Armenian Highland

Ծառը ինչքան բերք տայ ու բարի, գլուխն էնքան խոնարհ կը պահի:
However much fruit a tree bears, it humbles its head that much more.

Catholicos Khimyan Irick around Echmiadzin 1895Յովհաննէս Այվազեան Hovhannes Aivazian (Ivan Aivazovsky)
The King of Armenia having an audience with Richard II at Westminster (book 5, chapter 7). – Jehan de Wavrin, Anciennes et nouvelles chroniques d’Angleterre (c 1470-c 1480) – British Library

Զապել Պոյաճեան
Zabelle C. Boyajian

Armenian painter, writer and translator who spent most her life in London

Born 1873 in Diyarbakir of the Ottoman Empire (The ancient Armenian capital Tigranocerta) Her mother had english ancestry and was relative with the famous english poet Samuel Rogers. The start of her life would but be a good one as her father was murdered in 1894 during the Hamidian Massacres which also claimed some 400 thousand Armenians and 25 thousand Assyrians. When this happened Zabelle, her mother and her brother fled to London.

As they started settling in London Boyajian enrolled at the Slade School of Fine Art. She also started writing and illustrating her own books. Her first novel, Esther, about the massacres in Sasun was published in 1901 in London under the pen name Vardeni.

She was very close with Anna Raffi, the wife of the Armenian novelist Hakob Melik Hakobian,( better known by his pen name Raffi) and her two sons, Aram and Arshak, who had moved to London after Raffi’s death. Boyajian periodically translated and published excerpts from Raffi’s novels in the journal Ararat and organized various reading events to honor his work. In 1916, she compiled and translated the anthology Armenian Legends and Poems (1916), which was introduced by Viscount James Bryce and which included several poems in Alice Stone Blackwell's translation.

She traveled widely and in 1938 published her travel notes and illustrations of Greece,
 In Greece with Pen and Palette. In 1948 she translated and published Avetik Isahakian's epic poem Abu Lala Mahari. Boyajian also wrote essays on Shakespeare, Byron, Euripides,Michael Arlen, Raffi, and Avetik Isahakian, as well as comparative works on English and Armenian literature.

As a painter, Boyajian had her individual exhibitions in London in 1910 and 1912, in Germany in 1920, in Egypt in 1928, in France, in Italy, and in Belgium between 1940-50. She died in London 26 January, 1957.

"Miss Boyajian’s paintings cover a great deal of ground. They include portraits, landscapes, and decorative panels. These last are in two groups, the one illustrating the artist’s own published versions of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian epic; the other, verses from theRubaiyat of Omar Khayyam… . Harmony of color rather than of line or mass is her main preoccupation, and she achieves it without doing violence to nature’s own color schemes.”

-The Manchester Guardian

"Readers who are curious concerning Armenia and Armenians may learn more about them from this attractive volume than from many books of heavier erudition. It is an anthology of translations from Armenian poems, accompanied by a learned and interesting disquisition by Mr. Aram Raffi on the epics, folk-songs and poetry of Armenia… . It is impossible to read its graceful, varied, and musical verses without realizing that the choice has been directed by an intimate knowledge of the country’s characteristic literature and that the pieces included are rendered with a skill that knows how to bring over to another language some of its typical accents and inspirations … The color work is indeed particularly fine, and will be admired by all who know how to appreciate good work."

-Scotsman (November 18, 1916)

Silver medallion from the 2nd century BC, excavated in Sisian, Syunik region of Armenia. Depiction of a Golden Eagle clutching some type of wild cat, most probably a leopard. The symbolism of the Golden Eagle was important in pre-historic motif’s on the Armenian Highland, as well as many of the Armenian Dynasties of the the old, this is a depiction from the Artaxiad Dynasty, where King Tigran II the Great hailed from, linked to the Yervanduni (Orontid Dynasty).

Silver medallion from the 2nd century BC, excavated in Sisian, Syunik region of Armenia. Depiction of a Golden Eagle clutching some type of wild cat, most probably a leopard. The symbolism of the Golden Eagle was important in pre-historic motif’s on the Armenian Highland, as well as many of the Armenian Dynasties of the the old, this is a depiction from the Artaxiad Dynasty, where King Tigran II the Great hailed from, linked to the Yervanduni (Orontid Dynasty).

Մեծ Եղեռնի Նահատակաց Յուշահամալիր
Armenian Genocide Martyrs’ Memorial Church

Armenian church complex dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

Located in the Deir ez-Zor desert of Syria that has been described by many as the Armenian auschwitz. Deir ez-Zor was designated as the final point of the Armenian refugees who were driven out from their lands into a long death march within the Syrian desert. Deir ez-Zor became the witness of the annihilation of the remaining refugees who were forced by the Ottoman Turks to death marches. Those major killing centres in the region, became to be known as Deir ez-Zor Camps where according to several sources, 400,000 Armenians were killed. 

