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Executive director Georgy Khachatryan Deputy executive director Yelena Markosyan Editor in Chief Rouben Pashinyan + 374 77 39 13 69 editor@armeniatourism.ru Project idea David Khachatryan Director of the Yerevan office Lilit Hovhannisyan +374 77 09 51 03 info@armeniatourism.ru Layout, design Margarita Babajanyan +374 94 24 00 27 margarita@armeniatourism.ru

Table of contents

Advertising director Anahit Gevorgyan +374 91 05 05 08 anahit@armeniatourism.ru Advertising manager Sargis mughumyan +374 99 55 54 32 sargis@armeniatourism.ru

Translator Margarit beglaryan The photo on the cover by Hayk Melkonyan. Photographs: Hayk Melkonyan, Marianna Meliksetyan, Vahag Grigoryan, Gevorg Gasparyan, Antoine Ananyan, “Arevi Tour”, Robert Asatryan, David Nalchajyan, Gagik Siravan, Mesrop Mesropyan, Sarkis Hovhannisyan, Photo Atelier Marashlyan,Tourism Department of Yerevan Municipality, Mezzo Production, the archive of the Theatre of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiaryan, The Khachaturian HouseMuseum, the Tourism Department of Yerevan Municipality, Mezzo Production, the archive of the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet after A. Spendiaryan, the Municipality of Tsaghkadzor, Ruben Pashinyan, Aharon Khachatryan, “Tsirani” Home-Restaurant Editorial Staff: Rouben Pashinyan, Lilit Hovhannisyan, Anahit Gevorgyan, Nora Oleynik, Ruben Gulmisaryan, Elena Filatova, Ruben Arutchyan, Ashot Gazazyan, Elena Kozhemyakina, Margarita Babajanyan, Anna Mazmanyan, Anna Sahakyan, Hmayak Manukyan, Helen Khalinyan, Elena Kolomoytseva, Yuri Navin, Denis Aldokhin. Layout and prepress:

06 Armenia Tourist information

12 Dates

holidays and dates of Armenia

16 Holidays

Armenia in winter for a sightseer Printed in: “AST-Moscow Polygraphic House” OJSC 56 str. 22, Shosse Entuziastov, Moscow, RF Tel.: +(495) 748 67 20 “Tigran Mets” LLC 2, Arshakunyats Ave., Yerevan, RA Tel.: +(374 10) 52 70 56 The magazine is published every three months with a total circulation of 18.000 copies (in Russian) and 3.000 copies (in English): 8.000 copies in Armenia, 10.000 copies in Russia. The magazine is distributed free of charge in Russia and in Armenia: in tour agencies, restaurants, hotels, advertising agencies, embassies, ministries, libraries, companies, on board the trains of SCR. The magazine is available at “Armpress” kiosks (Armenia), in the supermarket chain “SAS” (in Armenia), at bookstores “Armenian book” Exhibition Hall "Armenia" at the VDNH Exhibition Centre), in the "Armenian Book" stores (Exhibition Hall "Armenia" at VDNH and “Armenia” store (in Moscow). The price is open. Mass media certificate of registration ПИ № ФС77-58404 as of June 25, 2014 issued by Federal Service for monitoring compliance with mass communications and cultural heritage protection law of RF. The publisher is not responsible for the content of advertising materials. The publisher doesn't accept any submissions. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the publisher. If you are interested in distribution of the magazine in your city please contact us at: info@armeniatourism.ru Publisher: Baghramian Str., Building 1, 0019, Yerevan, Armenia Tel./Fax: + (374 60) 75 75 90 16c9, 2nd Yuzhnoportovy passage, 115088 Moscow, Russia Tel./Fax: +7 (495) 788 83 89 info@armeniatourism.ru www.armeniatourism.ru

20 our guests

aldis plaudis: “Kindness of people, rich culture, unique nature and delicious cuisine!”

26 winter armenia

Tsaghkadzor – a resort in the “Valley of flowers” Dilijan, where water is second only to one in San Francisco

36 Celebrities Vera Babicheva: “Years in Armenia the happiest in my life, the most interesting and good!”

42 OPERA

Yerevan Opera House Donizetti’s “Poliuto” onstage again


N 20, 2017/18 Winter

44 Museums

A journey around the house-museum of Aram Khachaturian...

48 Jazz

III International Jazz Festival was a big success!

50 “the Globe” of Armenia

88 SPORT

From pahlevans to slacklining!

92 SIGHTS OF INTEREST

15 Most popular tourist destinations In Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh

101 HOTELS

The Armenian museum of America with Berj Chekijian

106 HUMOR

56 tourism

108 Extreme

IV annual ceremony “Armenia Tourism 2017”

64 Lessons of Armenia

Valeriy Zelenogorskiy: “I am a captive of the beauties of Armenia!”

68 Yerevan

The city committed to memory…

76 Virtual tours

A tour to the Kecharis monastery with Nina Balayan A tour to the Saghmosavank monastery with Ashot Levonyan

The winter sketches of Ruben Arutchyan Mountains, winter, Armenia!..

112 Photo Atelier Marashlyan Trndez captured

116 Gastronomical guide Happy Delicious New Year! Ishli kyufta and Ghapama


Editor’s note Tourist season in Armenia as widely believed begins in spring and ends somewhere in early November. Indeed, it did. In fact, tourism in Armenia develops apace. Come rain or shine Armenia is marvelous in all seasons: the spring fragrance of blooming trees blossoms into the flavour of apricots and the warm embrace of wise Sevan, the summer heat gives way to the scarlet fires and bright palette of autumn and then the wonderful time for frost and sun begins, a time where Armenia covered over with snow still remains warm and welcoming. And it’s not just about the ski resorts of Tsaghkadzor or feasts with a plate of khash and ice-cold homemade Armenian vodka – guests are always welcome in Armenia! It is all about her magnetism. It attracts visitors to Armenia over and over again for a longer period and with larger groups.

Rouben Pashinyan Editor-in-Chief

Tourism in Armenia moves on ‒ prizes “for the promotion of adventure tourism” are the obvious signs of it. All this requires conditions for extreme, whereas a journey to Armenia, to a post-blockade country, about 20 years ago, would be considered as extreme, and those who opted for the bravery out-and-out thrillseekers. However, today it is already difficult to “put a dent” in the hospitable and comfortable chain of hotels and restaurants, museums and clubs, all kinds of festivals, concerts, exhibitions, presentations, entertainments ‒ in short, in everything that we regularly tell on our pages this time of the most wintry, but the warmest magazine ‒ “Armenia Tourism”. Happy New Year!

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Armenia Area The total area is 29, 743 km2, which is one-tenth the size of the historical Armenia. It is located in the South Caucasus, in the northeast of the Armenian Highland. The country is landlocked. It borders Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey and Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Coat of arms On April 19, 1992, the coat of arms of the First Republic of Armenia (1918-1920) was restored. The authors were Alexander Tamanyan, an architect and an academic of Russian Academy of Arts and Hakob Kojoyan, an artist.

Flag The national flag of Armenia consists of three horizontal bands of equal width, red on the top, blue in the middle and orange on the bottom.

Language The national language of Armenia is Armenian. However, the majority of the population also speaks Russian. You may occasionally have language barrier in remote countryside. In Yerevan English and French are often the command of the younger generation; the older generation is more conservative in regard to foreign languages. In any case, if a foreigner approaches them they are sure to understand and tell the right direction. Those who speak Russian will not have any language barrier in Armenia.

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Capital city Yerevan

Safety Yerevan can easily be considered as one of the safest cities in the world. You can have a night walk around the city without any fear; not every European city boasts the same thing. If you are in Yerevan for the first time, you should not worry about not having a map or anyone to help you. The city is not too big if suburbs and further out districts are not considered. The city center is surrounded by an amphitheater of hills, and the streets mainly start from Republic Square and run across the outer circular boulevard. The means of transportation ‒ mini-buses, buses and taxies operate nonstop. But the beauty of Yerevan is such that it is well worth taking a walk to see. And if you get lost, the passers-by will help you find the right direction and even accompany you to the destination.

Government Politics of Armenia takes place in the framework of a semi-presidential representative democratic republic whereby the president is the head of state – and of the multi-party system” The government exercises the executive power. President Serzh Sargsyan (born June 30, 1954 ) Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan (born August 14, 1963) Population The number of Armenians throughout the world is about 10 million people, more than 3 million of which live in the Republic of Armenia. The population of Yerevan is more than 1 million.


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Armenia Currency Armenian Dram (AMD). The subsidiary coin is called “luma”, but it is not used any more. One Russian ruble equals about 8 Armenian drams. Coins in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and banknotes in denominations of 1000, 5.000, 20.000, 50.000 and 100.000 drams are in circulation.

Currency exchange One may exchange currency in numerous exchange offices around the city. Trade in stores and in other points of sales is done only in dram, the national currency. In case you are out of drams and you need to buy something urgently, you can offer dollars or rubles. You will not have any problems with currency exchange as everywhere in the most of stores and supermarkets there are exchange offices where you can exchange currency without presenting your passport. To avoid additional exchange, you had better take Russian rubles. Almost all hotels, many stores and restaurants accept credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express) often charging a commission fee for banking operation. Working hours of the banks: 9.00-17.30, Monday to Friday. Foreign exchange offices are open on weekends and holidays, until midnight.

Electricity Voltage ‒ 220 Volt, frequency ‒ 50 Hertz.

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Topography

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The terrain is mountainous; more than 90% of the territory is located at an altitude of more than 1000m above the sea level. The average height above the sea level is 1800 meters, the highest point is Mount Aragats (4095 m) and the lowest is the gorge of the river Debet (380 m). The greatest distance from the northwest to the southeast is 360 km, and from the west to the east ‒ 200 km. The highest point of the region and the historical symbol of Armenia is Mount Ararat (5165 meters), which is in territory of Turkey since 1920s.

Major cities

Yerevan, Gyumri, Vanadzor Climate The climate of Armenia is very diverse. Despite the fact that Armenia is located at the latitude of the subtropics, a subtropical climate is observed only in the southern and northeastern parts of Armenia. In the rest of the regions, the climate is continental – the summer is hot, and the winter is cold. On the flatlands the average temperature in January is ‒5°C, in July +35°C, in the middle mountains (1000-1500 meters above sea level) ‒ 10°C and +20°C, at heights from 1500 to 2000 meters ‒14°C and +16°C respectively. Visa In accordance with the intergovernmental agreement on mutual visa-free travel, citizens of the Russian Federation do not need a visa to visit Armenia. It is only necessary to have the passport of the citizenship of the Russian Federation with you.

Time zone

GMT +4 Religion The predominant religion in Armenia is Christianity ‒ 94%. The majority of the population are followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Armenia was the first nation to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD. In 2001, the country celebrated the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. Dialling code

+374


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Armenia Children

Food

Water

When traveling with a child, you will need:

In every part of the city, you are sure to find a fast food place, a cafe or a restaurant within 100 meters. In the center, the radius narrows even up to 10 meters. There are various cuisines: Armenian, Arabic, Georgian, European, Chinese, etc. The prices may vary significantly. In most cases, having a good and tasty meal in Yerevan costs less than in Moscow.

You can drink tap water in your hotel room, apartment and in the street out of small fountains (Arm. “tsaytaghbyur”). These are unique stone memorials, usually one meter high, running pure, tasty Armenian water. Just walk right up and have a refreshing drink. You can buy bottled water in any grocery store ‒ all brands are Armenian.

‒ the birth certificate of the child; ‒ the passport of the child (or the child must be inscribed in the passport of the parent); ‒ a power of attorney on behalf of the parent, who is not present. Stores Stores in Armenia offer a wide range of various souvenirs and gifts including the famous Armenian cognac. The favorite place of guests interested in buying Armenian souvenirs is the open-air fair called Vernissage. Souvenir shops like “Dalan”, “Aghaksak”, Vernissage etc., offering a wider range of souvenirs, authorial works, handmade carpets etc. enjoy more and more popularity.

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Transportation In Yerevan you can stop a taxi in the street but better preference for taxi services. Taxies in Yerevan are available and quite inexpensive. The fare around the city center can vary from 500 to 1000 drams (from 65 to 130 rubles). Mini-buses operate one after another. The fare is 100 drams (about 13 rubles). Tourists usually mention traffic as the only shortcoming of Yerevan. The city was not initially designed for so many transportation means that is why the streets are often overloaded. However, traffic congestions in Yerevan are far from being as tough as the ones in Moscow.


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Dates New Year

7

Dec

emb

er The day of commemoration of the victims of the earthquake of 1988 in Armenia On December 7, 1988, the world learnt about a terrible tragedy, which devastated a whole town and left thousands of people dead under its ruins. The town of Spitak was completely destroyed; Leninakan and Kirovakan were partially ruined. The earthquake affected 21 towns and a region, 342 villages the 58 of which – most heavily. The earthquake engulfed more than 40% of the territory of the republic.

The New Year in Armenia is celebrated on the night of December 31 to January 1. January 1 and 2 are state holidays. The tradition to celebrate the New Year on January 1 was established in the Armenian calendar not very long ago. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Armenian New Year, Navasard, was celebrated in Eastern Armenia with great enthusiasm and warmth, while on January 1 only congratulations were offered. Over time, traditions have changed. Now the New Year celebrations fall on the night of December 31 to January 1. y

ar

Janu

1

Janu

6

ary

Holy Christmas The Nativity and Theophany of Christ Until the fifth century, all Christian churches celebrated the Nativity and Theophany of Christ on January 6. Later, some churches began to celebrate the Holy Christmas on December 25. This served a special purpose; make people forget the pagan festival celebrated on that day. The Armenian Church has remained faithful to the old order and celebrates the birth of Christ on January 6. On this day, the Armenian Church also celebrates the Baptism of Christ.

Army Day

27 a

Janu

The Day of Saint Sargis - the patron saint of lovers

ry

The Day of St Sargis is a national holiday in the Republic of Armenia, which is celebrated annually at the end of January and in the first half of February. St Sargis (320-370) is one of the most revered saints of the Armenian Apostolic Church and all Armenian people.

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On January 28, 1992, a historic decree on “The Defense of the Republic of Armenia” was made, thus denoting the establishment of the Armenian National Army. January 28 has become a holiday and non-working day since 2001, in accordance with the law of the President on “Holidays and Memorial Days of the Republic of Armenia”.

ary

Janu

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Feb r

8

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y Vardanank (Saint Vardanants) – The day of mercy and national tribute to heroes

Around the middle of the fifth century, the Persian Empire attempted to force Armenia to apostasy ‒ to convert to Zoroastrianism. The council of the supreme clergy and secular nobility of Armenia rejected this demand. A revolt broke out in the country, thus inciting the popular movement “Vardanank” and bringing together all the Armenian people: the nobility, the clergy and the peasantry. The movement received the name in honor of the inspirer and the leader - Vardan Mamikonyan.


