reception in some areas. buy a sim card at the office on Rustaveli Avenue.
Cope

You should make a quick stop in the Tourism Office on the south side of Freedom Square upon arriving in Tbilisi. They provide a free, very detailed map of the city as well as good information. They can print out a list of hostels or hotels upon request. (August 11, 2011. For now, the tourism office is located in the Georgia Museum of History at 3 Rustaveli Street. It seems like they are doing repairs on their normal office.) When all you want is to order food in English and not be bothered, head to the Marriott Courtyard, though the food does tend to be quite expensive. Head to Prospero’s bookstore on Rustaveli 34 for a delicious, if relatively pricey (5-7 lari) chicken salad sandwich and great coffee of every variety. Good selection of books and a nice calm place to escape, just a little. Be careful about renting DVDs from Prospero’s bookstore – there is quite a selection, but as most of them are pirated, almost half of all their DVD stock is of a poor quality. For your peace of mind, you can check any DVD on a player in the cafe before you rent it.
Embassies

United States (http://georgia.usembassy.gov/)
Get out

Yerevan, Armenia – via night train, bus or tour departing Freedom square offered by Envoy Hostel and Tours
Baku, Azerbaijan – via night train or bus
Ozurgeti via night train
Batumi – on the Black Sea. Via night & day train, plane, or bus/minibus
Telavi – se ean old fortress and a basis for exploring the mountains of Tusheti
Sighnaghi – a restored town
Mestia – If you are traveling to/from Mestia, there are flights available 5 days per week for 75 lari. You can reserve tickets in the Courtyard Mariott on Freedom Square from 9am-1pm in the Pegasus airlines office.
David Gareja Cave Monestary
Ski resorts – Gudauri and Bakuriani
National Parks – Mestia-Svaneti, Borjomi-Haragaili, Tevali-Gurjaani

BEIRUT

Beirut

Table of Contents

Districts
Understand
History
People
Climate
Public holidays
Dress
Talk
By plane
By car
By bus
By taxi
By bus
By car
By foot
See
Landmarks
Museums and galleries
Parks & Squares
Events
Do
Learn
Buy
Shopping streets
Shopping Centers
Markets
Money
Lebanese Cuisine
International Cuisine
Fast food
Drink
Sleep
Stay safe
Embassies
Radio stations
Newspapers
Emergency number
Contact
Get out
Beirut is the capital city of Lebanon with a population of approximately 2.1 million people in its metropolitan area. The city is on a relatively small headland jutting into the east Mediterranean. It is by far the biggest city in Lebanon. Due to Lebanon’s small size the capital has always held the status as the only true cosmopolitan city in the country, and ever since the independence, has been the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon. 20km to its North is Jounieh, a city very closely associated with Beirut.

Districts

Charles Helou Station lies approximately one kilometer east of Nejmeh Square, on Charles Helou Avenue, facing the Beirut Port. From there you can take the city buses or hop onto the larger coaches that link Beirut with the neighboring cities.
Downtown – Located in the heart of the city beside the Beirut port and Beirut marina; includes many cafés, restaurants, and places shop. Also home to many historical sites. Be warned, however, that it is very touristy, and not as authentic as other districts.
Ashrafieh – The center of modern nightlife in the city, though less so during the summertime. Ashrafieh, is divided into smaller areas; Gemmayze and Monot Street are the most popular nightspots, while Sassine Square and Sodeco Square are mainly afternoon shopping areas. Gemmayze consists of mostly pubs, though it does also contain a fine selection of restaurants. Many people are starting to think of it as a separate entity from Ashrafieh. Monot Street features a mix of restaurants, nightclubs, and pubs.
Ain El Mraiseh – Seafront district with plenty of hotels and restaurants.
Hamra – A hive of activity, and a shopping-lover’s paradise. Hamra became the center during the troubles in the 70’s. The more popular places are Bliss st., Hamra st., Sourati st. and Jeanne d’Arc st., each havings its own share of cafés, hotels, and restaurants. Hamra st. in particular has been redeveloped in recent years, with larger chains of restaurants and cafes opening there, including Starbucks, Costa, Nandos, Roadsters, and Applebees. There has also been a revitalization of the pub scene, with over a dozen bars and pubs operating in the area.
Manara – The Westernmost district of Beirut. Ras Beirut literally translates to “the head of Beirut” due to its location on the tip of peninsula, home to the Manara Lighthouse and various beach clubs (though none feature any sandy beaches).
Rawcheh – The Pigeon Rocks, the focal point of this district, are located here.
Ramlet El Baida – A residential area just south of Rawcheh, here you’ll find Beirut’s only public beach. It is also the only beach featuring any sand.
Verdun – A trendy shopping area, Rue. Verdun (or Verdun st.) is the main area where you’ll find most hotels and shops. The area also features cafes and restaurants. Many Gulf Arabs stay here during summer vacations.
Jnah – A predominantly residential area in southern Beirut, but also home to various beach clubs and hotels.
Understand

History

Beirut has survived a rough history, falling under the occupation of one empire after another,. Originally named Bêrūt, “The Wells” by the Phoenicians, Beirut’s history goes back more than 5000 years. Excavations in the downtown area have unearthed layers of Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman, Arab and Ottoman civilizations. Following World War II, Lebanon gained its independence from France and Beirut became its capital in 1943 – Riad El-Solh, Lebanon’s first prime minister, is considered the founder of the modern Republic of Lebanon and a national hero. Beirut thrived as a major commercial and tourist center of the Middle East. It was a top destination among wealthy Arabs and European tourists, due to Beirut’s unique geography, climate, diverse culture, and freedom. Beirut was seen as the “European gateway to the Middle East” and vice versa, and was often called the “Paris of the Middle East”. Beirut is and was home to over 10 recognized religious sects. Religious tension between the Christian and Muslim factions sparked a brutal civil war in 1975. The conflict lasted nearly a decade and a half, ravaging the city. The central area of the city, previously the focus of much of the commercial and cultural activities, became a no-man’s land. Throughout the war, the city was divided between the Muslim west part and the Christian east, and tensions between different sects remains to this day. Since the end of the war in 1989, the people of Lebanon have been rebuilding Beirut. The city has undertaken an aggressive rebuilding policy. The city is working hard to regain its status as a tourist, cultural and intellectual center in the Middle East which it has lost to Cairo as well as a center for commerce, fashion and media which is dominated by Dubai and other rich Gulf states. However Beirut with the rest of the Middle East has gained momentum.
People

Some areas of Beirut have a friendly atmosphere, and some Beirutis have a reputation for being very sociable and outgoing. The locals are used to the sight of foreigners and would be happy to show you around the city, if you ask them. Be aware, however, that this does not apply to south-Asian visitors, as many of them are looked down on by Lebanese as “inferior” people. Visitors from the West will receive the best treatment. Secterianism is still prevalent in Lebanon, as a result of the French colonial legacy of divide and rule, which leads some Christian Lebanese to somewhat erroneously identify culturally with Europeans, particularly the French, and some denying Arab identity altogether, while many Muslim Lebanese identify culturally and ethnically with other Arabs and Muslims of the Middle East.
It is helpful to display some basic courtesies. A simple Bonjour when entering a cafe or shop can work wonders, and might even get you a special rate, or when hopping into a taxi, might just keep the driver from overcharging you. Say Merci when given or offered something, and if you’d rather not accept, then say La’a merci and smile; otherwise you might be taken as rude, even though you’re not. Most Beirutis love going out. If (and when) you go out at night, depending on the venue, dressing up well will most certainly get you some respect. The locals like to see that foreigners are doing what they can to fit in. Expect to be offered a drink or a cigarette. Alcohol is very cheap in shops and supermarkets, yet in night venues, prices can rise up to European standards (aka: 8,000L.L/Beer, 15,000L.L/Cocktail)) Smoking is very common in Beirut, a large portion of the people smoke both outdoors and indoors. Most restaurants have special smoking areas that are ventilated, so make sure you ask whether a particular restaurant or cafe is smoking or not, and ask for a non-smoking table if you don’t want to sit around smokers.

Climate

Beirut enjoys Mediterranean climate. Come in April to June for warm, dry days and long, cool evenings (19–25°C). Temperatures in July and August rise to around 30°C and humidity can be somewhat overwhelming – make sure your hotel has air conditioning. The wettest months are December to February so bring a good coat and umbrella, the rain can sometimes be heavy. Lebanon’s ski season runs from December till early April. Despite the diverse climate that changes noticeably per season, the weather is very predictable; the weather forecast, on radio and TV stations are normally very accurate, so you normally shouldn’t find yourself caught in a sudden downpour in the winter months.
Public holidays

Due to Lebanon’s diverse religions and sects, many public holidays are celebrated, some of which more than once: New Year’s Day, Armenian-Orthodox Christmas (6 Jan), Eid al-Adha – Feast of Sacrifice, celebrating the last day of Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Al Hijrah – Islamic New Year, Feast of St Maroun (9 Feb), Eid Milad Mnabi – Prophet’s Anniversary, Good Friday and Easter Monday (Apr), Labour Day (1 May). Martyrs’ Day (6 May), Liberation of the South (25 May), Assumption (15 Aug), Eid al-Fitr – Festival of the Breaking of the Fast, All Saints’ Day (1 Nov), Independence Day (22 Nov), Christmas Day (25 Dec). Based on the lunar calendar, Islamic holidays move forward approximately 11 days every Western year.
Dress

Anything goes in Beirut. Shorts and T-shirts are perfect for the summer heat, for both men and women, while heavier clothing is necessary during the winter. You should cover up if visiting religious sites, such as mosques and churches. Some neighborhoods are more conservative than others, so bear that in mind when exploring the city. Going out at night is a smart affair, so dress fashionably to fit in, although this does not mean dressing up in a suit; you will find many men in sporty t-shirts, dark jeans, and smart running shoes at even the trendiest nightclubs.
Talk

Beirut is very culturally diverse, and thus, multilingual. Lebanese Arabic is the native language but everyone speaks Standard Arabic, the official language, while English and French (especially the former) are also spoken by most people. Shop signs are in both Standard Arabic, English and French. Most restaurant menus, event listings, and such are also in English alongside Standard Arabic and sometimes in French. Road signs, however, are in Standard Arabic and French.
By plane

Beirut Rafik Hariri International Airport (), is the country’s only international airport and the hub of Lebanon’s national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA ). Most international airlines have daily flights between Beirut and the major European capitals. The airport is located 7km south of Beirut, and is roughly a 10 to 15 minute drive from the city center. A one time visa valid for 6 months costs 50.000 LBP. Citizens of: Saudi Arabia – Kuwait – United Arab of Emirates – Bahrain- Qatar – Oman – Jordan get a free 3 month tourist visa, renewable for free up to one year. Citizens of Turkey get a free 3 month visa that can only be renewed before one month passes since their entry. Citizens of: Egypt – Sudan – Tunisia – Morocco – Algeria – Libya – Yemen – Somalia – Djibouti – Mauritania – Comers Island – Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast get a free one month tourist visa provided they have a two way traveling ticket, a hotel reservation/place of residence and 2000 USD (The cash conditions can be exempted if you get the visa from the Lebanese embassy beforehand). Citizens of the following country get a free one month visa that can be renewed up to 3 months: Andorra – Antigua and Barbuda – Argentina – Armenia – Australia – Austria – Azerbaijan – The Bahamas – Barbados – Belarus – Belgium – Belize – Bhutan – Brazil – Bulgaria – Canada – Chile – China Rep – Czech Republic – Costa Rica – Croatia – Cyprus – Denmark – Dominican Republic – Estonia – Finland – France – Great Britain – Georgia – Germany – Greece – Hong Kong – Hungary – Iceland – Ireland – Italy – Japan – Kazakhstan – Kyrgyzstan – Latvia – Lithuania – Liechtenstein – Luxembourg – Macedonia – Macau (S A R) – Malaysia – Malta – Mexico – Moldova – Monaco – Montenegro – Netherlands – New Zealand – Norway – Palau – Panama – Peru – Poland – Portugal – Russia – Romania – Saint Kitts & Nevis – Samoa – San Marino – Serbia– Singapore – Slovakia – Slovenia – South Korea – Spain – Sweden – Switzerland – Tajikistan – Turkmenistan – USA – Ukraine – Uzbekistan –Venezuela –Yugoslavia. Citizens of Thailand cannot get a visa directly at the airport. Make sure you get it beforehand. Note: If your passport has Israeli stamps or Jordanian/Egyptian ones at the Israeli border, you will most likely be denied entry to Lebanon. For additional visa information, visit At the moment, there is no public transportation to or from the airport. Thus, there are two options to get to the city: 1) taxis are plentiful, and comfortable taxis that are authorized by the airport are parked next to the terminal in the arrivals level and have an airport logo on the side (official airport taxi fares ). As these taxis are regulated by the airport authorities, they are guaranteed to be honest in their rates. Regular taxis are also available and are located a little farther from the airport, but these are not guaranteed and are to be used at ones own risk. The aproximate rate Airport – Hamra street is LL 25000. 2) private minibuses depart from the 2nd (departure) level. These are white small buses (majority are Kia Besta) with red plates, which pickup airport service people and bring them to Beirut. The fair Airport – Saidi (Martyr’s square) is just LL 2000 (May 2011) All major car rental companies have booking offices inside the airport.
By car

