Culture 20:13 22/07/2016 Armenia

Armenian archaeological sites ‘awarded’ for being endangered and subjected to neglect

Armenian cultural heritage is closely linked to the European origins. Armenian architecture holds parallels with the Roman ones. Armenian cultural heritage has spread over larger territories over the centuries, and it is hard to perceive the Armenian cultural heritage out of a global perspective, Paolo Vitti, member of the Scientific Council of the 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe in 2016 by Europa Nostra told reporters at a press conference.

As he noted, cultural heritage represents people’s memory. “We want to preserve the memory of the humankind, that is a continuous process,” noted Mr. Vitti, adding the importance for the Armenian cultural heritage for Europe is invaluable.

To remind, archaeological site of Ererouyk and the village of Anipemza were included in the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe 2016 on March 16 during the Europa Nostra Competition. The Centre of Studies and Documentation of Armenian Culture in Italy (CSDCA) submitted the nomination for the inclusion into the list.

A group of international experts is on a visit to Armenia from July 20-23 to be hosted by Anipemza inhabitants to share their own homes for one day and help them understand their situation and stimulate exchanges of ideas. On 22 July an international conference/debate was organized in Yerevan with the participation of international experts from different countries and with the support of the Armenian Ministry of Culture.

Founder of the 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe 2016 by Europa Nostra Guy Clausse said the award is handed over not for the done work or previous achievements, but rather implies a message to activate and invigorate further efforts and safeguard the endangered sites.

Mr. Clausse noted that including the site on the list Europa Nostra seeks to promote the visibility of the archeological site through its programs, which may result in the restoration of the monument.
The organization cooperates with the European Investment Bank and joint restoration and preservation programs are designed, which implies a business plan.

Arev Samuelyan, Deputy Minister of Culture, present at the meeting, stressed that the village of Anipemza, built during the Soviet period and located jus a few hundreds metres away, was built for solving the residential problems of the employees of the nearby industrial complex. It had several residential houses, a school and other public buildings.

“That is an exemplary settlement and needs jobs. Anipemza has the potential to become a tourism destination. This program will breathe new life into the village,” Mrs. Samuelyan noted.

Ererouyk was once one of the most important centres of worship in the region. Despite some restoration works undertaken in the last two decades, the 6th century basilica remains highly endangered. The surrounding archaeological area is at risk of being lost before it can be comprehensively studied.

To note, Europa Nostra represents some 250 non-governmental organizations, 150 associate organizations and 1500 individual members from more than 42 countries who are committed to safeguarding Europe’s cultural heritage and landscapes. Armenia joined the organization in 2012

After the press conference, “Ererouyk and Anipemza: Recollections of the past, daily routine and dreams of the future” exhibition was opened.

The exhibition featured the monuments in the area as well as the people and places of Anipemza village to raise awareness on the difficult life of the local population.

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