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Dates The day of presenting books

Trndez

13 ar

Febr u

y

Trndez is one of the main and ancient Armenian holidays. It has both a pagan history of origin and a Christian one. Tourists, who happen to be in Armenia on February 13, participate in the sacrament with pleasure, jumping over the fire by holding hands. Fires are lit throughout Armenia that evening, including the yards of the capital and the churches. The Armenian Trndez is something between the Russian Maslenitsa and the Western European Valentine's Day.

By the decision of the Chairman of the Writers' Union of Armenia Levon Ananyan (19462013) February 19 in Armenia is marked as a national holiday – The day of presenting books. The date was chosen in connection with the fact that on February 19 (February 7, old style), in 1869, the greatest Armenian poet and writer, a prominent public figure Hovhannes Tumanyan was born.

ary

ru Feb

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28 ar

Febr u

The day of remembrance of the victims of pogroms in Sumgait, Baku and Kirovabad

y

This mournful date commemorates the events that occurred in February 1988, when as a result of the Azerbaijani-Armenian clashes more than 50 people were killed and thousands suffered injuries of varying degrees of severity. Pogroms, beatings and murders of Armenians in Sumgait, located at half an hour's drive from Baku, were committed in broad daylight in front of a large number of passers-by. The peak of these crimes occurred on February 26-29, 1988.

 “Armenia tourism” magazine announces a competition for the best expression about armenia in the form of an aphorism, a laconism, a quatrain or even a haiku. All our readers are welcome to participate, even those who have never been to armenia. The winner will receive annual subscriptions to the magazine and a guidebook “armenia tourism”. we are waiting for your pieces! FULL NAME_____________________________________________________ E-MAIL_________________________________________________________ TEL.___________________________________________________________ YOUR PIECE_____________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________


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ARMENIA IN WINTER FOR A SIGHTSEER If you have come to armenia in winter, you probably had an organized programme, or a scheduled tour. Now you read this article in hope to find out something new, something that the tour operators didn’t mention. Probably you have arranged the tour yourself or maybe you have come at the invitation and now you want to have the programme variegated. Well, we will try to justify the high confidence bestowed upon us.

Yerevan. This beaming pink city is beau-

tiful in all seasons. Moreover, daytime Yerevan and Yerevan at night have marked differences. If on a winter day it is either mysteriously misty or sunny and welcoming here, then at night the capital turns into a small free-spirited Paris. There is an abundance of all types of warm cafes and restaurants, hospitable clubs and pubs, where you can indulge yourself with a glass of fragrant cognac in your hand and a smile, which, we guarantee, will leave you much later than you will Armenia. Walk in the center, ice-skate at the rink, which appears annually in the place of Swan Lake, visit the “town” of ice sculptures at Liberty Square near the Opera House ... “Yeah, yeah, go on, and how can I find all this?” you ask. The answer is, “Easily!” After all, in the nomination “the most hospitable people” Armenians have won for many times. Haven’t you ever heard about it? Then you are sure to witness all this when, both Yerevan dwellers and its guests, “infected” by the contagious Armenian warmth and hospitality, show you the way and treat with gifts of Armenia. They will show, accompany, feed and, of course, give a piece of their soul - after all, it is the functional core of magnetism, which continues to attract visitors over and over. A rhetorical question arises how and where to celebrate the New Year. Alas,

rhetorical. New Year should be celebrated at home, friends! Whether you like it or not, this is the case in Armenia - clubs, restaurants, pubs, and just the homes of your new Armenian friends will become your own, the moment you cross their threshold. To feel homely you may also visit the House-Museum of Sergei Parajanov. It works almost without days-off and is open even on New Yearʼs Eve. You are always welcome here, a place to warm your body and soul and celebrate the New Year or Christmas under an apricot tree in the garden of Parajanov's house. The next morning when the New Year’s Eve comes to the end, Armenians usually go to their relatives and friends to wish happiness in the New Year. On the first days of January, not all clubs are open; you can find more on this in our guidebook. You may choose to go to the countryside to the bosom of nature, enjoy the winter beauty of Armenian ashkharhs. What is ashkharh? According to administrative division, Armenia is divided into 11 provinces and Yerevan, while from the point of view of tourism the country is divided into ashkharhs - worlds. Indeed, at 50-100 kilometers away from the capital, completely different worlds open up - with different flora, fauna and even climate, let alone the temperaments of the locals. This is really something to see! Here you are welcome everywhere.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Hence, other questions arise - where to go, in what direction, and what are the road conditions. Alas, not all the beauties of Armenia are available in winter. Many winding roads and mountain roads become treacherous. Therefore, it is recommended to make inquiries about the condition of roads in advance. Anyway, remember, any tour programme that is not finite always leaves room for miracles, especially when the New Year is around! And if for some reason, you won’t be able to visit the ski resort of Tsaghkadzor or Kecharis Monastery, enjoy the views of the mysterious gorge near Saghmosavank or the gleam of obsidians on the way to Sevan, we recommend virtual tours with our guides (the URL for the page is mentioned in the guidebook). What to eat in Armenia in winter? Armenians generally decide for your, sometimes without even considering that the capabilities of the human stomach are limited. Here, as they say, it is better to relax and get the maximum pleasure. Forget about the scales, about the upcoming visits to fitness centers, about carbs and fats - in short, do not overthink things, enjoy yourselves, and why not mind some helpful hints as follows. Eat everything, but in small amounts, so that the Armenian hostesses did not think that you dislike their culinary masterpieces. Be sure to use vegetables, greens and lavash in food - this “wonderful amalgam” will not add even an ounce of fat. And, even if you had a hearty dinner, make sure that you finish with two spoonfuls of condensed yogurt. This will speed up your metabolism and therefore minimize the extra calories. By the way, there are must-try winter dishes in Armenia, and one of them is khash with cold home-made vodka. Khash is not just a gastronomic experiment with the body, but a whole ritual, during which you get deeper and deeper in the process... For more information, see our gastronomic page at the very end of the magazine. GATE 18

Well - it is time to stop, not to tell everything, not to weaken the impressions of live communication with our dear country and its inhabitants. Lots of wonderful discoveries are ahead! Let us finish this opus with a traditional Armenian toast! What toast? There are lots of them at the noisy Armenian table. However, one of them will definitely become yours and after many years surrounded by relatives and friends you will be glad to say it! Happy new year friends! Merry christmas! And see you soon in armenia – a country, where dreams come true!


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+374


our guests

“Kindness of people, rich culture, unique nature and delicious cuisine!” More than 140 countries of five continents, and this is not the full “track record” of the renowned latvian traveler, businessman, art collector and today's honoured guest of the “at” aldis plaudis who visited armenia at the end of passing year.

In

fact, this is not my first visit to Armenia; I first visited your country in 1972 within the Latvian national basketball team. Years later, I happened to meet with colleagues from Armenia on business, who invited my wife and me to visit this wonderful, mysterious country again. A couple of hours on the plane, and we are here. Almost half a century has passed everything has changed since. The only things I saw in those years were the hotel and the gym; while

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this time, we had the opportunity to indulge in the beauties of this ancient country. As for comparative parallels, Yerevan seemed to be greener then. Well I can see why; there was the blockade, the war, and people suffered and green spaces did. However it is gratifying to see that the city is full of life, the green spaces widen, and not only due to ordinary people. We visited the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex to pay tribute to the innocent victims of genocide; here we saw a new grove of trees planted by high-ranking guests of the capital - presidents, prime ministers of different countries, even saw a pine spruce planted by the Pope. I also found a spruce planted by the ex-president of Latvia, Valdis Zatlers, with whom I played for the Latvian national team in those far distant years. This is so wonderful. We are pleased at the attitude of people to their country, their infinite hospitality and warmth that is immeasurable. You have traveled the whole world, took pictures everywhere, have kept a journal. Do you intend to publish your travel stories? Of course I do, especially when there is enough material for that. I think it will be interesting for a reader, as I do not just record some information about a country, available in any guidebook, but I try to express my own vision of this country, to pass it through my heart. This is the impression of the amazing beauty of icebergs in Antarctica, and the smell of oriental bazaars, and “colorful fairy tales” from the islands – especially beautiful in the sunset, and ... the loss of a friend in an unfortunate diving accident in the waters of the Arctic. That is not just photographs and explanatory notes to


Armenia

them, but the stories of our travels, a unique way of “reading� those countries where the most important is the factor of people: mentality, characteristics, preferences etc. How did it all start, and what is especially valuable for you? Of course, when the Iron Curtain collapsed and it became possible to travel behind. At first, I wanted to see such cultural strongholds as Paris, London, Madrid, New York, etc., but very soon, the vector was changed. I was attracted to ancient countries to have one-on-one dialogue with the wild nature. You see, one is a director at the office, where he is the most important, he signs contracts and all that, whereas his subordinate can probably be a better diver or better versed in jungles or mountains... And you want to prove that you can be their equal – to receive something like a certificate of value, if not in showing superiority, then at least in different conditions, when you leave your comfort zone, where you are always right for some reason. I began to notice that I change after such trips, Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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where I was far from civilization and there was not a single McDonald's at a distance of five hundred kilometers, and I perceived differently what e.g. a warm toilet or dry socks were. You form a new vision of world and of the available attributes of civilization after, for example, a week of going down a mountain river or using a paddle to clear snow for a tent. Everything assumes a new meaning... We do not like travelling in groups. We work a lot with my wife and we can afford either individual tours, mostly eco-tours, in Manitoba in the north of Canada, Antarctica, or an ATV tour through Central America – Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Guatemala, etc. These are not just excursions, such as “look to the right, now to the left ...”, but very interesting explorations of these countries, a complete involvement in them. GATE GATE22 8


You have been in armenia for four days. Would you like to visit it for a longer period and, possibly, travel in a different format – say, go on a walking tour, or mountain tour?.. Certainly, for a country like Armenia, four days is too short. Nevertheless, thanks to our wonderful guide, we had a surfeit of information, in its good sense - answers to almost all questions. And of course, we would like to communicate more closely with ordinary people, to live, for example, in some village, to go down the river, to watch the sunrise in Khor Virap or on the slopes of Aragats

and perhaps, participate in a national holiday, wedding or christening. And in this regard, your country has something to be proud of - a rich culture, traditions. I do not want to belittle or overestimate anyone, but facts are facts. In Latvia the history of writing, the first translation of the Bible

or the development of the arts date back to the 17th century, whereas you had it all much earlier – you were not only the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301, but also had a rich pre-Christian period – history of Armenian theater, art, poetry ...

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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You tell about the countries you visited and left a part of your soul in with such enthusiasm. What about armenia, is there anything memorable? Latvia and Armenia have much in common in history - both countries have always been the apple of discord for neighboring countries and often suffered from this. As one Latvian poet said, our geographical position is our happiness, our wealth and our curse. Therefore, in Armenia, many things are clear and close to me. I really liked the sunset in Noratus, the sky in Sevan for all the rain, the magnetism of Haghartsin, the gorge at Sagmosavank ... The modesty of your shrines is very close to me. Have you been at the Vienna State Opera? Everything is very simple – only you, the scene and the divine music: there is no gold, brocade or any cherubs there- in short, everything that distracts from music, from the possibility to fully enjoy it. I am sorry for this comparison, but in Armenia just like in the Vienna Opera, there is nothing superfluous, nothing hinders the communication with true art, with God. Everything is simple, at times ascetic, but all this is meaningful, justified and created in such a way that not even a thing distracts the person. The kindness of people, rich in history, culture and reverent attitude towards them and, GATE 24

of course, unique nature is all I take from Armenia. I would like to mention specifically the Armenian cuisine - delicious, healthy, and natural, which is by the way, a rarity in our time, especially “flavored” with Armenian hospitality and cordiality! It is impossible of course to have a deep understanding of a country with such deep roots in four days, but it is an incentive for future visits and a more serious study. It would be interesting to visit your country in winter – I hope I will manage. I would like to wish Armenia peace, prosperity and good relations with its neighbors. Photos from the personal archive of Aldis Plaudis


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TSAGHKADZOR – A RESORT IN THE “VALLEY OF FLOWERS” Thus, Tsaghkadzor poetically translated from Armenian as the “valley of flowers”, is a small resort town, located in a picturesque valley between mount Teghenis and the Tsaghkunyats mountains, at 50 km away from Yerevan and 1800 m above sea level.

