Ceremony for ‘Preserving Heritage in Armenia’ honoured by Prime Minister Abrahamyan

The training programme Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armenia, winner of a Europa Nostra Award 2015, was celebrated at the National Gallery of Armenia on the morning of 24 October 2015. This solemn ceremony gathered around 200 people and was honoured by the presence of Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan. In his address, the Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosyanpraised this remarkable heritage achievement for the country. Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Irina Subotic presented the Award to the representatives from the institutions involved in the project, namely the Armenian Ministry of Culture, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Politecnico di Milano and the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia.

Preserving Cultural Heritage in Yerevan, ARMENIA
The Preserving Cultural Heritage in Armenia programme aims to promote best practices in heritage conservation, while stimulating the international exchange of knowledge and expertise. It was carried out between 2012 and 2014. More than 60 teachers and experts joined the project and contributed to the training of numerous young scholars with Armenian, Iranian or Syrian citizenship. Around 150 students took part in specialised practical courses. The programme also contributed to the restoration of the frescoes of the monastic complex of Kobayr as well as to the study of the cathedral and archaeological site of Aruch, including excavations, structural repair design and fresco conservation.

The festivities started with the opening of an exhibition on the conservation projects carried out by some of the 56 university students who were admitted, and exempted from paying tuition fees, to one of the four Master’s Courses organised in the framework of the programme.

During the ceremony, which was held at the frescoes hall of the National Gallery of Armenia, the Minister of Culture Hasmik Poghosyan highlighted the importance of the award-winning project for the country and expressed the hope that a regional centre for monuments’ restoration will be established in Armenia.

The Rector of the National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia Gagik Galstyan welcomed the proposal made by Minister Poghosyan and affirmed his strong commitment to making the restoration laboratory a reality.

For his part, the Ambassador of Italy to Armenia Giovanni Ricciulli emphasized the importance of the actions taken to preserve and enhance Armenia’s cultural heritage and reaffirmed the commitment of the Italian authorities to this project.

Following a brief presentation by Gaianè Casnati, Project Leader, the Award was presented by Irina Subotic. Europa Nostra’s Vice-President congratulated all those involved in this exemplary training programme and noted that the restoration projects of two Armenian monuments in Cyprus and Turkey – the Armenian Church and Monastery in Nicosia and the Armenian Church of St. Giragos in Diyarbakir – are also among this year’s winners of the EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards.

The ceremony closed with a multimedia projection of the various phases of the project while a violin trio played Gomidas classic music.

Arev Samuelyan and Nerses Ter-Vardanyan, Vice-Ministers of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, Rita Gonelli and Ruben Caruccio, from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prof. Boriani from the Politecnico di Milano, Gagik Gyurjyan, Director of ICOMOS Armenia, Armen Abroyan, Director of the Agency for Conservation of Armenian Monuments, and Ani Avagyan, Director of ICOM Armenia, participated in the event.

After the ceremony, the delegates from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the specialists from the Politecnico di Milano attended a working lunch hosted by the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during which future ways of transnational collaboration in the heritage field were discussed.

In relation to the event, visits to three Armenian heritage sites nominated for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme 2016 were undertaken on 23 and 25 October. Europa Nostra’s Vice-President Irina Subotic joined a delegation of experts in the visits to the Basilica and archaeological site of Yereruik, Parzrakash St. Gregory Monastery and Kobayr Monastery.

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