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Restoration of Armenian Heritage Sites

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  • Restoration of Armenian Heritage Sites

    Hasn't Gyumri (unlike Yerevan) at least been spared the destruction to Tsarist-period architecture?

    I like this Flickr user's sketches:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3342727...57630960509730

  • #2
    Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

    Originally posted by TomServo View Post
    Hasn't Gyumri (unlike Yerevan) at least been spared the destruction to Tsarist-period architecture?

    I like this Flickr user's sketches:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3342727...57630960509730
    But it took a deadly earthquake to save them.

    That building was a hotel in Tsarist times. It looks kind of sunk into the ground now because the road level has gone up. And opposite it is a building with lots of art-nouveau woodwork, if my memory is right.

    This angers me - http://www.flickr.com/photos/3342727...7630960509730/ - an example of a mafiosi-paid-for "restoration" (i.e., its value as a real historical monument has been all but completely destroyed and it has been turned into a Disneyland-type fake, complete with a rebuilt chapel to stick yet another unwanted parasitical priest in). I've avoided looking at any recent photos of Dashtadem until now - but now I see that what has happened to the site was even worse than I had feared. I was lucky to see Dashtadem before the disgraceful destruction that was recently inflicted on it. It will be controversial to say it - but it is true nevertheless: the monuments in Armenia need to be protected from the backward activities of Armenians, and what they do to them is a bad as what happens in Turkey. But I think the sad truth is that nothing can realistically be done to save Armenia's cultural heritage as long as Armenians and Turks control what happens to it.
    Last edited by bell-the-cat; 01-28-2013, 03:52 PM.
    Plenipotentiary meow!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

      Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
      This angers me - http://www.flickr.com/photos/3342727...7630960509730/ - an example of a mafiosi-paid-for "restoration" (i.e., its value as a real historical monument has been all but completely destroyed and it has been turned into a Disneyland-type fake, complete with a rebuilt chapel to stick yet another unwanted parasitical priest in). I've avoided looking at any recent photos of Dashtadem until now - but now I see that what has happened to the site was even worse than I had feared. I was lucky to see Dashtadem before the disgraceful destruction that was recently inflicted on it. It will be controversial to say it - but it is true nevertheless: the monuments in Armenia need to be protected from the backward activities of Armenians, and what they do to them is a bad as what happens in Turkey. But I think the sad truth is that nothing can realistically be done to save Armenia's cultural heritage as long as Armenians and Turks control what happens to it.
      How awful.

      How was the "renovation" of a structure as important as Hnevank allowed to take place without objections or protests from academics or laypeople? Where was Samuel Karapetian?

      Best to keep the "Anahit statue" away from them as well... they might want to "renovate" that too. Speaking of which, Turkey is threatening to bar foreign archeologists from excavation sites until their governments return "Anatolian" artifacts to Turkey. Bell, I remember you saying that you've come across quite a few foreign archeologists and art historians working in Turkey who deny the genocide in exchange for digging permits? I guess they have their limits.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

        Originally posted by TomServo View Post
        How awful.

        How was the "renovation" of a structure as important as Hnevank allowed to take place without objections or protests from academics or laypeople? Where was Samuel Karapetian?