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winter armenia T saghkadzor

is wonderful year-round and especially in summer and winter. In summer, when the hot asphalt roads melt in Yerevan, it is cool and refreshing here. Tsaghkadzor winter is for mountain-skiers, while summer is for “mountain-bathers”. This is a town, which can invigorate, improve the health and boost the quality of life. Its brisk mountain air increases haemoglobin concentration and blood circulation, improves the immune system and heals numerous diseases.

conditions for eco-tourism. It has been one of the best resort places since the times of Soviet Union. Lots of sanatoriums, hotels, sports grounds were built in the town. Soviet national teams trained in Tsaghkadzor before international competitions in various types of sports. Today Tsaghkadzor attracts skiers, swimmers, weightlifters and other sports professionals. The main attraction for ski-mountaineering lovers is the huge snow-covered slope. Tsaghkadzor is intended for

Tsaghkadzor is a best-loved ski resort, especially for tourists from Russia and other countries of the former USSR: it is not too far, there is no language barrier and the prices are quite affordable. This is a former health resort of the Soviet Union where operate holiday homes like Writers House, Artists House etc. Tsaghkadzor is Armenia and this means a lot of sun. However, the fact doesn’t hinder the winter sports: although the weather is mild in winter it is rather snowy. Tsaghkadzor has all the

skiers of different level of training, thus, there is a special school, which makes it possible for the beginners also to practice skiing. There are five routes with various levels of difficulty. Both the professionals and the beginners may find the right route for themselves. There is also a “pristine” slope for snowboarding lovers. The total length of the routes is more than 30 km, and the vertical drop is almost 2 km. You can reach the slopes by using four lifts: one of them is a cable car, and the other three are towropes.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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winter armenia monastery is built in medieval Armenian classical style. The complex includes four churches, two chapels and an ancient cemetery with graves of the 12th century. In the very heart of the town is the house-museum of the scientist brothers Orbeli, who contributed significantly to the development of science in both the Russian Empire, and the USSR. One of the brothers, Joseph Orbeli, headed the State Hermitage for almost 20 years. Among the Orbelis were great physiologists, physicists and archaeologists. The museum has a rich collection of books, manuscripts, documents, photographs, personal belongings ‒ there are about 1700 exhibits in the funds. It was established by the efforts of co-workers and relatives of the Orbelis, as well as their students, who presented the museum with numerous materials ‒ all the exhibits were brought from Saint Petersburg. In Tsaghkadzor, surprisingly, you can also find a wooden house where the great Russian poet Osip Mandelstam lived. His admirers know that Mandelstam visited these places in 1930 and, inspired by the beauty of Armenia, wrote a collection of poems. The wooden house, which was a shelter for the poet on those days, still stands today. Not far from this place, at the central While using the lifts you should take into account square there are the monument of Victory that the last landing time is at 16:30 (local time) as everyone is supposed to leave the mountain and a very touching monument to a sad and lyrical clown, Leonid Yengibarov... It is here, in slope before dark. Not far from the ski lifts, there are many ho- the central square of the town, at the monutels and holiday homes where you can always ment to the great artist, that the International find a suitable place for yourself. Those who Pantomime Festival is held annually, bringing prefer comfort are advised to take advantage of together many famous ensembles from differbooking in advance, for example, at “Armenia ent countries. You may also go to restaurants and cafes, and Marriott Hotel”. there are many of them here, with organic food, Alongside the ski routes, there are many other ways of spending time in Tsakhkadzor. international cuisine, and first of all, of course, Here you can just take a stroll round the town, Armenian. Refresh yourself and stay in good breathe fresh mountain air and visit one of the shape to be able to take the skis and go to the main local attractions, the 13th-century monastic stunning mountain routes of Tsaghkadzor early complex Kecharis. According to history, the con- in the morning again! struction of the monastery began in the 11th cenPhotos courtesy of “Arevi Tour” and tury and was completed two centuries later. The the Municipality of Tsaghkadzor. GATE 28


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winter armenia

DILIJAN,

WHERE WATER IS SECOND ONLY

TO ONE IN SAN FRANCISCO After Sevan, the way brings to a tunnel connecting the area with Dilijan. A five-minute drive and you appear if not in a new place, then on another planet: the climate is balmy, the same as healing as in Sevan, but not at all chilly, and – forests, forests, forests ... This instant change of worlds is puzzling. To cut a long story short, since the Soviet times, Dilijan has been a mountain climate and balneal resort on the Aghstev River, a right tributary of the Kura River. Soft and mild summer and warm winter, the climate of “Armenian Switzerland” is something close to paradise. The nature reserve – one of the richest in the South Caucasus, surrounds Dilijan, the city itself has the status of a national park. One of the city attractions is Sharambeyan Street, paved with stone blocks and fenced by houses of XIX century style, creating the atmosphere of a cozy old city. Nearby the Geological – Local Lore Museum and Art Gallery is situated where the visitors can see unique archaeological finds and the pieces of such famous masters as Falk, Kent, Saryan and others. The beauty of nature, the healing air, the mineral springs, the silence and cool weather made the composers of Armenia choose Dilijan as a place for the Composers House. Many giants of the 20th century like Shostakovich, Kabalevsky, Rostropovich, Vishnevskaya, Britten, Khachaturian, Babajanian rested and worked there... Many famous artists, composers, scientists and filmmakers were fascinated by the city. There were many, as they used to say, “departmental” holiday homes for artists and scientists and almost all of these health resorts are still functioning. There is a wide choice of hotels here and to choose from the variety of attractive offers sometimes turns out to be difficult. Today Dilijan is considered one of the most intelligent cities in Armenia. The pride of the city are the music college and the music school the graduates of which often become students of Yerevan Conservatory. GATE GATE30 8


The journey from Yerevan to the resort of Dilijan will take you about an hour and reveal many unique surprises in its course. On the way, you will have to drive along the northern shore of Lake Sevan. As compared with Yerevan, it is usually much cooler in Sevan and in winter, it is simply cold. This circumstance, however, makes Sevan irreplaceable during the summer heat - it is close, not hot, and you can swim in the bracing water of a mountain lake.


Whilst the pride of Armenia is the international college UWC, which is the first in the post-Soviet area to use a special program. The college unites pupils of different nationalities and faiths from all over the world, from the USA to Bhutan, forming warm and friendly relations among them. In the city, even in the peak of summer and winter seasons, life flows smoothly and slowly. If you go for a walk around the city and you don’t really feel like going back to the hotel for lunch, you can eat at any of the restaurants or cafes especially in the small center. At the same time, you can take a photo with the monument to the heroes of “Mimino�, with the spring, from which, as the film hero states, runs water ranked second in the world after San Francisco. In the city, there are many craft workshops cabinet makers, potters, jewelers, masters of sophisticated work of metal and wood, blacksmiths. The pottery workshop, for example, offer special clay bells: it is believed that a person, having woken up in the morning, should ring such a bell GATE GATE32 8

several times to receive only good news and kind people all day long. In Dilijan National Park several relict groves have been preserved, they are more than 300 years old. Many animals and birds live here and various types of fish are found in reservoirs. Of course, while speaking about Dilijan, one


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should mention also the mineral springs, which are famous for their healing properties far beyond Armenia. Next to the city is Parz Lich (clear lake), fascinating with its crystal water and nature, and medieval monuments: the monasteries Haghartsin, Makaravank and Goshavank with their ancient khachkars (cross stones). You can visit these places at any time of the year, and guides or locals will tell you lots of legends and interesting stories about them. Writing about Dilijan Maxim Gorky said, “... it is gorgeous. It seems that the mountains envelop and protect this valley with love and tenderness. At a height of 1500 meters, the air is unusually transparent and seems navy blue. I marvel at the serenity coming from the valley. � Photos courtesy of Vahag Grigoryan.

GATE 34


TUFEN

IAN

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H E R I TAGE HOTE L S

48 Hanrapetutyan str., Yerevan, Armenia


YEARS IN ARMENIA - THE HAPPIEST IN MY LIFE, THE MOST INTERESTING AND GOOD!

This year the leading actress of Theater on Malaya Bronnaya, the Honored Artist of Armenia Vera Babicheva is celebrating her jubilee. Our interview tells about her way from Leningrad to Yerevan, her difficult return to the Russian scene in the distant 1985 and many other things.

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Celebrities Mrs Vera, how did you happen to be in Armenia, in the troupe of Russian theater? I got into Yerevan by accident. Our group of drama students of the Leningrad State Institute of Theater, Music and Cinematography, went to open a theater in Volgograd, but everything turned out to be awful... At the same time, the Yerevan Theater arrived on a tour there. The season was still underway, when I made up my mind to pay a visit to Grigorian; (The artistic director of the Russian Drama Theatre of Yerevan passed away on 31.10.2017. – Editor’s note). this is where everything began... In a word, I started the new season already in Armenia. Which are the dearest characters of the period? Which roles had an influence on you?

First, all my work in Yerevan had a marked impact on me: from the first day to the last one. I arrived as a raw student and became an actress in Yerevan. And all the roles, starting with the Princess in the “Tale about Love” (this was the first one), “shaped” me bit by bit, and, of course, Grigoryan, who didn’t hesitate to trust me, a beginner, to perform those important

roles. Each one of them influenced me greatly, but I would like to single out Panna Malichevskaya and Lady Macbeth with which everything in my life and in the profession took a new turn. I will note also the “Room”, the “Twelfth Night” and the “Tattooed Rose”. Trust and love for me in Yerevan (excuse my immodesty) brought a lot into my life.

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37


Celebrities

What episodes of your stay in Yerevan are especially memorable for you? I was in Yerevan in spring, and the impression was so strong from how the city had changed, that my old life somehow faded away. However, there is still something unalterable in Yerevan – the emotional nature of the city. When you arrive here, it seems to you that everyone has been waiting for you, everyone shares your happiness and your sorrow, this is a place, where the guest brings joy to every home... You feel very beautiful and desired all the time. I never felt like that anywhere – never! On leaving, I cried and cried at the airport so much that everyone approached and offered help. I was crying and leaving... How often do you visit Yerevan? What is your opinion about nowadays Yerevan and the one in the past? Whenever they call me, I visit the theater, participate in the celebrations, I respect Grigorian and the Company very much; they were able to withstand that difficult period, and now their theater lives. That is why I go to them at the first call. Yerevan seemed to me very European - beautiful youth. I happened to sit alone at the founGATE 38

tain a whole evening and couldn’t help admiring. Of course, being a guest is good, you do not see much and you do not know how people live, the problems or difficulties they have, whether it has become easier or not. I do not think I can evaluate – all my friends have left, and today I see only a very beautiful wrapping. I hope the inner side is as beautiful. However, the sun is still shining, everything is delicious, and you feel that you are beautiful again... What is especially dear to you in Armenia? What are the most loved places and why? I love everything in Yerevan: streets, pink houses, the flavour of coffee, the Opera House, Matenadaran (I lived across the street!). I like visits to Sevan, Garni, Geghard, I like eating in Yerevan – it's always delicious, I like travelling all over Armenia, I have travelled around the whole country with tours. I love the narrow streets leading to amazing yards, I like looking at Biblical Ararat in the mornings. I often went to Tsaghkadzor – I spent all holidays there! I love the house of Parajanov and this area, the market where you can just stand and inhale the aromas ... In a word, as you guess – I just love this country!


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Celebrities

If you could go back in time and have the possibility to perform a play from the old repertoire which one would you choose and with whom? “Macbeth”, of course, with Korotkov! Being too young and inexperienced I was not offered this role – it was being rehearsed by another actress. And suddenly a call of the artistic director of the Russian Theater Alexander Grigoryan telling, “Vera, rehearsal tomorrow!” The first day and ... “She loves him so much that there is nothing she would not do.” The scene is performed on the fly. I wait for him not to struggle for power, not for anything at all, but only to love and be loved… On this very day, I realized how to feature her – she is not at all evil; she believes there is nothing wrong in his being happy, and in going beyond everything for that. Then the moment she realizes that crossing the limits resulted in losing what she was striving for, the life loses its value... Today you are the leading actress of theater on Malaya bronnaya. Tell about your career after Stanislavski theater. I wouldn’t wish on anyone the thorny road that I had to overcome. I was invited to work at Mayakovsky Theater, but I was not at all ready for that. Of course, in Yerevan, I was caressed, and it seemed normal. Then Moscow, a life-or-death GATE GATE40 8

struggle, another rhythm of life and work, nowhere to live, and loss of loved ones ... I was lost. I had a desire to return many times, alas, I knew that was not the way life worked and I began to fight. I played everywhere, in all theaters, in all independent works. I realized that I do not know much, and I started to study, and then to teach (the best training). Over time, some directors of-


Armenia fered to work with them. I even did an audition for a rock opera; I was given the leading role. Well, and then ... I met Sergei Golomazov, and we never parted – neither in work, nor in life. I played in both Riga and Gogol Theater while working at Mayakovka. Sergei opened his own workshop in GITIS, and I was invited to teach and have been teaching for 14 years already. I followed my director to Theater on Malaya Bronnaya, together with our students, and now, having taken the bit in our teeth, we move on. What are you doing now? What performances would you like to mention? I have been working in GITIS for 20 years. I play a lot (Thank God). I have the leading roles in “Arcadia”, and “Colombe” and “Special People”, as well as in “The Pit”, “Rabbit Hole” and “Salem Witches”. In this season, I start two and maybe three new works, but I will not disclose anything – out of superstition. What do you think, can the graduate of a drama school go to yerevan and work in a theater for 10 years, just as you once did?

I am afraid not, and there are many reasons for that. They are enthusiastic and want to work. They have more opportunities, while in our case ... they were looking for us, persuaded to come; they decided where we would live. Students now think they will be media ones and will be called. Alas, it will be more difficult and usually offensive and poor... Although there are unique guys. It is difficult to leave Moscow, no matter how hard it is here. Our readers are people from Yerevan, guests and probably those who intend to visit Armenia. What would you like to wish them? I wish those people who have never been in this country to experience whatever I did – recognition and love. Women will feel that they are beautiful and men will become stronger – this is the air, water, heaven and earth. I will envy you and wait for the next visit. In addition, I want to tell everyone who remembers me, who helped and loved me that those years were the happiest in my life – the most interesting and good. I love you!

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

41


Opera Мода Yerevan Opera House Donizetti’s

“Poliuto” onstage again

After a long hiatus, the national academic theater of opera and ballet after a. Spendiaryan presented the restored version of the opera “Poliuto” of the reknowned italian composer Gaetano Donizetti to the audience.

T he

play represents the period of early Christianity and the action takes place in ancient Armenia, enslaved by Rome. The author of the tragedy Pierre Corneille borrowed the story of Polyeucte, the Armenian nobleman, who converted to Christianity and martyrized, from the “Menologion”, compiled by the Byzantine historian Symeon the Metaphrast. Legend has it that Polyeucte became the first martyr in the Armenian city of Melitene. When the Christian Church triumphed in the Roman Empire, a church was erected in Melitene in the name of the martyr Polyeucte. GATE GATE42 8

The opera “Poliuto” was staged for the first time by Tigran Levonyan in 1993 at Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theatre and was

restored by the director Zhanna Tamizyan. The director and artistic director of the theater, Honored Artist of Russia Konstantin Orbelian said, “Donizetti's excellent music combined with the Armenian history merits a comeback to the repertoire of our Opera House. The great Italian composer wrote a music on Armenian issue ‒ this should be promoted. It is worth mentioning, that the opera “Poliuto” was retrieved and performed by Maria Callas in the post-war years. Obviously, it was due to the performance of this diva that the opera became famous. I would also like to remind everyone that we have our Maria Callas ‒ our amazing Anahit Mkhitaryan. She performed at the initial staging and now I am very glad that she is onstage for the performance again”. In December, the audience will again have the opportunity to enjoy Donizetti's soulful music and the brilliant performance of the soloists of the Yerevan Opera and Ballet Theatre.


