Armeniaca Exhibition at the European Parliament in Brussels

1 April 2012

After Yerevan, Venice, Milan and Brussels (Tour& Taxis), the exhibition “Armeniaca: Pioneers of the Study of Armenian Architectural Heritage” was presented by AGBU Europe from March 26 to 30, 2012 at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The exhibition was jointly created by AGBU Europe and the Italian organization CSDCA (Centro Studi e Documentazione della Cultura Armena). It was hosted at the European Parliament by MEP Michèle Rivasi in partnership with parliamentarians from different political parties Frank Engel, Sylvie Guillaume and Dr. Charles Tannock.

The exhibition highlighted Armenian architecture in a number of countries, telling the story of the work of a few pioneers who braved the odds, particularly in the second half of the XXth Century, to undertake the inventory and study of an ancient heritage spread over many countries, particularly in modern Turkey, the Caucasus and Middle-Eastern countries.

At the inauguration Michele Rivasi welcomed the public and stressed the importance of the Armeniaca project which allows users to discover or rediscover Armenian architecture and the threats to its conservation. She noted that when monuments are destroyed, an important part of the identity of an entire people disappears with them.

After thanking the guest and parliamentarians for hosting this exhibition, Nicolas Tavitian, AGBU Europe Board member, explained why it was necessary to organize this event at the EP.

Armenian monuments are often overlooked or destroyed because they are perceived as national symbols. Europe can encourage countries to consider all historical sites on their territories, regardless of their identity, as part of the host country’s heritage and as valuable resources.   

Dr. Charles Tannock, author of a resolution (2006) pertaining to the destruction of Armenian medieval burial grounds in Julfa in Nakhichevan, presented his own experience of his visit to Armenia, the closed border between Armenia and Turkey and the Armenian villages and churches that had been destroyed.

This event was one of the outcomes of the Armeniaca project which aims to contribute to the preservation, digitization and promotion of archives dedicated to Armenian architectural heritage. It was created with the support of the “Culture 2007-2013” Program of the European Commission.

The European Commission and parliamentarians support this project, indicating a growing interest for the subject on the part of the European institutions, including an interest in strategies to ensure the preservation and knowledge of an architecture that is of great value yet has suffered considerably in the last century.

The development of the Armeniaca database, together with an interactive website, enables the transmission of knowledge and exchanges between researchers, students, artists or architects at an international level. The database currently includes 250 000 photographs, drawings, scientific studies, maps, monographs and more.