Building the New but Preserving the Old

By: Erik Khzmalyan

Yerevan, the beautiful capital of Armenia is one of the oldest cities in the world. The city attracts tourists all over the world because of its rich museums, historical monuments and numerous places of interests. The vast part of the city is built with a stone called tufa, which gives the city a pinkish color. Architect Tamanyan truly gave us a city that we must feel responsible for. By saying responsible, I mean preserving anything that is so valuable such as the museums and monuments. Unfortunately, recently we witnessed some events that cannot have any justification.

Due to massive construction works going on in the city several important historic monuments were taken down. The list includes one of the symbols of Yerevan, the “Pak Shuka” (Yerevan’s Indoor Market). The Market had a history of several decades. It had been preserved and was known as one of the well-known places of our capital. Farmers around the country had their spot in the market where they sold Armenia’s sun kissed fruits, delicious food and much more. It was a great spot for locals, Diasporan Armenians and tourists. The fact that now only the ruins of this beautiful piece of architecture remain on Mashtots street, hurts most of us.  It is known that one of the oligarchs is responsible for this miserable decision as he plans to build a new “modern” supermarket instead. This is disrespectful, first of all, to Alexander Tamanyan. It is a great disrespect to people living in Yerevan. This act is simply a vandalism and illegality. It’s an exciting fact that Yerevan is getting modernized, but modernizing doesn’t mean destroying all the ancient monuments. During our history we blamed others for destroying our cross stones, churches, and other historic monuments and today, we witness how monuments are destroyed inside our country by our own people. Unfortunately, the Pak Shuka is not the only example.

We inherited so many architectural marvels that require our attention and care. It should be our sacred task to preserve everything that we inherited. Monuments, ancient buildings, and museums must be preserved and genuinely be given to coming generations. Those monuments indicate our history and show the architectural power of Armenia.

Photos by PanArmenian

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