The “Post Stop” program’s new approach to solving the issues of preservation and promotion of historical and cultural heritage of Armenia has been implemented by the Ministry of ESCS of RA
There are thousands of officially registered historical and cultural monuments in the territory of Armenia that are in constant need of care and attention. These monuments represent the rich, multi-layered historical and cultural heritage of Armenia.
The study, preservation and enhancement of cultural heritage is extremely important both in the regional and global contexts. The preservation of historical and cultural monuments is an obligation towards the future generation as it is an indivisible part of the nation’s self-conception and identity, it has an important mission of introducing a nation’s centuries-long history and culture to the foreigners. Each person should realize their important role in the preservation of historical monuments.
Having all this in mind, the Ministry of ESCS of RA, in collaboration with the Ministry of High-Tech Industry of the Republic of Armenia, HayPost and the Union of Philatelists of Armenia, has decided to implement the “Post Stop” program, aimed at the preservation and promotion of historical and cultural monuments. The idea of the program belongs to the assistant of the former Deputy Minister of ESCS of RA, Mr. Hayk Mkrtchyan.
The mission of the program is to encourage the locals and the guests visiting Armenia to make their contribution to the efforts put for preserving historical and cultural heritage by purchasing stamps depicting monuments. It is not a coincidence that the slogan of the program is the following: “Buy postage stamps, save monuments!”.
Currently the postage stamps with the images of the following historical monuments are released: Yererouyk basilica (VI c.), Monastery of Marmashen (X-XI cent.) and Agarakadzor Bridge (XIII c.).
This initiative will contribute to the preservation and promotion of cultural heritage of Armenia. Moreover, along with these postage stamps, postcards, specifically related to these monuments, are also planned to be released.
The stamps can be purchased and dropped into the mailbox, installed around the monuments. Those will be collected and sent to the post office on the set date.
All received profit from the sale of postage stamps will be distributed on the conservation, restoration and promotion activities of historical and architectural monuments. The planned activities can include placement of informative panels regarding the monuments, installation of guiding signs in the nearest settlements and interstate highways, provision of sanitary-hygienic conditions at the monument sites, preparation of social advertisement, organisation of periodic volunteer works at the monument areas, etc.
The implementation of such initiative, which is an excellent example of raising public awareness of and participation in the preservation and enhancement of historical and cultural monuments, can become an important impetus for performing and developing creative and innovative ideas in the field of cultural heritage, as well as for establishing new models of the state-society-private sector trilateral cooperation.
Therefore, from now on, whenever you visit historical and cultural monuments in Armenia, you can buy these postage stamps from the nearest souvenir shop and in this way make your contribution to the important cause of the enhancement and preservation of Armenian cultural heritage.
On May 7, 2021, an event entitled “ROCHEMP Centre’s Results” was held at the National Gallery of Armenia, incorporating into its program the initiatives long-postponed due to the pandemic and the war.
The Director of the ROCHEMP Centre, Mrs. Ani Avagyan, expressed the Centre’s appreciation to the partners, partnering organisations and attendees. After the welcome speech, she introduced the results of the Centre’s establishment and the impact of implemented activities from November, 2019 to May, 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic and the war.
In his welcoming speech, the Deputy Minister of ESCS of RA, Mr. Ara Kzmalyan, emphasized the importance of the well-entrenched and successful collaboration in the sphere of cultural heritage enhancement, management and protection between the governments of the Republic of Armenia and Italy. He also stressed the relevance of continuing and broadening this collaboration in the areas of cultural heritage preservation, development of educational programs for the preparation of specialists and establishment of a unified monitoring system for the cultural heritage, kept at various institutions.
In his informative speech, the Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy in the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Giovanni Nicola Dionisi, mentioned about the central role that the ROCHEMP project has in the diplomatic relations of Armenia and Italy. He also stressed the willingness of the Italian government to continue the collaboration within the ROCHEMP project.
The Director of the National Gallery of Armenia, Ms. Marina Hakobyan, welcomed the fact that the ROCHEMP Centre is a branch of NGA and accentuated the importance of putting our joint efforts towards cultural heritage preservation. In multi-profile activities of the Centre, she particularly highlighted the translation activities of professional literature.
During the meeting, a presentation of the proceedings of the international conference “Cultural Heritage: Experiences & Perspectives in International Context” took place, and book exemplars were delivered to the conference participants.
Mrs. Gohar Hovakimyan, a staff member of the Center, presented the previous and present training programs for specialists, implemented in collaboration between Armenia and Italy. This presentation was followed by the delivering ceremony of attendance certificates of the “ROCHEMP 2020: Intensive Training Course for Cultural Heritage Experts”.