It was the then Catholicos of the Great house of Cilicia, His Holiness Karekin II who led the construction. The complex served as a church, museum, monument and archive center. It held many important books, publications and documentary photos from the Armenian Genocide. Around the base column, the remnants of the martyrs’ bones that have been dug out from the Syrian desert are put to act as a witness of the death marches. Every year on 24’th of April, tens of thousands of people gather to commemorate the 3,5 million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks that perished.

On 21 September 2014, Al Mayadeen TV reported that the church complex was completly destroyed by the jihadists of the The Islamic State. Commonly called ISIS or IS.

IS also brutally butchered people Muslims and some Armenians by beheadings, shootings and other vile forms of execution. Many religious leaders and politicians have condemned the horrible acts of IS in Deir ez-Zor. Turkey on the other hand remains silent and does not condemn this act, which is suprising as Turkey is fast to condemn acts by IS and wishes to be seen as a saviour of the refugees. Even though it’s been prooven by several sources and even confirmed by IS it self that they enjoy a great stream of support and trade with Turkey. Vigen Sargsyan head of the president staff of Armenia has stated that if Turkey is not behind the Deir ez-Zor church explosion, it should condemn it. Armenian diplomat Eduard Nalbandyan called out the international community to cut the Islamic State’s sources of supply, support, and financing, and eradicate what he referred to as a disease that “threatened civilized mankind.”” This is not the first time this type vandalism is targeted towards Armenian churches in the region. Similar acts have been targeted towards ancient Assyrian churches and ancient statues and monuments.

Տորք ԱնգեղTork Angegh
Ancient Armenian God or minor deity of strength, courage and of arts. He was of unnatural strength and power but was kind and artistic. The late antiquity historian and author of “The History of Armenia” Movses Khorenatsi writes that Tork Angegh was Haik’s great grandsonTork Angegh is described as being a very unattractive male figure. Gegh meaning beautiful and Angegh meaning anti/un beautiful. Khorenatsi writes that Angegh was a giant of extraordinary strength, who could hurl boulders across the seas, flatten the surfaces of rocks, and draw pictures on them with his fingernails.  Venerated mainly in the province of Angegh, in south-western Armenia. Movses Khorenatsi also states that he was a prince of that province, hence the references in Armenian history to Angegha tun (the House of Angegh) Angegh was one of the significant deities of the Armenian Pantheon prior to the Hellenic and Iranian influence.
There is an ancient story about Tork Angegh that reads:Tork Angegh was so strong he could crush entire rock formation and tear them off the ground with his bare hands. Unfortunately, he was not very handsome: he had rough facial features, a flattened nose, and sunken eyes. Could there ever be a woman who would want to become his wife?
The goddess Astghik* appeared to him in a dream and told him to follow the sun and he would find his intended – the beautiful Haykanush – next to a cold spring under a cliff. Tork woke up and did everything that Astghik had told him to do: he found the cliff, broke the iron door and sat down on top of it. Then a beautiful maiden appeared in front of him.
“Did you break my door, you giant oaf?” asked the girl.
“I’ll fix it,” answered the embarrassed hero, his rugged features going red.
“If you came to woo me, you have to capture twenty giants for me first. That way you will show me your respect and then you could take me with you,” she said.
Tork went to find some warriors in the country of giants. When he got there, they were delighted to see him and welcomed him with great fanfare as an important guest. Before going to sleep, Tork Angegh thought to himself, “How can I fight these people?” In the morning, he honestly described his predicament to his new friends. The patriarch of the tribe of giants suggested they go see Haykanush peacefully and ask the stubborn girl for her hand.
And so the giants went to see Haykanush with joy and laughter, singing and dancing all the way to her house. No matter what the stubborn girl did, she could not postpone the wedding – after all, the groom and the wedding guests were there already and they had brought everything necessary with them: songs, flowers and smiles. And most importantly, they proved to her that the most precious thing on earth is not one’s looks, but a good soul and an open heart.
Many historians relate Tork Angegh in the Proto-Indo-European religions context and believe that there is an etymological connection with the Norse god Thor/Tyr because of the many connections and similarities.
Others make similarities with the Akkadian/Assyrian Nergal who also was an unnatractive male deity.

Տորք Անգեղ
Tork Angegh

Ancient Armenian God or minor deity of strength, courage and of arts. He was of unnatural strength and power but was kind and artistic.