        Best to keep the "Anahit statue" away from them as well... they might want to "renovate" that too. Speaking of which, Turkey is threatening to bar foreign archeologists from excavation sites until their governments return "Anatolian" artifacts to Turkey. Bell, I remember you saying that you've come across quite a few foreign archeologists and art historians working in Turkey who deny the genocide in exchange for digging permits? I guess they have their limits.
        Dashdatem is not far from my village.
        Things are more complicated than what you think.
        As a matter of fact no mafiosi is involved, no sponsor.
        The work is paid by the budget.
        Late prime minister, Andranik Markarian (today Yerevan mayor's father), originally from Mush, and born in a nearby village, had promised to finance the restoration, to basically "his people". I'm not sure who's the architect who made the restoration plan.
        What I do know, is that a huge work was done.
        The fortress, better known as "Nerkin Talin" fortress, is a very huge one.
        The citadel you see is based on Urartian/Cyclopean bases.
        But it was mainly built in IX-X century, during Ani era, and served as a defensive shield for Ani, under the Bagratides.
        If I am not wrong, it was Bahlavuni family belonging, just like Ampert.
        At that time there was a big city under the walls, you see pretty well the fondations, streets, on you satelite photo..; it englobed till the tip of Kristaporavank...
        Then, during persian rule, a much larger second wall, was added, with rudimentary finition, differing from the Armenian citadel covered by 'srpadash' duf... the persian wall is low but very thick, already made to resist siege artillery guns of "modern age"... were made to resist the guns of tzarist Russia in XVII cent.
        In 1918, tatars were sitting in the fortress, and the Sassuntzis cleaned the sector under Rupen instructions, preparing ground for Sartarapat victory.

        A huge work was done.
        The main citadel was crumbling.
        Huge quakes were seen on the remaining walls...
        The 1988 quake was pretty well felt here..
        I saw how the masters worked the Duf huge stones, with old time techniques mostly repeated.
        The chapel that was restored was there, it was only restored.
        I would not say it is the worst restoration in nowday Armenia (compared to what Samo did to Shoshgavank)
        A huge work was done, to incite people leave the fortress, since when the refugees came in 1918, a dozen of homes were built among the ruins of the fortress...
        It looked like a cafarnaum then.
        No one could had an idea of the scale and value of the monument.
        For 3 years, people worked hard on restauration.
        Unfortunately, when the PM died by hart failure (replaced then by Serjik), the funding stopped.
        So the restoration stopped half way...
        So what you see is not what it was supposed to be...

        PS: the arabic iscription is not in arabic but in mongolian.
        When the mongols captured the city, they marked their passage on the citadel entrance..
        Last edited by Vrej1915; 01-29-2013, 12:36 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

          Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
          Dashdatem is not far from my village.
          Things are more complicated than what you think.
          As a matter of fact no mafiosi is involved, no sponsor.
          The work is paid by the budget.
          Late prime minister, Andranik Markarian (today Yerevan mayor's father), originally from Mush, and born in a nearby village, had promised to finance the restoration, to basically "his people". I'm not sure who's the architect who made the restoration plan.
          What I do know, is that a huge work was done.
          The fortress, better known as "Nerkin Talin" fortress, is a very huge one.
          The citadel you see is based on Urartian/Cyclopean bases.
          But it was mainly built in IX-X century, during Ani era, and served as a defensive shield for Ani, under the Bagratides.
          If I am not wrong, it was Bahlavuni family belonging, just like Ampert.
          At that time there was a big city under the walls, you see pretty well the fondations, streets, on you satelite photo..; it englobed till the tip of Kristaporavank...
          Then, during persian rule, a much larger second wall, was added, with rudimentary finition, differing from the Armenian citadel covered by 'srpadash' duf... the persian wall is low but very thick, already made to resist siege artillery guns of "modern age"... were made to resist the guns of tzarist Russia in XVII cent.
          In 1918, tatars were sitting in the fortress, and the Sassuntzis cleaned the sector under Rupen instructions, preparing ground for Sartarapat victory.

          A huge work was done.
          The main citadel was crumbling.
          Huge quakes were seen on the remaining walls...
          The 1988 quake was pretty well felt here..
          I saw how the masters worked the Duf huge stones, with old time techniques mostly repeated.
          The chapel that was restored was there, it was only restored.
          I would not say it is the worst restoration in nowday Armenia (compared to what Samo did to Shoshgavank)
          A huge work was done, to incite people leave the fortress, since when the refugees came in 1918, a dozen of homes were built among the ruins of the fortress...
          It looked like a cafarnaum then.
          No one could had an idea of the scale and value of the monument.
          For 3 years, people worked hard on restauration.
          Unfortunately, when the PM died by hart failure (replaced then by Serjik), the funding stopped.
          So the restoration stopped half way...
          So what you see is not what it was supposed to be...

