Až nezůstane kámen na kameni: kulturní dědictví království středověké Arménie

Title in English Till no stone is left unturned: the cultural heritage of the kingdoms of medieval Armenia


Year of publication 2023
Type Exposition
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description From the point of view of the average tourist, the sights of medieval Armenia today are a breathtaking experience: they are often located in fairy-tale landscapes, amidst meadows and mountains. For our countryman, who was brought up reading romantic authors while being shaped by the landscape paintings of the last two centuries, the fact that most of the buildings are in ruins is no less seductive. Ruins, which for us Bohemians and Moravians are associated with nostalgia, which is beautifully embodied in the paintings of Josef Lada. However, the story behind these buildings has very little to do with the history of Central Europe. Most of the monuments have not been affected by the ravages of time, but are the results of still relatively recent destruction by military technology. In fact, the temples and monasteries that are located on Turkish territory today were not destroyed by mistake. By all indications, it was a cold-blooded decision by the Turkish army to make these breathtaking monuments - which were built between the 7th and 13th centuries - targets for military training. Unfortunately, it was not an accidental decision: after the Ottoman Empire massacred some 1'500'000 civilians in the region in 1915, the Turkish Republic decided to negate these crimes against humanity. Destroying artistic monuments thus became a way of erasing the memory that Armenians had once lived in the region. Unfortunately, even the ruins preserved in the Armenian Republic do not testify to the slow passage of time, which wears out the monuments of the past. Indeed, many buildings were damaged during the tragic earthquake that struck the then Soviet Republic of Armenia in 1988. The stories of Armenian temples are thus often a memory of suffering and sorrow. From my perspective, however, these monuments can also be seen as signs of hope. Above all, because their quality and beauty are visible despite all the hardships that the last century has caused them. The second strong argument is that these buildings are testimony to the incredible openness of Armenian culture: they are proof of how intensely this culture has linked Asia and Europe over the centuries, how strongly it has reciprocated different cultural trends. It can be said that Armenian medieval culture was literally a bridge between continents. Lastly, it is essential to remember that it is art and literature that have allowed Armenian culture to survive to our days. Even in times when the Armenian state did not exist, it was art and literature that sustained Armenian identity. In today's difficult times, it shows the importance and relevance of culture to our world.
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