Greens Union: Preserve The Orchards of Dalma – in Yerevan

The Greens Union of Armenia
Contact: Dr. Hakob Sanasarian,
President of The Greens Union
Address: Mamikoniants St. 47-13, Yerevan, Armenia.
Telephone: (374-2) 257 -634.
US Contact: Dr. Anne Shirinian, phone/fax (732) 462-9089
E-mail: [email protected]


Environmentalists from Armenia are asking from Armenian-American
organizations to appeal to the government of Armenia (through letters,
phone calls, etc.) for the preservation of the “Orchards of Dalma”,
situated in Yerevan.

In recent years, Yerevan’s Mayor’s Office has shown a consistent and a
clear posture in favor of building and developing the area occupied by
“The Orchards of Dalma” (The Orchards). This area, covering about 533
hectares, possesses undeniably great historic, cultural values and rare
natural resources (3000-year old water canals and underground tunnels,
rare plant species, such as rare species of grapevines, etc.). About 60
hectares out of 533 hectares have already been developed during the
Soviet period. A few years ago, The Greens had exposed former mayor
Bazeyan’s letter (01/18-2702N, 07.08.2000), addressed to the government,
offering “a scheme of functional zoning” of The Orchards. In this
letter-document, the Mayor was proposing to build a high-speed road
through The Orchards, also public areas occupying 25 hectares, two
housing complexes covering 70 hectares, a golf course – diplomatic club
occupying 50-60 hectares, etc. At the same time, with another
letter-document (02/18-110, 14.02.2003), the Mayor’s office has applied
to the Ministry of Nature Protection for permission to set aside 10
hectares of The Orchards. According to the letter, out of 10 hectares, 5
hectares will be used for the construction of a plant, which will be
manufacturing watch parts for a privately held Swiss company called
“Frank Muller Armenia”. Note that this plant will be producing toxic
waste-stream, for which there is no treatment plan reported or revealed
to the public. The architect’s letter claims that it is the wish of the
Swiss company to build its plant in The Orchards. ( According to our
sources, the major shareholder of this company is a Swiss citizen Vartan
Sermakesh. We would like to know if, indeed, Mr. Sermakesh has asked
for a building site in The Orchards, whether he has been informed of the
historic significance and of the natural values of The Orchards, and
whether he has been made aware of the availability of many other
industrial sites in other cities.)

Unfortunately, on March 27th, 2004, the prime minister signed Resolution
No. 1941-A, titled “About Changing Land Use and Borders of Lands In the
Preserve of Yerevan’s Orchards of Dalma”, thus opening this green and
unique area for development without any public discussions and without
putting this issue to a vote.

In addition, again, with no public discussion, and, in violation of
Armenian laws, the government has allocated (with unknown terms) a
portion of The Orchards to the territory of the US Embassy, which has
already begun construction on this site containing ancient archaeological

Also, for many decades, 1,800 growers have been leasing a portion of The
Orchards and producing native crops, fruits and vegetables, at the same
time keeping it green and productive, while feeding their families.
With the present scheme of “zoning” and “development”, there will be no
land left to be leased to the growers, meaning that these growers will
suffer significant financial losses.

We would like to preserve the natural treasures of The Orchards of Dalma
for the future generations. We would like to preserve its
archaeological, historical and cultural values.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress