Tsitsernakaberd is an official memorial in Yerevan, Armenia, dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Armenia is, unfortunately, known to the world because of the Armenian Genocide. This tragedy happened to the nation by the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the beginning of the 20th century.
Tsitsernakaberd Memorial (literally meaning “Swallow’s fortress”) was built in 1967 during Soviet period as a result of 1965 demonstrations. During these demonstrations, thousands of Armenians in Yerevan were demanding the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Genocide.
Since then, Tsitsernakaberd has become not only an integral part of Armenian, especially Yerevan’s architecture, but also a unique pilgrimage site. Thousands of people gather and lay flowers around the eternal fire to commemorate the victims of the genocide.
The height of the laid flowers always reaches to more than a meter during the Armenian Genocide commemoration day.
The memorial is located on one of the three hills along the Hrazdan River in perfect harmony with its surroundings in Yerevan.
There is a beautiful aerial view from the memorial towards Mount Ararat you can enjoy for hours and feel time to pass so quickly by the isolated silence and the spirit of a nation that survived even through a ruthless campaign of extermination.
Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Memorial and its Facts
The memorial consists of two parts; a high pillar that is 44 meter high, and a circle of lower wall in the center of which you can see an eternal fire.
These 2 parts of the Memorial can have different interpretations from the perspective of different people.
Some of them claim the two parts definitely symbolize the Eastern and Western parts of Armenia. According to the other interpretation, they represent the Ararat Mountains; the Great and the Little one.
It is interesting to know that the mentioned stele is symbolizing the Armenians’ survival and national rebirth. The twelve slabs are positioned in a circle so that they represent the twelve Armenian provinces situated in the today’s Turkey.
There is an eternal flame in the central part of the memorial dedicated to more than 1.5 million Armenians killed during the Armenian Genocide.
You can also see a stand of trees planted by different foreign leaders who called the massacre that happened in 1915 “genocide”.
Along the alley of trees, planted to commemorate the genocide victims, you can also see a 100 meter wall with engraved names of provinces, villages and towns where deportations and massacres took place.
Before the construction of Tsitsernakaberd, Armenians had been honoring the memory of the Genocide victims by visiting the Pantheon located in the Komitas Garden. This Pantheon served as an Armenian genocide memorial for several years.
In the period of 1988-1990, in the vicinity of the Genocide Memorial, “khachkars” (cross – stones) were mounted to commemorate Armenians massacred in the late 1980s at the hands of the Azeri government, in such Armenian-populated Azerbaijani cities as Sumgayit, Gandzak (Kirovabad) and Baku.
There is also a monument of a woman with a child who are escaping from a massacre. It is called “Mother arising from the ashes” and is located next to the museum.
It symbolizes millions of families that had to flee their homeland, leave everything behind and run as far as they could in the fear of being slaughtered.
Tsitsernakaberd Genocide Museum and Institute
It is very important to separately mention the Genocide Museum and Institute built nearby Tsitsernakaberd in 1995 in order to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Genocide.
This museum, which is also an archival area and was built thirty years later than the Memorial itself, is located on the same hill. It houses several large exhibitions, administrative, engineering and technical spaces.
Nowadays, the functions of the Museum and Institute (the current director of the museum is Dr. Hayk Demoyan as of 2016) also include being a significant research center within the Armenian National Academy of Sciences. It consists of library and archive sections.
The story of the horrific historical event of Genocide is told through documents, photographs, newspaper reports, scientific works and films.
Since the day of opening its doors, there have been tens of thousands of visitors to the museum. They included local people and many official foreign delegations, scientists, researchers and tourists from around the world.
These delegations include Pope John Paul II, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Presidents of France Jacques Chirac and Francois Hollande as well as other well-known political and public figures.
The museum comprises a huge number of significant historical documents. It is open to the public providing guided tours in various languages such as Armenian, English, Russian, German and French.
Actually, there are 3 main indoor exhibition halls and an outer gallery housing its own hall.
The Museum is open to anyone who is interested in getting more informed about historical facts concerning not only Armenia, but also other nations of the region at that times.
So, we can clearly see a construction symbolizing the tragic and violent dispersion of a huge part of Armenian people. At the same time, it expresses the Armenian nation’s unity throughout history and different generations no matter where they live today.
After all, the huge Armenian diaspora we have today outside the Republic of Armenia is mostly a direct result and tragic consequence of the Genocide. Unfortunately, There are more Armenians living outside than inside of Armenia today.
Armenians were living in these difficult conditions. Many Armenians consequently migrated to other countries and the rest lived under the Soviet rule. They often lacked the opportunity to even speak about this sort of historical events.
While it is important to remember the history, Tsitsernakaberd seems to encourage Armenians to move forward towards a better future with their hands.
Other Related Posts of Tsitsernakaberd | Armenian Genocide Memorial, Find out about the Monument & its Museum
- Yerevan History Museum | Feel Yerevan History & Enjoy your Yerevan Tour
- Mother Armenia Statue, Things You Should Not Ignore!
- Blue Mosque Yerevan only active Shia mosque in Yerevan city