          PS: the arabic iscription is not in arabic but in mongolian.
          When the mongols captured the city, they marked their passage on the citadel entrance..
          Only the core of the Dashtadem castle is from the 10th century, from the Ani kingdom period. That part is a very small, rectangular, keep-like structure which had an upper-level entrance and an enormous stone-vaulted cellar. There was probably an outer line of low walls to protect this keep - and the surviving outer walls of the castle are probably them (the north wall of the church forms part of the wall). The inscription is not Mongol, it is dated 1174 and refers to a Shaddadid ruler of Ani. The Shaddadids enlarged the basic fortress by adding a series of angular and half-cylinder towers to the keep, literally encasing the old keep inside them. Dashtadem was a small town in the 18th-century and, as you correctly said, the outer stone walls with a series of low cylindrical and rectangular towers were built at that time, by the Khans of Yerevan.

          What you said about the original settlement extending as far as Kristaporavank is interesting - whenI was there I did not have the time to walk to that place and Google earth wasn't detailed enough at that time. Looking at it now, all around the site there seems to be lots of old lanes and field boundaries and what look like the foundations of small buildings inside the fields.

          The damage and destruction caused by the recent rebuilding work looks to be extensive and is probably irreversible. The work displays a very low quality workmanship (i.e., modern cement used, new masonry with vertical proportions unlike the horizontal proportions of the original masonry). The whole project runs completely against modern conservation practices that insist that nothing unnecessary is added to original structures, that a monument's historical integrity should be preserved, and that any interventions should be reversable. The surviving walls were in no danger of collapsing – none of the cracks were structurally significant and all the foundations were intact and strong. The building work has doubled the height of the surviving Shaddadid-period walls (dwarfing and hiding the original keep) – there is no archaeological evidence to show they once looked like this. Since the rebuilders did not have a clue as to how tall the walls once were, or what the top of the walls once looked like, the new construction simply stops at a random and uniform height (just like the much-condemned Turkish “reconstruction” of the Ani walls). This extensive rebuilding goes completely against the core aims of modern conservation – by altering and by removing evidence of the structure’s chronology and history, the rebuilding work has destroyed the value of the site as an historic monument. I also expect that the massive additional weight of all that new masonry will have damaged the structural integrity of the surviving original masonry, placing the whole monument at risk of collapse (which is what has happened at Ani). The outer walls have also been inflicted by extensive rebuilding, ruining their historical value. And then there is the compulsory rebuilt church to ease the corrupt benefactor’s entrance into heaven. The loss of the site’s archaeology has also probably been extensive: large areas of earth seem to have been cleared away and I don’t remember hearing of any actual archaeological investigations to accompany the building work. And a place that was once beautiful is now ugly - it all just looks ugly.

          I was assuming that the aim of the destruction was a simple a-la-Turca method of transferring money from the state to the local Talin mafia by using Dashtadem as a conduit and a front. For that to work, the project has to be made as large as possible (to artificially inflate the budget to make sure there would be plenty of money in it) and the actual work done needs to be done as cheaply as possible (to maximise the amount of money that can be diverted into the pockets of the criminals) - this is the way it worked in Turkey at Ani and at Aghtamar. If my assumption is wrong, then it just shows how backward conservation practices have become in Armenia and how the ego and wealth of a single person can enable that person to do whatever he likes. In most developed countries, the destruction inflicted on Dashtadem would have been illegal and a major criminal act. But most developed countries have laws in place to protect their important historical monuments – so it would not have got to the stage of being a crime - the work would never have even started. But it seems that in today’s Armenia, the people who should understand how to conserve monuments know nothing about conservation, and those who should be upholding protection laws are the ones breaking them.
          Last edited by bell-the-cat; 01-29-2013, 05:39 PM.
          Plenipotentiary meow!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

            Originally posted by TomServo View Post
            How awful.

            How was the "renovation" of a structure as important as Hnevank allowed to take place without objections or protests from academics or laypeople? Where was Samuel Karapetian?