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A JOURNEY AROUND THE HOUSE-MUSEUM OF

ARAM KHACHATURIAN... THE DIRECTOR OF ARAM KHACHATURIAN HOUSE-MUSEUM ARMINE GRIGORYAN IS NOT JUST AN ENTHUSIAST, BUT ALSO AN INNOVATOR IN THE FIELD OF PROMOTING MUSIC. SHE SAYS, “THE PRIMARY COMMITMENT OF AN ARMENIAN PERFORMER SHOULD BE FIRST OF ALL THE COMPETENT PRESENTATION AND POPULARIZATION OF THE MUSICAL LEGACY OF HIS COUNTRY. THIS HAS BEEN MY BELIEF SINCE THE TIME WHEN I PERFORMED AND TAUGHT OTHERS MYSELF.” Address: 3rd house, Zarobyan Street, Yerevan (entrance from Marshal Baghramyan Avenue). The museum is open from 11:00 - 17:00, Monday through Friday and from 11:00 - 16:30 on Saturdays. Tel.: +374 10 58 94 18, +374 10 58 01 78.

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A brief biographical note. Armine

Grigoryan successfully performed concerts around the world. At the competition “Rome-2003”, she was awarded the title of laureate, a special prize, as well as a medal from the Chamber of Deputies of Rome. She is a professor at the Ye-

revan Conservatory, and since 2004 the director of the Khachaturian House-Museum. She succeeds in reconciling the positions of a director and a pianist in Khachaturian Trio (Karen Shahgaldyan – violin, Karen Kocharyan – cello). The trio has more than ten releases.


Armenia The museum traditionally hosts musical evenings, meetings with famous cultural figures, festivals, holds exhibitions and premieres the works of modern Armenian composers. It has a collection of letters, manuscripts, books, records and other material connected with the life and work of the great composer. The museum is replenished with new relics day by day. One of the exhibits has a very interesting history. This is a piano, donated to the house-museum by Tigran Mostijian from São Paulo. In the late 50's, when the composer toured in South America, T. Mostijian, an ardent admirer of his work, hosted a reception in his house in honor of Aram Khachaturian. He bought a piano specially for the composer. After Khachaturian played some excerpts from his works, quite unexpectedly the host gave him a nail to scratch his autograph on the lid. Khacha-

However, for other cases the house-museum uses its own reserves with high competency and at the proper level. Aram Khachaturian HouseMuseum organizes a series of educational programs called “Children create” during which children can paint, write; in short, engage in creativity, listening to the wonderful music of

turian agreed only after much persuasion. Today this piano has its own corner in the museum. In the museum, during DVD-shows, the visitors are acquainted with both the famous performances of classical works and the new ones.

Aram Khachaturian. Another project of the museum is “Museum paying a visit to schools.” “In the first project the children came to us, while within the frames of the second one we are visiting the schools,” explains Armine Grigoryan.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

45


Museums “We are given one lesson, during which our research associates give a lecture on the topic of “The art of Aram Khachaturian”. Children listen to music, watch video materials, and ask questions. After that, they come to visit us at an organized concert, where their peers perform for them”.

said in anger. Puzzled by the answer, people asked, “What happened, the staging was perfect, the orchestra also?” Then Khachaturian exclaimed, “They have cut off four bars of my music!” Despite the fact that the public, did not notice the “loss” of the small part of Khacha-

Our readers are also welcome to these lessons (“virtual” for now) to learn many new interesting facts about the great composer. By the way, did you know that Khachaturian loved animals very much? In Germany, he was given a royal poodle, which he called Lyado (notes la and do). The composer really enjoyed walking with Lyado. He adored this dog and even dedicated a piece to it “Lyado was taken ill”. Once in Yerevan the ballet “Spartacus” was being performed - the last one during Khachaturian's lifetime. It was staged by Ian Changi, the ballet troupe was excellent, Y. Voskanyan conducted the orchestra. However, in the middle of the first act Khachaturian, who was sitting in the hall, suddenly stood up and left. The act was over, but Khachaturian hadn’t returned. He was found after a while on another street, not far from the opera house. “If I had stayed, I would make a terrible scene!” Khachaturian

turian's music, the author himself (who was a very disciplined and an extremely demanding musician), was infuriated by it. ... In 1944, a competition was opened for the anthem of Armenia. Khachaturian came to Yerevan with his version of music to the words of Sarmen. Once in the dead of night, surrounded by his family he sat down at the piano and began to sing and play his anthem. It happened in summer, and all the windows were open. Lots of people gathered around (on the balconies, at the windows, on the street) and inspired by the music, started to sing it.

GATE GATE46 8

HERE OUR JOURNEY COMES TO THE END. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE EVENTS IN THE HOUSE-MUSEUM OF KHACHATURIAN, READ OUR MINI-GUIDE “ARMENIA TOURISM”. Photos courtesy of the Aram Khachaturian House-Museum.


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III International Jazz Festival was a big success! T his

year the festival was held under the patronage of the RA Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan. The RA Ministry of Culture, the Yerevan City Council, the US Embassy, the general partner of the festival – “ArArAt” Yerevan Brandy Company, the general

The end of the year in Yerevan was marked by the concert of the famous bass player and composer Marcus Miller that opened the III International Jazz Festival, organized by the Armenian Jazz Association.

sponsor of the festival – “Ardshinbank” CJSC, “Gazprom Armenia” CJSC, “Rosgosstrakh Armenia” Insurance CJSC, “Yerevan Travel”, the main information partner “H1” Public TV Company, the “Armenia Tourism” magazine also had their significant involvement in the festival. Yerevan music lovers got the opportunity to listen not only to Miller, but also to the famous Cuban pianist, the multiple Grammy winner Gonzalo Rubalcaba, the French saxophonist Alexis Avakyan, the remarkable saxophonist Igor Butman, Senegalese Pako Sarr, the Armenian Navy Band and Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Vahagn Hayrapetyan, the State Jazz Orchestra of Armenia and many

GATE 48

other Armenian musicians. And more importantly, the performances were held both in Yerevan and partially in Gyumri. When asked how it was possible to invite Miller, the honorary president of the association, jazzman Levon Malkhasyan said, “This is, of course, due to the outstanding contribution of the president of our association, the founder of the “Mezzo” holding, Kamo Movsesyan and his remarkable “Mezzo Production” team. It all started when my friends went to the concert of Marcus in Tbilisi and after his performance, they wanted to meet him at the afterparty. They turned on the GPS to determine the coordinates of the local jazz club, and it speci-

fied the nearest jazz club as “Malkhas” at 300 kilometers from the given point. At first, it all made us laugh, then it was forgotten ... Perchance, and then, as a result of the coordinated efforts of the Kamo’s team and with the support of our good friends it became possible to invite the star of world jazz to the capital of Armenia! “By the way, this year Marcus Miller, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Igor Butman became the honorary members of the Armenian Jazz Association. The president of the association Kamo Movsesyan granted the certificates to them personally. The expectations of the organizers with a view to a tangible cultural amusement in the form of jazz fans from abroad were also met. A large group of “fans”, our compatriots from Russia came with Igor Butman, we also had guests from the US and Europe. In a word, the festival was a big success, not only expanding the “geographical scope” of the participants and fans, but also rising to a new qualitative level. We hope that the festival will continue to thrive, and wish the organizers strength and patience for the upcoming April World Jazz Day that Armenia was among the first to celebrate, and, of course, for the 80th anniversary of Armenian jazz. We are expecting pleasant surprises!


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Мода “The Globe” of Armenia

THE ARMENIAN MUSEUM OF AMERICA More than 8,000 Armenians dwell in Watertown, on the outskirts of Boston, comprising 26% of its total population and one of the oldest Armenian communities of America. Armenian churches, schools, the Armenian library, museum, and other centers of Armenian culture all function here; there is even a street called Artsakh. There are newspapers in Armenian, and an Armenian television. Thus, our interviewee is the director of the Armenian Museum of America (AMA) Berj Chekijian.

A MA was formed in 1971 when a group of

Larger than in Vienna, the Vatican or Jerusalem. Armenians began to collect Armenian books It has a collection of more than 20 thousand and items in the Armenian parish church of antiquities – ancient and medieval Armenian Belmont, Massachusetts. Those people were coins, carpets, national costumes, objects from the descendants of Armenian migrant settlers, the times of Urartu kingdom, etc. The library and they had many Armenian books, house- contains more than 27 thousand catalogued hold items, utensils brought from Western Ar- titles including the Garabed Gospel of 1207 menia. Those wealthy men were real patriots AD from Cilicia as well as periodicals, posters, who chose to bring all the items together and documents and maps. One of the most signifiestablish a library, and then later, a museum. cant part of the library collection are the audio An announcement was placed in papers with a recordings with the stories of the survivors of call to donate books in Armenian to the fund of the Armenian genocide, in 1915. We change the future library. The collection amassed and the exhibitions several times throughout a year in 1985 was presented to the public for the first time. AMA moved to the current address only in 1988, occupying a four-storeyed brick building in the heart of Watertown. Until then, the exhibits were kept in Watertown Evangelical Church. I would like to emphasize the invaluable contribution of Mr. Zare Bedoukian to the creation of the library and museum; incidentally, the central hall of our museum is named after him. He was a chemist, and for many years bought Armenian books, artifacts, utensils and other items on the resources owing to his discovery. He bequeathed the whole collection to the museum on condition that we would leave the church and obtain our own building. Thus, it happened – in 1990 finally the Armenian Library and Museum of America was opened! I am completely sure that the museum collection of AMA is the largest outside Armenia. Armenian Museum of America (Boston) GATE 50


Culture Besides, it is required to visit our museum in the programs of two Armenian schools of California. And, of course, our frequent visitors are children from local schools in Massachusetts. The main aim of the museum is to continue the intensive program of collecting, preserving and documenting the Armenian artifacts, books, textiles, archives and works of art. Another objective is to preserve the Armenian heritage of the past and the present for the descendants, to tell the history of the Armenian people, to promote general awareness and the knowledge of culture and the contribution of the Armenian people through exhib-

St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church (Boston)

Armenian Cultural Foundation (Boston)

to display at least one part of our collection. The fact, that the number of exhibits enlarges, books are donated and purchased for the museum fund is highly important. Armenians comprise one quarter of the city. How often do they visit your museum? Are they the ony visitors of your museum? Quite often, I would say. However, most of our visitors are not from here. Not only our compatriots from other Armenian communities of the USA, but also tourists from different countries visiting Boston, strive to get here and acquaint themselves with our collection.

its and various educational programs. Its goal is also to act as a national repository and information center about the Armenian people, its history and culture. How often is the exhibition changed? Several times throughout a year to be able to display at least one part of our collection. And what is more important, the number of exhibits enlarges, books are donated and even specially purchased for the museum fund. Quite recently, the museum obtained an invaluable collection of works by a Canadian photographer of Armenian descent, one of the masters of portrait photography Yousuf Karsh.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

51


Мода “The Globe” of Armenia His spouse donated the photos to the museum. These are the portraits of people like Mother Teresa, Aram Khachaturian, Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Winston Churchill... By the way, about Churchill. When he arrived in 1941 in Canada to review the participation of the country in the Second World War, Karsh was the official photographer of the Canadian Parliament. He had to take a photograph of Churchill. Thus, he invited him to his studio, installed the light, charged the camera, and at the very last moment ... approached him and snatched his favorite cigar from his hands. Churchill was infuriated, and Karsh, grasped the chance and captured this “mien”. This is the story of the famous photograph of frowning Churchill. And now this photo is in our museum! Ama is also a cultural center, isn’t it? Quite right. A few years ago, after our meeting with the Chairman of the Composers Union of Armenia Aram Satyan, organized by our good friend, the outstanding composer and co-chairman of the foreign commission of the Union, Konstantin Petrossian, we decided to hold concerts of Armenian music with Armenian musicians and composers both from Armenia, and

Holy Trinity Armenian Church (Boston)

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from America. It should be noted that concerts organized by Petrossian always have great success and are very popular, again not only among our compatriots, but also Americans and guests... Last time you were in Armenia 16 years ago at the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of adoption of Christianity. What has changed since then? Back then, people were more reserved, introverted. This must have been the Soviet legacy. Now people have become more open and may express their will and thoughts freely – there is more room for freedom. As for the capital, it has developed significantly: new buildings have appeared; it has become cleaner, more cultured... It is gratifying and of course promising. This increased significantly the flow of tourists who want to be acquainted, to get in touch with the history of one of the most ancient countries. I am convinced that everything will continue to develop. We need to be conscious that the prosperity of our country requires maximum efforts and resources contributed in the development and promotion of our culture. After all, this is the future of Armenia, the guarantee for its success!


Welcome to the Nairi Hotel ! You will definitely enjoy your stay at the Nairi Hotel. The hotel is conveniently situated in the picturesque historical district of Nork-Marash close to the business center of Yerevan.

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The Nairi belongs to design hotels ‒ a rare category of hotels in Yerevan. The interior is sophisticated and stylish according to authorial design projects. The eye-catching stained glass windows, carefully chosen curtains and the upholstery create a special atmosphere where everyone would like to return! 121/7 Armenakyan Street, Yerevan Теl.: +374 10 65 21 21, +374 10 65 51 51 Fax: +374 10 65 03 33 marketing@hotelnairi.am, www.hotelnairi.am


“Armenia” Aircompany: Beirut within arm’s reach

Two hours of flight on wings of “Armenia” accompanied by pleasant flight attendants, tuneful western Armenian language, and 1063 km between Beirut and Yerevan are reduced to minimum. From one stamp in the passport to the other, everything completely changes: the marine air gives way to the crystalline mountain air, and the scenery of sandy beaches to the luminous snow-capped peaks of Armenian mountains. For several months, the liners of the aircompany have transported around 10 thousand Armenian and Lebanese passengers. And this is no wonder; in fact, both countries stand out for rich historical heritage.

