Category Archives: Armenia

Addicted to Ararat

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Noah’s Ark – 14th c. stained glass window at the church of St Paul’s at Brandenburg an der Havel (Image: http://vidimus.org)

“1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters asswaged;

2 The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;

3 And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.

4 And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

5 And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

6 And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made” (Genesis 8)

The Biblical story of Noah and the flood is a story of destruction and renewal, a story of perseverance and hope, a story of finding home after a hard journey. Mount Ararat, where the ark supposedly landed after the deluge, is revered in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Read the rest of this entry

The land of pomegranate

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Vernissage flea market in Yerevan

Pomegranate is the central fruit in Armenian culture and a staple fruit in Armenian households worldwide. It’s also an item you are bound to find in all sorts of forms in Yerevan’s Vernissage flea market held every weekend behind Republic Square metro on Nalbandyan street. You can find pretty much anything here, from jewelry and paintings to irons and electric tea kettles. In this bustling bazaar of different shapes and colors, the silhouette and shade of pomegranate is a familiar, reoccurring constant. Pomegranates inspire ubiquitous crimson-red pendants, sway on the wind-rippled surface of delicate silk scarves, glow in the sun reflected off the glazed fruit-shaped clay pots. This ancient symbol of fertility and abundance is still omnipresent today.

Weaving pomegranate imagery into both art and daily lives of Armenians must be at least as old as Yerevan itself, dating back to the 8th century BC when the ruler of the ancient Urartu kingdom built Erebuni fortress on a high point over the Ararat plain. Some claim the name “Yerevan” derives from Erebuni. Others attribute it to Noah who allegedly exclaimed “Yerevats!” (“it appeared”) looking toward what is now Yerevan from the top of Mount Ararat after his ark had landed there and the flood waters receded. I bet he reached for a pomegranate snack right after that =) Read the rest of this entry