Yerevan, the largest city of Armenia, became the capital in 1991with the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is Armenia's industrial, transportation, and cultural center. Educational and cultural facilities are rich in Yerevan. There are lots of students coming to Yerevan State University from around the Caucasus region. Besides universities and music schools there are museums, theatres, libraries and the largest repository of Armenian manuscripts Matenadaran Manuscripts Institute in Yerevan. There is also the Kaskad a huge, wide, stairwell-like structure dominating the side of a hill overlooking Yerevan with the view of Ararat. The layout of Yerevan was designed by Alexander Tamanyan in the 1920's. The heart of the city is Republic Square where the main streets intersect. The center remains pretty close to what Tamanyan had planned and the surrounding mostly consists of Soviet apartment blocks. There is a redevelopment process going on in the city, old buildings are being demolished and replaced with modern ones. The public transport is cheap and easy, with a large number of bus lines and Yertughayin Taxis, vans which drive along numbered routes. Locals in Yerevan have seen a sharp drop in living standards since the collapse of the USSR - like the rest of the republic, the problem is underpay and underemployment.
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