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The Armenian community of Lebanon is one of

the most famous. In 1939, Armenians founded the city of Anjar in the mountains of Lebanon; the city is inhabited basically by Armenians. Similarly, the most attractive and cozy district of Beirut Bourj Hammoud is called “Little Yerevan” by the locals, since the majority of dwellers are Armenians. However, for Armenians, the most important place in Lebanon is Antelias, where the see of the Cilician Catholicosate of the Armenian Apostolic Church is located. As the Minister of Tourism of Lebanon Avedis Guidanian stated, over the last year more than 10 thousand travelers arrived there from Armenia and about 30 thousand from Lebanon to Armenia. It probably owes to the desire of the Lebanese Armenians to visit Khor Virap Monastery, admire the best view of sacred Ararat, taste the delectable Armenian wine, visit the pagan temple


Armenia

of Garni, say prayers in Etchmiadzin and feel the bracing air of Lake Sevan. According to Guidanian, the aircompany realizes the dream of the Armenian diaspora, helps in the promotion of tourism, and actively contributes to the development of relations between the two countries. The minister mentioned, “The aircompany constitutes an essential link between the Armenian community and the homeland. The company’s entry into the Lebanese market resulted in major price reductions for air tickets, attracted more tourists from both countries”. He added that the Lebanese people were encouraged by the available air tickets, comfortable flight conditions and hoped for a long-term activity of the aircompany. Initially, this focus was strategically important for the company, since Lebanon was a home to the large Armenian community, for which the di-

rect flight Yerevan-Beirut-Yerevan was a sine qua non. “80% of our success owes to the passengers; hence we try our best to make them feel the essence of Armenian hospitality the moment they get on board. The passengers, even those in economy class, are offered beverages and hot meal”, noted the deputy director of the company Gevorg Khachatryan. He also mentioned that from December 18 new tariffs would be applied to please the tourists. “Tickets for 140 and 148 euros are already available. Given the fact that before our company appeared on the market, the ticket cost was about 500 euros, we definitely succeeded”, Khachatryan noted. The official website of the company is armeniafly.com, here you can book or purchase tickets in advance. A representative office of the company functions in Beirut.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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The fourth annual award ceremony “Armenia Tourism - 2017” for the best representatives of tourist industry was held at Yans club. Long before the final consideration of the results, a competition was held for companies and private persons involved in the sphere. 430 applications were submitted. By the votes of the applicants, the shortlisted number of participants included 60 people, i.e. 5 candidates for each of 12 nominations.

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IV annual ceremony “Armenia Tourism 2017” The prize-giving ceremony included a festive banquet and a concert programme of the State Jazz and Pop Orchestra of Armenia conducted by Honoured Art Worker of the RA Armen Hyusnunts. The winners were awarded by authorial bronze statuettes created by Margarita Matulyan.

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The ceremony opened with a welcome speech by the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Armenia Ivan Volykin. The ceremony was attended by government officials, representatives of various foreign missions, business structures, scientific and cultural circles and other dignitaries.

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The hosts of the event were Nazeni Hovhannisyan, an actress and a presenter and Sargis Najaryan, Honored Artist of the RA. The purpose of the event is to boost the Armenian tourist industry, to award the companies recognized as best according to vote, as well as to promote the most successful projects related to the sphere. The winner in nomination of “Project of the year in the sphere of adventure tourism” was named the Yell Extreme Park - the first extreme and entertainment park in Armenia, where you can engage in extreme sports being a nonprofessional.

The title “Project of the year for preserving the national traditions” was awarded to Machanents Tourism & Art social enterprise, which provides the guests with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Armenian culture as well as to learn to sculpt, to embroider, and to work with wood or stone.

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“Tourism project of the year” was awarded to Yerevan City Tour. This is an official tourist programme worked out by the municipality, within the framework of which the tourists may become acquainted with the cultural and historical monuments and attractions of Yerevan.

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The title “Museum of the year” was awarded to the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. The permanent exhibition of the museum includes thousands of materials discovered as a result of cumulative work and obtained during the last 7-8 years, the latter are presented both in printed and multimedia formats. Rare photographs, books and documents are also exhibited.

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Bus Voyage was recognized as the best transport company of the year, operating for already many years.

Hyatt Place Jermuk was recognized as the best guesthouse of the year. It is one of the favourite vacation spots for both Armenians and tourists. GATE 58

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Ashot Levonyan, one of the best Russian-speaking guides in Armenia, won the nomination of “Tour guide of the year”. By the way, everyone is invited to make a trip with him to the monastery complex of Saghmosavank in “Virtual tours with our guides”.


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8 Abovyan St., Yerevan, Armenia +374 11 48 00 00 www.vostanrest.am


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Restaurant of the year is “Tsirani” – one of the best-loved places of tourists and locals.

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Hotel of the year in Armenia is Armenia Marriott Hotel Yerevan. It offers the guests elegantly furnished rooms in classical style, a spa, a gourmet restaurant with international cuisine, 5 restaurants and bars… It definitely has many advantages – a well-deserved victory!

Hotel of the year in Artsakh is Vallex Garden, acclaimed by the visitors as one of the best hotels both in Artsakh and in Armenia.

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In the nomination “Tour operator of the year in inbound tourism” won the “Elitar Travel”. The basic factors in the work of the company have been and are quality and reliability, as seen by the great number of awards and good feedback from colleagues.


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“Dynamically growing company of 2017” was recognized Ararat Resort Tsaghkadzor.

And finally, the title “Resort town of the year” was awarded to Tsaghkadzor the main ski resort of Armenia, situated in the picturesque valley at the foot of Teghenis. Osip Mandelstam was on vacation in Tsaghkadzor, and some of his poems from “Journey to Armenia” were written under the impression of local scenery.

» General partner of the event was “Yerevan Travel” the first tour operator for Armenia in Russia. Official partners: Stepanakert Brandy Factory with cognac “Madatoff” and wine “Berdashen”, online platform SKILL.AM Partners: “Tospia” restaurant, Opera Suite Hotel and Panorama Resort Yerevan hotels, High Park Residential Community housing complex, Elegant Hotel & Resort hotel, the official representative of Jaguar & Land Rover in Armenia, Gayane Khojayan Haute Couture Weddings, a weddings and events company, Margonie fashion house, Aga Kankanyan Image Studio and Rossi Cake confectioner’s shop. Information partners: “Sputnik Armenia” information agency, “Georgia Tourism” magazine, Torg.am trading platform, MTV.AM music TV channel.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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tourism News

Arsen Pinachyan

ARMENIAN FATHER CHRISTMAS IS MORE POPULAR THAN HIS “COMPETITORS” FROM THE CIS COUNTRIES ARE. Tourists consider Armenian Father Christmas, Kaghand Pap, to be one of the five most popular Father Christmases of CIS countries. According to “TourStat” analytical agency, Kaghand Pap ranks fourth among the most popular Father Christmases of the CIS countries in winter of 2017-2018. The top five also include Father Christmases from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. The rating is based upon the analysis of the popularity of visits paid by tourists to the residences of Father Christmases.

Head of the department of endoscopic and laparoscopic urology Clinic of Modern Surgery – CMS

TO MOSCOW AND BACK WITH “ARAM KHACHATURIAN” “Taron Avia” made the first flight Yerevan-Moscow. Boeing 737-500, bearing the name of Aram Khachaturian, successfully landed at Vnukovo airport. As reported by the airline, the flights will be carried out daily, the tickets are inexpensive. The prices for flights from Yerevan start from 53 thousand drams, and from Moscow, they are 16 thousand drams cheaper. The airline also makes flights to Krasnodar, Samara and Domodedovo airport of Moscow. THANKS TO THE TAXFREE SYSTEM, TOURISTS VISITING ARMENIA WILL BE ABLE TO GET IN CASH PART OF THE MONEY SPENT IN LOCAL STORES, STARTING FROM JANUARY 1, 2018.

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problems, using modern methods of conservative, surgical and laparoscopic treatment of the urogenital system diseases. The highly qualified personnel tackle the most serious problems of urology.

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“It should be noted that the minimum limit of purchase has been reduced by half. Previously this rule applied to those tourists who made purchase of at least 100,000 drams ($ 200) a day, from January 1 the level will go down to 50,000 drams a day. On leaving, tourists should present the corresponding receipts to the customs officer. The latter has the right to check the presence of these goods, and see whether they are new or not”, explains Arman Poghosyan, the head of Administration of Methodology, Procedures and Service Department of the State Revenue Committee of Armenia.

The department deals with a wide range of urological

13/4 Davit Anhaghti St., 0014, Yerevan, Armenia Теl.: +(374 10) 206103, +(374 93) 997975 info@cmsyerevan.am www.cmsyerevan.am


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Create memories for a lifetime in “Panorama Resort” – the first “de luxe” grand resort in Yerevan. We invite all those who like comfort, warmth and elegance. Relax and enjoy your stay in the hotel spa, which offers an impressive selection of all kinds of services and facilities. It offers 2-4-room suites, a restaurant, bar, lounge, conference room, swimming pool, tennis court, gym and free WiFi. Truly royal facilities at amazing rates!

24/3 G.Hovsepyan St., Nork-Marash, Yerevan, Armenia, Теl.: +374 60 27 57 37 info@panoramayerevan.com, www.panoramayerevan.com


Lessons of Armenia

Valeriy Zelenogorskiy:

“I AM A CAPTIVE OF

THE BEAUTIES OF

ARMENIA!” MCBC “Moscow House” in Yerevan annually presents new interesting projects to the city dwellers. The latter include “Pioneer readings”, organized by “Russian pioneer,” Russian literary magazine. One of the honoured guests of Moscow House was the renowned Russian writer, art director and producer Valeriy Zelenogorskiy. Mr. Zelenogorskiy this is not your first visit to Armenia, right? Quite right! We first met forty years ago, at a regiment of Yerevan garrison. What attracted the private Zelenogorskiy (Greenberg) in Armenia and in Yerevan?.. The theatre after Sundukyan, particularly the bathhouse not far from it, “Hrazdan” stadium and the breathtakingly beautiful everyday view of Ararat. While drawing parallels between Armenia of the past and Armenia we have nowadays, what would you single out? I never tried to compare two Armenias, the image of Armenian people always represented a righteous, honest nature, a great dignity, and the social order is not the issue here. GATE 64

The works of many contemporary Russian writers and your writing, alas, are not widely recognized in Armenia… i suppose Moscow house acts as the only bridge providing communication between us. I wonder how the idea of «pioneer readings» was born and what opinion you had about that? I am grateful to Moscow House and to its director, Armine Tutunjian, for the opportunity to meet with myself in forty years. People communicate with each other not only through books, tours and cultural exchanges, there are close ties and contacts that existed, exist and will always do.


Armenia What can you tell about the audience in Yerevan? Very delicate, intelligent people sensitive to word, capable of listening and hearing. And if we cross the boundaries of the capital what was spectacular for you there? Perhaps I am not being original, but I am less concerned about stones, people mean more to me, whether in Yerevan or outside of it, people are as beautiful and just as profound, regardless of their social status and level of education. People are the best resource of Armenia; the landscape and stones are eternal and do not depend on us. After visiting Armenia, you wrote “lessons of Armenia” readers will surely be introduced to it. Do you plan to have new meetings with Yerevan dwellers?

I am ready to meet with the readers of Armenia at any time. If I am invited, I will be happy to meet with any audience; Armenia is the place where I breathe and breathe life into the writing. You plan to visit Armenia to begin working on a new piece, don’t you? What about the magnetism of Armenia, what do you think it owes to? Yes, I want to spend the winter in Armenia. As for magnetism, I will say nothing, but the attractiveness of these places is obvious, and I often reflect on it. Regarding the plans, I would like to write something, but I'm not a Tolstoy or a Thomas Mann, I do not expect much, if I succeed and write it, it will be great, otherwise - others will write, inspired by Armenia. I am already a captive of its beauties…

V. Zelenogorskiy . “LESSONS OF ARMENIA- 2” If you are sad and feel anxiety in the pit of your stomach, then you should buy a ticket and fly to Armenia – in three hours all the vanity will dissipate and you will love yourself in a wonderful country, where everything is delicious, and alas, will observe painfully, that people still live in difficult conditions. Those people, who exemplify a life with dignity and pride, with no anger in their faces, no discontent at someone’s possession of gas and bad dough; they have the strength to overcome difficulties and rejoice at whatever life offers.

In the parking area at the entrance to Geghard I noticed a trio of musicians with traditional instruments. They played for tourists, who were few on a weekday. No one seemed to offer anything, feeling upset they went to rest and have a bite in the shade of a mulberry tree. Suddenly, a flock of pigeons created a buzz flying over the tables with Armenian pies and striving for their prey. The one who played the duduk started at the scene, jumped up like Dasayev, and caught a fat pigeon in the air.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Lessons of Armenia Imagine the happiness in his eyes; he had caught a bird, his friends tapped on his shoulders, and then the hero just let the bird go, without any exhortations from the greens or nature fighters, he just set the bird of God free, his face glittered with happiness. We visited the Etchmiadzin Cathedral before departure. A long stream of people, clergymen all in black, handsome like movie stars, no rowdies, and no old bats, there was modesty, asceticism and dignity, no nicknames, thickheaded guards, golden vestments and “Benz” with guards of FSO. The Armenian Apostolic Church nurtures the people, not themselves. The Liturgy is grand, majestic and serene.

In the city, we came across a demonstration against same-sex couples led by monks, where the supporters were also present. Thus, it turns out that one can demonstrate one's feelings without the common brutality, peacefully and calmly. Everyone expressed his attitude on the issue and no one was eaten alive. I visited the military unit, where forty years ago I had served as a clerk of the food service. A contingent of peacekeeping forces is deployed there now. I was welcomed cordially. The commander of the unit guided me to the places of former glory. He offered to take a picture at the flag of the unit, but I did not - out of modesty. The commander had studied at the Military Academy of the General Staff; he turned out to be a very handsome man. He offered some refreshments, but I refused, since I did not want to burden the GATE GATE66 8

budget of a country that lived in difficult conditions, and still in a dignified way. In Armenia, if someone wants to wish every success to you, he says “tsavd tanem”; it means, “Iʼll take your pain away”. I did not hear any of this in any other language. Pricking, hurting, insulting, as much as you wish, but to relieve your pain, to share it with you, to soothe your grief with empathy is a great rarity. Such are people in Armenia. We took a taxi with my colleague to the hotel. The car was old, the driver – an elderly man, apparently living modestly. He asked me where we guested, and then invited us to his house to sit around the table with his family not to feel alone in his country. When I went through my pockets for money, he said to me calmly, “Quit that, this is not the main thing, go ...” I was startled, it was not a pretense,


Armenia just a simple cordiality of a person, who, by the way, needed money badly to feed his family... You have to come to Yerevan. First, it is wonderful here; the center of Yerevan looks more European than the bloated Moscow. For a very small amount of money (and where can we get them?) the city resembles a miniature, the pedestrian zone on Tumanyan Street with new houses, boutiques and restaurants can match up with Paris and London. Every corner is adjusted to the disabled people, the parking areas are within walking distance, everything is firm and solid, not in a slapdash fashion as we are used to. Secondly, about food. You may eat everywhere; there are places of various price category, from fast food to restaurants with specialty cuisine, where any dish is a masterpiece available for a quite reasonable amount. For four days, eight restaurants were examined, not a single gap was identified; the service is quick and gentle, with masculine dignity, without airs and graces and scrounging of tips. There are no slobs in the streets, the atmosphere is peaceful, a full sense of security. On the boulevards where we have bums and lushes, cafes are situated, where you can have tea, eat ice cream, just eat and drink alcohol, like in the Grand Boulevards of Paris and the Ramblas of Barcelona. The sun, the mountains, a clear sky and a comfortable atmosphere all around... This pastoral portraiture came to me quite naturally; this was a sheer response to what was seen not mixed with anything else. I did not see much this time, but I saw “Hrazdan” stadium - an amazing structure of 1973, which is still impressive. I had a chance to see the great FC Ararat with Ishtoyan, Andreasyan, Markarov and Zanazanyan; I was in the security line during the championship that year and I remember the boom of Armenian football. I went to the Russian theater, and saw the brilliance of Jigarkhanyan. I slept during the performance at the opera theater, exhausted by military trainings, and only the voice of great Gohar Gasparyan woke me up during the second act. I remember the Modern Art Museum of Yerevan, where Arme-

nians from all over the world created a collection of contemporary paintings, it was astounding, and there I met a girl who did not hesitate to talk with a soldier, something inconceivable in those days. I did not see much, but it turned out I remember a lot, a couple of dozen words, retrieved from a deep server, they slept for forty years, until I returned to the place where the sun always shines, where the water seconds only to one in Switzerland, and the air heals. Armenians of Moscow are different from Armenians of Yerevan, just like the North Koreans differ from the South Koreans, and the Jews of the Diaspora from the Israelis. Separation from the historical homeland does not make people from the diaspora worse - they are just different. Armenians of Moscow are rich, uninhibited, they, of course, provide support for their homeland, where everyone remembers with an immense gratitude how in that difficult year, when all Armenia was left without heat and electricity, the great Charles Aznavour paid the bills for everyone (everyone!!!) in the country. I do not know if anything like that ever happened in any other country… I would like to see all the Armenians on their land revealed to the world with their beauty and their greatness, qualities preserved since the times of Urartu kingdom. It is not for nothing that the Ark rested on Ararat, this was the Creator's plan, and when the water subsided, the human race began anew from this land. Good-bye, Armenia! See you soon…

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

Photos from the personal archives of V. Zelenogorskiy and A. Plaudis

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The city committed to

memory‌

Pushkin Street, the district at the crossroads of Teryan Street and Ter-Gabrielyan Street. The houses of the Afrikyan brothers.

