To Restore Historical Monuments Preserving Their Initial Spirit

To Restore Historical Monuments Preserving Their Initial Spirit

Although Armenia occupies relatively small territory, there are about 26000 cultural and historical monuments located there. That is, about 1 square kilometer accounts for one historical monument, and this is a great opportunity for development of tourism in the region. The problem is that we do not take full advantage of this opportunity, since almost 80 percent of our historical heritage is in distress, in a dilapidated condition. And if something is being restored, then it is mainly the churches and mainly with private funds, but not the fortresses, caravanserais and other worldly buildings and structures. However, there are happy exceptions, as, for example, in the case of the cave fortress complex Zarni-Parni.

The cave fortress of the X century Zarni-Parni is helpless before the destructive power of the time. It would have remained just a name in the list of cultural and historical monuments, but then benefactor Ruben Mesropyan decided to restore it. A group of architects headed by Stepan Nalbandyan prepared the design of the fortress recovery. To date, the first lower fortress-cave of Zarni with an area of 605 square meters has been completely restored. In the cave you can see a museum with ancient household items of the Lori region from the personal collection of R. Mesropyan and ponds where water accumulates from the cliff. A recently built staircase leads to the upper cave Parni. This is a successful experience, which should become a good example of restoration and use of cultural and historical monuments. Stepan Nalbandyan is the vice-president of the Armenian Association of Architects in charge of historical monuments, and the Director of the Armenian branch of the international charity organization "Country and Culture". Within the framework of these two organizations, many restoration works are carried out annually, and mainly churches are being restored. This year the restoration works are pending for the following monuments: the 5th century one nave basilica church Saint Hripsime in Verishen village, Syunik province, Surb Astvacacin church (XVII century) in Lernadzor, Saint Hripsime in Srashen (XVII century) and a V century church in Mirak, Aragatsotn province. The monastery complex of Surb Hovhannes in Meghri has already been consecrated and hosts the believers. This year the restoration and improvement works have finally started in monastery complex Sanahin. It is already 8 years the restoration of the monastery-desert complex Tandzaparakh continues with the help of philanthropists and volunteers of the Armenian branch of the international charity organization “Country and Culture”. The desert is located in 5,5km from Bekh district of Kapan city. Stepan Nalbandyan noted that unfortunately there is very little restoration work implemented within the framework of state projects, and what is being done is often of poor quality and unsuitable for working on such a thin and fragile material. Meanwhile, these monuments are our visit cards in the world of tourism, and their competent restoration is one of the keys to the development of this industry.