News > European Armenians > 'Yerevan my love' initiated by Prince Charles and former Prime Minister of Armenia
During his working visit to the United Kingdom which started on 09 February 2010, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan will participate at the Windsor Castle in the reception and concert inaugurating the project "Yerevan - My Love" initiated by Prince Charles and former Prime Minister of Armenia Armen Sargsyan.
As part of the given project, four buildings having historical and architectural value in the center of Yerevan will be repaired. Two of building are in Yerevan's Kond district and two in the centre.
"Our goal is to preserve historically significant architectural and cultural heritage and to engender urban development that focuses on community building," explained Armen Sargsyan, initiator of the fundraising, who has been closely working with HRH The Prince of Wales and his charities.
This unprecedented event in British-Armenian relations and unique evening of celebration and appreciation is hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales. Joining currently serving and former heads of state, world renowned political, cultural and civic leaders, and high level corporate leaders will be the President Sargsyan, Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Garegin II, Yerevan Mayor Gagik Beglaryan and Armenia's Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan.
"Yerevan My Love" is a heritage-led revitalisation project, combining high social impact programs. It's an ambitious charitable project with two main goals:
Restore and reconstruct: to safeguard and restore the historic districts of Yerevan and coordinate efforts to save the artistic and architectural heritage of this 3000-year-old capital city, its traditions and neighbourhoods. To restore historic buildings and adapt them for new and vibrant uses; but above all, to put people, their living conditions and their quality of life at the centre of planning.
Social impact: to improve the education and life experience of children and young people, especially orphans and those who come from disadvantaged communities; to help children and youth with social and health disadvantages and to assist them in gaining confidence and independence in the "normal" world.
Once completed and fully furnished with all the necessary facilities and equipment, one of the Kond buildings will be used to house a kindergarten for deaf and mute children and youth from socially deprived families and the other will serve as a centre for single mothers with children.
The other two buildings in the centre will become a school for ethnographic instruments for socially and economically deprived children and youth. The school will be run by world famous master duduk player Jivan Gasparyan, who was an orphan himself and grew up under the care and tutelage of musicians and artists of his time.
The reconstructed buildings and the programs housed in them will be put under the administration and management of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin.
Source: "The Armenian Reporter" (abridged and combined with other sources), 04 February 2010
Kond is all that's left of old Yerevan
From hetq.am, April 27, 2005
In the 1860s a visitor described Yerevan as "a typical small Asian town, with narrow, winding streets, and huts built from clay and small stones." At the time, Yerevan had seven districts: the old district, or Shar, in the center of the city, Shen, Dzoragyugh, Kond or Tapabash, part of which was called the apricot center, and the New District, where immigrants from Atrpatakan lived. The streets in Yerevan's old neighborhoods were three or four feet wide, with irrigation ditches on either side.
Today, Kond is all that's left of these old neighborhoods.
Some argue that government appropriation of the district will give it a much-needed facelift, even if that facelift means the destruction of the old historical environment. But from a social point of view, the problem is much harder to solve. Many Kondetsis themselves are utterly fed up with the rickety, dilapidated houses they live in. They dream of the new homes, even in the outskirts of the city, that they have been promised them for decades now.
Father Tirayr was born in Kond and is now a priest at the Church of Saint Hovhannes. He told us several interesting things. The church was built in 1710 and has served the district's religious-minded populace to this day. Over the years, new families arrived and the local population grew. Sometimes, houses were built right on top of each other, without any common utilities, as was the case on Kond's hill. The monk himself lives without any normal modern conveniences, and says his neighbors are tired of living in these conditions. He supports the appropriation of Kond, but only provided no modern European style buildings go up in its stead. "During Soviet times too, the authorities were scared to deal with Kond, since as soon as they would enter, the people would ask them, 'Why should we live like this, while you live in luxury apartments?'" Father Tirayr said.
The authorities admitted that the problem they were trying to solve was paradoxical, and in 1984-85 announced a tender for an architectural plan to reconstruct Kond. Interviewing one architect, Karen Demirchyan, then first secretary of the Armenian Communist Party, declared, "Have you been to Paris, seen Montmartre? I want Kond to become Yerevan's Montmartre".
We met this architect, Arshavir Aghekyan, and discussed the changes that had been planned.
"The plan wasn't a complete reconstruction, but a reconstruction that would integrate the old and new environments. The plan involved the construction of residential and commercial buildings; in short, it would have become a beautiful eastern neighborhood." Aghekyan's blueprint called for the construction of beautiful stone stairs with stone houses all along either side. Looking down from the top, the houses would appear to be built one on top of the other, but that would be an illusion, preserving Kond's historical flavor.
Aghekyan sadly acknowledges that his colleagues have been systematically destroying the buildings that define Yerevan's past. Kond itself has no buildings of particular historical or cultural value, but as a whole, it is the only part of the city that has preserved the city's historical atmosphere, and its reconstruction should adhere to that principle. If, however, the reconstruction is approached in the same way as the Northern Avenue project, nothing at all will be left of Old Yerevan, and the city will have just another area of densely packed high-rises in its center.