The coordinator of the ROCHEMP Centre, Ms. Gayane Babayan, introduced the results of the scientific and research, as well as translation activities already conducted. She informed the attendees that the Center has translated and will soon publish the guidebook, prepared by the E.C.C.O., titled “Competences for Access to the Conservation-Restoration Profession” (“Ամրակայում-վերականգնում մասնագիտության համար պահանջվող որակավորումներ” in Armenian). The publication is highly important for setting a professional evaluation system in developing training and educational programs in Armenia.
At the end of the event, the Centre’s future projects and priority areas of action were also discussed.
The event was attended by the chief representatives of the Centre’s partnering institutions, the participants of the ROCHEMP international conference, the participants of the ROCHEMP 2020 training course for cultural heritage experts, as well as professionals and students.
As a result of the program, 7 animation series in 2D format were launched, in which teenager cartoon characters visited the well-known and unknown monuments of Armenia: Gndevank, Aghjkaberd, Tanahat monastery, Mantashaberd, Jraharsi Varser, Selimi Caravanserai, Metsamor museum-reserve, and learnt about certain rules to be followed around those monuments. The animations are in Armenian and English, accompanied by sign-language interpretation. They are created with minimalistic but illustrative and colourful solutions. The animations aim to raise awareness about cultural heritage of the homeland within the communities from an early age, as well as to educate and arise their interest and respect toward historical and cultural heritage. The rules of integrity encourage young generation to keep the sites clean and undamaged, as well as to take care of the heritage that has been handed over to us. Now more than ever, it is important, to encourage to introduce, preserve and enhance rich heritage using such educational programs.
Since 1982, after getting the approval of the UNESCO 22th General Assembly, International Committee on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has been celebrating the 18th of April as the International Day of Monuments and Sites, encouraging to mark this day with special initiatives and events at the archaeological and monumental heritage sites. For years, ICOMOS has been suggesting the themes, considering a broader coverage of cultural heritage as the advice of the day. The theme for this year’s International Day of Monuments and Sites was “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures”. Thus, following the tradition and in accordance with the theme proposed for the 18th of April, ICOMOS/Armenia presented its program, titled “7 Wonders of Armenia” and dedicated to the 200th anniversary of the great Armenologist Ghevond Alishan. The program was implemented within the frames of the 2020 cycle of funding for projects, provided by the MESCS of RA. The presentation of the program was held on the 18th of April, 2021 at the National Museum-Institute of Architecture named after Alexander Tamanyan.
On February 11, 2021 was held the final online conference of the development cooperation “ROCHEMP-ARMENIA: CREATION OF A REGIONAL CENTER FOR MANAGEMENT, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT OF CULTURAL HERITAGE”, entitled “TAILORED APPROACHES IN TRAINING, CONSERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT FOR ARMENIAN CULTURAL HERITAGE”.
ROCHEMP Center is the result of a project developed by the University of Bologna and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia, with the support of AICS – Italian Agency for Development Cooperation. The Center is a “competence Center” working in five key programmatic areas: Management, Training, Regulations, Communication, Regional Hub.
The conference was aimed at presenting to a wider public the main goals, results and future perspectives of the activities of the ROCHEMP Regional Office for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection (ROCHEMP). Armenian and Italian field specialists, experts, who have contributed to the establishment of the project, have participated in the online conference, reporting on the work implemented for six programmatic actions (Action A, B, C, D, E, F).
The conference was held under the presidency of the professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, Marco Abbiati. The Deputy Technical Director of AICS- Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Leonardo Carmenati, Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, Ara Khzmalyan, Deputy Rector for International Relationship of University of Bologna, Alessandra Scagliarini, Head of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, Luigi Canetti gave welcoming speeches.
The main program of the conference was opened by the representative of AICS-Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Emilio Cabasino, who talked about the support that the Agency has provided to the ROCHEMP Project, highlighting the importance of their commitment in the continuation of the project.
The professor of the Department of History and Cultures of University of Bologna, ROCHEMP Project’s Armenian Cultural Expert with function of facilitator, Anna Sirinian presented to the conference participants centuries-old Armenian-Italian cooperation and cultural interactions, stressing the important role that University of Bologna has played in this respect.
The professor of the Department of Culture Heritage of University of Bologna, Luigi Tomassini in his speech talked about the relevance and originality of the Project, as well as presented the history of the development of “ROCHEMP-ARMENIA” Project.