It seemed that the hustle and bustle of modern life had left no space for amazement. Our interviewee is a native of Yerevan, a wonderful trombonist and musician Sargis Hovhannisyan. In his fifties, Sargis has taken up drawing‌ giving birth to buildings that no longer exist. Sargis decided to depict from memory the old buildings of Yerevan, buildings that, alas, were blasted into oblivion... As a result, a gallery of about 40 drawings was established. GATE 68


Yerevan

Sargis, and how did this idea occur to you? In 1963, as a five-year-old boy I witnessed the demolition of one of my favorite buildings for the first time. Then over and over again. Year after year, buildings dear to me would disappear giving way to new strange ones. It was impossible to look at all this and remain indifferent... In March 2005, the reconstruction of the center of Yerevan commenced the demolition of the old buildings. I have lived in Ajapnyak for a long time now, but then when I learnt about it, I decided to go to the center and have a last look at my house ... I stood in front of it for quite a long time. The upcoming separation and the sudden burst of recollections made me think that all this would remain only in my memory and I needed to capture this picture somehow. I took out a pencil and did a drawing of my house. This picture was the starting point in my work - I made up my mind to depict all the houses that were still alive in my memory. Your drawings represent such details like trees, wells ... Do you remember all this? Well, this is neither an exact copy, nor something embellished. Some of my “houses” survived until 1969, others – until 1967, some were demolished quite recently ... I just go back in my mind to that time, capture the recollections and then create the drawing or complete it.

Nazarovskaya Street (now Amiryan Street). The Houses of the Tumanyans and the Mirzoyans, the school. after Khachatur Abovyan (now Isahakyan Library). A part of them was demolished in 2006 - 2007. Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Pushkin Street, buildings 9 (the Gabrielyans) and 11 (Iranian Embassy). Later occupied by the families of A. Ayvazyan and V. Buich.

What was the most pivotal point in creating the current series? The need to depict the past in present, in order to make the right choice in future. And to conclude: What would you do in case you were empowered with authority? Many things, perhaps. I think it would be better if we showed much concern for the traditions established by the first architects who revived Yerevan, and an earthen town was rebuilt into a stone city. You can do many things, but the most important thing is to revive the garden city – with lots of green spaces and traditional Yerevan streets. And, perhaps, in this my drawings may serve as a key element.

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Corner houses were demolished in 1967. Crossroads of Lenin Avenue and Spandaryan Street. Houses with a yard and a pavilion. Demolished in 1969.


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A look from the outside We have a premier – a new column under the rubric “literary page” introduced by the famous writer and poetess from Moscow, the board chairman of the national literary award “Zolotoe pero Rusi” (golden stylus of Russia) Svetlana Savitskaya. Hence, a fragment of her essay, written soon after her stay in Armenia.

ARARAT

The great liner named after writer Nikolai Leskov was crossing the time zone boldly. But where was the zone? Could it be seen, touched or other felt? Maybe that was the zone of turbulence shaking the liner when the friendly stewards offered drinks. Quivering its wings, the giant greeted the Caucasus. November 30. From Moscow to Armenia ‒ one white cloud cover, cancellation of flights; almost a hundred of them delayed at the airports of Moscow because of sleet ... and we – in flight to Yerevan... trusting and questioning our fate that luck would open a gate for our airliner, that we would land on time, without delays and hence without causing anxieties to friends and relatives. And ... lo and behold! We were among the fortunate ones. Indeed. We were. Because we had been chosen, invited, ensured about the flight and the reception there, in Armenia... The smartphone messaged me saying, “It’s good fortune if you see Ararat. It is exposed only for 40 days a year!” GATE GATE72 8

“And what if I do not?” The liner was landing. My “right” window seat possessed the “right” of two blue portholes. Like any other woman I cleaned them both with a wet tissue, then dried them to a crisp, in anticipation of good shots. I wondered what the new place would be like. After all, all countries had their own color! For example, Russia was green. The United Arab Emirates were yellow. Spain was burgundy red... Still, above us was the same celestial blue, and below us ‒ the white of cloud cover. Between the white and blue ‒ the blinding light of the sun crossed the portholes! There were no hints, no guesses. However, the doom and gloom dissipated, when the bearish scruffs of the snowy peaks began to show up. Hence, the sugar ribs and sharp vertebrae of the Caucasian glaciers, avalanches, dales, valleys and the golden veins of rivers revealed in all pristine beauty. They were definitely untouched by men. There the white clouds, blown to those marvelous white places, were being traced only by their shadows on the snows ‒ grey outlines! As we got closer to Armenia the snow disappeared. The bear mountains threw off white fur coats quickly, turning black, almost like the Himalayans. The lower level revealed the forest cover of the uncombed Caucasian wool. The hairy paws of mountain ranges embraced the new land tenderly, the land divided into patches of small busy fields... Then an unexpected thing happened; the sun, pushing the right wing of the plane, suddenly conducted a pupil testing. Yes! Just like passing through customs in some countries. After all, everyone has a unique iris of the eye, just like fingerprints. Perhaps this was a “friend or foe” discernment.


Armenia After the sudden flash, the pupil captured once and for all the color-symbol of Armenia representing something between overripe green olives and unripe black ones. The patches of fields were followed by a gigantic ring of misty smoke formed out of nowhere under the blinding sun. And over the ring... Oh, Lord, was Ararat! Prominent, grand and snow-white the double peaked mountain challenged His Majesty the sun with its splendor! But the sun won! Around the mountain, like in circular basins or in rings around Saturn, a glittering manna was falling from heaven! Maybe at that moment all the clouds of the Earth came to bow it and stayed charmed not daring to leave. Sis and Masis (the Armenian names of the two-peaked mountain, Small and Big Ararat) ‒ the two milky breasts of the planet, uncovered in front of God in the undying desire to saturate the heavens, shone with ermine robes, washed in sunlight. My first desire was to picture the scene. Alas not a single camera would capture the blinding nimbus of the sun, which fell around the legendary foot in the Ararat Plain! Be-

sides, the rays spread from all sides of the mountains, especially towards the two blue portholes, to which I stuck, in an insatiable and unquenchable thirst to get enough. S. Savitskaya. A fragment of the essay from the series of “The Calling of the Planet�. Armenia, 2017.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Monastery of Sagmosavank


Monastery Kecharis

Đ?rmenia & Artsakh Virtual tours with our guides: 1. To the Kecharis Monastery with N. Balayan ........................ page 78 2. To the Saghmosavank Monastery with Ashot Levonyan....page 82


A TOUR TO THE KECHARIS MONASTERY WITH NINA BALAYAN Good day, dear friends! My name is Nina, I am glad to welcome you to Armenia. Today we will visit one of the picturesque corners in the north of our country – Tsaghkadzor. There is a unique monastic complex Kecharis and the famous ski resort with its perfect routes. We start the journey from the center of Yerevan; we are driving along Mashtots Avenue, named after the creator of the Armenian alphabet, and passing by Matenadaran the Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts. LXXVIII GATE 78

Now we are approaching the “student” district of Yerevan. Most of the universities are located on this large circle around the center. We see the buildings of Polytechnic Institute, Yerevan Medical University, etc. Now we are on Myasnikyan Avenue, where Yerevan Zoo and Aqua Park are located; we are heading towards Nor Nork and Avan. Admittedly, this is one of the most ecofriendly districts of the city. We are already on the highway, which leads to both Tsaghkadzor and neighboring Georgia. We en-


ter Kotayk Province. This region is famous for its meat and dairy products, mineral springs, as well as for the balneal resort and Arzni Aesthetics Plastic Surgery Center. We continue our journey: on the left, the monument to a huge eagle wishes “bon voyage”, and just in a little while, you can admire the amazing obsidian rocks. Obsidian has many names; many of them are associated with mythical names. For example, in Armenia this stone is known as “Satani eghung”, which means “Satan's fingernail”: there is a legend that the devil, falling from heaven, broke off his nails, and they were scattered over this land. This is the reason, why many people still make obsidian talismans to protect themselves from the evil eye. It is especially interesting to see on this background the word “Lenin” made up of spruce trees preserved from Soviet times... Now people make various souvenirs from ob-

sidian, however, in ancient times they used it to make tools, scalpels, etc. you can see these exhibits in the History Museum of Armenia. It takes about an hour to reach Tsaghkadzor from Yerevan, and now having turned off the main road and passing the city of Hrazdan, we are approaching Tsaghkadzor. The city is located in a picturesque valley at an altitude of about 1800 meters above sea level. Tsaghkadzor is famous for eco-tourism. Your stay in the city will be crowned by the increased level of haemoglobin in blood owing to the rarefied fresh air with relatively low oxygen content, and to the forests. Tsaghkadzor gained its popularity when the leaders of the USSR decided that the Soviet Union Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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national teams in various sports would train here before the international competitions. Today Tsaghkadzor attracts teams of Armenian, Russian and other sportspersons. They are skiers, swimmers, weightlifters and many other people professionally engaged in sports. The ski route is about 30 km; one can use a cable car. The pearl of Tsaghkadzor is the monastic complex of the 11th-13th centuries Kecharis, which means “birch grove” in Armenian. This is the historical name of the city itself. We get off the bus and move to the church of Saint Grigor. A large vaulted hall, topped by a wide dome, receives us. Between the churchLXXX 80 GATE

es of Saint Grigor and Surb Nshan (Holy Sign of Cross), there is a small rectangular chapel of the 11th century. It served as a shrine to the founder of the monastery Grigor Magistros. The chapel has reached our days, alas, half-demolished. To the south of the chapel is the third church of the monastery – Katoghike. The fourth church, Surb Harutyun (Holy Resurrection), is located 120 meters from the monastery buildings. There are many interesting legends about Kecharis told by the locals. As one of them has it, there was a princess, who scattered her flowers, then tried and failed to pick them up again. That is why the city was named Tsaghkadzor, which means “the gorge of flowers”. After visiting the church, we will certainly go to the Museum of Brothers Orbeli, we will give a smile to the monument of the saddest but the most cheerful clown Leonid Yengibarov in the central square, and then everyone can go to the cable car and ride along the slopes of the magnificent mountain Teghenis. Alas, after a little while we will return to the capital. We may spend the night here though, and in the morning go to the north ‒ to Lake Sevan or to Dilijan, visit the monasteries of Haghartsin or Goshavank. Anyway, it is up to you to decide ‒ Armenia is always waiting for you. Always! Photos courtesy of Marianna Meliksetyan.


