Working visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to Lori
President Armen Sarkssian has arrived to Lori marz on a working visit. The President will visit some historical and cultural sites of the marz, will be hosted at Hovhannes Tumanian’s home-museum in Dsegh, while in Ahnidzor he will visit the paternal house of Hrant Matevossian.
President Sarkissian will visit also the Technological Center of Vanadzor and production enterprises.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Lori marz on a working visit, was welcomed in Stepanavan with bread and salt, performance of the brass orchestra, singing and dancing.
President Sarkissian had a warm and candid conversation with the residents of Stepanavan. At the park adjacent to the street named after Sos Sargsyan, the President of Armenia laid flowers at the memorial of the RA and USSR People’s Artist, renowned artist Sos Sargsyan and paid tribute to the memory of the famous artist of movies and theater.
The memorial in the native town of the cultural and public figure, who played multiple brilliant roles, was installed in 2014. The author of the monument is the architect David Minassian. Responding to the questions of the journalists, President Sarkissian said that was lucky to know Sos Sargsyan personally. “I pay tribute to a man who was not only a great artist, actor but also a great citizen who thought incessantly of his country and its future,” the President of Armenia said.
During his working visit to Lori marz, President Armen Sarkissian visited one of the most famous historical sites of the marz, the medieval Lori Citadel. The President toured the territory of the Citadel. Noting that along with its historical value, the site is eye-catching also because of the surrounding picturesque landscape, President Sarkissian said that it is an attractive place for tourism, and especially from the viewpoint of developing archeological, historical, and ecotourism.
In the conversation with the journalists, Armen Sarkissian noted that even though this was his first visit as President to Lori marz, in student years it was one of his favorite places which he visited often. “One of ways to express patriotism in our student years, was to discover and explore our Fatherland,” he said. “I believe, now too, there is a need to rediscover and explore our Fatherland because those who live in Yerevan, don’t see much of these wonderful places. There are few places in the world where one can find citadels of the 10th or 11th century. This one is not only standing but also provides an opportunity to familiarize with the religious and church presence and daily life.”
He viewed the Citadel not only as a historical asset but also as a beautiful and unique recreation venue and noted, “I don’t think there could be a better resting place than this.” According to the President, the Citadel is not only of a huge historical but also of the economic value and is a touristic treasure. It can develop not only historical tourism but also become a site for cultural events. President Sarkissian discussed the issue with the governor of Lori Andrei Ghukassian and spoke in general about the opportunities and prospects for the region’s development.
“This is a huge asset which has not been fully utilized. We need to assist in making it our common asset, we need to come, to see, to savor, and bring our children too, so that they explore and learn our Fatherland,” the President of Armenia underscored. Responding to a question from a journalist what he would like to show his grandchildren to rediscover the Fatherland, President said that love for the country is a general notion, ”Patriotism begins with simple love, country knowledge breeds attachment to the land, ability to feel it.”
During his working visit to Lori marz, President Sarkissian visited Ahnidzor village – the birthplace of the renowned author Hrant Matevossian. Incidentally, Hrant Matevossian’s first published work was titled “Ahnidzor”, while his native village this or that way, through main personages, events, vocabulary, and stories makes the base of Matevossian’s literary creations.
President Sarkissian was hosted at Hrant Matevossian’s paternal house which currently his brother, Hamo Matevossian lives in. Together with the brother of the writer and his son, David Matevossian, he toured the house, sat at the table with the remote participation of the writer and dined with the family of the author. During the conversation, Armen Sarkissian and Matevossians recalled interesting stories from Hrant Matevossian’s life, told remarkable episodes, and recalled his creations. The President noted that it was a great honor to be in this house, where a genius was born, and which inspired the creations of Hrant Matevossian. “Being here, one feels quite natural that the spirit of humanity and understanding was born right here, in this nature, in this freedom, in this serenity, and also turbulence,” he underscored.
The President of Armenia highly valued creations of Hrant Matevossian and said that they are current today too.
David Matevossian, who is the founding Director of the “Hrant Matevossian Fund”, presented the activities of the Fund. Stressing the importance of reevaluating the literary legacy of the writer and noting that 2020 will mark the 85th birth anniversary of Hrant Matevossian, he spoke about the problems of the “Hrant Matevossian” cultural center and museum in Yerevan. David Matevossian said that it is important that Hrant Matevossian’s life, literature, and creations are presented dully to the public and readers.
In the memory of the President’s visit, the brother of Hrant Matevossian presented to Armen Sarkissian a two-volume edition of his books. President Sarkissian said that the book will find its worthy place in his library, along with other books of Hrant Matevossian. Armen Sarkissian said that he was leaving the Matevossians paternal home inspired and gratified and was taking with him good memories and a wonderful piece of the Matevossian world.
In the framework of his working visit to Lori marz, President Armen Sarkissian visited Dsegh - the birthplace of the all-Armenian poet Hovhaness Tumanian.
