Yerevan Is Our Native Town


By Melania Badalian
AZG Armenian Daily #035

On February 24, the building in Abovian Street was being
reconstructed. The building is an example of neo-classicism of the
early XX century. It is of great architectural and historical
value. The building formerly belonged to Gabriel Gabrielian one of the
wealthy people of the old Yerevan.

Abovian Street (formerly, Astafian) is one of the most famous streets
of Yerevan with its unique atmosphere. Each resident of Yerevan has a
cherished memory connected with this street. These afterglows of the
city’s dwellers are the integral part of the streets’ architectural
atmosphere, that form the documental and aesthetic value of our

A number of NGOs, Civic Initiative of Kond’s Preservation and the
citizens of Yerevan organized a protest action directed against the
authorities’ decision to reconstruct the building. “As a result of
economic development large scale urban construction processes are
taking place in the capital and the new plan of the city is being
elaborated. The city administration alienates the buildings that have
preserved architectural and historical value of the city’s center for
many years. While the new plan should first of all preserve the
history of the capital and transfer it to the future
generations. Neither the Yerevan city mayor, nor the chief architect
and the authors of the plan have rights to decide the fate of
Yerevan’s history. We all are the owners of the city and its fate and
history, we have inherited them and we are responsible for,” Sarhat
Petrossian, one of the action’s organizers said.

The abovementioned valuable building was excluded from the list of the
historical buildings of the city that was approved by the
government. But Yerevan doesn’t belong to the authorities and the
organizers of the action applied to RA prime minister. The latter gave
his consent to include the building in the list of the historical
monuments of the city and submitted the relevant document to the
Municipality. But just yesterday the edifice was being
reconstructed. This part of the city’s history is lost for us.

The edifice was excluded from the list of historical monuments when
the former architect was in power. The building wasn’t included in the
new list either and was sold to a Berberian. Devil-may-care behavior
of the building’s owner isn’t excluded. The initiators of the action
of protest try to draw the attention of the Yerevan City
Administration, the government, the Committee for the Monument’s
Preservation on their demand to include the edifice in the list of the
historical monuments, as in this case, it will necessary and
obligatory to preserve the front of the building, at least.

Architect, Mr. Gasparian, expressed bewilderment about the fact that
Yerevan’s historical plan is preserved by the government’s decree but,
at the same time, the same decree approved the list of the edifices
situated in such parts of the city for moving to another place. There
are 18 buildings in that list.

The initiators of the action applied to RA government with their
demands directed against Yerevan city administration. “We are against
the policy that the Yerevan city administration conducts. They deny
the historical past of our city. We demand that the issue of
historical monuments should be of special and primary importance in
the plan of the Yerevan city,” said the initiators of the action of

Sirekan Ohanian, head of the Department of Urban Construction and
Natural Resources at RA Government, received two of the action’s
initiators and informed them that 20 days ago the government received
a suggestion and in the course of February 24 sitting of government a
decision was made to include the edifice in the list of Yerevan’s
historical monuments.

Notwithstanding this decision, we were informed that the building is
being reconstructed still and that is why the action of protest will
continue in front of Yerevan Mayor’s Office.

P.S. The owner of the building called daily Azg yesterday night and
promised not to bring down the front of the building which is going to
turn into hotel.