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Yerevan's Mashtots avenue "Pak Shuka" market to be closed for 7 months for reconstructions

January 7 2011 at 4:51 AM
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One of Yerevans most impressive architectural buildings, a touristic sight, a museum of food - the enclosed market is located in Mashtots avenue. No one will believe you if you tell them that a bunch of apples, eggplants, dried fruits (that's an art on its own), cabbages, tangerines, cheeses and more can make a beautiful sight, attracting both customers and tourists. But no matter how often you visit there, it remains a closed world, with its own legends, secrets, values and philosophy.

"Pak Shuka" (Armenian name for enclosed market) was built in 1952, being the only roofed market in the city. The elder members remember that during Soviet years traders from Azerbaijan and Georgia would bring their goods and sell outside the market. There was even a hotel built inside the market where they stayed for the night. Armenian merchants would buy all of the goods at night and then resell during the day with higher price. Among today's merchants there are people who have been in the market from its opening day, mostly as kids with their parents. No wonder you feel like you're in someone's house there. They are like a family, having spent most of the time of their lives together. They all know each other, all 200 people, by names, stories, problems

Yet this big family is destined to parting. It's private owner decided to close it for 6-7 months for inside reconstructions. The market will be brought to a "civilized" look, with separate stores and small markets, but until that the vendors are offered sales desks in another market called GUM, where they claim to be provided with spaces 4 times less than their current ones. Some of them will return to Pak Shuka, some of them wont, but the markets uniqueness will be gone forever.

We worked on this project for a few months, as a result having tons of photos. We had a hard time choosing among those, and we understand that 35 photos can not show the whole spirit, yet we hope that they will transmit the atmosphere.

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