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.
UNESCO International Conference “Cultural Policy, Policy for Culture: The Role of Culture in Post-2015 Development Agenda”, held in Armenia in 2015, adopted a Declaration, which in the strongest terms condemned cultural cleansing, barbaric destruction, violence, looting and other crimes committed against humanity’s cultural heritage and called upon the international․
Contribution of the Republic of Armenia to the consultations on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage as a violation of human rights, in particular cultural rights
The UN Human Rights Office of the Hight Commissionaire published a document, which states that the cultural heritage of national minorities in the Republic of Armenia is protected and preserved in accordance with appropriate legislation in force. According to the Constitution the citizens of Armenia who belong to national minorities have the right to preserve and develop their own customs, language, culture and religious liberties. These rights are reflected in a number of laws, which are being strengthened. The restoration of cultural heritage is implemented by means of financial resources allocated from the State Budget and from public-private partnerships. These resources are equally used to provide the restoration of both Armenian cultural heritage properties and ones belonging to national minorities.
The monuments of Armenian historical and cultural heritage have been a subject of intentional destruction throughout centuries during armed conflicts, as well as in time of peace. Along with human lives lost, cultural heritage is under ongoing attacks and under danger of destruction on both sides. Gross violation is done against the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
As opposed to the policy of Azerbaijan, the Muslim monuments in Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh are under Government protection, well preserved and restored and are never used for any other purposes. The authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have restored a 19th century mosque, the first Muslim monument to open as a tourist attraction in the entirely Christian-populated territory.
The monuments of Armenian heritage throughout the whole territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan have been either alienated (when falsely presented as “related to Caucasian Albania/Arran/Aghvank”) or destroyed.
This December will mark the 15th anniversary of the most recent and notorious of the acts of cultural vandalism committed in Nakhijevan. Several thousands of giant engraved cross-stones and tombstones of the medieval Armenian cemetery of Old Jugha in Nakhijevan were bulldozed by the Azerbaijani army during peacetime. There is ample evidence, including photos and videos, showing the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage. In total 89 medieval churches, 5.840 ornate cross-stones and 22,000 historical tombstones were demolished only in Nakhijevan between 1997 and 2006.
The 16th General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) adopted in October 2008 a resolution expressing the international community’s concern with regard to these acts of vandalism and regretfully stating: “this heritage that once enjoyed its worthy place among the treasures of the world’s heritage can no longer be transmitted today to future generations.”
Deliberate destruction of cultural heritage sites amounts to war crimes. The history shows that any form of intolerance towards the values of civilization belonging to others, intentionally damaging or destroying cultural or religious heritage, must be condemned with strong determination in order to protect the heritage. By keeping silence, we are paving the way to the new cultural atrocities to be committed in the different parts of the world.
Museums and collections located in the zone of current fire are under huge risk of destruction. Museum professionals are committed to promote and to call the international and national societies to protect and preserve cultural heritage that is a mean to achieve a global well-being. The international Council of Museums – ICOM promotes the idea of museums and culture being for peace, mutual understanding and protecting human memory.
ABOUT THE BOOK
This book is addressed to those readers and visitors who want to know better the ancient heritage of Armenia and aims to highlight the archaeological, architectural, art historical, cultural and historical significant value of the Ererouyk complex and its peculiarities, as well as to the greatest extent elucidate the reason for the establishment of this complex in a place which today is in a miserable and isolated state. The current publication also attempts to make comprehensible the factors by which is conditioned the development and preservation of the complex, comprised of totally different structures dating from the ancient times to the end of the Middle Ages. For that reason, two sources of information were used in this book: the first is the accumulated knowledge about this site during the twentieth century and at the turn of twenty-first century, the second are the results of the research conducted by the Armenian-French expedition of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia and Shirak Geological Museum in collaboration with the Aix-Marseille University (France). Finally, this book succinctly presents a new program of the enhancement which is a proposal for fostering the touristic potential not only of the Ererouyk site but also for learning about, adjacent to the complex, the modern architectural heritage of the village of Anipemza.
REGARDING THE EREROUYK AND ANIPEMZA PROJECTS: TOWARD A NEW CENTRE OF THE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
From 2010 the complex which includes the remains of Ererouyk and the village of Anipemza was the objective of several significant projects of the preservation and enhancement, oriented not only toward the issues of national heritage, but also toward the development of tourism and economy, pursuing a specific mission – improving living conditions of the local population.
