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23 01 2012
Armenian Museum of Jerusalem

When examining the Armenian quarter of Jerusalem and the history of the Armenian Patriarchate in particular, a number of remarkable and surprising facts appear.
It is a little known fact that the first publishing house in the Middle East was founded by the Armenians of Jerusalem in 1833. In 1850, the Armenian Patriarch Yesayi was the first person to take photographs of Jerusalem. In addition, the first school for girls in Jerusalem was founded by Armenians in 1863. Surviving published documents reveal that Armenians, realizing the importance of innovations, developed new branches of art in the Holy Land.
The Edward and Helen Mardigian Museum of Armenian Art and History of Jerusalem was founded in 1979 in a building that was constructed in 1855 and once housed the Armenian Patriarchate’s Theological Seminary. After the seminary was moved into a new building, the decision was made to make the original space into a museum. For the past two and a half years, the doors of the museum have been temporarily closed to visitors due to renovation and installation of a new security system. It will be reopened this year and will exhibit unique examples of Armenian culture and art to tourists and guests of the Armenian quarter.

The museum consists of three sections:

The first section of the museum exhibits the old collection of the Patriarchate and Churches, as well as china and kitchen utensils of the Armenian priests. 

The second section of the museum is especially interesting for artists.  It chronicles the development of Armenian art in Jerusalem as well as numerous masterpieces by local Armenian masters,  maps of Armenian pilgrims, globes, manuscripts and even munitions and weapons presented to the Crusaders. However, of course, the most interesting among all these is the first printing machine of the Middle East and the first photos of Jerusalem taken by Patriarch Yesayi in 1853. These pictures depict everyday life of the Holy City in 19th century. 

The third section is devoted to the Armenian Genocide. This exhibit presents accounts of the massacre of the Armenians. During the First World War, this former seminary was first was used as an orphanage for children who had escaped the Armenian Genocide by the Turks in Western Armenia. Later that facility was moved to new quarters, but the children left behind very interesting souvenirs on the walls of the building. This history is also one of the reasons why numerous testimonies and facts about the crimes of the Turks are being collected and represented here.

Source: (In Armenian)
 
http://nairi.do.am/news/erowsaghemi_haykakan_t_39_angarany_39/2012-01-14-426

 

Author` Artiom Chernamorian

Transated by Amalia Harutyunyan




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