YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Celebrations marking the 2780th anniversary of Yerevan were held Saturday. The oldest residents of the city affirmed that they did not remember a similar large-scale and splendid festival and the expression of public enthusiasm since 1968–when the "Erebuni-Yerevan" festival was celebrated on the occasion of the 2750th anniversary of Yerevan.
The celebrations–which were arranged by the Yerevan Mayor’s Office–started in the morning and lasted until late at night. The number of participants was estimated at half of the city’s population. The festival was held at all squares–parks and streets of the city.
The main celebrations were held on the square near the "Erebuni" museum. A theatrical performance was staged depicting important events in Armenian history–from the founding of the fortress of Erebuni by Urartian King Argishti to the times of Mesrop Mashtots–the inventor of the Armenian alphabet. Popular singers and dancing troupes also performed.
Attending the celebrations were President Robert Kocharian–Speaker of the Parliament Khosrov Haroutiunian–Mayor of Yerevan Souren Abrahamian–government officials–members of Parliament–foreign ambassadors to Armenia–delegations from the Armenia various regions and foreign guests.
Festivals of flowers and harvest–sport events and performances of amateur troupes also took place throughout the city. Arts & crafts fairs–antique shows and exhibitions were also part of the celebrations.
A program called "We and the Old World," especially produced for children was also staged at Independence Square. A fire works display at the Republic Square capped off the festivities.
"Despite the difficulties in the country–people are smiling," President Kocharian told journalists during the celebrations on the occasion of the 2780th anniversary of Yerevan.
The president added that "we should have faith–hope and be in good spirits to overcome all difficulties and make the first step toward victory."
Kocharian told journalists that the festival was sponsored by businessmen-philanthropists and various humanitarian organizations in Yerevan. "All this is a nice gift to the city," the president said.
He stressed that the Armenian people should have and hold similar festivals. "Let’s consider the first step to have been taken," the president said.