The first phase was initiated by the Ministry of Culture of Armenia in 2012 with the support of foreign partners the Laboratory of Medieval and Modern Archaeology in the Mediterranean (Aix-en-Provence) and Center of Studies and Documentation of Armenian Culture (Milan-Venice). Due to the efforts of the Ministry, the Armenian government approved the program of the site’s managing and improvement of the road accessibility. The Ministry has also started an action for including Ererouyk in the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
The second phase was in 2015, again with the support of the Laboratory of Medieval and Modern Archaeology in the Mediterranean and the Polytechnic University of Milan, was initiated the research, preservation and tourism importance project by Gaiane Casnati, the architect of the Centre of Studies and Documentation of Armenian Culture. In 2016 Europa Nostra Association and European Investment Bank Institution classified Ererouyk-Anipemza complex in the list of “Seven most endangered sites”. This classification became a starting point for launching a funding campaign for a program that included the creation of a group of the international experts (including the author of these lines) and initiation of a funding campaign for making the project into reality. Two university and scholarly institutions – the Polytechnic University of Milan and the Laboratory of Medieval and Modern Archaeology in the Mediterranean have joined the project.
The goals of the project are: a) to deepen the study of archaeological remains; b) to ensure the protection of destroyed monuments with conservation of their some extremely endangered parts; c) to create conditions for good preservation and presentation of rich collection of stones nowadays dispersed on the site; d) to promote the site’s managing by supporting Armenian government in the processing of the enhancement program; e) to establish a regional center for tourism with the active involvement of a local population in the village of Anipemza. Such a project definitely seems ambitious and its implementation can occur only in phases. However, if it receives a stable support of Armenian authorities and this way arouses interest of local, national and international players, its implementation in average time frame seems quite possible.
With respect to this last point, it is proposed to restore some of 1920s-30s significant buildings of Anipemza and to place several exhibition spaces there. In one of them can be displayed the collection of sculptured stones – this would allow to represent the history of the architectural complex and at the same time of the early Christian architecture, of its decoration and cross-bearing stele. Another exhibition hall through the documentation and photographs would present the public the life of the village in the Soviet period. The creation of this kind of center would become an important factor for the stimulation of the economy of Anipemza and its surrounding.
For a long-term perspective, in case of favorable political conditions, it is planned to give this center a cross-border significance, making Anipemza an important place for international tourism which would open a door for the exploration of the ancient, medieval and new periods rich heritage of Shirak on two sides of the Armenian-Turkish border. Along with Ani, it can become a cross-border archaeological park, the creation of which would correspond to the endeavors of the scholars, and among them first of all of Adriano Alpago Novello, who have already dreamed about it for a half century.
The inclusion of these two sites in the UNESCO World Heritage List: the city of Ani (obtained on 15th of July, 2016 by the efforts of Turkish authorities) and Ererouyk (listed in the “Tentative list”) should facilitate the implementation of such a project. The current publication is intended to contribute to the fulfillment of these aims.
The Government of the Republic of Armenia approved Order # 1919 on the 21st of May, 2020. It states the support to the project of conservation of a unique early Christian site Yereruik located on the North-West of Armenia right on the border between Armenian and Turkey, next to the Anipemza settlement.
In this first phase of the project the National University Of Architecture
And Construction Of Armenia (NUACA ) in partnership with the experts from Milan Polytechnic, Bologna University and ROCHEMP Center will prepare the conservation project for the 5th -6th cc. Yereruik Basilica and the vault, a project of establishment of a museum in the house of culture of Anipemsa will be developed as well.
For this reason on September 16th, 2020 the experts of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia with the staff members of ROCHEMP regional office for cultural heritage Conservation, Management and Protection have conducted a survey. The architect restorers Dr. Emma Harutyunyan and Nanar Kalantaryan implemented observations of disorders of the remains of Basilica, recorded the humidity level in the stone of the walls, took endoscopic measures using as their expertise, so new technological means.
The map of signage around the site, information panels, walking paths and all required arrangement for the visitors was drown.
The results of the survey will be used for the preparation of the Conservation project of the Yereruyk site.
In 2016, the archaeological site of Yereruyk and the near village of Anipemz have been inserted in the prestigious list of the 7 MOST ENDANGERED sites of Europe thanks to the nomination submitted by the Centro Studi e Documentazione della Cultura Armena (CSDCA).