There are four border crossing points between Lebanon and Syria:
Masnaa (on the Beirut-Damascus Highway)
Qaa (at the northern edge of the Békaa Valley)
Arida (north of Tripoli along the coast)
Aboudiyeh (northeast of Tripoli).
You can travel between Lebanon and Syria by private/rental car, bus, private taxi, or service taxi. Visa are not issued at the border but can be obtained from the Syrian Embassy, located in Hamra.
By bus

Buses from Damascus and regions south of Beirut drop passengers off at an intersection adjacent to the Cola bridgeoverpass, which is located in the southern part of the city (Mazraa) a couple of km south of Hamra and southwest of downtown. From here, you can get a private taxi to Hamra or Center Ville for LL10000 or a shared “service” taxi for LL2000. Be clear with the taxi driver if you want service [ser-vee-s]. If the taxi driver asks you to pay 2 or 3 service, they are asking for you to pay for two or three spots in the cab, which is usually unnecessary. Just wait for the next cab. There are about a dozen government bus routes, but service taxis are typically easier and just as cheap.
By taxi

There are two types of taxis in Beirut; the old (often) battered hail-taxis, and the prebooking taxis.
Hail-taxi – The most convenient form of transport in Beirut, as they are absolutely everywhere. Those taxis are predominantly Mercedes Benz cars (though recently, due to increasing petrol prices, taxi drivers are opting for more economic forms or transport) and can be quite easily identified by their yellow illuminated taxi sign on the roof and red number plate. Fixed meters aren’t provided so it is recommended to ask how much your trip will cost before hopping in. The fare will be charged per destination and not per distance traveled (which is an advantage since traffic is a big problem in the city). A typical journey from one side of Beirut to the other (roughly 3 km) may cost LL10 000 (€5.00). Many taxi drivers speak at least a few words of English and French. Knowing the name of your destination in the local language may solve any misunderstanding.
Keep in mind the names of the landmarks around the city, as they will come in handy when traveling by public transport (some drivers aren’t that good at orienting!).
Prebook taxi – These require that you call them and book a ride, they generally cost more but are much more luxurious and are normally air conditioned. All hotels should provide you with a taxi directory, if you wish to use this type of service. Taxi prices are considered cheap if compared to US and European taxis. Major taxi companies are: Geryes Taxi (00961-1-332747), Taxi Premiere (Tel 1260 or 00961-1-389222). Allo Taxi (Tel 1213 or 00961-1-366661),
By service

The more common form of transport, especially with daily commuters, as they are cheaper than the taxis, but ironically, are in fact the same. Service [ser-vee-s] are shared-taxis, the same taxis as above but shared between four people. The biggest advantage with the Service system is that the price of the ride is fixed at 2,000 L.L (€1). They come with drawbacks of course, and apart from having to share a small car with three other complete strangers (great for meeting new people actually), Service drivers may choose not to take you if you are not going in the same direction as them. Hailing a service or taxi usually entails yelling your destination to the driver if he slows down, then chasing the name of your destination with either ‘taxi’ (for private taxi 10,000 L.L.) or ‘service’ (for service 2,000 L.L). It is important that you specify what type of ride you want (when hailing a taxi or service), if you fail to do so, the driver will assume you asked for taxi, and will overcharge you at taxi-rate. However if the driver stops to ask for other fares or picks up another passenger only pay the Service rate of 2,000 L.L. Taxi drivers in Beirut are notorious for overcharging tourists much more so than neighboring Syria. Most will demand absurd fares and demanding 2-3 times the service rate is very common. If you’re pressed for time paying 2 service may be a compromise (4000 LL), otherwise you may have to wait a bit to find an honest cab driver willing to take you for 2000 LL. Always get a price BEFORE leaving otherwise the driver will most definitely rip you off.
By bus

There are currently two public transport companies. The OCFTC that operates a fleet of blue and white city-buses, and the LCC with a fleet of red and white minibuses; Bus fares cost either 500LL (OCFTC bus 24) or 1000LL ($0.33 to 0.67). The service is very efficient and the buses come very often, to get onto a bus you must stand at the side of the road and signal with your hand as a bus approaches; the buses will stop anywhere.
By car

Driving in Beirut is not to be recommended for much of the day, particularly in the city center. Traffic is heavy, and impossible during rush hour. There is so much to see and being stuck in a traffic jam is the last thing anyone would want to spend their time doing. Walking around the city is much more of an experience, and is in fact necessary in the very center since that part of the city is a pedestrian area. It can be difficult to find parking other than in multi-story and off-street car parks. On-street parking, if you are lucky enough to find one, is allowed for a short time of two hours. Tickets must be purchased through the parking meters usually located at either end of a street. They can be paid by either cash or card. Overstaying your time may get you a ticket. Enforcement of the parking limit isn’t done very efficiently, but obviously the last thing anyone would want to find is a ticket that will ruin their day and set them back financially. Renting a car is recommended if you’re planing to visit neighboring towns and cities such as Jounieh, or if you’re planing to go out late at night when public transport isn’t operating, or maybe simply to enjoy the Lebanese “see-and-be-seen” lifestyle. Car rental prices range from economical 40.000L.L/day (€20.00/day) to luxury and exotic standard prices. Those can change according to season, so make sure you contact the car rental company beforehand to check prices as well as pickup/drop-off locations. If you are traveling to the country during high season make sure to book your car rental in advance since it is normal to find that all rental companies are completely booked. Driving in Beirut is on the right-hand side of the road. Only the central areas of Beirut have traffic lights operating, though plans have been made to cover all of the city. Rent a car: below is a selected list of car hire companies.
Sixt
Beirut Car Rental
Europcar
Advanced Car Rental
Thrifty
Lenacar
By foot

As the city is quite compact, walking is the best way of getting around, and perfect for getting off the beaten track to find unexpected surprises. Most people however will not walk throughout the city, rather they will walk within certain districts and take cars/taxis to get from one district to another. Streets are generally well signposted, but few Beiruti locals would know how to navigate according to their names, directions are usually given by building placement (“straight down the road until you reach building X, turn left there, then right…”), and many streets have local nicknames that wouldn’t match the map. That said, if you find yourself lost in the streets, simply ask any passer-by for directions; no one will refuse to help! Otherwise you can stop at the nearest hotel or shop and ask. Hotel concierges and shop keepers will most definitely speak some limited English. Some roads in Beirut are in poor condition. Not so much in the center, but the farther you get from downtown the more road works you will most probably find. So take care! You can always check out a Beiruti-run walking tour called Walk Beirut. They offer weekly tours around the city.
See

Beirut was once the self-proclaimed “Paris of the Middle East”. It still has an outdoor cafe culture, and European architecture can be found everywhere. Many Beirutis (as well as other Lebanese) speak French and/or English, to varying degrees, along with Arabic. Each district has its own sights and places to visit. The following listings are just some highlights of things that you really should see if you can during your visit to Beirut. The complete listings are found on each individual district page.
Landmarks

Pigeon Rocks (Rawcheh District) A monumental natural arch jutting up from the Mediterranean. Great place to sit at one of the roadside cafes and watch the sun set.
Place de l’Etoile (Nejmeh Square)(Downtown District), originally built by the French in the early 20th century in the very center of the Downtown district, it suffered a lot of war damage during the war but recently has been restored.
Martyr’s Statue Downtown Martyr’s Square, east of Nejmeh Square towards Ashrafieh.
Jeita Grotto is a compound of crystallized caves in Lebanon located 20 km north of Beirut in the Valley of Nahr al-Kalb (Dog River). This grotto is made up of two limestone caves, upper galleries and a lower cave through which a 6230 m long river runs. Geologically, the caves provide a tunnel or escape route for the underground river. In this cave and galleries, the action of water in the limestone has created cathedral-like vaults full of various sizes, colors and shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, majestic curtains and fantastic rock formations. The total length of the cave is more than 9000 m and there is one among the biggest stalactites in the world hanging 8,20 m. The grotto accommodates a huge hall with a distance of 108 m from the ceiling till the water level.
Museums and galleries

National Museum Of Beirut (Ras El Nabaa, South Ashrafieh) Archeology and History. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM, closed Mon and Holidays, Fee: 5.000L.L (adult), 1.000L.L (students, under 18).
Sursock Museum (Ashrafieh District), Rue. Sursock (street), Ashrafieh, Beirut. (Contemporary Modern art), the building itself is a perfect example of the typical 18th century Lebanese palace. Lebanese and International art is permanently displayed in the intricately preserved interior. At July 2010, the museum is closed due to building works next door.
Beirut Art Center (Sin El-Fil District), Rue. 97 (street), Sin El-Fil, Beirut. (Contemporary Modern art), the first non-profit public space in Beirut, housing an exhibition space, screening and performance auditorium, bookstore, mediatheque, cafe and terrace. Designed by architect Raed Abi Lama. Tel: 01 397 018.
Matignon Gallery (Lebanese and International contemporary art) Sin El Fil, Greater Beirut, ☎ +(961) 1-500265, 484115, fax: +(961) 1-484115,
AUB Museum (Hamra District) Archeology and History, the Middle East’s oldest museum. Rue. Bliss (Rue. 33), Hamra,(01)340549. Mon-Fri 10:00-16:00, closed holidays.
Emmagoss Gallery Emmaniel Guiragossian Art School, New Jdeideh, Greater Beirut, ☎ 00961 1 900091, (http://www.museepaulguiragossian.com/) .
Atelier Camille Allam Beirut (Gallery) Sursock street, Tabaris, Ashrafieh, Beirut, (http://camilallam.com)
Parks & Squares

Sanayeh Park, Emmile Eddé Road, Hamra, Beirut
Horsh Beirut (Beirut Pine Forest), (adjacent to the Beirut Hippodrome south of Ashrafieh)
Khalil Gebran Park Downtown District (between Amir Amine St. and Toufik Khaled St.)
Debbas Square Saifi village Downtown (bewteen Charles Debbas St. and Dmascus St.)
Nejmeh Square Central Downtown
Herbal Garden Riad El Solh St. Downtown.
===Festivals & Events===
Events

To stay up to date on Beirut’s nightlife scene, visit any Virgin Megastores branch to ask about any upcoming events. Many live concerts are held throughout the year with international musicians and DJ’s. Beirut has hosted some of the world’s biggest names in Dance music such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Above and Beyond, Bob Sinclar, Hernan Cattaneo, James Zabiela, Cosmic Gate, Paul Van Dyk, Ferry Corsten, Nick Warren, Anthony Pappa, Sasha, John Digweed, Danny Howells, Steve Lawler and others. Alternatively keep an ear out for the radio or on underground party websites:
NRJ (99 FM)
Mix FM (104.4)
We Run Beirut
Beirut International Film Festival, . Held annually in October, the Beirut Film Festival exhibits films from all over the middle east, usually in either Arabic or French. The films vary enormously and some can be intensely political.
Beirut International Jazz Festival, . Held annually during the month of July over a period of four days, some of the greatest international jazz artists as well as musicians from around Lebanon play some quality music near the Beirut marina.
Festival du cinéma francophone , Held between the month of march and April over a period of two weeks, films are in French. Cinéma Métropolis – Masrah Al Madina, Beirut, (tel: 00961 1 293 212).
One Big Sunday, Beach party with live DJs held every Sunday during the summer months in various resorts and beaches, organised by Mix FM.
Bacardi Night, Annual festival held during the summer with some of the hottest DJs and bands from around the world, organised by Mix FM.
Do

