Conference On Armenian Architecture In Brussels


REF: PR/04/05/011

Assembly of Armenians of Europe
Rue de Treves 10, 1050 Brussels
Tel: +32 2 647 08 01
Fax: +32 2 647 02 00


Brussels, 13/05/04 – On May 7th 2004 at the CIVA (Centre International
pour la Ville, l’Architecture et le paysage) in Brussels, the Assembly
of Armenians of Europe organized a conference dedicated to Armenian
Medieval Architecture. Mr. Bernard Coulie (orientalist, rector of the
Catholic University of Louvain,), Mr. Sarkis Shahinian (co-chairman
of the Swiss Armenian Association, researcher at the EFP, Zuirch) and
Mr. Patrick Donabedian (PhD in the history of fine arts and fellow
worker at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France) contributed to
the conference, to which architects, members of the cultural units
of the European Commission as well as students and professors were
invited. The idea behind inviting the latter group was to introduce
European specialists and academics to Armenian cultural heritage,
emphasize its role in world heritage and reveal the unknown traditions
of Armenian Architecture.

At the opening of the conference Mr. Bernard Coulie expressed his
condolences to the Belgian Armenian Community on the occasion
of the decease of Arbak Mkhitarian, famous Egyptologist,
armenologist-orientalist and active member of the Armenian community.

Mr. Bernard Coulie gave the audience insights into Armenian history,
culture and Christianity, which became the integral part of the
Armenian identity, while Mr. Sarkis Shahinian presented in detail the
architecture of Armenian Churches in the Middle Ages and revealed the
connection between the Armenian pagan and Medial Christian cultures,
as well as presented a glance to Modern Armenian architecture, in
particular the urbanism of Yerevan, capital of the Republic of Armenia.
Mr. Patrick Donabedian elaborated on the subject of ‘khatchkars’,
cross stones, in which the Armenian valley is abundant. This
conference came to highlight the fact that the majority of those
Armenian monuments concerned are in the territory of Turkey and are
in danger of disappearance. Moreover, none of the mentioned monuments
are under the protection of UNESCO.

The conference was followed by the photo exhibition on Armenia by
the French photographer Wojtek Buss. It was in Armenia that Wojtek
Buss discovered his vocation of photographer and some years later he
returned there in order to realize his dream. His book publish in Paris
in 1998 was entitled “Armenia, Splendour of a secret country”. His
wonderful photos of Armenian monasteries, churches and landscapes
bear witness to the love, mysticism and courage of Armenians.