            Best to keep the "Anahit statue" away from them as well... they might want to "renovate" that too. Speaking of which, Turkey is threatening to bar foreign archeologists from excavation sites until their governments return "Anatolian" artifacts to Turkey. Bell, I remember you saying that you've come across quite a few foreign archeologists and art historians working in Turkey who deny the genocide in exchange for digging permits? I guess they have their limits.
            I've got mixed feelings about Samvel Karapetian - he is very passionate and dedicated in his longstanding interest in Armenian architecture, he has written many books, and he has voiced concerns about what has been happening to monuments inside Armenia. But his criticism always seems rather vague and muted, and is often very late (12 years too late here: http://hetq.am/eng/news/19730/samvel...ge-to-ani.html ). And most of what RAA publishes or announces is not in English, thus minimising its significance and importance. Modern conservation methods and standards are internationally accepted (though not always followed) so it should not be difficult or controversial to criticise things when they go wrong.

            That Anahit statue is Greek - probably made in Greece - and was not even found in Armenia. It was found in Satala, a Roman legionary camp that was deliberately sited so that it was close to the Armenian border but still outside of Armenia. But I haven't much sympathy for whining archaeologists. For the past 70 years they have stood by and allowed Turkey to destroy countless Armenian and Christian Greek sites, saying nothing, with their reward being their excavation permits for Classical and prehistoric sites. One of them once told me I was "spoiling it for the rest of us" by travelling in eastern Turkey, another (this one was a genuine genocide denier) once informed an archaeology student that it was pointless travelling to eastern Turkey to attempt to record unrecorded Armenian inscriptions because "everything had already been published". The British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara's library has a "banned books" section where they keep any books dealing with Armenian subjects locked away out of public sight. They now call it the restricted books cupboard and say the books are just restricted because they are rare books (strange, then, that most are on the same subject) - but in the 1990s they were more honest about the name of it. BIAA, I've heard, was originally partly a front for NATO intelligence gathering - that is probably why in the 1950s and 1960s they did archaeological work in Eastern Turkey. ARIT, the American equivalent, was (again, I've been told it, so its really just hearsay) financed directly by the CIA until the 1990s.
            Last edited by bell-the-cat; 01-29-2013, 05:28 PM.
            Plenipotentiary meow!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

              But I haven't much sympathy for whining archaeologists. For the past 70 years they have stood by and allowed Turkey to destroy countless Armenian and Christian Greek sites, saying nothing, with their reward being their excavation permits for Classical and prehistoric sites. One of them once told me I was "spoiling it for the rest of us" by travelling in eastern Turkey, another (this one was a genuine genocide denier) once informed an archaeology student that it was pointless travelling to eastern Turkey to attempt to record unrecorded Armenian inscriptions because "everything had already been published". The British Institute of Archaeology in Ankara's library has a "banned books" section where they keep any books dealing with Armenian subjects locked away out of public sight. They now call it the restricted books cupboard and say the books are just restricted because they are rare books (strange, then, that most are on the same subject) - but in the 1990s they were more honest about the name of it. BIAA, I've heard, was originally partly a front for NATO intelligence gathering - that is probably why in the 1950s and 1960s they did archaeological work in Eastern Turkey. ARIT, the American equivalent, was (again, I've been told it, so its really just hearsay) financed directly by the CIA until the 1990s.
              You mean to tell me the English and Americans just to name a few play games with ancient history yet feel like preaching others on democratic norms?...LOL

              I mean come on Bell, what kind of lesson are these guys teaching the Armenians? Democratic principles? Like the ones from the FSA? Thank you thank you, can we please have another Western lesson now? It's not like we have not had enough we need just little more please. After all maybe if we learn enough lessons we would not even have one Hotel in Armenia...ROTFLMAO!
              Last edited by Vahram; 01-29-2013, 05:41 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

                Originally posted by Vahram View Post
                You mean to tell me the English and Americans just to name a few play games with ancient history yet feel like preaching others on democratic norms?...LOL