The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Scientific Director of ROCHEMP Project, Mariangela Vandini and the Director of ROCHEMP Centre, Ani Avagyan presented the structure, the main areas of activities, mission and goals, as well as implemented work of the Project. At the end օf her presentation Ani Avagyan introduced the Proceedings of the ROCHEMP 2020 International Conference which has been published recently by the National Gallery of Armenia. The regional and international dimension of implemented initiatives and crucial projects carried out in collaboration with local institutions (MoESCS of RA, MFA of RA, NUACA) and with the representatives of international organisations (ICOM Armenia, ICOMOS Armenia, “My Armenia” Program of the Smithsonian Institutions), in particular the “COVID-19 Consequences Relief Program” were mentioned. The Director of the Centre encouraged everyone to read the detailed report on our website.
The research fellow of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, ROCHEMP Project Manager, Tania Chinni, the Secretary-Translator of ROCHEMP Centre, Gohar Hovakimyan and the research fellow of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Advisor in diagnostic and restoration of the ROCHEMP Project, Sara Fiorentino in their speech introduced the work carried out by ROCHEMP Centre for the implementation of Action B and Action D. In February-June, 2020 15 Armenian and international experts were trained by the professors of University of Bologna and Italian heritage professionals within the ROCHEMP Project’s Action B. For Action D, the research on the educational institutions preparing cultural heritage professionals in Armenia was conducted, as well as the assessment of needs and the comparative analysis of Armenian and Italian cases, based on which it was suggested to develop and integrate curriculum for architectural restorers and other profession related to the cultural heritage preservation which will correspond to the internationally accepted standards of education.
Another topic concerned Action C, the presenter Nanar Kalantaryan, who is the architect of ROCHEMP Centre, introduced the research conducted on the laws and regulations of cultural heritage sector of the Republic Armenia, which was realized within this component of the Project, as a result the main issues, omissions were determined, and a proposal for corresponding improvements was developed. The architect, the research fellow of Centre for Study and Documentation of Armenian Culture and the international expert of the ROCHEMP Project, Gaiane Casnati talked about the research methodology and the structure of a prepared report. The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna and the Scientific Manager for the architectural restoration Marco Pretelli presented the peculiarities of developing a quality design project for architectural heritage preservation and the research fellow and the Advisor for the architectural restoration, Alessia Zampini familiarized the participants with the handbook of bill quantities and a pricelist prepared for the design projects for monuments’ conservation and restoration in Armenia.
The next part of the conference was dedicated to the issues of Armenian heritage enhancement, particularly of the communication plan and tools of the ROCHEMP Project. The professor of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the Director of FrameLAb, and the Scientific Manager of the Cultural Heritage Enhancement of the ROCHEMP Project, Alessandro Iannucci talked about the symbolical mission of the ROCHEMP Centre as a communication link situated between European and Asian civilizations. The research fellow and adjunct of the Department of Cultural Heritage of University of Bologna, the expert advisor in communication and enhancement of cultural heritage of the ROCHEMP Project, Simone Zambruno presented the strategies and implemented work of the FrameLAb developed for the ROCHEMP Project’s digital communication. The coordinator of the ROCHEMP Center, Gayane Babayan introduced the visibility and activities for the promotion of the Center on different social media and the media campaigns developed for different projects.
The main part of the conference was concluded by the Director of the National Gallery of Armenia, Marina Hakobyan who highlighted the mission of the Centre and informed that after the completion of the main phase of the ROCHEMP Project the Centre will be supported by the Armenian side.
During the closing statement of the Chargé d’Affaires of the Italian Embassy of Armenia, Giovanni Nicolo Dionisi emphasized the important role that the ROCHEMP Project had in the Armenian-Italian cultural diplomatic relations and invited the respective sides to the special consultation meeting on fostering the activities of the Centre.
Despite the obstacles caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the war situation in Armenia, during its almost one-year operation, ROCHEMP Center managed to establish itself as a solid operational body and implement the set goals. The Center will present its new initiatives related to the issues of management, enhancement and protection of cultural heritage in the nearest future.
I. Background The 9 November tripartite statement/agreement by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the President of the Russian Federation, enacted a complete ceasefire and cessation of all hostilities in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh. However, while damage to cultural property in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh has been reported during the conflict, it is highly difficult, under current circumstances, to assess the whole situation regarding the state of protection of cultural property in all its forms. On 20 November 2020, invoking its mandate under the 1954 Hague Convention, and in particular its Article 23, the UNESCO Director-General has expressed readiness to set up an independent technical mission in order to assess the status of the most significant cultural property.