There are many things to do in Beirut. Check the different districts to find out what each has to offer. Meanwhile, here are a few highlights:
Bet on an Arabian thoroughbred every Sunday in the Beirut Hippodrome, officially called Hippodrome Du Parc De Beyrouth . The hippodrome is home to popular horse races, attracting a dedicated betting crowd (often old taxi drivers). Foreigners should join the fun in the afternoon for free entrance (ID or passport required). Open on Sundays only.
Soak up the sun in one of the beach clubs on the Beirut coast. Very few actually have sandy beaches, and most unfortunately have been converted into spas with swimming pools and paved terraces, but despite all that, they all have access to the sea. A few of them are completely private and members-only, but can be accessed by paying for a guest ticket if going in with a member. The Saint George Yacht club in Ain El Mreisseh and the Riviera Beach and Yacht Club at the Riviera Hotel are two such popular clubs, where access to the beach club for non-members is US$20 per day. You can chill in one of the pools or have a drink at the bars and cafes while listening to music in the afternoons. Long Beach Club is another good place. The entrance is just to the left of the Ferris wheel on the Cornich right before the hill. Bring a beach towel.
Test your golfing skills at The Golf Club of Lebanon (18 hole) Ouzai – Beer Hassan, P.O.Box 11-3099, Beirut (next to Henry chehab barrack) ☎ 00961 1 826335-6-7, fax: 00961 1 822474, (http://www.golfclub.org.lb/)
Take a ride on the Beirut Balloon (30 passenger helium filled balloon, offering breathtaking views from an altitude of 300m.) Allenby St., Downtown Beirut (Entrance is through Biel Convention Centre. Look for it in the sky!) ☎ 00961 1 985901,
Walk, jog, skate, cycle, stroll (or whatever you consider exercise) along Paris Avenue which links up to General De Gaulle Avenue (both locally known simply as the corniche) which stretch around the entire Central Beirut perimeter (approx. 5km). Start the walk, jog, skate etc… at the Beirut marina (Downtown Beirut District) about an hour or so before sunset and finish at the Pigeon Rocks in Rawcheh, in time to watch the sun go down while sipping on a drink at one of the outdoor cafés.
Scuba Dive:, With 300 sunny days a year, 36 shipwrecks, impressive walls, canyons, caves, Ray habitats and shark habitats, Beirut definitely has something to offer for a serious scuba diver. The French WWII submarine Le Souffleur, the British freighter Alice B which sank during the civil war in the 80’s, The Macedonia freighter which sank in 1962 and the National Star freighter in 1991, the Mediterranean flagship of Admiral Sir George Tryon HMS Victoria which sank in 1893, The British Lesbian which sank during WWII, make just a few of Beirut’s shipwreck collection. Historical cities dot ancient Phoenicia’ s shore, providing us today with many interesting submerged historical sites, some littered with Phoenician and Roman marble stones, granite columns, pathways, old stone anchors, amphorae and bits of pottery. There are several Dive Centers around Beirut:
* Calypso Beirut Diving Club Movenpick Hotel & Resort, General de Gaulle Avenue, Raouche, Beirut, ☎ +961-3-314557, fax: +961-1-785300, (http://www.calypso-lebanon.com/)
* NISD (National Institute for Scuba Diving) , Solidere Beirut Marina, Downtown Beirut, P.O. Box : 113-6691, (+961-3-204422) (email: info@nisd-online.com fax: +961-1-739206).
* LD (Lebanon Divers) , Mardelli Building 2nd Floor, Saide Street Ashrafieh – Beirut, (00961-1-322826/00961-3-602614) (email: info@lebanondivers.com fax: 00961-1-329441).
* Atlantis , Bel Azur Hotel, Jounieh, Greater Beirut, (email: dive@atlantisdivingcollege.com).
Learn

AUB – American University of Beirut – The American University of Beirut (AUB) was founded in 1866 as a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher learning, functioning under a charter from the State of New York. AUB has grown from 16 students in a rented house to a major university with over 6,900 students located on a 73-acre campus overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The University is governed by an autonomous Board of Trustees comprised of international leaders in business, education, diplomacy, engineering, philanthropy, science, and medicine.
LAU – Lebanese American University – The Lebanese American University is an American institution chartered by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York and operating in Lebanon. Currently, LAU has two campuses: one located in Beirut, and a second in the Mount Lebanon city of Jbeil (Byblos). The university offers programs leading to Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees in the arts and sciences, and Doctorates in Pharmacy. LAU is the only institution outside of the United States with an ACPE-accredited pharmacy program. LAU is currently a candidate for accreditation by the Commission on Institution of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
USJ – Universitee Saint-Joseph – A private university founded in 1875. A member of the Association of Arab Universities, the International Association of Universities, the Association of French speaking universities (AUPELF) the International Federation of Catholic Universities, the European Federation of Catholic Universities, the Association of Jesuit Institutions of Higher Learning in Europe and Lebanon and the Euro-Med University (Téthys).
Lebanese University – Lebanese University – The Lebanese University (Arabic: الجامعة اللبنانية‎, French: Université Libanaise) is the only public institution for higher learning in Lebanon. Founded in 1951, it has 17 faculties as of 2006 and comprises various cultural, religious, and social groups of students and teachers.
Lycee Abdel Kader – A private French Lycee in the traditional area of Karakol El Druze near Beirut downtown: it is particularly known for offering French and Lebanese baccalaureates and for its highly competent students and staff. It is ranked among the top 5 private schools in Lebanon with a 100% success rate in the French Bac.
Buy

Clothes and fashion – Beirut is the fashion capital of Lebanon and the region, with many prominent Lebanese designers located here, including (Elie Saab , Basil Soda , Pierre Katra and Robert AbiNader .)
Shopping streets

There are several shopping districts around the city.
Downtown Beirut – The recently renovated city center that boasts fancy and designer stores.
Hamra Street – An area featuring much revitalization over the last few years, with many international and upscale brands returning to the district.
Mar-Elias Street – A busy street towards the south of Beirut. Many of the shops are Lebanese brands which means this is the perfect place to find bargains as most brands are local and cheap.
Rue. Verdun – A shopping street with several high-end shopping malls and department stores.
Shopping Centers

ABC Mall, Achrafieh Alfred Naccache Street, Mar Mitr, 00961 1 212888 . Many international brands are here along with great restaurants, cafes, and a movie theater all in a mixed indoor/outdoor setting.
Souks de Beirut is a new mall in downtown with international brands in an outdoor setting.
Beirut Mall, Tayouneh roundabout, 00961 1 385888, .
ABC Beauté, Bab Idriss, downtown, 00961 1 991888. Offering a wide range of international cosmetics and perfume brands, nail bar, professional hairdressers and stylists. Open Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM.
Miss ABC, Hamra street, facing Cinema strand, 00961 1 344740. Women’s specialty store. Open Mon-Sat 9:45-7:45, closed Sunday.
City Mall, Dora highway roundabout, Greater Beirut, 00961 1 905555. Includes 100 stores, 15 cafes and restaurants, a Hypermarket, and 9 movie theaters.
Dunes Center, Centre Dunes, Verdun Str., +961 1 785310, . Displaying some of the latest shopping brands, as well as many cafes and a movie theater.
Virgin Megastore – Currently four branches in Beirut: Beirut International Airport, Martyr’s square Downtown (claims to be the biggest Virgin Megastore outside the UK), City Mall (Dora roundabout), ABC department store (Ashrafieh).
Music, Books, Event Tickets: Virgin Megastores Currently four branches in Beirut: Beirut International Airport, Martyr’s square Downtown (claims to be the biggest Virgin Megastore outside the UK), City Mall (Dora roundabout), ABC department store (Ashrafieh).
Markets

Flea markets are surprisingly hard to find, occasional organized markets are held that are made to resemble flea markets.
Souk El Tayeb Held every Saturday in the Saifi village downtown between 9AM-2PM, feed your soul as well as your face in Beirut’s first organic farmer’s market. Promoting traditional methods of farming and preserving, it’s a great place to pick up local honey, cheese and breads, plus artisans’ crafts. It also runs regular cookery classes, to learn how to make that perfect tabouleh (bulgur salad).
Sunday Market Get up early and join the locals for a rummage at the Sunday Market which opens between 7AM and 1PM, next to Beirut River in the east. You might find antique jewellery, clothing and beads, or maybe just bric-a-brac, but there’s an eclectic selection of goodies on show. Remember to bargain hard!
Burj Hammoud Beirut’s Armenian quarter, perfect place to shop for cheap bric-a-brac, artisan’s crafts, souvenirs, copper and brass ware and faus-brands. Don’t forget to haggle. Burj Hammoud is located to the East of ashrafieh across the Beirut river.
Money

Payment cards: Many shops, hotels, restaurants, bars etc accept international payment cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Maestro or American Express.
Automatic bank tellers: Withdrawal can be made from any automatic bank teller found in any region of the country. Withdrawals can be made in either Lebanese Lira or the US dollar.
Traveler’s checks: Lebanese banks can exchange them very easily.
Lebanese Cuisine

Lebanese cuisine is a mix of Arab, Turkish, and Mediterranean influences, and enjoys a worldwide reputation for its richness and variety as well as its Mediterranean health factor. Olive oil, herbs, spices, fresh fruits and vegetables are commonly used, as well as dairy products, cereals, fishes and various types of meat. A visit to Beirut includes the traditional Lebanese Mezze (Meza), an elaborate variety of thirty hot and cold dishes. A typical Mezze may consist of salads such as the Tabboule and Fattouch, together with the caviars: Hommos and Moutabal, and some patties such as the Sambousseks and finally, the stuffed grape leaves, with of course the Lebanese flat pita bread which is essential to every Lebanese Mezze. Must try:
Mankoushé: a Lebanese pizza, or at least that’s what it looks like, the Mankoushé is a baked pizza-shaped dough with either a mixture of local cheeses or thyme (or a mixture of both) on top, can be bought from all bakeries as well as special Forn Mankhoushé which specialize in this type of food, usually had for breakfast. cost between 1.000L.L and 3.000L.L .
Ka’ek: a different version of the classic bagel, only about a foot in diameter and hollow, normally filled with thyme but you can ask for cheese spread as well. The most common place to buy these are from the local street vendors that ride bicycles or motorized scooters and honk a manual horn, but you can also find it at major bakeries. Although not of Lebanese origins, they’re quite popular and are always found near Rawcheh area, they’re worth a try. cost about 1.000L.L .
Roastery Nuts: roasted nuts are certainly the local favorite appetizers particularly with the older people. Local brands have dedicated roasteries where customers walk in and order fresh, they produce some of the best nuts in the region, and certainly the most varied. Pecans, Cashews, Macadamias, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Peanuts its all there. Ask for Krikri in thyme, spice, or cheese flavor.
Sweets: every religious or national event sees stalls set up on sidewalks outside churches and in public squares, where traditional Lebanese sweets are sold such as: Maamoul, Ktaef, Halawet el Jibn, Halawet el Riz,and Ashta. If you’re lucky enough to come across those be sure to give them all a try, otherwise visit any påtisserie where the same sweets can be purchased (but of course lacking the same authenticity!).
International Cuisine

Beirut’s different cultures brought different tastes for food, and restaurants of all different origins have opened all around the city. Restaurants have different price ranges, depending of course on the quality of the ingredients used; check the different districts for the listings.
Fast food

