After months of waiting and speculation and anticipation,
and dust and congested traffic and broken shoes
and sweat and money, Republic Square is open again.
Scheduled to finish with other Lincy Foundation
projects at the end of this month, the Square
instead opened September 21, Independence Day.
And it opened to a mixed review that, if a random
sampling of pedestrians is any measure, has many
people wondering what all the fuss was about.
For 73 year old Yerevantsi Vardges Karapetyan,
passing through the Square is part of his routine
. . .
"Before it was the same, so what have they
changed? Of course, it's good that people had
things to do but I see no results," says
Karapetyan. "I heard that during construction
works some new fountains must have been placed
in the square and that they must have been made
more beautiful, but instead they have only placed
a few lamps and nothing else. And also they have
made the square smaller, cars can hardly move.
I heard they've spent one million dollars. It's
a huge sum for a work like that."
The voice of the local, however, sings a different
tune than the guest.
squares at the Republic square
Florika Gizhirigyan, who came to Armenia from
New York with her husband, found the new square
nice and delighting.
"I went for a walk and I'm really enjoying
the architecture of the Republic Square very much,"
she says. "Last time I visited Armenia two
years ago, however, today the square has become
more beautiful. Both the square's project and
its architecture are very beautiful."
Traditionally a gathering place for "cruising"
youth, the square has been off-limits for flirting
for several months, as it has been wrapped in
tin border fences while work went on.
Student Mary Petrosyan, 19, came back to the
square holding out great expectations and hopes.
She says she's disappointed.
"When they just started construction works
me and my friends thought there would be the map
of Armenia drawn in the center of the square and
it would be very nice," she says. "Telling
the truth I had greater expectations, which haven't
come true. I thought that reconstruction would
make the square very beautiful, however, everything
is very ordinary. For months we have been waiting
covered with dust and inconveniences. The traffic
was entirely blocked and troubled, however, almost
none of the expectations have been met."
"Everything could be better," says
24 year old Erik Grigoryan. "A few days ago
we had guests from different countries and when
they visited the square they were very surprised.
'What, aren't there more beautiful stones in Armenia
than these ones with the help of which it would
have been possible to construct more expressional
views in the center of the square?' I completely
agree with their opinion."
Gizhirigyan, who came to Armenia from New
York, found the new square nice and delighting.
An old man who didn't want to give his name,
doubts the value of prettying up the square.
"When a woman is not beautiful, she can change
her look with the help of makeup and colors, however,
still she is the same ugly woman," says the
man. "In this case everything is the same.
They have reconstructed but there is no quality
in the work they have done, everything will be
broken down soon."
A teenager fears that the old man may be right.
"Whatever there was, everything remained
the same," said 19-year old Anush Bavoyan.
"Now we are walking along the square and
thinking, when the stones come out and when everything
is broken down because something like happened
with some parts of the streets that were reconstructed
one year ago. I think the square will be damaged
sooner than streets."
Tired of the worries of life 58 year old Juliet
Yeghiazaryan discontentedly says that more useful
things could be done for money spent for the square.
are happy that the construction is finally
over and they can proceed to their favorite
amusement, flirting with girls; needing neither
an old or new square for the eternal occupation
"I see no sense in reconstructing the square.
There were many important things to do that could
have helped people," she says. "It would
be better to improve people's living conditions,
create jobs. What is the use of this? Before this
reconstruction people again were having walks
and enjoying it."
Hambardzum Gevorgyan, 72, took his first look
at the new square and was unimpressed.
"Before it was better than now. What do
they think they have done," he says. "I
think everyone shares my point of view. They have
narrowed the square and now one can hardly move
here. When construction works just started we
thought everything would be beautiful and would
have a rich view, however
Student Loretta Mkrtchyan believes that as a
result of reconstruction nothing new has been
added to the square. But her elder, Emma Chibukhchyan,
"Gradually the city becomes more beautiful,"
she says, "and it is very good. Concerning
architecture we who are not specialists in this
field cannot say anything. But I guess everything
is very good."
Good for guys like Arshak Gasparyan and Hovhannes
Margaryan if only because it is open again. They
walk lazily about in jogging suits, glad that
construction is finally over and they can proceed
to their favorite amusement, flirting with girls;
needing neither an old or new square for the eternal
occupation of youth.