Tag Archives: Yerevan

Standing Up for Their Rights: The Rise of #ElectricArmenia

The streets have been ringing with calls of miatsoum (Join us!) and alive with the excitement of the people who once again show hope in seeing a better future for days now. The hearts are beating, the eyes alight with a fire to see things change, and change for the good. This is no revolution, not in the sense that both Russian and Western media make it out to be. This is a call to those living in the country to stand up and show their own strength, for once feeling like they hold the power… and all of it done legally, peacefully, with heads held high and pride surging through their veins. The youth have awoken, this time coming to the streets better prepared to protest against a hike in electricity prices that essentially would make the poor even less likely to live a standard of life they are entitled to. As I see the crowds gathering in waves, waning during the peak times of day and the dead of night only to be bolstered with newcomers as the dawn breaks and dusk sets in, I hear myself singing a rather fitting song from Les Miserables:

Do you hear the people sing!
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

I most definitely am hearing the people sing, and dance as well! The unity among the people, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the MP and the waitress, the writer and the butcher – this is what Armenia is truly about. This is what #ElectricArmenia is about.

Armenians may divide among themselves, but as Gevorg Emin so aptly stated, when there is a threat, particularly from the outside, they will come together and fight alongside one another. In this case, the governing parties are not seen as one of the people; they are seen as enemies more so sometimes than Azerbaijan. While there are those uninformed who may call it an anti-Russian rally, or one which seems to take on the style of the Ukrainian revolution, the truth is that this is merely the local population grasping at an opportunity to make its voice heard, struggling for control over the way the people “elected” into power use the reigns given to them. After all, absolute power corrupts absolutely, they say. When the authorities begin to abuse their places, exploiting what is in their power for their own gains, or so it appears, those who initially dropped in their ballots will certainly rise to the occasion and remind said individuals that their power is truly not as absolute as they may think. In the meantime, they will certainly enjoy themselves to the maximum, including dancing Kochari in the middle of Baghramyan Street, sleeping on the hot asphalt, and playing chess while being cheered on by total strangers who feel suddenly like close family.

Raffi Suzy

Water Us and We Will Sprout and Grow

In response to the only show of violence seen throughout this protest, the 2.5 thousand became 10, and now we see ever increasing numbers on Baghramyan street, with new waves flowing in from Freedom Square. The diaspora stands in solidarity with those living in Armenia, raising its own voice to match the strength found in the boom that resonates throughout the country, beginning the hashtags of #ElectricYerevan, #ElectricGyumri, and #ElectricArmenia.

Of course, in response to the water cannons used to disperse the population camping out on the streets on June 23, those gathering on the 24th came in with their own precautions and entirely Armenian humour:

Setting the Record Straight

Ara

While we in Armenia know the truth, it appears that the police were indeed correct in stating that there are provocateurs among us in the crowds. These people include “journalists” spreading false propaganda:

Lilya

Russian media is abuzz with the false information being transmitted, not only by apparent Armenians who are only Armenian in name, but also Ukrainians and Russians themselves who are warping the stories to present the appearance of an Armenian Maidan, while Turks and Azeris are using the propaganda machine for their own interests, some even stating their stance of solidarity in the “fight against the Armenian government.”

Of course, there are images which have us amused to no end as well, as spread by Russian sources. Apparently our Dear Kanye West is a Western provocateur here to encourage unrest. I doubt I’ve ever seen anyone so happy to be arrested though!

Of course, no “revolution” would be complete without love blooming – whether we are talking about the sudden revolt in Vancouver when Canada lost a game or the love of comrades in Les Miserables, the love the spurs the fight against the English for Braveheart or any of the other love stories that have captured the hearts of freedom-loving individuals everywhere.

Strong images from the past few days include:

               Celebrating Birthdays While Protesting – © Narek Aleksanyan

This brings to mind another of Emin’s incredible works, the Dance of Sassoun. “As Sassoun danced, the world was enthralled; as Sassoun danced, the world understood that this is no dance, but a country’s history where even the losses count as prideful victory; where nothing can defeat this ancient people, who with their efforts and with their wills know how to dance…”

Պարեց Սասունն, ու ողջ աշխարը հիացավ,
Պարեց Սասունն, ու ողջ աշխարը հասկացավ,
Որ պար չէ սա, այլ մի երկրի քաջ պատմություն,
ՈՒր պարտությունն անգամ ունի հպարտություն,
Եվ չի հաղթի ոչինչ այն հին ժողովրդին,
Որ այս ջանքով,
ՈՒ այս կամքով
Պարել գիտի…
Հասկացան ու ասին ի լուր ողջ աշխարի,
-Հալալ է քեզ,
Սասուն, պարի…

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A World Beyond Yerevan

Countries are often known best by their capital cities, the epicenter of a region’s culture, economy and nightlife. When we think of France, Paris is first to spring to mind. For England, it’s London that makes the charts. For Lebanon, it is Beirut’s astonishing beauty we think of foremost. Thus, for Armenia, it is no surprise that the city embedded in the minds of those who know of the country’s existence is Yerevan. Yerevan, with its lovely cafes, the splendor of the city square, the roaring nightlife and beautiful Opera and Cascade, captures the hearts of many. The city is the Armenian Paris, beloved by both locals and foreigners alike, facing the majestic twin peaks of our Mount Ararat.

