There was still a lot to see in Yerevan before the trip ended. First up was the Matenadoran, one of Armenia’s most historic museums, filled with thousands of manuscripts, fragments of books, ancients records and documents in Georgian, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Hebrew and Latin.
And a visit to the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum. Pre-World War I, the Armenians and Turks had lived together in relative harmony, but the War gave Turkish extremists dictatorial control. It was they who masterminded the plan to eradicate the Armenian race to fulfill their dreams of a new Pan-Turkic empire. ‘…able-bodied men were then “drafted” to help in the wartime effort. These men were either immediately killed or were worked to death. Now the villages and towns, with only women, children, and elderly left were systematically emptied.’ The Armenians were led on death marches across Anatolia – raped, starved, murdered and kidnapped.
April 4, 1915 is commemorated worldwide by Armenians as Genocide Memorial Day. A visit to the Memorial was sad but important that we pay our respect to the 1.5 million Armenians who died during this terrible time.
The lighter note of the day was the Vernisage weekend market (a flea market) selling everything from “antiques,” old coins, military medals and pharaphernalia, homemade dolls, food, individual beads – a huge array but I liked the Tbilisi weekend market better.
Second to the last “Monastery” trip (outside Yerevan) was to Ananuri, a 16th century fortress complex. After admiring the different complexes, I walked down the hill where this old woman was sitting on a bench. When she found out I was an American, she insisted on presenting me with a little bouquet of flowers.
making friends in Armenia
What a wonderful note to end a bittersweet day on….