Tasteless additions to Gandzazar monastery

July 15 2011 at 5:16 PM

...prove that the persons with the worst taste in the world are always rich "businessmen"!
Sona Avagyan

July 8, 2011

Hetq has been informed that the questionable tiling of the walls of
the Gandzasar Monastery in Artskah has been halted.

The re-facing of the medieval monastery's walls had stirred up a
hornet's nest of contention in Artsakh and Armenia.

The retiling had been the brainchild of Russian-Armenian businessman
Levon Hayrapetyan.

It appears that once Artsakh Primate Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan
had been informed of what was happening, he immediately returned to
Gandzasar from Yerevan.

Also see:
Gandzasar Fiasco: Who is Responsible for Monastery Defacement?

July 7, 2011

The accompanying photo showing polished facing tiles being affixed to the outer walls of the 13th century Gandzasar Monastery in Artsakh has created a growing furor in Armenia.

The "brain" behind the move belongs to wealthy Russian-Armenian businessman and benefactor Levon Hayrapetyan who hails from Karabakh.

We dare say that concerned Armenians overseas have been shocked as well at this nonsensical defacement of our cultural and historical monuments.

The story broke when a youth group calling itself "We Will Not Remain Silent" sent this and other photos to the press. The story was quickly picked up by the papers and news sites.

Quick to react to the mounting criticism of such architectural shenanigans was Slava Sargsyan, head of the Division of Monuments Preservation and Research at the NKR Department of Tourism.

Mr. Sargsyan passed the buck to Hayrapetyan, claiming that his state agency hadn't issued any permission to resurface the monastery walls.

The youth group, at a press conference yesterday, said that it had petitioned Hayrapetyan to stop further defacement of the monument, adding that the businessman probably wasn't aware of what was actually being done in his name.

The group was able to contact Hayrapetyan by phone. The businessman told them that the walls being resurfaced were built in the 1980s and not the 13th century and that they were in need of urgent repair.

He also claimed that the tiles were from the same stone quarry used to construct the monastery itself.

The youth group says that this contradicts what Slava Sargsyan, the Artsakh agency head, stated on numerous occasions in his press interviews, i.e., that the walls also date to the 13th century.

Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Church, has refrained from commenting on the matter.

The group says that rumours circulating in Artsakh point to the falling out between Archbishop Martirosyan and Levon Hayrapetyan as the main reason for the primate's silence.

The youth group argues that Archbishop Martirosyan has a personal interest in seeing the businessman's reputation tarnished.

They say that it appears that the Artsakh Primate and other high-ranking clergy are more interested in driving the latest foreign cars and being seen with well endowed woman than following the commandments of their Christian faith.

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