Yereruyk is the historical site chosen by the scientific board of the ROCHEMP Center as the main site for the training on job of the Training for Cultural Heritage experts.
For more information please visit; http://www.rochemp.org/2020/05/25/webinar-on-ereruyk-a-major-archaeological-site-high-place-of-christian-armenia/
Follow our Blog for further development on this topic.
During the talk Ani Avagyan presented the vision, mission and current activities of the ROCHEMP’s Center, as well as discussed relevant issues, challenges in this field and possible solutions for the development and regulation of the field of cultural heritage protection and restoration.
For the podcast follow the link below: https://www.evnreport.com/podcasts/preserving-the-cultural-heritage-of-armenia?fbclid=IwAR1DB25aUO0JCcXm0jeO10Ra5c5U71bxqIBu56-MYmCNy3dZKlwvGQWO4Lc
The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, in collaboration with ICOM Armenia and ROCHEMP Center, has conducted the assessment of needs of museums and museum-reserves based on it, in frames of USAID “My Armenia” initiative, was developed the COVID-19’s impacts relief program. In the first phase of the initiative “My Armenia” program provided 36 museums and reserve-museums of Shirak, Lori, Tavush, Vayots Dzor and Syunik regions of the Republic of Armenia with the technical equipment, hygiene and safety kits, printed posters with guidelines introducing the visiting rules during the pandemic.
The first event of the program’s donation took place at the Khachatur Abovyan’s house-museum to which participated the Deputy of the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia, Narine Khachaturyan. She congratulated the representatives of museums and museum-reserves on the occasion of museums reopening after a long interruption and talked about the importance of joint programs: “I am grateful to the organizers that made every effort to implement this program. This approach and collaboration are extremely important. The provided material and technical support which is also important from the healthcare’s point of view, will contribute to the effective organisation of work at the reopened museums, – said N.Khachaturyan, expressing hope that museums will not have lack of visitors.
The program manager of USAID “My Armenia” program, Sisak Mkhitaryan stressed that with this initiative they aim to help museums to deal with the problems and challenges posed by COVID-19: “With this support museums will be able to create conditions for their employees and visitors, work more productively, continuing their extremely important and valuable activities’’, – he said, thanking all participants of the project.
The choice of regions which have received support in the first phase of the program is conditioned by the geography of “My Armenia” program, the initiative will be of a continuing nature.
SERIE ORIENTALE ROMA n.s. 19
(Scienze e Lettere 2020)
by Roberto Dan
This volume by Roberto Dan is the second he has written in the Serie Orientale Roma N.S. The first study (From the Armenian Highland to Iran A Study on the Relations between the Kingdom of Urartu and the Achaemenid Empire, S.O.R. 4, 2015) focused on a systematic analysis of complex matters such as the “direct” and “indirect” relations between the state of Urartu and the Achaemenid Empire, with a special focus on the so-called “Median transition,” a work that was aimed at historians, archaeologists and art historians. This second volume is devoted to a study of Urartian toponomastics based on the publication of the Corpus dei Testi Urartei by Mirjo Salvini (five volumes, 2008-2018). It is jointly published by ISMEO and the Dipartimento di scienze umanistiche, della comunicazione e del turismo of the Tuscia University, Viterbo. Part of the research has been conducted within the framework of a Research Fellows Program (“Urartu and the Achaemenids: archaeological and textual comparisons”) at DISUCOM, Tuscia University, PRIN Project “Territorio, ideologia, società: il continuum culturale in Iran dalla tarda età del ferro allo stato achemenide (ricerche archeologiche ed epigrafiche),” directed by Prof. Ela Filippone (2015RMKAFR_002). In the volume, Roberto Dan has addressed the study of Urartian toponyms in a complete way for the first time since 1985, the year in which Nikolay Harutjunjan published his fundamental (now of course somewhat dated) monograph on this topic. The publication of this important work, which certainly constitutes considerable progress in Urartian studies, testifies to ISMEO’s commitment to become heir and developer of the “Urar?u Project” started years ago by Mirjo Salvini that has produced fundamental contributions to the discipline. This commitment is manifested not only by scientific publications in the field, but above all by the three archaeological projects carried out in coollaboration with local scholars and institutions by R. Dan in the Southern Caucasus, Armenia (Kotayk Survey Project, Vayots Dzor Project) and Georgia (Samtskhe-Javakheti Project), that in 2018 saw the creation of a single label under which all these activities related to the same cultural area are grouped, the Archaeological Mission to South Caucasus – ISMEO (AMSC – ISMEO). This incessant field activity is reflected in the pages of this work, in the depth that can be offered by a scholar familiar not only with I parte – intro + preface LoghiLinea_Layout 1 14/07/2020 09:13 Pagina VII the archaeology, history and history of art, but also with the philology of Urar?u and Assyria. The book is divided into a series of sections whose main part is dedicated to the detailed analysis of every single toponym known in the Urartian documentation. These toponyms, considerably more numerous than in previous publications, have been subdivided on the basis of the determinative that precedes the name into categories such as rivers, mountains, countries, tribes and towns. A series of useful appendices enrich the volume, including the first systematic comparison between Urartian and Assyrian toponyms, a summary of the places that can be identified with modern locations, all the known geographical coordinates of inscriptions and the reconstruction, where possible, of the places of origin of erratic inscriptions. To conclude, this work is a welcome addition not only for those directly interested in the civilization of Urar?u, but for all scholars involved in the study of Assyria and the other actors in the complex political scenario that characterized the 1st millennium BC in Mesopotamia and in the mountainous lands located south of the Greater Caucasus chain.
ADRIANO V. ROSSI
President of ISMEO
Foreword by Adriano V. Rossi
Preface by Gernot Wilhelm
Marie-Claude Trémouille, The Geography of the Kingdom of Bia/Urartu
“Lands,” “Mountains” (KUR) Fragmentary and Acephalous
“Lands,” “Mountains” (KUR)
“Tribes” (M) Fragmentary
“Tribes” (M) and Cities with Royal Names
“Towns” (URU) Fragmentary
Theophore Toponyms (DINGIR)
Toponyms Without Determinatives
1. Chronological Table with Synchronisms between Assyrian and Urartian Kings
2. Urartian Toponyms Identified with Modern Places
3. List of Urartian Toponyms with a Certain or Possible Correspondence with Assyrian Toponyms
4. Locations of Urartian Inscriptions
5. Reconstruction of the Original Locations of Erratic Urartian Inscriptions and General List of Cited Toponyms
List of General Abbreviations
List of Bibliographical Abbreviations
“Imagine a classroom where, by wearing special VR glasses, pupils appear in some historical period, see it in digital reconstruction all its glory, with fortresses and palaces, temples and cities…”, presents attracting aspects of his profession architect-3D reconstructor Ruben Sargsyan, believing that every child who studied in such conditions would go to school with utmost pleasure.
Ruben compares his profession with an intensive care unit of the hospital. “Of course, the reconstruction institute as such is just being formed in Armenia but in the 21st century complementing history with just a text is not enough. As people say, it is better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times”, he substantiates his point of view.
Ruben is a research fellow and a graduate student at the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia. He was born in the family of architects and has applied to the Faculty of Design since his parents insisted that it is a high demand and more suitable profession. Nonetheless, during his years of study his insatiable love and interest in architecture and history always stimulated him to study and learn about these fields on his own. Later, using an opportunity, he has passed examinations on his beloved subjects and has become a graduate student at the Chair of the Theory, Restoration and Reconstruction of Architecture — already implementing in practice all the knowledge and skills that he has obtained in the field.
“Unlike to a restorer, a reconstructor gets a final form of a given structure by 3D modelling. For example, there is a structure of which only foundations are remained, and you do not have enough material for its restoration but by a reconstruction, based on the facts you have, you can get almost its precise image”, explains Ruben, noting that one of his works has been printed in Artak Movsisyan’s book “Ararat-Urartu”. It is his first professional achievement.
Today Ruben also practices his profession at the “Erebuni” historical and archaeological museum-reserve. He tells that he has met the present director of the museum Mikael Badalyan by accident during the archaeological excavations at the Odzaberd fortress archaeological site and common interests have stimulated future collaboration. “Working at the “Erebuni” museum is one of my achievements. Although the field of academia is underpaid but it does not restrict you from loving your work. I come home every day with a smile because I made something good today, got one step closer to my final goal “, Ruben says excitedly.
