The purpose of Research on Armenian Architecture (RAA) NGO is to investigate and document Armenian architectural monuments located outside the borders of the present-day Republic of Armenia, i.e. in Cilicia and Historical Armenia (most of the latter's territory has formed part of its neighbouring countries since World War I), as well as in the adjacent countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and the historical Armenian Diaspora. The organization also has the objective of presenting the Armenian society and international community publications on them.
   The problem is the same everywhere: it is necessary to take photographs of the monuments and have them fixed onto maps, thus saving them at least on paper before their final annihilation. With this goal in mind, RAA started research about 30 years ago in an area larger than the present-day Republic of Armenia, the entire work being carried out by a few devotees who had to confine themselves to the highly limited financial means they had at their disposal, being sometimes obliged to face rather dangerous conditions. Eye-witness to the planned destruction of the Armenian architectural monuments, each year we are confronted with the difficult choice of prioritizing our targets and deciding where to focus our efforts. The final decision, however, is always dependent on financial resources and different political obstacles.


   During the trip to Western Armenia, the members of RAA visited a great number of villages and historical monuments.


   Between March and April 2004, a number of ancient architectural sites, including Jraberd, Kaghakateghi, the monasteries of Inn Masants, Yeghishe the Apostle and Yerits Mankants, etc., were investigated in Martakert District, Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. A great number of photos were taken and measurements made.


   In December 2003 RAA's scientific project entitled "Nakhichevan" won a grant by the Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF). The work carried out within the framework of that project included the development of a vast amount of library and archive data collected over 20 years of investigation.
   The future book treats the detailed history of 221 settlements in 5 districts of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhichevan, nowadays annexed to Azerbaijan: Sharur, Nakhichevan, Shahaponik, Yernjak and Goghtan that correspond to the present-day administrative districts of Ilyichevsk, Nakhichevan, Shahbuz, Julfa and Ordubad.
   The work, which has been enriched with numerous maps, measurements, copies of lapidary inscriptions and more than 1,000 photos, will be ready for publication in the summer of 2005.


   The monastic complex of Dadivank consists of 10 religious structures, including 4 churches, 6 chapels and numerous other buildings. Its Katoghike (1214), i.e. the main domed church of the complex, the main church dating back to 1211, the porch (1224), the belfry (1283), the vestibule (1283-1293), the hall and dwellings as well as the refectory and kitchen founded after 1211, the guest-chamber, the wine press, the cellar, the princely quarters and the chapel, all tracing back to the 13th century, the portico, the gates and some other rooms (13th-14th centuries) bear the remarkable features of Artsakh architectural school. Most of these buildings have survived but until very recently they were in a state of decay and even in emergency condition.
   The restoration carried out in this monument complex is of great significance from the standpoint of the preservation of the sanctuary which stands as an eloquent proof of the Armenians' existence in that land.
   During the year we continued the restoration of the exterior of the Katoghike, stoned the dome square and gable roofs and flagged the church floor, all this work being accomplished in December. The church apse and interior decoration will be completed in 2005, after which its consecration will be held.
   All the aforementioned work is sponsored by Edil Hovnanian, USA.
   The zhamatun (13th century) of Dadivank Complex represents a rare architectural building. Its restoration began in August 2004, after the Scientific Council of the Monuments Preservation Agency, RA, had approved its project worked out by architect Samvel Ayvazian. This work, sponsored by Edik Abrahamian, Teheran, Iran, will be completed in 2005.