                I mean come on Bell, what kind of lesson are these guys teaching the Armenians? Democratic principles? Like the ones from the FSA? Thank you thank you, can we please have another Western lesson now? It's not like we have not had enough we need just little more please. After all maybe if we learn enough lessons we would not even have one Hotel in Armenia...ROTFLMAO!
                My post was directed at tomservo and similar members, and in response to his points. It was not directed at you - please don't respond to things when you just want to distort things others have said to make them fit your pov. I've seen so little in your posts that are worth me responding to - they are just full of crude stereotyping and racist rants.

                If, in time, you realise that things are not black and white, that there are things that are subtle, things that are hidden under the surface, that take time to be revealed and understood, then maybe your posts will become better and there will be things I find worth responding to.
                Last edited by bell-the-cat; 01-29-2013, 06:40 PM.
                Plenipotentiary meow!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

                  Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
                  Only the core of the Dashtadem castle is from the 10th century, from the Ani kingdom period. That part is a very small, rectangular, keep-like structure which had an upper-level entrance and an enormous stone-vaulted cellar. There was probably an outer line of low walls to protect this keep - and the surviving outer walls of the castle are probably them (the north wall of the church forms part of the wall). The inscription is not Mongol, it is dated 1174 and refers to a Shaddadid ruler of Ani. The Shaddadids enlarged the basic fortress by adding a series of angular and half-cylinder towers to the keep, literally encasing the old keep inside them. Dashtadem was a small town in the 18th-century and, as you correctly said, the outer stone walls with a series of low cylindrical and rectangular towers were built at that time, by the Khans of Yerevan.

                  What you said about the original settlement extending as far as Kristaporavank is interesting - whenI was there I did not have the time to walk to that place and Google earth wasn't detailed enough at that time. Looking at it now, all around the site there seems to be lots of old lanes and field boundaries and what look like the foundations of small buildings inside the fields.

                  The damage and destruction caused by the recent rebuilding work looks to be extensive and is probably irreversible. The work displays a very low quality workmanship (i.e., modern cement used, new masonry with vertical proportions unlike the horizontal proportions of the original masonry). The whole project runs completely against modern conservation practices that insist that nothing unnecessary is added to original structures, that a monument's historical integrity should be preserved, and that any interventions should be reversable. The surviving walls were in no danger of collapsing � none of the cracks were structurally significant and all the foundations were intact and strong. The building work has doubled the height of the surviving Shaddadid-period walls (dwarfing and hiding the original keep) � there is no archaeological evidence to show they once looked like this. Since the rebuilders did not have a clue as to how tall the walls once were, or what the top of the walls once looked like, the new construction simply stops at a random and uniform height (just like the much-condemned Turkish �reconstruction� of the Ani walls). This extensive rebuilding goes completely against the core aims of modern conservation � by altering and by removing evidence of the structure�s chronology and history, the rebuilding work has destroyed the value of the site as an historic monument. I also expect that the massive additional weight of all that new masonry will have damaged the structural integrity of the surviving original masonry, placing the whole monument at risk of collapse (which is what has happened at Ani). The outer walls have also been inflicted by extensive rebuilding, ruining their historical value. And then there is the compulsory rebuilt church to ease the corrupt benefactor�s entrance into heaven. The loss of the site�s archaeology has also probably been extensive: large areas of earth seem to have been cleared away and I don�t remember hearing of any actual archaeological investigations to accompany the building work. And a place that was once beautiful is now ugly - it all just looks ugly.

