How safe is Yerevan?

Artashes Aghajanyan, Lived in Yerevan for 27 years

Updated Mar 6, 2018


According to Crime Index by City 2018 Yerevan is about as safe as Bratislava, Dusseldorf, Luxembourg, Prague, Warsaw, Edinburgh and Hague. Armenia is a Christian nation and Yerevan feels very much like any European city (just better).

Yerevan can be called safe for both locals and tourists alike. Unlike many US cities, downtown (city center) is the safest neighborhood, but the suburbs are also very safe. Driving in Armenia has improved a LOT in recent years mostly due to a huge number of surveillance cameras and speed traps, and drivers actually do yield to pedestrians most of the time.

Unfortunately some crosswalks in the suburbs are positioned so badly that sometimes it’s virtually impossible for the drivers to yield safely, so please exercise more caution when crossing the streets in the suburbs.

Gun violence is very rare in Yerevan. In the 27 years that I’ve lived in Armenia I’ve never witnessed any. Of course that doesn’t mean that there’s no organized crime - there definitely is, but compared to other cities I’ve lived and visited as a tourist Yerevan always felt very safe.

Just like in any major city, you will occasionally see beggars on the streets but they are absolutely harmless. Nobody will say a bad word to you if you refuse to give money or ignore them.

One will only find overwhelming hospitality no matter where you go in Armenia. Locals like tourists not only because they bring money into the country but also because Armenians like to learn how other people live and they like to show how they live. Learn a few Armenian words, approach a random person on the street with these words and you’ll be taken care of. They’ll show you directions, give recommendations where to eat, what to see, they’ll tell you what they think about our president and may even invite you to a party if you’re cool.

That said, it’s still a good idea to exercise common sense when visiting a foreign country. Some tips to help avoid street drama:

If you are a female, don’t walk alone after midnight. It is NOT dangerous to do so, but if you’re walking alone at 3am somewhere in the suburbs chances are someone will approach you and try to hook you up.

If you speak a language locals are likely to understand(i.e. Russian or English) please don’t use swear words in public places. Swearing when children and women are present is considered a very bad manner in Armenia, and you may get yourself into trouble if you do so. Again, you won’t get killed, but it’s very likely that someone will politely ask you to shut up.

Don’t urinate on the streets, even if you’re very drunk and it’s very late. Unlike in many other cities, urinating on the street is very uncommon in Yerevan and it can offend people, especially if they are accompanied by children or women. They won’t kill you, but don’t be surprised if your direct ancestors are mentioned in a negative way.

In general, Armenians have this southern mentality and they usually don’t mind their own business. If you are doing something wrong you’ll know about it very soon. We also rely on immediate street justice much more than on law enforcement. Perhaps that’s the reason why it’s so safe in Yerevan?

Other than that, just be nice to people and they’ll be nice to you. Yerevan is a beautiful city and it’s very safe, so please do yourself a favor and buy your tickets!

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