   The monastic complex of Ushi's St. Sargis is located at the extremity of the former settlement dating from the 3rd-1st millennia B.C., 0,5 km west of Ushi Village, 5 kms north of Ashtarak City, Aragatzotn Marz, at an altitude of 1,410 metres above sea level. Built between the 5th and 18th centuries, it was reduced to ruins by the earthquakes of 1679 and 1827.
   The only surviving structure of the complex, i.e. the chapel erected over St. Sargis' grave, is in emergency condition and bears the traces of repairs. It represents a single-nave vaulted building of finely-finished basalt and a gable roof.
   The foundation of the chapel (exterior dimensions: 5.8 x 8 metres) is traditionally associated with Commander Sargis, the prince of Cappadocia (361-363), who was banished by Emperor Julian and found haven in Armenian king Arshak's court. Leaving for Persia, War-Lord Sargis served in king Shapuh's army, but he was soon beheaded on the latter's order for preaching Christianity. He was buried in the village town of Namyan, Mazandaran Province: in the first decade of the 5th century, a delegation led by St. Mesrop moved St. Sargis' remains to Armenia, interring them on an elevation not far from Ushi Village.
   The monastic complex, which occupies a territory of 45 x 54 metres, consists of the following buildings: St. Sargis Chapel, Sourb Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) Church, a vestibule, a belfry, a refectory, some cells, a vaulted guest-chamber, utility rooms and habitable ones, all of them surrounded by ramparts fortified by double-storied circular towers in the corners.
   St. Sargis of Ushi, that used to be one of the centres of religious education in Armenia, retains the best specimens of Armenian architecture dating back to different periods.
   Frina Babayan, Archaeology and Ethnography Institute of the National Academy of Sciences, RA, conducted some excavations in the monument under the patronage of Archbishop Shahen Ajemian, dean of the Theology Faculty of Yerevan State University.
   The restoration of the sanctuary began in the spring of 2004 and will be completed in March 2005.
   After the restoration, the church built over St. Sargis' grave will become an important pilgrimage site not only for the Armenian Apostolic believers but also for the Catholics and followers of the Orthodox Church.


   In May Dr. A. Haghnazarian made a report on Atropatene Province, Persia, at a conference held by Dr. R. Hovhannissian in Los Angeles, USA.


   In different universities RAA members delivered lectures and reports, accompanied by slide display, on the settlements and historical monuments of different districts of Historical Armenia.


   On 25 February 2004, RAA NGO opened an exhibition of photographs dedicated to Northern Artsakh in Alexandre Tamanian Museum-Institute, Yerevan, RA.
   On 17 September 2004, the Assembly of European Armenians and Research on Armenian Architecture (RAA) NGO held an exhibition entitled "Armenian Architectural Heritage" in the House of the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. It was attended by a number of members of the EP as well as numerous guests and journalists. Margrit Haghnazarian and Giorgio Bawai, members of RAA Administration, made speeches at the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
   The exhibition pursued the aim of presenting the monuments of Armenian architecture located within the borders of Armenia's neighbouring countries and doomed to annihilation in the last decades.
   Several Armenian monasteries, such as Saghmosavank, Tatev, as well as Tzortzor, St. Thaddaeus the Apostle and Stepanos Nakhavka (Stephen the Precursor), located in Atropatene Province, Iran, are clearly seen on the stands. The same, however, cannot be said with regard to the Armenian cultural monuments in Turkey and Azerbaijan, where they are deliberately annihilated at state level. Khtzkonk, St. Karapet of Moosh, Sourb Astvatzatzin (Holy Virgin) Karmrvor of Shushants, Narek, St. Grigor (Gregory) of Salnapat, St. Hovhannes of Bagrevand, as well as more than 4,500 khachkars (cross-stones) of the ancient cemetery of Hin (Old) Jugha and many other monuments, 26 in total number, were displayed at the exhibition, the photographs showing their state before demolition and afterwards.
   This cultural "genocide," which seems to have no end at all, is being perpetrated for a single reason: Turkey and Azerbaijan, that committed the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Armenians, are now trying to abolish the vestiges of our nation's centuries-long existence in those countries. Unlike them, Iran constantly keeps the local Armenian monuments under state auspices, restoring whatever the Armenians once created there. The reason for that is evident: it is a country of builders and creators, and what is even more important, it has nothing to hide from history.
   At an exhibition entitled "From the Creation of the Alphabet till Electronic Culture" and held on 3 October 2004, A. Haghnazarian and A. Gevorgian presented the Electronic Database of Armenian Architectural Monuments, created within the framework of a grant awarded by the Institute of Open Society.


   In May 2004 S. Karapetian was awarded a note of high esteem and appreciation by Mesropian Armenian Catholic College of Arts, Beirut, Lebanon. In December 2004 S. Karapetian's book entitled "Northern Artsakh" was awarded the Yeghishe Prize of the Government of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh.