The 
late antiquity historian and author of “The History of Armenia” Movses Khorenatsi writes that Tork Angegh was Haik’s great grandson

Tork Angegh is described as being a very unattractive male figure. Gegh meaning beautiful and Angegh meaning anti/un beautiful. Khorenatsi 
writes that Angegh was a giant of extraordinary strength, who could hurl boulders across the seas, flatten the surfaces of rocks, and draw pictures on them with his fingernails.  Venerated mainly in the province of Angegh, in south-western Armenia. Movses Khorenatsi also states that he was a prince of that province, hence the references in Armenian history to Angegha tun (the House of Angegh) Angegh was one of the significant deities of the Armenian Pantheon prior to the Hellenic and Iranian influence.

There is an ancient story about Tork Angegh that reads:

Tork Angegh was so strong he could crush entire rock formation and tear them off the ground with his bare hands. Unfortunately, he was not very handsome: he had rough facial features, a flattened nose, and sunken eyes. Could there ever be a woman who would want to become his wife?

The goddess Astghik* appeared to him in a dream and told him to follow the sun and he would find his intended – the beautiful Haykanush – next to a cold spring under a cliff. Tork woke up and did everything that Astghik had told him to do: he found the cliff, broke the iron door and sat down on top of it. Then a beautiful maiden appeared in front of him.

“Did you break my door, you giant oaf?” asked the girl.

“I’ll fix it,” answered the embarrassed hero, his rugged features going red.

“If you came to woo me, you have to capture twenty giants for me first. That way you will show me your respect and then you could take me with you,” she said.

Tork went to find some warriors in the country of giants. When he got there, they were delighted to see him and welcomed him with great fanfare as an important guest. Before going to sleep, Tork Angegh thought to himself, “How can I fight these people?” In the morning, he honestly described his predicament to his new friends. The patriarch of the tribe of giants suggested they go see Haykanush peacefully and ask the stubborn girl for her hand.

And so the giants went to see Haykanush with joy and laughter, singing and dancing all the way to her house. No matter what the stubborn girl did, she could not postpone the wedding – after all, the groom and the wedding guests were there already and they had brought everything necessary with them: songs, flowers and smiles. And most importantly, they proved to her that the most precious thing on earth is not one’s looks, but a good soul and an open heart.

Many historians relate Tork Angegh in the Proto-Indo-European religions context and believe that there is an etymological connection with the Norse god Thor/Tyr because of the many connections and similarities.

Others make similarities with the Akkadian/Assyrian Nergal who also was an unnatractive male deity.

Monochrome landscape photographs of Armenia, the landscapes include Ararat, Khor Virap, Apricot trees, Noratus and other scenery and landmarks.

All of the photographs are taken by the very talented Suren Manvelyan who started as a professional photograph in 2006. Suren’s photos have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers in Armenia and worldwide such as  National Geographic, Yahoo!, Die Zeit, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Independent, Telegraph, La Republica,  Liberation, Guardian, Wired, Huffington Post, Wedemain, The Shortlist, DT Magazine, MAXIM, and many others. The photos were also used by BBC Spain, BBC Brasil, WNYC, Gizmondo and many others.

Besides photography Suren also enjoys a successful scientific career as he teaches physics, mathematics, projective geometry and astronomy at the Yerevan Waldorf School. From 1997 to 2011 he served as a scientific researcher at the Institute for Physical Research of National Academy of Sciences.

Suren received his PhD in Theoretical Physics from the Yerevan State University in 2001 where his research focused on Quantum Chaos. He received the President Award of the Republic of Armenia next year for his research work in the field of quantum technologies. Suren plays on five musical instruments the guitar, cello, piano, block flute, and lyre.

French newspapers and illustrations reporting on the several massacres targeted towards Armenians in Baku, People’s Republic of Azerbaijan 1905 - 1918

On 15th of september some 30 thousand Armenians were brutally butchered in an event that came to be known as The September Days,  Enver Pasha's Army of Islam and their local Azeri allies when they captured Baku, the soon-to-be capital of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic

Similar atrocities were going on in Shushi and other towns across Azerbaijan. 

Coin of Arsames of Armenia II (230 BC)Coin from Armenian kingdom of Sophene, bust of Arsames II, 230 BC. Mountain peaks of Ararat on the reverse with stars shining above the peaks.

Photographs of Armenian soldiers and freedom fighters who defended the Armenian Highland against the Ottoman Empire, Young Turks. Army of Islam in the Caucasus, People’s Republic of Azerbaijan, and at times the Bolsheviks.

Many of these photographs are taken during the Armenian Genocide around the time of World War I.

The top three photographs also show some of the commanders during this time. Each and every photograph has a descriptive text on the bottom of it. 

All photos are taken from the book “Why Armenia should be free : Armenia’s rôle in the present war (1918)”