Is it Possible to Save The Basilica of Yereruyk from Collapse?

Is it Possible to Save The Basilica of Yereruyk from Collapse?

Yereruyk, the dilapidated temple dated IV-VI centuries, located on the left bank of Akhuryan gorge, in Anipemza community of Shirak region, can be built up, in case of available financing. The temple is a huge basilica, which together with Anipemza settlement on March 16, 2016 was included in the list of the seven UNESCO monuments under the greatest threat of extinction in Europe in 2015. About a month ago, within the framework of an agreement signed between the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian National University of Architecture and Construction, a complex of design work was developed to strengthen the Yereruyk temple, the vaults of the mausoleum, restoration of the Anipemza House of Culture and the creation of a small museum.

Professor Emma Harutyunyan, PhD in Architecture, Associate Professor, Scientific Director of the Engineering Academy of Armenia, told us about the excavations and the temple.

“During numerous excavations in the Yereruyk temple, early Christian tombs and caves were discovered, including graves of infants. After excavations in 2011, archaeologist Patrick Tonapetyan said that this is somehow connected with the nature of the temple, since it is dedicated to John the Baptist, and according to people, he allowed unbaptized children to be buried there... Studying the results of previous excavations, I was amazed by the fact that the huge temple has practically no foundation, it is built on two rows of small stones, stacked on top of each other. In addition, the stairs of the temple, which are mostly typical of pagan temples such as the Garni temple, are not a pedestal here, but were built to give the temple more solemnity and grandeur…

The Yereruyk temple is now in an extremely dangerous state, we can say that it is on the verge of collapse, because over the years the temple has undergone some changes, the stones on the top of the walls have collapsed. Seismic calculations have shown that the most dangerous part, which is still on the verge of collapse, is the southwestern part of the temple. Here, the stone mortars will be treated with a special solution to strengthen the stone walls, some new stones must be added to the walls to give strength to this part of the temple, and special measures will be taken to strengthen the walls with basalt reinforcement bars… In the mausoleum, we plan to strengthen the vaults, add coverings to protect from atmospheric influences.

In Anipemza, a village near the Yereruyk temple, there is a small non-functioning house of culture. We have planned the reconstruction of this building in order to create a museum where the most valuable fragments of the temple will be exhibited. Unfortunately, Yereruyk has few visitors. If the project is implemented, it will contribute to the development of tourism. People would visit Yereruyk and Anipemza, will get acquainted with our history and culture.”