   In January 2004 Yerevan Office of RAA NGO possessed the following equipment:
   PowerMAC G4 450 MHZ, 256 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD, 17" Studio Display
   Pentium III 866, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB VRAM, 40 GB HDD), 17" AOC Flat Display
   Pentium 100 32 MB RAM, 500 MB HDD, 1 BM VRAM, 14" Samsung display
   Pentium 266 96 MB RAM, 2.2 GB HDD, 1 BM VRAM, 15" NEC display
   Pentium 233 64 MB RAM, 2.4 GB HDD, 2 BM VRAM, 15" DELL display
   Pentium 200 Pro 112 MB RAM, 2.4+3.5 GB HDD, 4 BM VRAM, 17" AOC display
   Pentium 166 64 MB RAM, 3.5 GB HDD, 2 BM VRAM, 15" DELL display
   Pentium 166 64 MB RAM, 3.5 GB HDD, 2 BM VRAM, 15" DELL display
   Pentium 200 pro / 64 RAM / 2 / 4 / CD-4W / Sound / Monitor 17''
   Pentium 200 MMX / 64 RAM / 32 / 2 / Sound / Monitor 15''
   Pentium IV 2.4 GHz / 512 RAM / CD-ROM 52x / HDD 40 GB / SVG - 32/ 17" AOC Flat Display
   CD-RW 40x12x48
   CD-R 700 SC P5
   UPS 600
   UPS Powercom 500
   Epson Perfection 1640SU
   HL JaserJet 11000, 300 dpi, 2 mb RAM
   Epson Stylus Colour 680
   Equipment obtained during the year
   Pentium 166 MMX / 64 RAM / 32 / 2 / Sound / Monitor Samsung 15''
   Pentium IV 2.4 GHz / 1.0 GB RAM / CD-ROM 52x / HDD 2x80 GB SATA / SVG - 32/ 17" Samsung Flat Display
   UPSE-Pro 1200
   Scaner Canon Lite 1600 dpi
   During 2004 16,000 images were digitized and double-copied on CDs, the total of the images digitized amounting to 52,100 •1,810 CDs). Unfortunately, we were obliged to temporarily stop the digitization of images in late September (by then we had digitized 66,000 images) due to the failure of our scanner •UMAX PowerLook 3000).

   In January 2004 RAA Organization submitted a grant application to the Institute of Open Society on the following subject: "Presentation of Cultural Heritage Via the Internet".; The project submitted by RAA was entitled "Creation of a Database of Armenian Historical Monuments," its completion including 4 stages:
   1. A detailed research into and coordination of the architectural properties of the Armenian monuments;
   2. A study of the international standards used in the description of architectural monuments and the establishment of correspondence between them and the Armenian terms;
   3. Design of the database and Internet site;
   4. Testing of the database and data entry.
   The project won a grant by the Fund of the Institute of Open Society, the sum amounting to $ 9,200, $ 3,800 of it intended for programming.
   On 20 February 2004, a tender was announced for the creation of the electronic database of Armenian architectural monuments ("Azg", 20 February 2004, N 2954). A group of programmers (headed by Vardan Kocharian) at Yerevan University of Engineering won it and started working on the project.
   Now the testing of the database and data entry are underway. The work will be completed on 1 February 2005.

   The series of the RAA books entitled "Scientific Researches" is the only one in the present-day Republic of Armenia which publishes investigation materials on history and architecture. Below follows a list of the works published within this unique series:
   1. The Armenian Lapidary Inscriptions of Boon Aghvank,Yerevan, 1997 (in Armenian);
   2. The State Policy of Georgia and the Monuments of Armenian Culture, Yerevan, 1998 (in Armenian);
   3. Armenian Cultural Monuments in the Region of Karabakh, Yerevan, 1999 (in Armenian); Yerevan, 2000, in Russian, and Yerevan, 2001 (in English).
   4. The Princely Castles of Artsakh and Syunik, Yerevan, 2001 (published in Armenian under the patronage of Shahen and Martha Harutiunian, Los Angeles, USA).
   5. The Mayors of Tiflis, Beirut, 2003 (published in Armenian and Russian by Zaven & Fils publishing-house, Beirut, Lebanon, under the sponsorship of Razmik and Violet Tadevossian, London, UK).
   During that year, RAA also issued an illustrated English booklet on the annihilation of Jugha Cemetery.
   6. The Armenian Collection of the Caucasian Museum (in Armenian, sponsored by Hayk and Sose Vardapetian); Beirut, 2004 (Zaven & Fils publishing-house);
   7. Northern Artsakh, Beirut, 2004 (in Armenian, Zaven & Fils publishing-house);
   8. The Armenians in Cahetia (in Armenian, sponsored by Archbishop Sepuh Sargissian), Beirut, 2004 (Zaven & Fils publishing-house).