If you’re on a tight budget, or if you simply miss the food that you can get back at home, fast food is your best option. All major international fast food restaurants have opened chains in Beirut (KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardee’s, TGI Fridays, Domino’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway etc…), but many local fast food restaurants have sprung up to compete with the major franchisers.
Drink

Nightlife: Alcohol in parts of Beirut is available. Many of Beirut’s districts have their own fair amount of cafes, bars, and clubs, although many areas are “dry” or, while serving alocohol, do not have a vibrant nightlife. This said, two of the hotter nightspots, with the highest concentration of pubs and nightclubs, are Gemmayze (mostly pubs) and Monot St (mix of nightclubs and pubs), both located within close range in the Ashrafieh district. Hamra is also seeing a revival in it’s nightlife, with over a dozen new pubs and bars open there now. The best way to find out what’s in and whats not is by checking the local press or simply going there and seeing for yourself. There is no curfew in Beirut, thought expect most pubs and bars to empty by 2:00am, and most nightclubs to empty between 4:00am and 4:40am. During the summer, Monot tends to be much less busy, as many open-air clubs outside of the area tend to dominate the nightlife in Beirut. Gemmayzeh remains popular year-round.
SkyBar in Biel, just next to downtown, is an open-aor nightclub. It is arguably the hottest nightclub in Beirut, and has a view overlooking the Sea. It is closed during the winter months.
BO18. A popular club inside a bomb shelter located under a parking lot. The roof opens and you can see the sky while dancing. Clubbers park in the lot and descend a staircase into the club.
Isis. Is a rooftop bar on top of the an-Nahar newspaper building, with an outdoor area overlooking the Sea, Downtown, and the mountains.
Locally brewed beer include Almaza and Laziza (non-alcoholic). There is also a microbrewery that started producing several styles of more flavorful beer in 2006, called “961 Beer”. And in 2010, a new beer was launched called “LB Beer”, which is brewed without the use of any corn or rice. All worth a try when visiting.
Sleep

There are lots of hotels in Beirut’s metropolitan area, ranging from cheap hostels to luxury suite hotels. Prices and quality vary across the spectrum, but if you look well enough, there’s bound to be the perfect hotel inside whatever budget you set. Check the different districts to find places to sleep.
Stay safe

Since 2009, Lebanon has become a safe place and the number of tourists is dramatically increasing (more than 2 million in 2009), although the number has peaked since then. The US government’s warning to travelers visiting Lebanon was lifted in mid-September 2009. The violence in Naher al-Bared has ceased. If you choose to visit Lebanon, visit the touristic cities like Jounieh, Byblos, Tyr and Tripoli. Beirut itself is safe. Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut are approachable, but try to bring a local. She/he will be worth a lot when it comes to logistics and safety. Camps vary in size and appearance (the camps in Beirut are worse than some rural camps, which can resemble more open villages). Most refugees however are both civil and open in the encounter with foreigners. The key is of course openness on your part as well. Of course, Downtown Beirut will always be a more safe alternative, but for the most part you won’t encounter any problems while in a refugee camp. Photography of military personnel and installations is prohibited. You should also be careful in taking photographs in the Dahiyeh (the southern suburbs), if you don’t want to get in contact with Hizbollah. The safest thing is to ask an official nearby for permission, although your request will very likely be turned down. Keep your camera in a purse just for safety. If a Hizbollah official approaches you, seeing your camera, he can’t know if you’ve been taking pictures before that. Should you be taken in for questioning (because of taking pictures), remain calm. It might take a long time getting out of it, but it’s highly unlikely that things should escalate or turn ugly. Bottom line: consider not bringing your camera at all. A trip to Dahiyeh is way too interesting and different to be spent getting questionined by the authorities. Avoid any governmental or military convoys that may be passing by. Lebanese people have adapted to all those situations.
Embassies

Germany B.P. 11-2820 Riad El-Solh (Maghzal Bldg), ☎ +961 4 935 000, emergencies: +961 3 600 053, fax: +961 4 935 001, (http://www.beirut.diplo.de)
Greece Nouvelle Naccache, Rue des Ambassades, Immeuble Boukhater Beyrouth – Liban (P.O.Box 11-0309), ☎ +961 4 521 700, Emergencies: +9617071994, fax: +961 4 418 774, (www.mfa.gr/beirut)
Italy Rue du Palais Presidentiel 2902 2633 – Baabda, ☎ +961 5 954955, (http://www.ambbeirut.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Beirut)
Philippines Bldg No. 29 Plot No. 511 Charles Malik Ave Achrafieh (across Roadster Diner) ☎ +961 1 212-001~3,
Romania Lebanon Route du Palais Présidentiel Baabda, ☎ +961 5-924848,
Turkey Rabieh, Zone II, 1st Street
Metn, Lebanon=, ☎ +961 452 09 29,
United Kingdom Embassies Complex, Armies St, Zkak Al-Blat, Serail Hill, ☎ +961 1 9608 00, (http://ukinlebanon.fco.gov.uk/en/)
United States In Awkar facing the municipality, (http://lebanon.usembassy.gov/)
Radio stations

Radio in Beirut is quite popular, particularly with the younger people who listen to the English-spoken stations as all events and concerts are advertised through those. Arabic and French broadcasted stations are plentiful, and are worth a listen if you’d like to experience the traditional culture. Below are radio stations that are broadcasted in English:
NRJ (99.1FM),
Mix FM (104,4FM)
Radio One (105.5FM),
BBC World Service (in English) (1323 AM),
Newspapers

Official Newsboxes can be found throughout the commercial areas in the city, mainly in Sassine Square ashrafieh, Verdun st. Verdun, Concorde st. Hamra. All Minimarkets/Supermarkets/Hypermarkets distribute newspapers and magazines as well.
The Daily Star Independent daily English-language newspaper covering local, national and international news.
Monday Morning Independent weekly English-language journal.
L’Orient Le Jour a popular independent French-language newspaper.
There is a huge variety of Arabic newspapers of all sorts, as well as ethnic newspapers such as the Armenian Aztag Daily. ===Hospitals===
Emergency number

Dial 112
American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) (Internal medicine, General surgery, Heart surgery, Maternity, Pediatrics, Urology, Ophthalmology, Specialized Eye center, Family medicine, Intensive care unit, Physiotherapy, Blood bank, Pharmacy, Laboratory, and Emergency services.) Makdissi Street, Hamra, P.O. Box: 113-6044, Beirut, ☎ 01-350000;1-340460;1-340740;1-374444;1-374374, fax: 01-345325, (http://www.aubmc.org)
Hotel Dieu Hospital: (Internal Medicine, General Surgery -Heart Surgery, Kidney, Liver and Bone marrow transplant, Maternity, Pediatrics, Intensive Care Units, One day surgery, Outpatient care, Diagnostic procedures, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, blood bank, Medical Imaging services, Radiation Oncology, Hem dialysis, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Emergency services.) Adib Ishak Street, BVD. Alfred Naccache, Achrafieh, Beirut – P.O. Box: 166830, ☎ 01-615300;01-615400, fax: 01-615295, (http://www.hdf.usj.edu.lb)
Saint George Hospital University medical center: (internal medicine, general surgery, heart surgery, maternity, pediatrics, intensive care unit, physiotherapy, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Rmeil, Youssef Sursock street
P.O. Box: 166378, Achrafieh, Beirut, ☎ 01-585700; 01-525700, fax: 01-582560, (http://www.stgeorgehospital.org)
Clinique Dr. Rizk Hospital: (
Services Provided: Internal medicine, surgery, maternity, pediatrics, kidney transplant, specialized eye center, intensive care unit, physiotherapy, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Zahar St., Achrafieh P.O. Box: 11-3288, Beirut, ☎ 01-200800;01-328800, fax: 01-200816, (http://www.cliniquerizk.com/)
Makassed Hospital: (Internal medicine, surgery, bone marrow transplant, maternity, pediatrics, intensive care unit, physiotherapy, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Ouzai St., Tarik Al-Jadida
P.O. Box: 6301, Beirut, ☎ 01-646590/1/2/3/4/5/6, fax: 01-646589, (http://www.makassed.org.lb)
Najjar Hospital: (Internal medicine, Surgery, Maternity, Pediatrics, Intensive care unit, Blood bank, Pharmacy, Laboratory and Emergency services.) Maamari Street, Ras Beirut
P.O. Box: 113-5984, Beirut, ☎ 01-340626; 03-669911, fax: 01-343992,
Sahel Hospital: (Internal medicine, general surgery, maternity, intensive care unit, physiotherapy, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Airport Ave., Dergham Street
P.O.Box: 99/25, Ghobeiry, Beirut, ☎ 01-858333, fax: 01-840146, (http://www.sahelhospital.com.lb)
Trad Hospital and Medical Center: (Internal medicine, surgery, maternity, pharmacy, and laboratory services.) : Mexico Street, Fifth Floor, Clemenceau, Hamra
P.O. Box: 113-6431, Beirut, ☎ 01-341740, 01-369494/5, fax: 01-361663,
Fuad Khoury Hospital: (internal medicine, surgery, gynecology, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Maktabi Bldg., Abdelaziz Street, Hamra, Beirut, ☎ 01-742140/3/7, 01-348811, fax: 01-350208, (http://www.fouadkhouryhosp.com)
Barbir Hospital: (Internal medicine, surgery, maternity, pediatrics, intensive care unit, physiotherapy, blood bank, pharmacy, laboratory and emergency services.) Fuad The First Street, Barbir
P.O.Box: 11/4302, Beirut, ☎ 01-652915/6/7/8; 01-652955, fax: 01-631429,
Contact

Many cafes and restaurants provide free WiFi to customers. Internet Cafes are plentiful in Beirut, and they should all provide printing and copying services as well as web surfing. The inner-city internet cafes tend to be more expensive (approx $2-3/hr) than those in the residential areas (approx $0.50/hr), but are also usually ‘nicer’ eg: providing a faster internet connection with new fast computers:
GDS Global Data Systems Sodeco Square, ground floor Sodeco Street, Ashrafieh, Beirut, ☎ +961-1-615578, fax: +961-1-615578, (http://www.gds.com.lb/) Price: $2.5 per hour
GDSonline Downtown,Maarad street,287B. Beirut central district, ☎ 01/970121, fax: 01/970121, Price: $2.5 per hour
Payphones can be found on all main streets all around the city, however, they can only take smart cards called Telecarte which provide a specific amount of prepaid calling time and can be used from any payphone. Telecarte denominations come in 10.000L.L (€6.6) and 30.000L.L ($20.00). Telecarte can be purchase at OGERO Sales Offices and MoT offices (most Minimarkets/Supermarkets/Hypermarkets as well as Mobile phone stores sell them). Telecarte:
allows you to save 10% on International Direct Calls.
allows you to make national calls to any regular line at 100 LL/min.
allows you to make national calls to any cellular line at 300 LL/min.
Get out

Once you leave Beirut, visit any of the other cities in Lebanon. The country is relatively small, so no single journey to any other city should take more than two hours. Depending on the season visiting, you can go skiing in one the six mountain resorts, or go to the beaches in Tyr or one of the beach resorts in Jounieh. Visit the national heritage sites around Lebanon; every city in the country has at least some form of ancient or historic site. Buses that head to the North city of Tripoli or to Syria and Jordan operate from the Charles Helou bus station, which is also the station for long-distance taxis that link Beirut to neighboring cities as well as Syria and Jordan. Charles Helou is located next to Port of Beirut. It can be difficult to understand the main bus routes at first but you can always ask, bus drivers are like everybody else in Lebanon, friendly and may be able to communicate in English or French. Buses that head South — to Sidon or Tyre — leave from the Cola intersection.