It appears as if Yerevan is the only city worth visiting in the homeland, however. Yet, with the European build and modern splendor of the capital attracting one’s attention, the true treasures of Armenia remain shrouded in mystery. The wealth that humbly bows to the artificial might of Yerevan is often overlooked. The multi-coloured duf stones used in the erection of Gyumri’s buildings go unseen, alongside the arching pillars and remnants of a once thriving city still reeling from a nearly 24 year old earthquake, struggling to pick up what has survived from the rubble.

The small towns dotting the country with their varied backgrounds and dialects are stones left unturned. Who would have known that many of those villages are in fact populated with the descendants of former Sasuntsis, survivors of the genocide of 1915? Fewer still would know that a passion for soccer drives the children around the country. The cave dwellings that were inhabited until nearly 50 years ago go unnoticed.

The horses of Artsakh, coveted by Azerbaijan, can be found in the wilds of the Syunik region of Armenia Proper as well. The liberated lands of the region known as Nagorno-Karabakh are as mountainous as the rest of Armenia, albeit with a richer natural diversity. Waterfalls pour into pools of crystal clear water, gurgling into the rivers crisscrossing to and fro. For a landlocked country simply a speck on a globe, Armenia has a rather astonishingly fertile landscape. Rumor has it that the waters of Jermuk can cure any ailment, a marketing heaven for attracting tourists year-round. The locals might feel an affront if their theories are not put the test at least once by every visitor to the region, however far-fetched they might appear to be.

Mount Ararat may be beyond our borders, but scaling Arakadz with its four peaks is a rather exhilarating challenge, rewarded by a hot plate of khash, the regional specialty. For the foolishly brave, a lake with temperatures that could freeze a cold blooded animal lies atop the mountain. The local Yezidi population, however, seems to have no problems in conquering the icy depths of this particular body of water. Climbing the Ughtasar Mountain would uncover ancient treasures in the form of petroglyphs depicting our ancestral history. Venturing into the Syunik province would also reveal one the oldest Stonehenge structures known to the world, a possible example of one of the oldest astrological observatory. An older version might have been discovered in what is today known as Turkey, dating back 11,000 yours at least.

One of the most breathtaking views of the land can be found from the Tatev Monastery, a world unto its own, protected by the steep slopes of our mountains and the deadly cliffs it overlooks. Within the embrace of the Artsakh province, tales of miracles and heroic figures are woven and heartily relayed at Kantsasar, the 13th century monastery that became a beacon of hope during the liberation war. Further into the region, one can find the excavation site of Dikranagerd, one of the four cities with its namesake. The road to this ancient city leads through towns built around the ruins of once incredibly engineered fortresses, with great walls extending over the mountains and deep into the valleys.

Yerevan may be the hub, often the only city most tourists see, but the astounding wealth of Armenia lies beyond those borders, within the true Armenia!

Father of Armenian Architectural Historiography

Toros Toramanian was born in 1864 in the town of Shabin-Karahisar, under the rule of the Ottoman Empire . He studied architecture in Constantinople and later in Paris, and then he worked on the detailed study of the remains of medieval Armenian architectural monuments. He would work in the field of architecture for 30 years.

During the early years of the 20th century, he helped unearth the ancient Zvartnots, working incessantly to recreate the original image of the structure. It became clear that it had been a round, 3 storied structure, built with traditional Armenian motifs.

Toramanian’s scientific work paved the way for the great scholar, Josef Strzygowski, who, after a long and detailed study of Christian architecture reached the conclusion that Armenian architecture had a significant role in the development of Byzantine and later of West European architecture. In 1920, during the Kemalist invasions of Armenia, Toramanian lost a great part of his scientific study.

He died in March 1, 1934 in Yerevan, buried on the banks of the Hrazdan river.

 

Toros Toramanian is considered “the father of Armenian architectural historiography.” Hovhannes Toumanian wrote about him- “A great Armenian architect has stood up to show all of Europe and all the world that the Armenian unique architecture has affected both her neighbors and distant lands, forcing the start of a new field of study on the merits of ‘Armenian Architecture’.”
Read more: http://nakhshkaryan.blogspot.com/2013/03/blog-post_701.html#ixzz2Nq3JPlLx

100 Armenian Legends- #1: Legend of the First City

The Legend of the First City

On the first cloudless day of the Flood, Noah the righteous Patriarch turned his gaze towards the sun and saw the slope of a mountain covered in pristine snow sparkling in the rays of the dawning sun. It was the top of Mount Ararat. Noah directed his ark towards the mountain and the giant vessel rested on the snowy peak. For one hundred and fifty days, there was nothing around but the endless vastness of ocean waves. Then the waters began to recede and land finally emerged below. One of the people travelling with Noah looked overboard and exclaimed:

“Yereva-and!” which means, “I see it there!”

Noah and his family descended from the mountain slopes walking across the rocks in the direction of the place that “could be seen there.” They came to witness a breathtakingly beautiful view – a green valley awash in the golden light of the sun, emerald-green grass swaying in anticipation of new life. The first thing that Noah did when he set foot onto that new fertile land was plant a grapevine.

Centuries passed and that picturesque valley at the foot of Mount Ararat became home to one of the most enchanting cities ever seen – Yerevan. A city born into the world before the great city of Rome. A city still blooming and fragrant, surrounded by the walls of Ararat like a beautiful maiden in her garden, guarded by giants.