   The book treats the history of the region as well as all the historical monuments, irrespective of their national belonging, preserved in about 100 settlements and their vicinity.
   The Microtoponyms of Artsakh
   The work includes about 6,000 microtoponyms, i.e. the names of hills, fields, rivers, springs, tributaries, waterfalls, mountains, settlement quarters and even lonely trees: in other words, names associated with the Armenian land (most of them are mentioned in different written sources).
   We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Armenian National Science and Education Fund (ANSEF), whose grant enabled us to accomplish the collection of Artsakh's microtoponyms and prepare the aforementioned work.

   The Historical Monuments of Artaz
   Like all the other districts of Historical Armenia, Artaz, at present occupying Iran's north-west, is rich in different Armenian historical monuments. The book presenting them most circumstantially is of great significance both from the standpoint of its scientific merits and the cultural-political ties between the two countries, improving their partnership day by day.
   Nakhichevan is one of those districts of Historical Armenia that abounds in cultural monuments: annexed to Azerbaijan since 1921 and totally stripped of its Armenian population since 1988, it has continually suffered cultural "genocide" marking the annihilation of a great number of Armenian monuments. The eloquent proof of this is the cemetery of Hin (Old) Jugha, where thousands of khachkars (cross-stones) were reduced to ruins between 1998 and 2002.
   The available materials regarding the district, different maps and other sources have enabled us to present a work unique both from cultural and political standpoint.
   A Complete List of the Monuments of Western Armenia
   So far no complete list on the cultural monuments of Western Armenia, forming the greatest part of Historical Armenia, has ever been prepared. The importance of a documentary work on the number, location and condition of the monuments in each settlement and district is beyond question. It will provide both the Armenians and foreigners with an excellent chance to learn that the Turkish authorities who realized the genocide of almost an entire nation continue doing the same with the cultural monuments located on the territory of Western Armenia.
   The Lapidary Inscriptions of Western Armenia
   The Turkish authorities have been continually demolishing the Armenian monuments throughout Western Armenia since 1915. The Armenian lapidary inscriptions, constituting about 95 % of the lapidary material the area used to have, did not escape obliteration either.
   The work summarizes the materials available thanks to the investigation conducted by different topographers who worked in Western Armenia till 1915. It also includes the copies of the lapidary inscriptions collected during the scientific expeditions RAA organized in the past decades.
   The Lapidary Inscriptions of Artsakh
   For many years, about 3,600 Armenian lapidary inscriptions were copied and deciphered during the investigation RAA Organization implemented in the territory of Artsakh. In 2006 some fieldwork is to be carried out there for the accomplishment of the book which will be enriched with a spate of photos and copies of lapidary inscriptions.
    A Chronological List of Aghvank Catholicoses and Artsakh Diocese Leaders
The work, treating the history of Aghvank Catholicoses (from the 4th century till 1810) and Artsakh diocese leaders (from 1810 to the present times), is enriched with photos and a map.

   On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, RAA NGO published an illustrated calendar in Armenian and English, exposing the cultural "genocide" perpetrated in Western Armenia, Eastern Turkey.


   In the aftermath of the unfortunate political events that occurred during and after World War I, most of the territory of Historical Armenia now forms part of the adjacent countries. Thus, the districts of Artaz and Parspatunik are located within Iran's borders, the most important of the local Armenian monasteries being generally reconstructed under state auspices. The other neighbours of Armenia, however, do not share this respect for culture and religion: the deliberate destruction of Armenian religious monuments is still in process in Turkey (see RAA Report for 1997, St. Bartholomew Monastery), the Armenian churches being consistently appropriated in Georgia. Between November and December 2002, Azerbaijan, one of the member-states of the UN, UNESCO, ICOMOS and the European Council that also intends to be admitted to the European Union, realized the premeditated annihilation of about 2,700 nicely-carved cross-stones in the centuries-old cemetery of Hin Jugha, Nakhichevan, Azerbaijan. The unique monument complex fell victim to the barbarity perpetrated after the example of the aggressive followers of Taleban.
   RAA NGO calls upon you to join this appeal of protest and expose the cultural "genocide" with all possible means, denouncing Azerbaijan in the world organizations.
Dr. Armen Haghnazarian
RAA Founding Director