YEREVAN

Yerevan

Table of Contents

Districts
Understand
People
Religion
Climate
Smoking
Get in
Visa
By plane
Between the airport and the city
By train
By car
By bus
On foot
By metro
By minibus
By bus or trolleybus
By taxi
See
Parks
Museums
Churches
Other
Do
Events
Work
Buy
Currency
Budget
Mid-range
Splurge
Drink
Places for a drink
Drinks to try
Night Clubs
Sleep
Budget
Mid-range
Splurge
Read
Stay safe
Contact
Mobile phone providers
Embassies
Day tours
Public transportation
Central/Kilikia Bus Station
Northern Bus Station
By train
Yerevan (Երեւան) is the capital of the Republic of Armenia, one of the three hubs of the South Caucasus and is home to over a million people – the largest Armenian community in the world. In Soviet years Yerevan underwent massive reconstruction, following Alexander Tamanyan’s (the architect) new plans to make a perfect city – a Neo-Classical wide-avenues-based town resembling Paris, Vienna and Saint Petersburg.
Central Yerevan is a true jewel of early Soviet architecture. She is also home to some large scale Modern and Post-Modern marvels which are mostly the result of Soviet-Armenian architectural megalomania. In Soviet days Yerevan had already become known as the Pink City as much due to the color of the stone used for building as for the flamboyant spirit of her young population.

Districts

Most of tourist Yerevan is concentrated in the Center. The center is very compact and easily walkable, with endless dining and entertainment options. The rest of the city is mostly sleeping or business quarters, so a typical tourist will not have much incentive to leave the center.
Kentron, Center City or Downtown – is central Yerevan, locally called as kentron or just kaghak (meaning ‘the city’). This is the heart of Yerevan and indeed Armenia. Though Kentron’s architecture is diverse, ranging from Belle Epoque to Soviet Panel blocks, the great majority of the center is in Beaux-Arts tradition. Downtown Yerevan follows Tamanyan’s plan for a circular city with two hubs – grand Republic Square, and the more elegant and soft Opera district (Opera house, Freedom Square and the Swan Lake Park). The two are linked with newly-constructed pedestrian-only Northern Avenue. The Main Avenue (standard South European Corso) is still under construction (for last 60 years, though on a greater scale during the last couple of years) and will eventually reach the hill on which the historical Kond neighborhood rests. Kentron is also home to the University City, where the campuses of State University, Medical University, Engineering University, Agricultural University, Economics University, Pedagogical and some other universities come together in one big group. Virtually all of the museums, hotels and popular places to eat and drink are in Kentron, so most visitors will probably not venture much past it.
Barekamutyun – Meaning friendship, Barekamutyun is the area around the metro stop of the same name. This hub is home to Hayastan Hanrakhanut (dept store) which is more of an indoor bazaar than an actual department store. The hub branches off to Kievyan and nearby Komitas streets.
Monument – At the top of the Cascade steps rests the towering monument to Soviet victory in WWII. Directly adjacent is the large construction site of the Cafesjian Museum, which houses a large collection of contemporary art, including perhaps the best glass art collection in the world. Beyond the monument is Victory Park, and the neighborhood around it is known as Monument as well.
Erebuni – In this district is situated ruins of fortress of Erebuni, founded in 782 BC by king Argishti.
Bangladesh – Not much to offer a tourist, the name however is worth an explanation. At the time this was one of the furthest new districts built in Yerevan, and because of the distance, locals quickly began calling it Bangladesh, (not to be confused with Bangladesh country) which has stuck to this day. Apparently, locals considered Bangladesh as a very far place. The biggest outdoor bazaar of Yerevan is located in this district.
Nor Nork district is the last Soviet project of residential expansion of Yerevan. It entirely consists of standardised Soviet Panel blocs. However, every tourist crosses this district on the way to ‘obligatory’ Garni temple and Geghard monastery (as the highway to that direction is connected to the main avenue of this district). The main attraction of this district would be the Gay Statue, though the name has nothing to do with homosexuality (to avoid this interesting misunderstanding most often the name of the avenue and statue is Romanised as Guy).
Understand

Even though the history of Yerevan dates back to the Erebuni fortress, making it at least 2800 years old, little remains of what was small settlement saving the excavations at Hrazdan river gorge, Erebuni, Karmir Berd and Avan. These sites have been excavated, and the artifacts found are in museums today. Being on a strategically important place Yerevan was a constant war stage for rival Ottoman, Persian and Russian Empires. It has been repeatedly ruined by those wars or natural disasters (e.g. an earthquake in 17th century almost entirely destroyed the town). Few buildings of the old Erivan survived to the present-day Yerevan. At the time of Armenia’s independence in 1918, when Yerevan was made the capital of an independent Armenia, Yerevan was a town of just 20,000. Large scale construction began, which took a more holistic approach under the new city plan laid out by Alexander Tamanyan. The plan involved the demolition of much of what existed, in favor of concentric circles, parks, and taller structures. He planned for Yerevan to become a metropolis of 200,000 people.
People

Yerevan is a very homogenous city, though tiny Yezidi and Molokan (Russian) minorities exist. Because the population of the city was only 20,000 a century ago, the vast majority of the Armenians are immigrants themselves, from all over the world. From the villages and towns of Armenia, from Tbilisi which was the center of Eastern Armenian culture before 1918, from Western Armenia as genocide survivors poured in, and even from the middle east and Europe in a large, post-WWII wave of immigration. Since independence, the city has become the heart of the entire Armenian world, as the divisive communist governments demise has allowed the Diaspora – larger in number than the population of Armenia itself, to embrace the city as its own.
Religion

Many visitors will be surprised to know that Armenia is not just an outcrop of Christianity in the Caucasus, but it is the first country in the world to adopt Christianity as a state religion. The king declared Christianity the state religion in 301 AD. Christianity has been uninterruptedly practiced in Armenia ever since in its own traditions. The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church, or just Apostolic Church, is the National Church of Armenia. It is very traditional; in practices (but not history) is similar to both Orthodox and Catholic movements as well as to the Reformed Churches, e.g. the Church of England. Great majority of Armenians are Apostolic Christians and have their own Catholicos (religious leader, like the Pope for Catholics). Today, the vast majority of Armenians do not attend church each Sunday, with visits revolving around weddings and baptisms, or occasionally dropping in to light a candle. Soviet restructuring of the city left Yerevan with very few churches: Currently some new ones are being built, or old ones rehabilitated. The Protestant (Evangelical) Armenians are rather few in number with only one church on Nar-Dos street. Anglican (Episcopal) Christians used to congregate at St Zoravor church for Sunday Eucharist, however shortly after stopped the practice due to extreme small size of the community (and the fact that both Armenian Apostolic Church and Anglican Communion adhere to the concept of one baptism and welcome each others’ members to celebrate Eucharist together). Orthodox Christians currently maintain one church in Kanaker district of Yerevan. A new, large-scale, onion-domed Orthodox church is under construction at Yerevan Lake district, visible from the highway coming from the airport. However, this will have mostly symbolic structure as the Orthodox Christians are very few in number. Assyrians do not have church in Yerevan per se, but rather in the villages around Yerevan. Yezidian (pagan religious and ethnic minority in Armenia) religious rituals, as most of that religion, are kept secret. So no Yezidian practice can be observed easily in Yerevan. Muslims are steadily growing in numbers since the collapse of the Soviet State, fueled by the Iranian immigration. There is currently one Mosque on Mashtots Ave. Many Christian sects are also present in Yerevan, and they congregate in schools, sport clubs, concert halls and the like.
Climate

With a continental climate, Yerevan experiences long hot summers, and cold winters, both with little or no humidity. The winter is not a good time to visit Yerevan, due to icy sidewalks and smoky restaurants, any other time of year is worth a visit. Spring offers mild but sometimes wet weather, and lots of green hills and wildflowers. Summer is very hot, but the long, late nights at the cafes, and the fruits and vegetables are amazing. Fall is the most popular, with perfect weather, and great farm fresh foods.
Smoking

Smoking may appear to be the national pastime, and indeed, Armenia has one of the highest rates of smoking in all of Europe. To avoid the smoke, stick to restaurants with outdoor seating, let your taxi driver know it is not okay to smoke, and sit near the door when in a smokier café, and ask to have it left open when possible. Some restaurants have non smoking sections, but rarely is there separate ventilation. Yum-Yum Donuts is strictly non-smoking, and Melody café has a walled off section for non-smoking all year round. Artbridge and Twinings have separate rooms for non-smokers.
Get in

Visa

Most visitors to Armenia need to obtain a visa, though most can get one upon arrival. For more detailed information contact your nearest Armenian embassy or consulate. More details at Standard 21-day visas can be obtained at the airport in Yerevan upon arrival at a cost of AMD 3000 or just over $8. 120-day single entry visas are 15,000 dram ($42 US). Note that Nagorno-Karabakh Republic needs a separate visa issued in the Yerevan ‘consulate’ of the country (ask your hotel for details). A slightly more expensive (and slightly more secure) alternative is e-visa. It is very useful if you are not eligible for visa-free entry as you do not need to lose time obtaining it upon arrival. Applications for e-Visas can be submitted online, verified on line, and in most cases, e-visas will be approved and issued on-line within two business days. With a valid e-visa travelers can arrive in Armenia through the following border crossing checkpoints: Ayrum railway station, Bavra, Bagratashen, Gogavan land borders with the Republic of Georgia, Zvartnots International Airport and Meghri land border with Iran. The e-visa costs either $15 USD for a 21 day duration or $60 USD for a 120 day duration. As a matter of fact Armenian visa gives you right to stay in Russia for up to 5 days: There is an agreement between these countries to provide transit land to visitors. To be on the safe side, check at the Russian Embassy in your country before booking a ticket.
By plane

Zvartnots International Airport () is the main gate to Armenia. In 2006, a new terminal was opened, where most arrivals and departures are now based. It remains a smaller airport however, so navigating your way around is easy and fast. Free WiFi access is availabe in the depature terminal. Numerous carriers fly to Yerevan aside from Armavia: AirFrance, Lufthansa, Iran Air, Czech Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Aeroflot and the like. Yerevan is connected to all major European and Middle Eastern cities: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Athens, Moscow, Vienna, Berlin, Prague, St Petersburg, Zurich, Minsk, Riga, Kiev, Istanbul, Dubai, Aleppo, Tehran, Beirut and so on. Air Arabia connects Yerevan to the Gulf states, Egypt and India via Sharjah.
Between the airport and the city

Zvartnots is only 14 km from Yerevan city center by road.
Taking a taxi to the city is the best option. A taxi ride from the airport to the city will cost from AMD 3000 ($10) to the center, and up to 5000 ($16) for the most distant parts of the city. Some drivers may try to convince you to pay more, but don’t ever believe them, and telling them you will call the police (who will help you) should straighten out any opportunists. Almost 100% taxis are using a taxi meter (“sheochik”), so, the best if you have local currency with you to pay for the trip.
A public bus N107 is available during the day-time for about $0,7, which will take you to the Opera House in central Yerevan.
By train

An overnight train runs from Tbilisi, Georgia. It is roughly $20 and actually fairly comfortable, but slow enough that it is a good idea to bring food, snacks, and water. The wagons are the standard Soviet hold-overs that can be found throughout the former Soviet Union. Tickets can be purchased for a seat in a four-person coupe or a more expensive two-person SV class. During summer vacations there is also a train connection between Yerevan and Batumi.
By car

Options include arriving into Armenia via Georgia or Iran. A drive to Yerevan from Armenia-Iran border will take approximately 6 hours, and is a great way to explore Southern Armenia, cities like Meghri, Kapan, Goris, Sisian, etc. Arriving from Georgia will allow you to drive trough Northern Armenia and driving to Yerevan will take 4-5 hours. Highways are high standard, although sometimes can be narrow (1 line to each direction) due to mountainous land shaft.
By bus

You can reach Yerevan by bus from Tbilisi, fare costs 15 lari ($10US) and takes about 12 hours. More expensive is to take a 30 lari ($20 US) marshutka/minibus but it’s much faster at about 5 hours. Sometimes you can take a shared car from Tbilisi as well. Again, a bit more expensive than minibus, but faster and more comfortable. Bus service to Yerevan also is available in Istanbul, or many of the cities on the Black Sea coast of Turkey en route to Yerevan, with a detour through Georgia. In Yerevan some of the bus lines from Turkey are: Karbut Tour: +374-10-54-26-97 and Oz Aybaki +374-10-56-50-03.
On foot

The center of Yerevan is very compact and easy to get around by foot. Watch your step, however, as construction sites, potholes and aggressive drivers abound. Make sure to be careful especially while crossing the street. In Yerevan, Armenia (and many other places I am sure) the drivers may tend to be very distracted when driving and don’t pay attention to the road, especially to jaywalkers. Be aware, that there are recently introduced penalties for jaywalking and crossing the streets in non-designated areas, and once spotted by police, you will have to pay a fine of AMD 3000 ($9).
By metro

The metro system in Yerevan is quite reliable and relatively modern, having been built in the early 1980s. It is the quickest way around town, and at 100 dram (less than US$0.30), the cheapest aside from walking.
Today the metro operates as a single line, with a shuttle branch and covers 12km (7.5 miles), with trains running every five minutes from 6:30 a.m. till 11 p.m. Due to Yerevan’s uneven landscape, the metro in some cases goes above ground. Continuing the tradition of all ex-Soviet underground systems, most of the stations are exquisitely decorated, often blending Armenian national motifs with late-Soviet architecture.

