Tamanyan's advice might be useful for today's
Will a Biblical figure replace the Godfather
of Socialism in the capital of Armenia? Will Noah
stand where Lenin stood in Republic Square?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Now that the reconstruction of Armenia's main
square has been completed, the question is again
being debated as to whose statue will be placed
as a centerpiece in the spot between the main
post office and Armenia Hotel.
The Municipality of Yerevan has opened a competition
October 29 to take ideas that might answer the
question, but so far only two suggestions have
been put forth. The competition is to close on
Ever since the statue of Vladimir I. Lenin was
taken down in 1991, various competitions have
been held to come up with a suitable replacement.
The city's department of architecture has received
plenty ideas over the years, but none of them
deemed suitable. Some have wanted to see a statue
of Mt. Ararat with Noah's Ark on it and a big
clock (never mind that there's already one atop
the government building). Others want to see a
statue of Tigran the Great or maybe all the kings
of Armenia. Some have suggested moving David of
Sasun from his home at the railway station.
"Previous competitions produced no result,"
says president of the Union of Architects Mkrtich
Minasyan. "This time it is an open competition
as a result of which we will try to collect better
Minasyan says the majority of offers and ideas
suggested during previous competitions were odd
or absurd. Still, according to rules of the competition,
all suggestions will be publicly discussed.
Even though only two ideas have been presented
during this competition, Minasyan says there have
been many phone calls and he expects the number
of participants to increase sharply before the
"I don't know why but everybody is concerned
with this problem and it seems that everyone is
striving for placing something here insisting
that his or her idea is the best," says Minasyan.
"This is a very important place and placing
something absurd there would have a negative effect
on the beautiful ensemble of the Square."
Since the bronze Lenin came down, many residents
have speculated on what or who ought to replace
Sixty-year old Yerevan resident Maxim Hambardzumyan
was against removing the statue of Lenin, believing
that the statue was an architectural masterpiece.
"Nobody deserves to stand here," he
says, looking at the empty place. "Lenin
wasn't virtuous, but it should not have been removed
as it was a valuable statue. His statue was removed
as they wanted to take revenge on him. If it is
like that then, ok, let others be placed there
but one day their statues will also be removed."
junior says today it's much easier to place
a statue than to construct a building useful
Specialists assure that when architect Alexander
Tamanyan was drawing a plan of the Square in the
beginning of the previous century he left this
place empty, opening a beautiful view to Shahumyan
Park and Armenian mountains.
"Soviet authorities made a decision to place
a statue of Lenin on that spot and architects
brilliantly solved that task without spoiling
the general theme of the Square," says president
of the Union of Architects. "But today's
government doesn't know what to place here and
tells us, as specialists, to solve this problem."
Minasyan assures that architects can suggest a
good idea only in case of an order.
"This is also a political place and Botero's
cat or some other valuable creation cannot be
placed here. This question must be solved on the
government level," he says.
Tamanyan's grandson, 61 year old Alexander Tamanyan
remembers that his father Gevorg, who was also
one of the prominent architects of the city, used
to offer just to plant grass on that territory
increasing the green zone of the square.
"It is simply easier today to place a statue
rather than to construct a building useful for
the society and show people that there is a progress
in the city," says Tamanyan junior.
Thanks to historical events, the green dream
of the elder Tamanyans has come true for now.
However nobody can guarantee that tomorrow it
won't be replaced by another dream, when Noah
with his family will land in his Ark on Republic