{Armenia} Music rising from the ruins

November 21, 2012


Armenia has some pretty impressive architecture. I’ve already mentioned the very beautiful 4th century Echmiadzin Cathedral. Alas, another beautiful cathedral that we we were introduced to, this time from the 7th century, was destroyed, probably by an earthquake, in the late 10th century. Its ruins were discovered and excavated in the early 20th century, and the “Zvarnots Historical and Cultural Museum Reserve” tells its story.

Beginning with a gallery about the archaeological excavations. and the architectural structure and construction techniques of Zvarnots Cathedral, visitors are introduced to how the ruins were discovered and its history pieced together. Exhibits include stonework, masonry and mosaic pieces, e.g. a sun dial, architectural fragments of a frieze or decorations from the cathedral’s altar.

Next, a gallery on early Christian Armenian architecture in the 4th to 7th centuries and an overview of other “Zvarnots-type” monuments gives an insight in to Armenian architectural history and influences across the country.

The final gallery focuses on the artistic decoration of Zvarnots Cathedral, as well as information about its reconstruction. At the centre of the exhibit is a reconstructed model by Armenian architect Toros Toramanian (1864-1934), the founder of the scientific history of Armenian architecture. The model can be pulled apart to reveal what the reconstructed interior would have looked like. Other exhibits include sketches and photographs, books and letters, and a copy of Toramanian’s working diary.

The Museum Reserve is also known for being one of the few museums with full barrier free access to wheelchair users, and it’s programme of working with visitors with disabilities. As a special ending to our visit, the Paros Chamber Choir of Zvarnots, which was originally founded in 1993 with a singing group of around half a dozen people as a means of rehabilitation, gave a short private concert for us in the ruins of the cathedral. I recorded a short clip of the choir singing an Armenian hymn to share with you:

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4 Responses to “{Armenia} Music rising from the ruins”

  1. Ish Says:

    Aha! The post that went with the snippet you posted on twitter. Yay! What a lovely idea for a museum. Making it live even among the ruins. Both my inner child and outer adult loved the miniature cathedral you could pull apart. Looked highly detailed. I probably would have stayed there for hours inspecting all the teeny flourishes.


  2. V for Vendetta Says:

    Thank you for the article. It is very interesting one. One note: it is Paros Chamber Choir not Para Chamber Choir please correct the misspelling.

    thank you


    • Jenni Fuchs Says:

      My sincere apologies, I only heard it spoken not written down. It has been corrected. Thanks for reading my blog :)



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