By minibus

More than a hundred minibus (marshrutka, pronounced mar-shroot-kah) routes exist that criss-cross the city and travel to the suburbs and beyond (such as to Georgia or Karabagh). At 100 dram (US$0.33) a ride in Yerevan, they are a bargain. The minibuses are often overcrowded, and you may find yourself standing, crouched without a seat during rush hour. The route number is displayed prominently in the window, along with Armenian text listing the major landmarks and streets of the route. The Opera (ՕՊԵՐԱ) is an easy Armenian word to recognize on these signs, and is the main crossing point of many of the lines. When you want to get off, you should say “kangnek” or “ijnokh ka” for the driver to hear, or else, just say “stop” in English. The numbers of the minibuses are written on the bus stations though and the webpage of the tourist information has the whole list with destinations. Pay when leaving a minibus.
By bus or trolleybus

Yerevan has a few trolley lines and buses, operated by “Yergortrans.” The fare is very inexpensive (50 dram, nearly $0.15) and the vehicles are not too crowded. Pay when leaving a bus or trolley.
By taxi

Abundant throughout the city, a taxi ride anywhere downtown should not cost more than 1000 dram (US$3). Almost all taxis with company names on the sides have meters, and prices tend to be competitive among taxi companies. To flag an empty one down on the street, just hold your arm out and pat your hand in the air, if they’re free they’ll stop. Taxis without a logo on the side tend to charge more, and may to try to get more out of foreigners. To avoid being ripped off, either call a taxi from a big company or head for the most modern looking ones which usually have a meter. Make sure that the driver switches it on when you start and politely remind him to do so if he has “forgotten” it. If taxi has meter and the driver hasn’t turned it on, in most cases passenger can not pay for the trip. Carry some coins to prevent the drivers from telling you that they have no change on them. Standard price is a minimum of 500-600 Dram for the first 5 km and than 100 Dram for every further km. A car and driver can easily be rented for day trip outside of Yerevan, for as little as $20 plus gas. Beware of moonlighting “taxi” drivers at the airport who will try to charge you ridiculous amounts (20,000 dram or more) to get to the city. Finally never ever believe any taxidriver who wants to convince you that there is no bus or minivan to the destination you are heading to.
See

Erebuni Fortress – the excavations, recreations and museum of the nearly 3,000 year old fortress that established Yerevan. Fairly well (and maybe the best) preserved fortress of Urartian Period in Armenia.
Republic Square – Make sure to see the main square. Though it never took the planed shape of the Grand Square of a perfect city of Tamanyan, it still can be considered the finest example of Soviet era architecture as far as squares go. The early buildings (the Houses of Government, the Ministry of Communications, and the Marriott Hotel) are fine example of Neo-Classical architecture with Armenian hints. The buildings from later period (the Foreign Ministry, and Art Gallery) are Modernist imitations of previous ones.
Northern Avenue – impossible to miss, this pedestrian avenue was just opened in 2008 connecting Opera with Republic Square, the two hubs of central Yerevan. It’s a Post-Modern response to post-WWII Soviet Yerevan architecture. It is emerging as the shopping district, together with Sayat-Nova ave., Terian st., Tumanian st., and Abovian st.
Abovian street – It’s home to very few remaining Belle Époque period structures of Republican Armenia. Some gems of Art Nouveau, early Modern (constructivist and the like), and Moorish Revival style can be found in the backyards of Abovian, Nalbandian, and Hanrapetutian streets. Most often they are in a very poor condition due to neglect. Hanrapetutian st. might get a special attention if you are not time constrained.
The Opera – It’s the ‘soft’ center of the city. It is topped by the magnificent building of the Opera House. Again (unfortunately) the building is not finished: The ornaments are undone and the statues are not placed. The building is perhaps modeled after SemperOper of Dresden, however it is supposed to be double as beautiful as the Yerevan building is two sided: One side (entrance from the Theatrical/Freedom square) is home to Opera and Ballet Theatre, while the street side houses the Khachaturian Concert Hall.
Freedom (or Theatrical) Square is part of The Opera. North side of the square is the Opera House, followed by a park full of open air cafés on the West, from South it borders the Northern Avenue, and on the East the square slowly transforms into park with Swan Lake. The Swan Lake park ends with the controversial statue of the composer Arno Babajanyan, which already was majorly reshaped twice during the first year of its placement. The Swan Lake park usually hosts various open air art exhibitions.
Cascades, Sculpture Park and Cafesjian Museum – The Sculpture Park is a small green zone in the immediate North of The Opera. Sculptures from Botero and other artists of international fame decorate the Park. The park itself is part of Cafesjian Museum – the Armenian version of Guggenheim. The main part of the museum is in the Cascades – an Art Deco version of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon stretching nearly the height of the Empire State Building. It’s a massive white stairway up a hillside of central Yerevan, decorated with green stretches, fountains and waterfalls. Higher level of the Cascades give a spectacular view of Mount Ararat and panorama of central Yerevan with it’s hilariously multi-colour roofs. The first floor and the bookstore of the museum as well as the indoor escalators to the top of the Cascades are free of charge.
Mashtots avenue – It’s the eight-lane highway in the center of the city which somehow also accommodates a pedestrian zones on the sides (result of standard Soviet planning of main ‘Prospekts’). It is overly noisy because of the heavy traffic (mostly unorganised public transportation) but the parts close to The Opera is a favourite hangout place for the locals. There are 3 buildings on the avenue which are well worth attention – Matenadaran, Blue Mosque, and the Covered Market.
Matenadaran – Houses the worlds largest collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, and one of the largest such collections of any kind in the world. A display room has a sampling of some of the finest works, and the additional cost of the guided tour is worthwhile. The building is dug into the hill and can withstand a nuclear attack.
Blue Mosque – is an 18th century Shia Islamic Mosque, one of the extreme few surviving structures of once (before Soviet secularisation) prospering Muslim Community of Yerevan.
Covered Market – It’s an original building, a combination of Jungenstil and Beaux-Arts. It still houses a market of fresh, sun-dried and conserved produce.
Main Railway Station is a Neo-classical building, small scale version of Soviet skyscrapers such as Moscow State University or Warsaw Culture Palace, with a red-star-topped high spire serving as a symmetry axis. The Railway Station building dominates the David of Sasoun Square which has the statue of David of Sasoun (hero of the Armenian epic tale) as a centerpiece. The state itself is worth seeing (some would claim more than the building): It is the masterpiece of Kotchar – the mastermind of Cubism driven Dimentionalism movement in Armenia – a very dynamic Equestrian statue. The metro stop ‘Sasuntsi David’ opens into the square. Unfortunately, the square, the building and the statue are in a measly condition now, as the blockade-driven underusage of the railway left the place unattended.
Parks

Victory Park/Monument – Amusement park. Features a huge monument of Mother Armenia as well as some Soviet military equipment on display. Very nice view of the city center.
Lover’s Park – the oldest park of Yerevan. Recently renovated in tradition of Japanese landscaping with Armenian spirit. It often hosts open air art exhibitions and concerts. It is best reachable by metro, station ‘Marshal Baghramian’ – perhaps the most underused building and allegedly the best in Modernist style.
Children’s Park – This is yet another beautiful remnant of Soviet urban planning in Yerevan. The park, opened in 1937, is situated in a gorgeous canyon of Hrazdan river and features a Children’s railway. Though the park and the railway still function, most of the infrastructure is horribly deteriorated. On the other hand the deterioration gives the feeling of a ‘ghost park from a fairy tale’ even though it is always populated. In order to find it you will need a direction from a local.
The Singing Fountains – From early Spring to late Autumn each evening there is a fountain and light show in front of the Art Gallery at the Republic square. The program includes some classical favorites, as well as contemporary Jazz, Rock and Pop (US or Russian). Usually it spans from 10pm to 11pm. It is free of charge.
Museums

Parajanov Museum – The House-Museum of Sergei Parajanov, a famous Soviet film director. The museum is best known for special Parajanov collages and art that everybody loves and enjoys. It is equally highly appreciated by children, teenage and most demanding art critic. Many highest level official informal meetings are conducted here. The entrance is about 2 euros and the guided tours are offered for about 8 euro. It is a must to see!
Saryan Museum If you are a lover of bright colours and enjoy Expressionist Art then House Museum of Martiros Saryan is a place for you. It’s a 3 floor structure, built during the lifetime of the artist, as his house and house for his heritage after his life. So most of the Museum is designed by the artist himself. Address: Saryan 3, EVN002.
Cafesjian Museum of Modern Art is a museum of modern art, house to the collection of Gerard Cafesjian. It has Arshile Gorky, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall and other big names on display. The collection is very rich in Glass Art, has many pieces of Libenský-Brychtová couple, including special-made “For Armenia” series. A separate floor is devoted to Swarovski Chandelier collection.
The National Art Gallery – Located at Republic Square in the same building as the National History Museum. Features several floors full of mostly paintings, organized by their country of origin. The Armenian collection is the best and of very high quality, the Russian is quite good (Kandinsky, Serov, Chagall), and art lovers will enjoy the European collection as well.
The Armenian Genocide Memorial (Genocide Museum & Tsitsernakaberd Monument) – Located on a hill above the city center. A very austere monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Worth seeing. Tsitsernakaberd (meaning “Fortress of swallows”) is probably best reached by taxi. Genocide Museum is home to French artist Jean Jansem’s startling collection of paintings named Génocide.
The City Museum of Yerevan – presents all periods of the life in Yerevan starting from paleolithic settlements (50000 years) to modern days. Ancient maps and the pictures of the lost city, pre-Soviet Erivan, are of special interest.
Museum of Woodwork houses some artifacts of Armenian historical wood carving culture (doors, furniture and the like) as well as wood-based sculptures of modern day artists. Situated at the address Paronyan 2 (at a ring border of downtown).
Churches

Churches in Yerevan are open from early morning till very late evening. There is no entrance fee ever charged. If you manage to find the priest you can ask him to bless you and any object (of non-violent usage) that belongs to you (including friendship and other relationships).
Katoghike is The oldest surviving church of Yerevan. It is a tiny structure constructed in typical Armenian style. Currently, the area of Katoghike (also named St Holy Mother of God) church is under construction: It is planed that a white stone based St Anne Monastery will be built, of which Katoghike church will be only a minor part. On the crossroads of Sayat-Nova ave. and Abovian st.
St Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral was completed in 2001 to commemorate the 1700th anniversary of Armenia as a Christian nation. The holy relics of St Gregory the Armenian were given back to the Armenian Church by the Vatican in 2001 and placed in this cathedral. The building is a megalomaniac exaggeration of traditional Armenian Church Architecture. As opposed to all other churches in Yerevan (and Armenia) the Cathedral is full of light and does not carry any stand for candles. The candle-house is a separate structure next door. However, the complex is vastly and visibly unfinished. Not far from the Republic Square (visible from there).
St Sargis Vicarial Church is at the border of the city centre, on a picturesque gorge of Hrazdan River. From the Victory Bridge (or alternatively the Brandy Factory building) there is a beautiful view on the church and surroundings (structures of different shades constructed in immediate proximity to the church during the Soviet years of forced secularisation). The church is always crowded. Usually there are also many young people as St Sargis (or St Sergius in Western churches) is the patron saint of young people and of lovers.
St Astvatsatsin of Nork is the replica of a beautiful 18th century St Holy Mother of God (Sb Astvatsatsin in Armenian) church destroyed during the Soviet years of forced secularisation. Because of the sudden death of the benefactor the church complex was never finished. The most convenient way for reaching the church is using Yerevan funicular. The funicular itself is a special experience. However the church is not immediately next to the funicular stop so you may need some help of the locals at the end. The entrance to funicular is at the crossroad of Nalbandian and Charents streets. The church is in the Nork district of Yerevan – the sleeping quarter of rich.
Other