II. Declaration The Committee:
Noting the damages to cultural property in all its forms that have been reported during the conflict,
Reaffirming the universal dimension of cultural heritage, as a testimony of history inseparable from peoples’ identity, which the international community has the duty to protect and preserve for future generations, beyond the conflicts of the moment,
Recalling the provisions of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols (1954 and 1999), to both of which Armenia and Azerbaijan are Parties, and which are based on the conviction of the States Parties “that damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind, since each people makes its contribution to the culture of the world”,
Recalling also Security Council resolution 2347 (2017), which emphasizes that “the illegal destruction of cultural heritage, looting and smuggling of cultural property in the event of armed conflicts, including by terrorist groups, and attempts to deny historical roots and cultural diversity in this context, can fuel and exacerbate conflicts and impede post-conflict national reconciliation, thus undermining the security, stability, governance and social, economic and cultural development of affected States”,
Calls for the protection of cultural heritage in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh and for the prevention of future damage;
Appeals to all Parties involved to undertake all the immediate and necessary measures to prevent looting and protect cultural property in all its forms located in and around Nagorno-Karabakh;
Welcomes the UNESCO’s initiative, taken in conformity with Article 23 of the 1954 Hague Convention, to carry out as soon as possible an independent technical mission, with the agreement of all concerned Parties, with the aim of assessing the status of the cultural property in all its forms as a prerequisite for the effective protection of heritage;
Considers that such an assessment of status of the cultural property will contribute to establish a basis for progressive and comprehensive future rehabilitation and development actions to promote the return to civilian life in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in the field of cultural heritage;
Encourages UNESCO to continue its work with States Parties and other interested partners creating conditions for such an independent technical mission.
The Deputies of the Minister of ESCS of the Republic of Armenia, Arthur Martirosyan and Narine Khachatouryan received the delegation led by Undersecretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Manilo Di Stefano. From the Armenian side was also present the Director of the Regional Office for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection (ROCHEMP Centre), Ani Avagyan.
The meeting was focused on the continuation of the cooperation established between the governments of Armenia and Italy in frames of ROCHEMP Project, on the issues of the safety, preservation and protection of cultural heritage in the territory of the conflict zone in Artsakh, as well as on the questions related to fostering cooperation in the field of cultural heritage between Armenia and Italy.
The Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manilo Di Stefano noted that the government of Italy is committed to continue its support for ROCHEMP Project and through this Project contribute to the preservation of historical and cultural monuments. “Issues related to the cultural heritage are non-political, and Italy on this matter has no second agenda”, – added he.
The Deputy Minister of ESCS of RA, Arthur Martirosyan presented the issues concerning the preservation of historical and cultural monuments situated out of the territory of RA, as well as the inadmissibility of misrepresentation of Armenian cultural heritage stressing the potential assistance and role of Italy in this important process.
The Deputy Minister Narine Khachaturyan also represented the results of the activities of the Regional Office for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection. “The further activities of the Centre will make new opportunities for the preservation of historical and cultural monuments of Armenia, Artsakh and of the region”.
The Director of Regional Office for Cultural Heritage Enhancement, Management and Protection, Ani Avagyan, reflecting on the one-year activities of the Centre, expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of ESCS of RA, AICS – the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the University of Bologna for their support and cooperation in this important project.
“Despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and war the Centre has fully implemented its mandated tasks, creating a solid ground for its continuation”, – pointed out the Centre Director.
Can the need to preserve the rests of our history meet the needs of a community for its economic growth and development? The answer to this question seems almost obvious today, since numerous archaeological sites are extremely popular in tourist visits. However, tourism have also negative effects on cultural heritage and proper management cannot fail to question itself about these effects as well.
The webinar “Archaeological Heritage and Tourism”, organized by ICAHM / ICOMOS, to be held (information webinar), will address best strategies, local empowerment, community-based tourism, spirituality and the Covid-19 pandemic.
WEBINAR 2 – 15 November– Sustainable use and tourism The sustainable use of archaeological places is a key issue. While the protection of archaeological places and their value is of great importance, there is also the need to cooperate with local actors in developing sustainable strategies for the use of archaeological resources as a means to local sustainable development.
Among the many possible uses of these places, tourism is one of the activities that can have a more drastic impact in the management of heritage places, both positively and negatively.
You are invited to a Zoom meeting. When: Nov 15, 2020 12:00 PM Greenwich Mean Time
Europa Nostra has always insisted that defending cultural heritage is more than a cultural issue: it is also a peace and security issue. It is inseparable from the vital goal of defending our humanity and our planet as a whole. Cultural heritage does not belong to one nation, one country or one region alone: cultural heritage is part of our shared humanity and our shared history. Once lost, it is lost forever and for all. To preserve, share and transmit this heritage to the next generation is, therefore, a joint responsibility of us all: international organisations, governments, heritage professionals and civil society alike.