The Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide memorial
|Aerial view of the memorial|
Tsitsernakaberd (Armenian: Ծիծեռնակաբերդ) is a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide; it is located on a hill overlooking Yerevan, Armenia. Every year on April 24, hundreds of thousands of Armenians gather here to remember the victims of the 1915 Armenian Genocide that took place in the Ottoman Empire carried out by the Turkish government.
A wide range of politicians, artists, musician, athletes, religious figures have visited the memorial. See List of visitors to Tsitsernakaberd.
History of the site
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The memorial sits on one of three hills along the Hrazdan River that carry the name Tsitsernakaberd, and was the site of what was once an Iron Age fortress. Most of the above ground traces at this peak have since disappeared, but upon the smaller hill are still traces of a castle. Archaeological surveys took place in 2007, and excavations uncovered a wall that is hundreds of meters long and may still be seen in many places above ground. An altar cut from stone sits in the middle of a square at the edge of one of the hills, and large stones that weigh approximately two tons are still visible that cover graves from the second millennium BC. Apartments were later built along the hills during Roman times, and were built over with other structures during medieval years. Nearby are also the remains of a very large building with a cave.
Construction of the memorial began in 1966 (during Soviet times) in response to the 1965 Yerevan demonstrations during which one million people demonstrated in Yerevan for 24 hours to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Genocide.  The memorial is designed by architects Arthur Tarkhanyan, Sashur Kalashyan and artist Hovhannes Khachatryan. It was completed in November 1967.
The 44 meter stele symbolizes the national rebirth of Armenians. 12 slabs are positioned in a circle, representing the 12 lost provinces in present day Turkey. In the center of the circle, at a depth of 1.5 meters, there is an eternal flame dedicated to the 1.5 million Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide.
Along the park at the memorial there is a 100 meter wall with names of towns and villages where massacres are known to have taken place. On the rear side of the commemoration wall, plates have been attached to honor persons who have committed themselves to relieving the distress of the victims during and after the genocide (among others: Johannes Lepsius, Franz Werfel, Armin T. Wegner, Henry Morgenthau Sr., Fridtjof Nansen, Pope Benedict XV, Jakob Künzler, Bodil Biørn).
As an act of commemoration of the victims, an alley of trees has been planted.
Armenian Genocide Museum
The Armenian Genocide Museum opened its doors in 1995, concurrently commemorating the eightieth anniversary of the Genocide. The Museum structure, planned by architects S. Kalashian, Lyudmila Mkrtchyan and sculptor F. Araqelyan, has a unique design. Since opening its doors, the Museum has received many thousands of visitors including schoolchildren, college students and huge numbers of tourists from outside Armenia. The museum provides guided tours in Armenian, Russian, English, French and German. The Republic of Armenia has made visiting the Armenian Genocide Museum part of the official State protocol and many official foreign delegations have already visited the Museum. These delegations have included Pope John Paul II, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President of France Jacques Chirac, and other well-known social and political figures. The museum contains historical documents and is open to the public for tours.
The impressive two-story building is built directly into the side of a hill so as not to detract from the imposing presence of the Genocide Monument nearby. The roof of the Museum is flat and covered with concrete tiles. It overlooks the scenic Ararat Valley and majestic Mount Ararat. The first floor of the Museum is subterranean and houses the administrative, engineering and technical maintenance offices as well as Komitas Hall, which seats 170 people. Here also are situated the storage rooms for museum artifacts and scientific objects, as well as a library and a reading hall. The Museum exhibit is located on the second floor in a space just over 1,000 square meters in size. There are three main indoor exhibit halls and an outer gallery with its own hall. The Genocide Monument is designed to memorialize the innocent victims of the first Genocide of the 20th century. The Genocide Museum’s mission is rooted in the fact that understanding the Armenian Genocide is an important step in preventing similar future tragedies, in keeping with the notion that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.
The current director of the Museum is Dr. Hayk Demoyan.
- 1965 Yerevan Demonstrations
- Armenian Genocide
- Genocide Remembrance Day
- List of Armenian Genocide memorials
- Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan By John Noble, Michael Kohn, Danielle Systermans, - page 156
- The Armenian Genocide By Jeri Freedman - Page 49
- Encyclopedia of genocide: A - H.: Volume 1 - Page 102, Ann Arbor
- The history of Armenia: from the origins to the present - Page 185 by Simon Payaslian
- Central Asia and the Caucasus: transnationalism and diaspora By Touraj Atabaki, Sanjyot Mehendale - page 137
- Dictionary of Genocide: A-L By Samuel Totten, Paul Robert Bartrop, Steven L. Jacobs - page 21
- The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute
- Genocide.am - Photos of Tsitsernakaberd memorial
- Kiesling, Brady (2005), Rediscovering Armenia: Guide, Yerevan, Armenia: Matit Graphic Design Studio
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