The Ararat Cognac Factory – The oldest factory in Armenia. Offers tours and tasting.
AquaWorld – a water park which is popular with the locals in the summers.
L’atelier Restaurant Salon Imperial Russian Antiques at the address Mashtots 37, near Opera.
Levon’s Amazing Underground World – see what happened when Levon set out to dig a potato storage cellar for his wife, you won’t be disappointed.
Do

For music fans, attend cheap and excellent performances at the Opera and/or the Chamber Music Orchestra. If a national dance group is performing, don’t miss it.
Spend a late night at a café in the Opera park. Station yourself by the sidewalk at Melody Café for some of the best people watching in Yerevan.
Chill out in Yerevan Green Belt. The most popular among the locals are the Paplavok Park (Mashtots ave.) and the Czerny Fountain Park (Sayat-Nova ave.)
Visit one of the themed restaurants in the Hrazdan Gorge to see the locals partying. The food does not tend to venture far from barbeque and crayfish, but it is usually good barbeque, and the prices range from very reasonable to the unreasonable. Check the prices on the hard liquor and wines before ordering a bottle if you’re price sensitive.
Climb the Cascades (or take the escalator) one evening for the great views of the city and Mt. Ararat, then head across the street to the amusement park inside Victory Park for some cotton candy and a ride on the ferris wheel.
A walk through the weekend Vernissage by Republic Square metro is a must. From car (and perhaps rocket) parts to rugs, souvenirs, instruments and paintings, this outdoor market seemingly has everything.
Catch a concert on the Cascades or the Lover’s Park , and an art exhibition at Swan Lake park or Lover’s Park.
Do not miss an evening with the Republic square Singing Fountains, 10-11p.m.
Ice-skate with many locals at the Swan Lake (next to the Opera House) during winter months.
Cool down in the WaterWorld
Medical Procedures – Yerevan offers some world class medical treatments for fraction of the usual price. The most common are heart surgeries, nose jobs, hair removal and laser eye surgery.
Events

Vardavar is the pagan holiday of water (currently a church holiday). It is a summertime movable feast that is mostly enjoyed by virtually everyone, grown and child alike: Litres of water is poured on everyone by everyone. Some parks have administered events.
Trndez is the pagan holiday of fire (currently a church holiday). It is observed on the February 13. Huge bonfire can be observed in each courtyard with people merrily singing around, youngsters jumping over and the like.
Yerevan Birthday is celebrated on the second Saturday of each October. That’s usually a huge event, with central Yerevan being pedestrian only: Many stages all over the city for theatrical or music (usually thematic – ethnic minorities, folk, jazz, rock, pop, classics and the like) performances with a culmination on Republic square.
Golden Apricot is a fairly well established international film festival, usually held in July. Armenians take pride in it.
ReAnimania is an emerging international animated film festival. It is held in Autumn.
Work

Diaspora Armenians may obtain a residency permit to live and work in Armenia without a problem. The 10 year visa/permit for $350 is the best deal. Non-Armenians should have an invitation, or establish a business to get a work/business visa. Volunteering in Armenia may be a suitable for those wanting the experience. Armenian Volunteer Corps can organize a volunteer placement and visa for you. For those of Ethnic Armenian Descent, there are programs such as Birthright Armenia , which will pay for your trip if you participate in their program. Tutoring in English is always an option for native English speakers. Demand to learn English, and practice English conversation is high.
Buy

Armenian brandy (locally called Cognac as well) is considered one of the world’s finest brandies and is accordingly a popular gift to take home for tourists. It was actually Winston Churchill’s brandy of choice. There are many stores within central Yerevan center devoted solely to brandy from the Ararat Cognac Factory; the airport is also a good place to stock up at duty free. As a rule, the more aged the brandy, the more refined the taste and the more expensive. But regardless the series of brandy, in Yerevan it will be an excellent value.
Armenian rugs, new and old are a favorite choice. New carpets can be purchased at the Mergeryan Rug Factory for a good price. More upscale is the international brand “Tufenkian Carpets”, with a shop on Tumanyan near Abovyan. Both will add your name or inscription request into an existing rug, or do a custom rug for you. There is no problem with exporting these. Old rugs are found in stores all over town, or in Vernissage. Be sure the seller obtains an export certificate from the ministry of culture for you – or you’re taking a chance that it may be confiscated. Negotiate to have the certificate delivered to you as part of the purchase price, and buy your rug a week before you go to give them time to obtain this certificate. New rugs do not require certification, but keep your factory certificate as proof that it is new.
More fragile, but maybe worth the effort are some of the more exotic jams and preserves made in Armenia. From walnut preserves, to “Sea Buckthorne” (Chichkhan), virtually everything that grows in Armenia is canned!
Currency

Dram (AMD) is a national currency of Armenia. As of July 2010:
1 USD = approx. 364 AMD
1 EUR = approx. 470 AMD
The rates can vary. Check for the most recent rates. When arriving in Zvartnots International Airport exchange only 20-30 USD for taxi or airport service as the exchange rate at the airport is always poor. Exchanges can be found all over the city, and do not charge a commission – count your money on the spot, though they tend to be patently honest. Banks tend to be the least convenient place to exchange, and tend to have the worst rates – exchange on the streets. Exchange rates on the streets are almost all quite competitive, so shopping around is only worthwhile for very large amounts. Stores and restaurants will frequently accept dollars in a pinch, though they prefer dram. Cash (in dram only) can be withdrawn from numerous ATM’s located in the city, but you may have to try several machines before getting money. Try local banks (like Ararat). HSBC ATM’s usually refuse to recognise non-Armenian cards. Though VISA and Master Card are accepted in many restaurants, supermarkets and shops in Yerevan, carry some cash. To withdraw dollars from your credit card, you can go into a bank.
Budget

‘Design cafe nice and lovely place, to eat and relax, signature interior, delicious food, perfect service, Internet cafe second hall, free Wi Fi high speed Internet. St. 42 Toumanyan, near Yerevan State Lingustic University. Lunch time discounts 15%. info@designcafe.am, +37410 531333
Lagonid is a Middle Eastern restaurant with sandwiches starting from $3. On Nalbandyan St. north of Sayat Nova.
Mer Tagh is a small lahmejun joint on Tumanyan, and their lahmejuns have a big following. Stands selling Armenian-style “pizzas” called “lamehjun” or “lahmajoun” are prevalent throughout Yerevan. This cheap snack consists of a thin layer of dough topped with an herb and meat paste. Tumanyan St. west of Abovyan.
Khingali, on Tumanyan next to Mer Tagh (above) has excellent khingali (dumplings) with meat or cheese filling. Either can be served boiled or fried. Tumanyan St. west of Abovyan.
Dona Bakery The underground Dona bakery located on Mesrop Mashtots avenue close to the Matenadaran offers delicious pastries, both European and Armenian. A good place to catch an inexpensive snack.
Jazve Cafe is also a wonderful pace to meet up with someone over a cup of coffee or just to have lunch, desert… anything for that matter! Its lunch and appetizer menu is absolutely outstanding. Watch out for its misspelling on the menu. Jazve’s wonderful costumers can correct it, but, sadly, they don’t get paid. There are plenty of these cafe’s across Yerevan.
Mid-range

Café Central a solid place for a meal, reminiscent of a Viennese café. Abovyan St., south of Moscovyan.
Old Yerevan (Hin Yerevan) has traditional foods, song, dance, and the décor will make you think Disney has come to town. Almost a must for any visitor. 2 Northern Ave.
Artbridge is a staple of the Yerevan eating scene. The food strong on breakfasts and lighter fare. Artbridge also has a nice selection of foreign language books and Western periodicals if you are desperate for some new reading material. Abovyan St. north of Tumanyan St.
Artashi Mot is considered by many to be the finest khorovats (BBQ) joint in Armenia. Judge for yourself, but not before trying the horti (beef) and sunki (mushroom) barbeques. They are both mouthwateringly delicious, when they have them. Other nice alternatives include the fish barbeque and the piti soup. Whichever barbeque you get, get some of the tomato sauce mix that Artash makes to put on your meat, or just to dip your bread into. On Manoogian St, right across from the National Cathedral’s candle prayer room.
L’Orange has great service and a good menu. 21 Tumanyan St.
There is a local company named ” CheeZLer ” that makes great cheesecakes. Cheesecakes are sold in most of the big supermarkets in the centre of Yerevan city. You can even order cheesecakes online only for 7.5 $ (per 1 kg cake).
Mer Gyugh An excellent restaurant in Yerevan to sample traditional Armenian cuisine is this restaurant, located on Sayat Nova Street not far from the Opera. The creatively decorated interior mimics an Armenian village in Lebanon. The chicken “Ararat” comes with a dried fruit pilav that is quite a treat! The restaurant often features traditional folk music in the evenings. Sayat Nova Ave., west of Terian.
Cactus Yerevan’s Mexican restaurant, located near the Opera off Mesrop Mashtots Avenue. The food is decent imitation Mexican with all the usual dishes–burritos, tacos, etc. The prices are a bit steep by Yerevan standards, but not that expensive for Western travelers. The décor gets an “A” for effort. 42 Mastots Ave.
Caucasus (Кавка́з), Sayat Nova. Extensive menu of caucasian dishes in 5 languages plus photos. Starter ~1000 AMD, main dish ~2500 AMD. You can order fish straight from the aquarium.
Latelier (Restaurant Salon) Mashtots 37 (Near Opera) ☎ 50-02-03,
Splurge

Dolmama – fusion Armenian-World cuisine. Excellent food, service and ambiance. The outdoor seating out back is a way to experience the old courtyards that filled central Yerevan in the past. 10 Pushkin Str.
The Club has some excellent Western Armenian dishes, including manti, su borek and the amazing midia dolma. The underground space is very hip, and the tea room, when not too smoky is a great place to sit on a bean back and chat. For a budget option, you can order one of their very filling thin crust pizzas, possibly the best in Yerevan, starting at $5. 40 Tumanyan St.
Mozarteum – opened in Spring 2008, this is an excellent addition to the Yerevan food scene with excellent Armenian and international cuisine, and great ambiance. Intersection of Sayat Nova and Byron St.
Al Leoni (on Tumanyan just west of Parpetsi) and Hotel Yerevan (on Abovyan) for some fine Italian dining.
Drink

Armenia itself is a place to drink, with no prohibition against drinking in public. Cafes, bars, restaurants, clubs and the countryside on a picnic are all popular places for vodka, the usual drink of choice, with wine, beer, champagne and brandy all popular as well. You can even drink in a car – as long as you’re not driving. Drivers cannot have a drop of alcohol in them, with Zero being the legal threshold – and the penalties for violating this are stiff.
Places for a drink

The most popular places to drink in the summer tend to be outdoor cafes and café/restaurants. The cafes by the Opera and Republic Square are always packed.
Bars such as Tro’s Pub(Saryan 5 St.),Rock Bar Parpetsi .are popular spots with visitors.
Popular nightclubs are mainly in the center, with longtime standby’s such as Atlantic, Relax, Astral and Club One usually full on the weekends.
Like mentioned before, “Jazve Cafe” is also a wonderful place to meet up with someone For a drink make sure to try is wonderful strawberry coffee as that is a drink like no other!
Drinks to try