                  I was assuming that the aim of the destruction was a simple a-la-Turca method of transferring money from the state to the local Talin mafia by using Dashtadem as a conduit and a front. For that to work, the project has to be made as large as possible (to artificially inflate the budget to make sure there would be plenty of money in it) and the actual work done needs to be done as cheaply as possible (to maximise the amount of money that can be diverted into the pockets of the criminals) - this is the way it worked in Turkey at Ani and at Aghtamar. If my assumption is wrong, then it just shows how backward conservation practices have become in Armenia and how the ego and wealth of a single person can enable that person to do whatever he likes. In most developed countries, the destruction inflicted on Dashtadem would have been illegal and a major criminal act. But most developed countries have laws in place to protect their important historical monuments � so it would not have got to the stage of being a crime - the work would never have even started. But it seems that in today�s Armenia, the people who should understand how to conserve monuments know nothing about conservation, and those who should be upholding protection laws are the ones breaking them.
                  Most your points are exact.
                  I do not agree about the state of the walls before restoration work began.
                  It was very endangered, some walls were literally 'hanging from a hair' as we say.
                  I must have some old shots, of those walls ( I mean citadel walls), back then, somewhere in my photo archives...
                  Im not sure the mongols, or turk seljuk conquerers built anything on the citadel.
                  The handwork, style there was too Armenian style.
                  The inscription means nothing.
                  Any conquerer used to put a 'stamp' on a pre-existing monument.
                  You have same kind of 'arabic' inscriptions on Garni temple, on church walls..;
                  Interestingly, on the Northern entrance of the external wall, known as being of Persian origin, you have a typically Pakradouni era, Ani style and period lion, of Armenian origin, and a typical Armenian arch in "srpadash" tuf...clearly older than the rest of the wall..

                  The Church you are so concerned about did exist, and effectively was incorporated in the northern wall sytem of the citadel.
                  The restoration of the church is not the worst aspect of the work done, and I do not know locally anybody claiming paternity for his 'fame'.., apart from the Dashtadem mayor, who is very glad for all the job done, but nothing special on the church..;
                  No ceremonies were done there, in my knowledge, and if I am not wrong, it was not reconsecrated yet??

                  What I can say, is that Dashdatem (or Nerkin Talin, it's original name) was by far a larger place than big village.
                  It must have been a big town ( 5-10.000 souls ??) given the scale of the artefacts.
                  The place is full of broken Khatchkars.
                  While apart from the small cemetery around Kristaporavank, there is no cemetries conserved for such a huge and old town or series of towns?
                  One, very old and remarkable Khatchkar in black tuf was discovered lately in the ruins, 98-2000 ?? if I am not wrong, and is exposed in the middle of the ruins, south of the fortress, maybe 2 Km away, on midway to Kristaporavank.
                  My plantations are 8 Km away, south.
                  In my sector, you have a series of regularly aligned, artificial "hills", man made tombhills largely predating christian era.
                  These hills are preserved by the population, no one touching them, as ancestral sacred places.
                  Apart from that, when we decided to clean large sectors from stones covering all the fields (since basically all the sector represents the foothills of mount Arteni, ans is covered by multiple layers of black or orange tuf), we discovered hundreds of Khatchkar parts, destroyed and thrown all over the place during XVIII-XIX cent or early XX (before 1918) by the Tatars. One Khatchkar was mostly reassembled and is exposed in the Apricot Garden of Lusakn. Apart from that, a huge 'Vishabakar' (or Phallus stone, predating Chrisy-tian Armenia)(more than 4 meters long) was discovered from the fields, cut in 3 parts, and reassembled...
                  During ordinary field work, villagers often find coins, of different origin, rarely in gold or silver, rather alliages of copper, and a lot of iron points of old points, sword pieces, etc... one guy loving history has a rather an impressive collection in my village. He has coins with arabic, latin, armenian, and greek inscriptions, more or less well conserved...
                  All this tend to say: the place was well populated for very ancient times.
                  Major events(battles) must have happened in those desolated territories, to find such variety of coins, and iron points, on such regularity, in such a huge area , not in tombs or hidden as treasure, but rather 'scattered' (at least 500 hectar).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Azerbaijan - Internal Political Affairs

                    Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
                    I've got mixed feelings about Samvel Karapetian - .
                    Samvel Karabetian is a living Saint!
                    Last edited by Vrej1915; 01-30-2013, 09:57 PM.

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