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A TOUR TO THE SAGHMOSAVANK MONASTERY WITH ASHOT LEVONYAN Hello, dear guests! My name is Ashot. Today we will have an excursion to Saghmosavank ‒ we will see a very interesting and unique monastery, located on the edge of the precipice of the picturesque gorge of the Qasakh River. This is one of the most beautiful places in Armenia. It is worth mentioning that Armenia is a magical land and at the same time an infinite treasury of ancient churches and enchanting natural scenes, which amazingly complement each other. LXXXII82 GATE

Now we are moving north. We are driving along Marshal Baghramyan Avenue: it starts from France Square, where the National Academic Theater of Opera and Ballet is located, and ends with Barekamutyun Square. Up the road, we can see the House Museum of Aram Khachaturian, the buildings of the Writers' Union, the Architects' Union, the Constitutional Court, the National Assembly and various embassies, the National Academy of Sciences and the Residence of the President. Now we approach the Lovers' Park


and the American University of Armenia and, having passed Orbeli Brothers Street, we move on to Kiev Street and reach the Kiev Bridge. The rightbank district of Yerevan, Ajapnyak is right in front of us. Before we get to Ashtarak Highway, the road leading to the west and north, we will ride around the northern parts of the capital. Pay attention to those tall buildings. They were assembled in such a way that the view from above would show the word “USSR”. However, it was left incomplete as the construction of new buildings stopped with the collapse of the Soviet Union. On Ashtarak Highway on the right side is the International Rehabilitation Center of Armenian Red Cross Society, and on the left – a new residential community “Vahakni”. Having passed Proshyan village, named after the renowned Armenian novelist, we are approaching the city of Ashtarak. On the right, we can see the four-peaked Aragats, the highest mountain in Armenia, an extinct volcano on the southern slope of which is the most beautiful high altitude lake Kari (stone lake), and nearby

Ara Ler (Mountain of Ara the Beautiful). If you look closely, the outline of the mountain resembles a lying person... In the city of Ashtarak (“tower” in Armenian), there was a large fortress with five towers in ancient times. Alas, neither of them exists now, however the name of the city is preserved. The most remarkable historical monuments of Ashtarak are the churches of Tsiranavor (Orange), Karmravor (“Red”) and Saint Marianeh. Finally, we reach our destination. Winter Saghmosavank is wonderful in its own way! It offers a gorgeous view of Biblical Ararat and the picturesque gorge on its background. Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Worthy of special mention is the fact, that in ancient times, all the monasteries were built on energetically active points of the Earth, and here in Saghmosavank this feeling is rather strong. Legend has it that Saint Gregory the Illuminator founded Saghmosavank 17 centuries ago. The founder of Christianity in Armenia prayed on the spot where we are now standing, and the Heavenly Lampion shone on him. Back in ancient times, Saghmosavank was called a “psalm monastery”, since monks had a penance to write psalms. In 1215, Armenian Prince Vache Vachutian erected here the church of Saint Sion. Later, the Church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God), the porch and the book depository were built. All these structures are united in the monastery complex Saghmosavank. The flourishing period for the monastery was the 13th century. For a long time, it acted as a cultural, educational and a manuscript-writing center. The scribes of the monastery enjoyed wide popularity due to their experience and skill. Here you can see walls and columns covered by ancient paintings ‒ unique frescoes. One of them represents the image of Gregory the Illuminator as a shepherd with a crook in his hand. LXXXIV GATE 84

In the Church of Surb Astvatsatsin the niche is realized in the form of a veiled silhouette of a woman, the Virgin, the coat of arms of all medieval princely families of Armenia ‒ a flying angel and an eagle, with a lamb clutched in its claws, is depicted above the altar. The churches of Armenia fascinate with their simplicity, and Saghmosavank is not an exception! You can walk around this monastery endlessly, enchanted by the views and enveloped by the abundant grace in this mystical “portal to other worlds”. Everyone who has ever been here is sure to return. Even if the programme does not include a visit to this monastery, the guests find time and opportunity to visit it again... This is where our tour ends; now we can either go back to Yerevan, or visit the fortress of Amberd on the southern slope of Mount Aragats or see the ancient Gyumri in the north and try to get through the Tsak Kar (the Holey Stone) en route... We can also get to the unique Dendropark (arboretum) in the north of the country! One can discover Armenia over and over again, and we are always here to help! Photos courtesy of Gagik Siravyan and Ashot Levonyan


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“AVANTA” INNOVATIVE MEDICAL CENTRE

The centre was established in 2002 and was

aimed at developing and using state-of-the-art technologies and methods in the field of dentistry and aesthetic medicine in Armenia. “Avanta” has been recognized as the best network of clinics of modern dentistry, implantology and aesthetic medicine in Armenia for many years. Now the innovative medical centre “Avanta” has five branches in the capital and one in Vanadzor. “Avanta” is the reference partner of the German Dentsply Sirona Company in Armenia. During 15 years of activity, the clinic has had 77000 visitors from all over the world, among whom more than 9000 have new ideal smiles now. Over this period, 8000 implants have been placed; the operations are performed by the centre’s founder, chief dentist, implantologist of the RA Ministry of Health Karen Grigoryan. The clinic “Avanta” has fostered the development of medical tourism in the country. Today thousands of people come to Armenia to get high-quality services in the field of dentistry and aesthetic medicine. Over the past few years, the number of visitors from Russia, the United States, Europe and the Middle East has increased considerably. GATE GATE86 8

Armenia is a country where you can receive high-quality and meanwhile affordable dental services. For example, tooth filling in the US costs $150, while in Armenia ‒ $15-40; prosthesis in the US costs $1,800 and in Armenia ‒ $100200. As for implantation (including the cost of crowns), in the US the prices range from $2,500 to $4,000, and in Armenia from $500 to $1,500. The clinic “Avanta” provides tourists with fast and quality services. The centre department of aesthetic medicine is equipped with Candela GentleLase 2017 for laser cosmetology, the latest and widely known rejuvenating technology Fotona, recognized worldwide as a gold standard of laser technologies, as well as the HIFU technology – an ultrasound SMAS-lifting created as an alternative to plastic surgery for those, who want skin tightening, and a variety of professional cosmetics for face and body skin care that allow for individual methods of treatment. The centre also offers services for hair transplantation through various methods of transplanting your own hair. The operations are performed by the American Professor of Aesthetic Medicine Akaki Tsilosani The greatest asset for us is the happy faces of our patients.


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From pahlevans

to slacklining! The history of the first ropewalkers (pahlevans) goes deep in the past. Presumably, the first mountaineers walked on the rope for practical reasons – to cross a gorge in search of the lost cattle for example. Over time, ropewalkers grew into circus performers and in the twentieth century, they even went on tours abroad. However, nothing ever stands still, everything is changing, and today the art of ropewalkers has gone through several metamorphoses, has become a kind of sport, popular, not only in the Caucasus, but also overseas, and known as “slacklining”. We’ll dwell on this in our interview with Aharon Khachatryan - one of the popularizers of slacklining in Armenia.

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Armenia What is slacklining how is it different from the art of pahlevans? Well, first of all, this is a sport, not a circus art. Actually, I don’t really like when slackliners are associated with pahlevans, because we don’t do this to earn money and we do not give a performance accompanied by the sounds of duduk or zurna. This sport differs from the art of ancient mountaineers in many respects, like in the way of keeping the balance, in the texture of the webbing, and finally ideologically.

How the us came up with an idea, which existed in our country for hundreds of years? The type of ropewalking began in Yosemite Valley (California) in the early 80s, when Adam Grosowsky and Jeff Ellington began to walk along the chains enclosing the parking area. Later webbings were specially adjusted and the idea quickly spread among the rock climbers of the valley, and then around the world. Today, the most popular types of slacklining are the highlining and waterlining. The first one is a slacklining

Slacklining or “walking on the line” is a kind of extreme sports, a practice in balancing, which consists in walking on a special nylon or polyester webbing, suspended between stationary objects - anchors. The degree of tension is adjusted to the needs and goals of the equilibrist (ropewalker, slackliner); there exist webbings of different width and structure designed for different styles of slacklining involving complex acrobatic tricks, slacklining over water and at high altitudes above the ground with or without a harness.

with the webbing stretched high above the ground or water, where the harness is indispensable, and the second one i.e. waterlining is slacklining over water, which is becoming more and more popular especially in the summertime. What is your way to slacklining? Five years ago by sheer chance, I watched a video with my brother, where slackliners were performing and became addicted to that type of sport… Intensive workouts began, like-minded people were involved.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Sport Today we train anyone interested both in Yerevan and in the provinces, we participate in competitions, even international ones, as far as possible. However, it is rather strenuous; those wanting quick results will be disappointed. All this requires long trainings and full commitment. That is the reason, we are few in number – not everyone has the patience. Not only in Armenia... Who supports you? Where do you train? Initially, we were actively supported by the Mountaineering and Hiking Federation. We

Yes, you are right, and more than that. The core of the team is made up of six participants – my brother Mushegh, my wife Anna, our friends Vera, Eva, Tatev and Anush. Later Narek joined us. I thought we would have more members, but not everyone can withstand strenuous trainings. Is it true, that you made a marriage proposal walking on the rope? Well actually, we decided to have a wedding photo-shoot; this should be something original,

still get the support wherever possible, I am a member of the federation board myself: our team “Step Slackliners” is a part of it. The trainings take place in different parks of Yerevan, more often at English Park. From a certain period, we started to organize paid trainings, this made it possible to get the necessary professional equipment from Germany, and then to perform at the Russian festival in May this year. Incidentally, our participation made the format of the festival international. We returned with a victory, I took the second place and was quite satisfied, since the prize for that place was exactly what we lacked in the equipment. Later, my brother performed brilliantly at the Lublin festival. Am i right in thinking that the members of your club aren’t men alone?

so we came up with the idea of capturing this glorious day, this great event “on the rope”. I believe the most common question is how safe it is. For me personally, this is one of the safest sports. We all use a harness, and the most serious traumas are bruises or slight physical injuries. Still the safety rules should be strictly observed; this is no place for a reckless behavior. Moreover, given the fact that I work as a guide, I often encourage the tourists to try out for the slacklining to obtain not only a spiritual balance in Armenia, but also a physical one. I dare say this is something unforgettable! As the popular saying has it, who climbs the mountain will reach his journeyʼs end; this is more than true for us – I would rather say fundamental!

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Photos courtesy of Aharon Khachatryan


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Armenia is marvelous in all seasons and winter is no exception. Armenia has everything you need for active winter holidays, as well as for peaceful solitude. The fans of active rest, who visited Armenia, have singled out places appropriate for alpine skiing and snowboarding. Hence, we offer information on 15 most interesting places to visit in winter, the list is based upon the survey of Russian tourists who used the services of “Yerevan Travel”, the first tour operator for Armenia in Russia, and who visited our country more than once. Armenia in winter

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1 The alpine lake of Sevan is attractive both in summer and in winter. The average monthly temperature in winter is 7°C. Lake Sevan freezes entirely only at harsh temperatures (below 20°C), which is explained by the huge number of springs. Everything is covered by snow from the end of November to the middle of April. In 2011, a cableway station was opened here. It is located near the hotel “Akhtamar”. There are various cafes and bars at the ski center. Around Lake Sevan, there are hotels of different standards that provide service all year round.

2 Jermuk, a town of health resorts and one of the most popular resorts in the Soviet Union, is located on a beautiful mountain plateau at an altitude of 2070 meters above sea level, surrounded by heavily forested low mountains. On the slope of Mount Shish (2850 m), there are two cableway routes (one for the beginners in alpine skiing, the other for the experienced ones), the lift rises to the height of 2450 m. The routes are made in accordance with modern high standards. There is a rescue service and a ski and snowboard rental on the mountain. You can stop at sanatoria, hotels, holiday homes or rent a room in the private sector. 3 Tsaghkadzor is recognized as a tourism development center. The ski resort has been one of the best resort places since the times of Soviet Union. Soviet national teams trained here. A cableway with four terminal towers, corresponding to the world standards, routes for skiers and snowboarders and rental of every necessary equipment are all available in Tsaghkadzor. Recently, the fifth terminal tower was also opened for the beginners. There are many hotels, holiday homes, restaurants in the city; the private sector is developed. On the slope of Tsaghkunyats Mountain (2820 m), where the cableway is located, there are bars, cafes, rescue services, first aid services, training services for beginners and so on. GATE 92


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4 Yerevan – the capital and the largest city of Armenia both by its size and by population. It is one of the ancient cities of the world, as old as Rome and Babylon, Carthage and Nineveh. Until 1936, Yerevan was known as Erivan in Russian transcription. The popular attractions in Yerevan include the Cascade, the Yerevan History Museum, the National Gallery, Republic Square, Matenadaran named after Mesrop Mashtots, the Tsitsernakaberd, the Theatre of Opera and Ballet, the Sergey Parajanov House-Museum, the Aram Khachaturian House-Museum, Erebuni Fortress, Saint Sargis Church, Zoravor Surb Astvatsatsin Church, Saint Katoghike Church, etc.

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5 Zvartnots (the church of celestial angels), a church of early medieval Armenian architecture, is located not far from Yerevan and Vagharshapat (Echmiadzin). According to the Armenian historian Sebeos, Zvartnots was built by the order of Catholicos Nerses III the Builder (641/642 ‒ 661/662), who was planning to move his residence from Dvin to Vagharshapat. In his book “Armenian Studies” Kamsar Avetisyan writes, “Zvartnots is dedicated to celestial angels, because in Armenian "zvartun" previously meant also "an angel"”. Hence, Zvartnots means “Temple of the Angels”. In 2000, the ruins of the church and the surrounding archeological territory were included in the list of the UNESCO World Heritage.

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6 Etchmiadzin Cathedral (translated from Armenian as “The Descent of the Only-begotten Son”) - the mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Pontifical See of the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians between 303 ‒ 484 and since 1441. UNESCO lists the Cathedral as a World Heritage Site. Educational institutions of the Armenian Church are also located here. The original wooden cathedral was built in 303 (soon after Armenia adopted Christianity as a state religion) and then it was rebuilt in stone between the 5th and 7th centuries. The belfry was built between 1653 and 1658 and the sacristy in 1869. 7 Khor Virap (translated from Armenian as “deep cell”), a monastery of the Armenian Apostolic Church, located in Armenia close to the Turkish border, at the foothill of Ararat Mountain. The monastery is famous for its location, as right from here one of the magnificent views to biblical Mount Ararat opens up. The monastery is built on the underground prison where the Armenian King Tiridates III kept St. Gregory the Illuminator incarcerated for about 14 years before his (Tiridates’) conversion to Christianity (in 301). The hill of Khor Virap is located on the place of the ancient Armenian capital Artashat built by King Artashes I (circa 180 B.C.). GATE 94


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Noravank (translated from Armenian as “New Monastery”), a monastery complex, built in the 13th century 122 km far from Yerevan on the step of a narrow curving gorge of the Arpa River, not far from the Armenian city of Yeghegnadzor. The gorge is famous for its hanging red rocks, towering behind the monastery on the territory of which the two-storey church of Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Virgin) is located with narrow cantilever stairs. Sometimes the monastery is called Amaghu Noravank to distinguish it from Bkheno Noravank, a monastery located near the city of Goris. Amaghu is the name of a small settlement, which used to stand over the gorge. During 13-14th centuries the monastery became the residence of Syunik bishops. 9 Tatev. Ropeway called “Wings of Tatev”. Tatev (translated from Armenian as “give wings”) is an Armenian monastery complex dating back to the 9-13th centuries, situated in Syunik Province 20 km far from the city of Goris. It is a part of a huge tourist complex, which also features the hermitage called Mec Tatevi Anapat (Large Desert of Tatev), Tatev ropeway “Wings of Tatev”, the natural bridge and the cave called Satani Kamurj and many other sights. It was established in 895 ‒ 906 and has been the religious center of Syunik since the 19th century. Tatev ropeway called “Wings of Tatev” is the longest two-way ropeway in the world stretching 5,7 kilometers. The highest elevation point of the ropeway is 320 meters over the river Vorotan.

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of the 10 Garni temple is a pagan temple of 1st century A.D. in Armenia. It is dedicated to Mihr, the ancient Armenian god st

Sun, celestial light and justice. Tacitus mentioned Garni temple in connection with the events of the first half of 1 century A.D. in Armenia. It was built by the Armenian King Tiridates I (66-88) in 76 A.D., as testified by the Greek inscription found in the same place. Garni is one of the clearest pieces of evidence to the centuries-old culture of the pre-Christian period of Armenia. They began to build the castle in the II century B.C. and continued to build it up during the ancient times, and partly in the Middle Ages. It is located in 28 km from Yerevan in Kotayk Province, near the village of Garni.

