The city of Abovyan is the largest one in the Kotayk region. With a motorway and railway running through the city, Abovyan connects the capital with the northeast part of the country. This is why Abovyan is sometimes referred to as the "northern gate" of Yerevan. The area of the city has been inhabited since ancient times. Until 1961 the city was called Elar. Then it was renamed in honor of Armenian prominent writer Khachatur Abovyan. It's gained city status since 1963.
During the excavations of 1960 led by historian Mesrop Smbatiants in the area of Abovyan the ruins of a 2nd-millennium BC Cyclopean fortress, a cuneiform inscription of Argishti I (VIII c. BC), an ancient cemetery and old shelters with several objects that represent the 3 stages of the Bronze Age were found. The excavations revealed that the area of present-day Abovyan was inhabited starting from the end of the 4th century BC.
During the ancient Kingdom of Armenia, the western area of Abovyan was part of the "Kotayk" canton of Ayrarat province while the eastern area was part of the "Mazaz" canton of the same province. Between the 5th and 7th centuries AD, the region was granted to Amatuni Armenian noble dynasty.
The village of Elar remained the largest settlement in the area until 1961. In 1963 by decision of the Soviet government, the town of Abovyan was founded, including the village of Elar and the surrounding areas. The town was built in 1962–1963 on a plateau located between Hrazdan and Azat rivers. It rapidly developed as an industrial center in the Armenian SSR. The town was planned to include 8 residential neighborhoods and an industrial district.
Abovyan has a cultural palace, a public library and a community creative center for children and teenagers. The town is also home to a museum which was opened in 1982 and is dedicated to the brotherhood and friendship between the Armenian and Russian nations. The recently renovated theatre of Abovyan has a regular schedule of theatrical shows. Here you can visit the house-museum of Armenian writer Khachatur Abovyan; who had a huge impact on Armenian literature and language.
There is a very beautiful church in Abovyan called Saint John (Hovhannes) the Baptist Church, which was funded by Armenian businessman Gagik Tsarukyan. The castle of Elar-Daran (3rd-1st millennium BC) and St. Stephen's Church are at the edge of the city.
The city has plenty of green areas, cozy streets, and low-rise buildings. To the north-west of the city is the Geghama mountain-chain; Hatis and Gutanasar mountains are in the north; Hrazdan Canyon stretches in the west.