Soon will be published a book of 3D modelled projects of the young scholar, as well as together with the museum’s administration they intend to make 3D modelled exhibit related to the Kingdom of Van. It is not important how much you are paid what is more important how much you believe in what you are doing – this idea drives the hero of our story. “One day it happened so that I wanted to guide pupils visiting the museum to the fortress although my work is not related to the guides’ department. I was wearing the Urartian period soldier’s outfit reconstructed by my friend. Together with children we went to ‘conquer’ Argishti’s fortress. Children’s excitement was so great that I was no less excited”, says joyfully Ruben ‘the soldier’. In his opinion, presentation of Armenia to tourists should start from the Erebuni. He proudly recalls that when he was in Italy as a tourist the guide referring to him affirmed that you cannot impress Armenians with ancient history.
Ruben’s research topic is the Kingdom of Van – providing clues for many issues related to that period by 3D modelling. His ancestors are from Van. They have settled in Yerevan in 1915 and from that time on they live in the city center at the Grigor Lusavorich avenue. Throughout the years the city has grown around their place, and today, using his professional skills, he is going to reconstruct ancient Van — his ancestors’ city. Our hero opens up about his deep-rooted love toward his profession: “As funny as it may seem the first seeds of my interest appeared after watching “The Mummy”, especially after that episode when the girl returns in her mind to the past and imagines the actual look of that place”.
Ruben also says that he has visited the “Erebuni” museum for the first time when he was 18 years old, on his birthday. “There was a book about the Erebuni at home, I went through its pages by chance and became curious instantly. After two months I was recruited to army and that time was enough for me to understand that architecture and history are those fields that I want to work in. And over the years, step by step I got to my place”, he says shifting from past to present.
Besides 3D modelling, Ruben has an amateur job, he reconstructs the garments of a king, a queen and a high priest dating to BCE 1st century. “My personal experience shows that when I do any work its application finds itself later. We have such a rich historical heritage that even if we have an army of reconstructors there would always be a work to be done and for good work investors are always found. It would be great if our motherland with its rich historical past had many architect-reconstructors”, concludes the young scholar.
Edited by Lala Badoyan
Many heritage treasures all over Europe are threatened due to a series of natural, human-related or climate change causes, particularly in these trying times.
Do you happen to know an important endangered heritage gem in Armenia – such as a historic monument or an ensemble of historic monuments, an archaeological site, a place of worship, an industrial complex, a historic park, a museum or a movable heritage asset? Then nominate it for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2021!
Launched in 2013, the 7 Most Endangered programme is a civil society campaign to save Europe’s endangered heritage. It raises awareness, prepares independent assessments, proposes recommendations for action and seeks to rally support to save the selected endangered sites. It does not guarantee direct funding but the listing of an endangered site often serves as a catalyst and incentive for mobilisation of the necessary public or private support, including funding.
The 7 Most Endangered programme is run by Europa Nostra – the European Voice of Civil Society committed to Cultural and Natural Heritage – in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute (EIB Institute). It also has the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
In the 2021 edition, for the first time since the launch of the programme, the selected 7 Most Endangered heritage sites will be eligible for an EIB Heritage Grant of up to 10,000 euros per site. The EIB Heritage Grant can be allocated to the eligible selected 7 Most Endangered sites as an assistance for an agreed activity aimed to ensure the saving of the threatened site.
You can nominate endangered heritage with the support of ROCHEMP and of the Centro Studi e Documentazione della Cultura Armena (CSDCA) or directly by joining the Europa Nostra network, as a member or associate organisation or as a new individual member.
|Let’s save Europe’s endangered heritage sites together!|
The deadline for submissions is 7 September 2020 (date of sending).
A webinar “How and why to nominate a site for the 7 Most Endangered 2021” will be held on 30th July 2020 at 19:00 Armenian time
The webinar is organised by the Europa Nostra secretariat and it will be in English. It will explain the background of the 7 Most Endangered Programme providing also practical information and tips on how to prepare and submit your nominations. Participants will have some time to ask questions at the end of the event.
The webinar is directed to potential nominators of 7 Most Endangered sites or to people interested in knowing more about the programme.
Interested participants are invited to register at this link by Tuesday 28 July 2020. Instructions on how to join the webinar will be emailed to registered participants one day prior to the webinar when registrations close.
You can read more here about the Call for Nominations.