11 Geghard, Geghardavank (translated from Armenian as “Monastery of a spear”), the old name Ayrivank is also used

(“Cave Monastery”), is a monastery complex, a unique architectural construction. The monastery is located approximately 40km southeast from Yerevan. It was founded in the 4th century at the place of a sacred spring arising in a cave. It is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name of the monastery complex comes from the Longinus spear, which was the lance that pierced the side of Jesus Christ as he hung on the Cross – allegedly brought to Armenia by Apostle Thaddeus amongst many other relics. Now it is displayed in the Echmiadzin Treasury.

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The old wines of Armenia


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Dilijan ‒ city in Tavush Province of Armenia known as a mountain climatic and balneal resort. It is located on the river Aghstev (the right tributary of the Kura River). The city is famous for traditional Armenian architecture. From almost all sides it is surrounded by the territory of Dilijan Reserve – one of the richest ones in South Caucasus. Dilijan has always been home to numerous Armenian artists, composers, scientists and directors. Today the city stands as one of the most intellectual centers of Armenia. The city is especially proud of its musical school and musical college. The city and its surrounding areas feature many holiday homes such as the Composers’ House after E. Mirzoyan, the House of Cinematographers etc.

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Tigranakert – an ancient city in Artsakh Province of Greater Armenia, one of the four ancient Armenian cities with the same name supposedly established by Tigran II in the 1st century B.C. and named after him. The excavations of the city are carried out by Artsakh archeological expedition of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia led by Hamlet Petrosyan, Doctor of Historical Sciences. The place is known among the locals as “Tkrakert” or “Tarnakert” (local pronunciation of “Tigranakert”). In December 2008 at the government session of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, it was decided to recognize Tigranakert as a State Reserve.

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14 Shushi – a city in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh). It is situated in the Karabakh Mountains at an altitude of 1368 m above

sea level, 11 km south from Stepanakert. The ancient fortress-city of Shushi has been the administrative, religious, cultural and educational center for many centuries. Shushi was built on the ruins of an ancient city, destroyed by the Mongols. This view of the previously existing Armenian fortification was archaeologically confirmed during excavations in the beginning of 21st century.

15 Gandzasar (translated from Armenian as “Mountain treasure”, Gandzasar Monastery) is an outstanding monument of

Armenian culture, an acting monastery of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Monastery got its name from the mountain that the locals used to call Gandzasar for its silver mines (Arm., “gandz”-treasure, “sar”-mountain). It is situated on the left bank of the river Khachen, not far from village Vank in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to a legend, in the burial vault of the temple the head of John the Baptist severed by Herod was buried, brought here from Cilician Armenia during the Crusades. Thus, the church was named Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich (St. John the Baptist).

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WINTER SKETCHES The real Master never divides his work into genres, and everything he does is in harmonious balance owing to desire, reasoning and taste. It is about the Honored Artist of Armenia Ruben Arutchyan. He is the author of numerous graphic and pictorial pieces, the capitalʼs stele in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the Armenian Genocide, the new coat of arms of Shushi, the sketch of the banknote of “50 000 drams” and state orders and coats of arms of Armenia, who celebrated his 70th birthday this year. The “islet” of Arutchyan is now represented in our magazine, yet from a completely unusual perspective.

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MOUNTAINS, WINTER, ARMENIA!.. To the question, “how do you feel in the sphere of Armenian tourism?” he gave a pleasant smile and answered without hesitation, “very well, thank you!” our interviewee is a person not only with a great sense of humour, but infinite energy, who is madly in love with his country, with its mountains and is a one-of-a-kind “pathfinder” through the unexplored areas of Armenia, Antoine Ananyan.

F rom the point of view of years

spent, then the first five years I was an instructor-guide in the mountains, a consultant on active tourism, such as climbing, speleology, horseback riding, etc. Then there were years of immersion in corporate tourism, until I finally quitted all that. Now I am doing everything.

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However, your heart’s still in the highlands, isn’t it? Of course, the core work is connected with “active projects”. I organize tours both inside the country and abroad: cultural and historical and rock-climbing tours, test drives of cars, walking tours ... And not just that; for example, quite recently we had successful diving programs in Egypt, training camps in Crimea, and ski tours, children's summer camp here... This winter we plan ascents with tourists in Morocco, Nepal and other countries. What tours are more to your liking? The combined tours, of course – when a person comes not for just one certain action, such as “church, church, church, barbecue, church”,


but also for a series of diverse events. Say, a visit to a church, then a walk to a beautiful place. On the second day, we take the guest to another area, walk along the gorge, and see a historical monument, not necessarily a Christian – it can be a construction of pagan times. All this is certainly combined with some kind of activity, say, two or three hours of rock climbing. The third day may be devoted to speleology and combined with active work. And so on. Here come people of different levels of training, we take a personal approach for each of them. For someone it can be a serious climbing, on a

professional level, and for another – just a walk around a mountainous country, as it is said, for heart and for soul. This includes a whole week – plus climbing, working with ropes, horseback riding. That is, people get adrenaline rush mastering a new form of recreation and discovering a new region of Armenia every day. The main thing is to be able to do everything, represent correctly, and organize. This makes the tour price available, the tourist is satisfied, and you enjoy your work. There are mountains everywhere. What is the Armenian magnetism? What attracts people to our country over and over?

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Not the mountains. More precisely, not only the mountains. People want warmth and they get plenty of it in Armenia – even from simple communication. Then – the cuisine, why not? It is not a secret that our water gives a special flavour to not only wines, cognacs, etc., but also fruits and vegetables. We have good, tasty, healthy food. This is also very important. We should note also the security – compared with other countries, there are not many disturbances here. What would you recommend to a tourist who came to Armenia in winter: what places to visit, where to go, what to see?

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Definitely, first of all ski resort – Tsaghkadzor. It is affordable, it has good route and fresh air. There are types of tourism that are developing rapidly, but, let's say, are not yet available. In particular, snowshoeing. This is a kind of activity, in which snowshoes which are like skis are used for walking over snow. A kind of original journey in the snow-capped mountains. And more serious formats include, for example, ski touring – a hiking on skis in the mountains with ascents. And you can simply choose good tours around Armenia, in a warm, comfortable bus, with a stay in a good hotel, and not necessarily in Yerevan. Winter Armenia is beautiful in its


own way – lovers of photography will have nice surprises here. In a word, Armenia is interesting in all seasons and each period has its own charm. It is necessary to choose the right tour, and better trust the professionals in this.

You will find a proof of the warmth of the Armenian hearth and hospitality in the guest house “Tsaghkunk” in the village of the same name in Gegharkunik region. The guests of “Tsaghkunk” guest house find themselves in a big family, where they are welcomed by the founders Yura and Ani Sargsyans. “I always wanted to have a big house like the one in my childhood – says the hospitable owner. – I wanted it to be bright and cozy, filled with warmth: there I could receive a lot of guests and see them off with a smile”.

What is your New Year wish for our readers, guests? Come to Armenia, get into the spiritual depth of this country. Come at least for four days into a country that is waiting for you, where you are always welcome. Come to warm and cordial and of course tasty Armenia! May health and happiness follow you and yours throughout the year to come. Happy New Year!

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Photos courtesy of Antoine Ananyan and “Arevi Tour”.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

Tsaghkunk village, Sevan town, RA Теl.: +374 93 99 18 88, +374 94 99 18 88, +374 91 98 18 88 e-mail: yasargsyan@gmail.com www.facebook.com/TsaghkunqGuesthouse www.booking.com/TsaghkunqGuesthouse


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“Marashlyan� studio promotes not only family photographs and national costume and popularizes Armenian cultural heritage, but also prepares with great devotion thematic photo-shoots on favorite feasts for residents and guests of Armenia, feasts celebrated only in the country of Hayk.

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February 13 in Armenia is a special date, where the pagan traditions couple with the conversion to Christianity. While the whole world is preparing for the celebration of Saint Valentine's Day, Armenian couples and newlyweds are impatiently awaiting the bonfires. On this day, the lovebirds jump over the fire, holding hands tight to have a strong family and lasting relations. The adoption of Christianity smoothly established the favorite feast of the youth on the Church calendar: “Ter” is the God, the Creator, and February 13 is referred to as Tyarndarach, which means “towards the Creator”. Today the feast begins with a visit to the church, lighting of candles and continues in the evening, by covering all Armenia with bonfires and sparkling eyes of lovebirds. This year the studio has prepared a special gift for the newlyweds. Pooling efforts with designer Nata Brettell, the team has restored and stylized the wedding costume of Yerevan and now every guest of the studio has the opportunity to feel like a girl of the XIX century. Pearls

and plaited pattern are indispensable attributes of the wedding gown; they give vital energy on such an important day. The pale pink belt of a special form is a reminder of youth; after marriage, women put on an embroidered apron. The snow-white shade of the fabric is a tribute to European traditions established after Queen Victoria introduced the fashion of snow-white wedding dresses. The magazine publishes an exclusive photo of a freshly made costume, stylized according to ancient patterns. Studying archive photos, the studio team studies etiquette, makes the portraiture of the position of the hands, the tilt of the head, the style of the era, to make the visitor feel like a traveler in time. On February 13, for the guests of the studio, special decorations are being made, including the symbols of the Armenian family. Now you have the opportunity to get a photograph of that memorable day, and in the evening – to join the celebration by jumping over the fire… Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Going to one wedding brings on another! “The year 2017 has become significant for our company! We were recognized as the best organizers of weddings in Armenia and were invited for the first time to represent the country at the World Congress of wedding organizers “Destination Wedding Planners Congress 2017” in Thailand. 150 wedding organizers from around the world, 250 representatives of travel companies, deluxe restaurants, as well as renowned wedding dress designers took part in it. This opened up great opportunities not only for the sphere of overseas weddings, but also for the development of tourism in Armenia”.

Thus began our interview with the owner of the company

Prestige Wedding Planner, designer, Gayane Khojayan. To be more exact, we own three companies at present. The first one is Prestige Wedding Planner, with which we started. It provides services for organizing and decorating weddings. The second one, Prestige Events, organizes and decorates children's events and birthdays of any size. This year it became necessary to

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Armenia open also the third company, Gayane Khojayan Haute Couture Weddings. This one deals with luxury weddings. We embarked on a new direction in the field of design. Nobody ever conducted it in a professional manner; we decorate the fashion events, showcases and the opening ceremonies of luxury stores. We organize weddings in Armenia from all over the world, and overseas weddings for newlyweds from Armenia. Besides in cooperation with “Armenia Tourism” company we have prepared a package of services for weddings in historical places of Armenia for newlyweds from around the world, it will be presented in 2018 at the DWP Congress in Mexico. We try to make our services accessible to people from all walks of life. We define the minimum budget for ensuring a high-quality work. Do you cooperate only with Armenian companies? First, we used the services of different decorators or rented decors. Now we make the most part of our decorations. We cooperate with local providers for fresh flower delivery, and with GFresh Dutch organization for flower delivery. We

collaborate with companies that produce pyrotechnics and illuminations, photo and video companies, emcees, restaurants – in a word, we do everything to provide a full package of services for our customers. What will be your New Year's wish? On New Year’s Eve, I would like to wish all readers of “Armenia Tourism” magazine interesting trips and unforgettable impressions in 2018.

Find us online at: www.armeniatourism.ru

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Happy Delicious New Year! You may come to Armenia at any time of year. However, if you want to be present at a traditional Armenian feast, then we strongly recommend doing it in the New Year. This is a time when every good Armenian hostess tries to prepare the best wellshaped dolma, the sweetest pilaf and the most delicious roasted pork leg. Things indispensable for a New Yearʼs table also include dried fruits, sweets, toasted poppy seeds and wheat grains (aghandz), gata and sharots. Anna Mazmanyan is the columnist of “Culinary Guide” section In Armenia, the New Year's feast resembles a flash mob: tables are laid since the very morning – all awaiting for guests. Relatives and friends are visited without fail! First are the parents and the godparents, then the close and distant relatives and, of course, friends. During the time the New Year quietly gives way to Christmas celebrated on January 6 and is followed by the Old New Year. It is common for the New Year to accept invitations from strangers, thus do not hesitate and do not refuse. Now let's talk about traditional New Year's dishes. There are plenty of them; today we will represent two of them that you can prepare at home, no matter whether you are in Armenia or in Russia. The first one is a meat dish called Ishli kyufta (kofta), say, a variety of meatballs in a shell… somewhat tricky, though!

Ishli kyufta

For the filling you need to take 600 grams of beef, 2 medium onions, 2 bunches of parsley, 100 grams of butter or vegetable oil, salt, pepper to taste. You can also add some crushed walnuts. Chop parsley and onions finely, sauté them in butter until light golden colour appears and add ground meat. There is no need to boil the meat: brown it slightly and cook until meat juice completely evaporates, add salt and pepper and allow it to cool down. For meatball shell, take 750 grams of bulgur, 300-400 grams of ground beef, 2 eggs, 2 onions, some tomato paste, half a cup of flour, half a cup of water and hot red pepper to taste. Soak the bulgur in hot water, chop onions finely, and add ground meat and spices, mix well, take a portion and shape a ball and, making a hole for the filling, roll it into an oblong. Let the kyuftas stand in the refrigerator for a while then cook them in boiling water for 4-5 minutes; they can be browned in oil as well. Serve with a lemon. GATE 116


Ghapama

Armenian Lenten table is also rich and variegated. However, do not forget that the lent means abstinence not only from food, but also from thoughts and actions. One of the Lenten dishes we will represent is Ghapama – stuffed pumpkin with rice and dried fruits. The dish is very popular in Armenia, and there is even a song about it. For Ghapama you need a medium-sized orange pumpkin. Cut the top of the pumpkin in the shape of a lid, remove the seeds, reduce the pulp on the sides and cut into cubes. For the filling take 200 grams of rice, various dried fruits: raisins, prunes, dried apricots, dates. Stew the mixture lightly, with vegetable oil and add the pumpkin cubes. Pierce the pumpkin flesh with a fork and spread oil, honey or sugar over it. Put the mixture, cover with the lid and cook in the oven at 180C for about an hour and a half.

Welcome to Armenia! May you have a Happy New Year!


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Armenia Tourism Magazine, №20, 2017  
Armenia Tourism Magazine, №20, 2017  
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