Cognac – see the buy section above.
Homemade fruit vodkas – these are not flavored from fruit like most of the western vodkas, they are actually made from pure fruit. The most popular is the Tutti Oghi (Mulberry Vodka), but just as impressive if you can find them are the Cornelian Cherry (Hon), Pear, Apricot and Peach.
Wine – Areni grapes are only grown in Armenia, which is in the oldest grape and wine producing part of the world. Old Yerevan is the best brand.
Compote – if you can get it, this usually home made fruit juice is fantastic.
Tan – blended plain yogurt with water and a dash of salt, this drink is often an acquired taste, and very refreshing. It’s a healthy alternative to soda, so give it a try. You can sometimes find bottled fizzy tan, which is an even more acquired taste!
Night Clubs

In Yerevan there are plenty of Night Clubs, Pubs, Karaoke and Strip Clubs especially in downtown. Locals’ and tourists’ favourite night clubs are:
Bunker Club Sayat-Nova street
Opera Club the basement of the Opera building.
Kami Club Abovyan near Moscow cinema
Champs-Élysées Club on Northern Avenue
Ego Club on Kuryun street, Citadel Business Center Area
The Club on Tumanyan street
Tochka Club Opera Area
Stop Clup Moscovyan street
Tornado Club Brand-new huge club in Bangladesh area
Popular
Tro’s Pub Saryan 5 Street
Pub Red Bull Moscovyan street
Western Pub Tumanyan street
Wild West Pub Tumanyan street
Yerevan Night Life is famous for its Strip Clubs
Omega Club Teryan street
Pyramida Club Sayat-Nova street
Charlotte Club Baghramyan street
Dinoul Club Baghramyan strret
Cherry Club Leningradyan street
Safari Club Set of Clubs, Republic Square area and a brand-new club on Arshakunyats street
Favourite Karaoke Clubs are:
Mama-Mia Large set of Karaoke clubs
7Notes Sayat-Nova street
Iceberg Northern avenue
96 Club Sayat-Nova street
This is a brief list of famous clubs in Yerevan.
Sleep

Yerevan has a wide variety of accommodations but for the most part they are overpriced. If you’re staying for an extended period of time, rent an apartment. Check the AUA (American University of Armenia), locat travel agents (Menua tours, Hyur Service) or real estate brokers for rental listings.
Budget

It is almost impossible to sleep cheap in a hotel in Yerevan. Try home stays with Armenian families that rent out rooms. There are many of these places and they cost from $8 – $12 per night per person. Many are located in the center of Yerevan and if you can handle not having your own “space” they are a wonderful way to truly see Armenian hospitality up close. You can get a list of these home stays by contacting the Armenian Information Center .
Envoy Hostel (corner of Pushkin and Parpetsi).Centrally located, it is the only European standard hostel in Yerevan.This hostel is large and comfortable with a free internet/wifi access. All the rooms and common areas are air conditioned and spotless.The English speaking staff is very efficient and knowledgeable about traveling in Armenia and the region.They also run well organized tours to Armenia and Georgia . The accommodation costs normally 7000 AMD with breakfast and their tours are also with very good value for money.
Theatre Hostel A small and cozy hostel which provides cheap options in the town and is just 5 minutes walking distance from the main square of Yerevan. It is very clean, has many free facilities, such as wi-fi internet access, bicycle parking zone, etc. The prices start from 6500 AMD with light breakfast included.
Balcony Hostel Hovsep Emin 3/1, Arabkir district of Yerevan (Take the metro to Barekamutyun station (the last on) and from there walk down H.Hakobyan st till you get to a little hill. Up the hill and to the right, it) ☎ 00 374 10 26 44 49, (balcony.hostel@gmail.com) Price: 9000 for single room, 6000 for shared room with locker, 6500 for room with light breakfast, 7000 for full breakfast
GuestHouse a wonderful location at Mashtots 52. They are very kind and it is very clean. However, they are almost always full.
several homestays on Sayat Nova 5, Anahit Stepanyan, Price: About 15 USD per person (summer 2009), conditions from bad to average, one bathroom for sometimes 20 people.
Areg Hotel (near Sasuntsi David Square, south and not too far from downtown) Nice, small and clean, it’s the cheapest (real) hotel. Single: 50 USD – Double: 73 USD – Triple: 86 USD (Tax and breakfast included)
Penthouse Hotel & Hostel 5 Koryun Street, apt 33/2(”near Matenadaran, Medical University, Abovyan Street, the metro station Eritasardakan) It is an elegant duplex, clean, comfortable, with the amazing view of Biblical Mount Ararat. The rates are from 5000-5800 AMD (9-10,40 Euro), including Armenian/continental breakfast.
Mid-range

Ani Plaza
Ararat Hotel
Congress
Casa Delano??
Hotel Europe
Erebuni Hotel
Splurge

The main western standard hotels are the Marriott Hotel Armenia, located in Republic Square, Hotel Yerevan (Golden Tulip) on Abovyan, and the Congress Hotel, a short walk from Republic Square. The Congress is one step down in price but offers the same western feel as the Marriott, and has a large outdoor pool. The Golden Palace, which claims 5 stars, has recently opened (July 2005). It is at the top of the Cascade. Hotel Latar, far on the outskirts of the city is like another world – as are the prices. The massive circular pool is a sight to behold. The Hotel Ani and Bass Hotel are nice and offer more realistic prices for western style accommodations. The specialty niche has the Tufenkian Hotel which tries to give you western standards but be true to the Armenian culture. It is high up in the Nork district of Yerevan, and you will be lucky if your taxi can find it easily. Olympia Hotel is situated in one of the most prestigious parts of Yerevan. The outstanding view from your balcony (you’ll see Mountain Ararat, Mountain Aragats, Hrazdan valley and hear the sound of the waterfall just in front of you). Renovated and recently opened Erebuni Hotel is also a good choice in terms of price, location (next to Republic Square) and accommodations.
Armenia Marriott Hotel
Golden Palace Hotel
Golden Tulip Hotel Yerevan
Olympia Hotel
Tufenkian Avan Villa Yerevan
Read

Michael Arlen, ‘’Passage to Ararat’’, an autobiographical account of an American-Armenian’s first visit to Soviet Armenia.
Stay safe

Yerevan is generally safer than many western-European cities. Crime and street violence is almost non-existent here. Nevertheless, as in the most cities of its size, in crowded places and transport beware of pickpockets. The traffic can be quite rough, so pay close attention when crossing the street, especially in non designated area. There are about 3000 Dram (9 USD) fine for jaywalking.
Contact

Armenian Tourism Development Agency, 3 Nalbandyan Street, .
Mobile phone providers

There are three GSM service providers operating in Armenia. It is strongly advised to acquire a temporary prepaid SIM card as they are cheap and convenient, allowing both local and international calls, no charge for incoming calls and no monthly fee. Mobile internet and UTMS are also offered from all companies, as well as the normal full range of wireless services. VivaCell and Orange have booths offering free SIM-Cards to incomming visitors at the airport. They are also easiest to top-up (at pretty much any store or kisok in the country!) and have better English service, rates and coverage. Majority of foreign visitors find their unlocked mobile phones compatible with Armenian SIM cards (GSM 900/1800). GSM coverage maps of Armenia: .
VivaCell (Armenian, English, and Russian) is the leading GSM service provider in Armenia and offers quality service at reasonable rates (owned by the Russian giant MTS). They have the best coverage outside of Yerevan. VivaCell pre-paid SIM card (“ALO” card) costs AMD 1100-7000 (USD 3-20) depending on how much starting credit you want. At their flagship store off of Republic Square, VivaCell is very helpful to forgeiners and will make sure that you understand everything in English, French or Russian. They offer very low prices for international calls from your phone via a VoIP (be sure to dial 77 00+country code+the number, i.e.77001… for US or 770048… for Poland!), infact it is much cheaper per minute to call the US or Canada(13AMD/$0.03) or Russia(30AMD/$0.08) than it is to dail Armenian networks.
Beeline (Armenian and Russian) (formerly ArmenTel but have switched to the Russian brand) also have a pre-paid card. Note: this option may no longer be available to those without Armenian residency, although Russians and Ukrainians seem to be exempted.
Orange (Armenian and English) (The French multi-national is a newcommer, in the country since mid-2009) offers a pre-paid card called Let’s Talk with complicated but competitive rates. All networks in Armenia(35AMD/$0.09) lower rates may apply within the network or for night-time calls, US or Canada(15AMD/$0.04), Russia(30AMD/$0.08).
Embassies

This is not a full list.
Canada Amiryan 1, ☎ +374 91-401-238,
China Baghramyan 12, ☎ +374 10-560-663, fax: +374 10-545761, (http://am.chineseembassy.org/chn/)
Finland Tamanyan 6/14, ☎ +374 91-401-623,
France Grigor Lusavorich 8, ☎ +374 10-591-950, (http://ambafrance-am.org/)
Germany Tscharenz 29, (http://eriwan.diplo.de/)
Greece 6 Demirchian Str. 375002, ☎ +374 10-530-051, fax: +374 10-530-049, (http://www.greekembassy.am)
Italy Viale Italia 5, ☎ +374 10-542-335, (http://ambjerevan.esteri.it)
Poland Hanrapetutyan 44a, ☎ +374 91-426-885, (http://erewan.polemb.net/)
Romania Str. Barbusse, nr. 15, Cartierul Arabkir, ☎ +374 10-275-332,
Russia Grigor Lusavorich 13a, ☎ +374 10-567-197, (http://armenia.mid.ru/)
Slovakia Sayat-Nova 19, ☎ +374 10-532-553, (http://slovakconsulate.am)
United Kingdom Baghramyan 34, (http://ukinarmenia.fco.gov.uk/en)
United States 1 American Ave, ☎ +374 10-464-700, (http://yerevan.usembassy.gov/)
Day tours

There are many convenient day trips based from Yerevan, including a bunch better saved as overnight trips. Companies like Levon Travel and Menua. Envoy Tours , Sati and Hyur (among others) have signs around town advertising their pre-arranged tours.
Garni and Geghard are an absolute must, or people will not believe you’ve been to Armenia.
Zvartnots Cathedral ruins and Echmiadzin.
Saghmosavank and Hovhannavank monasteries overlooking the Kasagh River Canyon and the churches of Ashtarak.
Khor Virab Monastery, Noravank Monastery, Noravank Canyon and Areni Wine Country.
Lake Sevan, Sevanavank and Hayravank Monasteries, and Noratus Khachkar Cemetary.
Dilijan old town, Haghartsin and Goshavank Monasteries.
The Debed Canyon and the monasteries of Lori (UNESCO World Heritage sites of Haghpat and Sanahin, plus Odzun, Kobayr, Horomayri and Surp Grigori).
Public transportation

Buses and Minivans are the major means of transportation within the country. From Yerevan you can get to literally every place in Armenia within a day. To make things confusing for foreigners, there exists a confusing amount of different regional bus-stations in Yervan and especially the minivans tend to leave from hard to find places just somewhere at the side of the road. When heading into Yerevan, they are not unknown to drop you at random spots somewhere in the city, so ask the driver beforehand to drop you at a convenient place. The following is a incomplete list of the major bus- “stations”.
Central/Kilikia Bus Station

This is the biggest bus station in Yerevan. It is located to the south-west of the city center on Admiral Isakov Avenue, around one kilometer form the shuka at the end of Mashtots Avenue. To get there, take Minibuses 13 (from Barekamutsun Metro), 23 (from the Train Station) or 15, 68 and 75 (from Repuplic Square). The buses from here serve for example Sisian, Goris, Kapan, Gyumri and Vanadzor.
Northern Bus Station

This bus station lies around 5km north of the city center on the Yervan-Sevan Highway. It is worth visiting just for its soviet architecture and the desperate feeling the huge and empty building gives. To get there take bus 113 or Minibus 101 (both from somewhere on Komitas). Buses and Minivans from here go to for example Dillijan and Sevan.
By train

Trains are cheap but inconvenient and uncomfortable options, but for the adventurous they can be taken on the Yerevan-Lake Sevan, Yerevan-Gyumri, Vanadzor-Alaverdi-Tbilisi and Yerevan-Yevlakh routes.