The President laid flowers at the memorial of the great poet, visited the chapel located nearby where Tumanian’s heart is buried. Armen Sarkissian visited also his home-museum which is the paternal home of the all-Armenian poet and was turned into a museum in 1939. He familiarized with the exhibits related to the life and work of the writer – books, personal items which represent certain stages of the great poet’s life and literary works.
The President inquired about the future programs of the museum. He noted that each generation of the Armenian people not only has to read and enjoy Tumanian’s works but also learn from them.
“Our greats should get what they deserve, should be appreciated, venerated, their life norms, which they preached as devotees of the Fatherland and the nation, should be adopted,” the President said. He thanked the museum workers for preserving Tumanian’s legacy and passing it on to generations. Armen Sarkissian said that we, as a nation, are also recognized for our culture, and Hovhaness Tumanian’s contribution to that is great.
During his visit to Dsegh, President Sarkissian conversed with the villagers, visited the Sourb Grigor Lusavorich Church (5-7 century) of the village, prayed and lit a candle.
In the framework of his working visit to Lori marz, President Armen Sarkissian was hosted today at the Diocese of Gougark of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The metropolite of the Diocese Archbishop Sebouh Chouldjian presented the history of the premise (this building, constructed in 1895, was a summer residence of the Armenian entrepreneur Tairov), told about the works of the Gougark Diocese, and implemented programs.
Later, President Sarkissian and Archbishop Chouldjian visited the Tsitsernak camp of the Diocese which these days has gathered in Vanadzor a group of schoolchildren from Shirak marz, Javakhk, Alaverdi, and Stepanavan. The campers welcomed the guests with national songs and dances.
In the camp, which is functioning under the motto “One nation, one Fatherland, one Church”, the kids learn national crafts and arts. Toward this end, they attend classes of drawing, robotics, jewelry making and others. There are also classes of folk songs and dances. Armen Sarkissian toured the camp, observed the conditions, and conversed with the kids. They showed the President their handmade works.
In the framework of his working visit to Lori marz, President Sarkissian visited the VADA company in Vanadzor specializing in the production anti-hail nets and systems for their installment.
Accompanied by the Head of the Company Armen Gharajian, President Sarkissian toured the plant, familiarized with the production capacities, applied technologies, and production. It was noted that the plant is equipped with Italian machinery, uses high quality Italian raw materials, and technologies. The anti-hail nets not only protect harvest from hail but also from birds and insects; they also are designed to maintain temperature. Speaking about the volumes of the production, programs aimed at the expansion and export, the representatives of the company noted at the same time that they still have issues with selling their production on the Armenian market and need subsidizing as well.
After the tour, responding to the questions from journalists, President Sarkissian said that the production of this plant should not be viewed just as an anti-hail net but a compound protection system for orchards.
“This is modern technology which is being used all over the world. It protects not only from hail but also creates a required microclimate. A modern production unit has been set which can also export its production, but it’s a shame not to use a good product manufactured in Armenia in our country, especially in the south, starting from Ararat valley where gardens need protection,” President Armen Sarkissian said and added that people should be encouraged to use technological production manufactured in our country which is really useful for farmers.” At the same time, he expressed readiness to support the company as much as possible.
During his working visit to Lori marz, President Armen Sarkissian visited the Odzun monastery complex which is an outstanding monumental complex of the Medieval Armenian architecture.
Accompanied by the Primate of the Gougark Diocese Sepouh Archbishop Chouljian, President Sarkissian toured the premise of the monastery complex.
The complex has eye-striking valuable monuments and frescos. It was an important educational and cultural center of the Medieval Armenia.
Together with other worshipers, President Sarkissian prayed at the church and lit a candle. Sepouh Archbishop Chouljian presented Armen Sarkissian with a book relating about Catholicos Hovhaness of Odzun. Hovhaness of Odzun was Catholicos of all Armenians in 717-728 and later was canonized by the Armenian Apostolic Church.
President Sarkissian conversed with the foreign tourists visiting the monastery complex, inquired about their impressions and urged to visit other historic sites of Armenia.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Lori marz on a working visit, visited the kindergarten of the Gyulagarak community of Lori marz. Back in December 2018, the Presidential Administration allocated 1 million AMD for furnishing the kindergarten.
The President walked through the premise, familiarized with the conditions, and conversed with the staff. They expressed their gratitude to the President of Armenia for the provided assistance.
Through a spontaneous conversation the President interacted also with the kids and inquired about their interests. The children performed songs and dances and demonstrated their skills.
The President also met and had a genial conversation with the residents of Gyulagarak community.
In the framework of his working visit to Lori marz, President Armen Sarkissian was hosted at the Vanadzor Technological Center and familiarized with the works of the Center.
Director Patvakan Hakhinian noted that the Center aims to create a favorable business environment for technological companies. The Center is assisting startup companies in translating ideas of their technological teams into successful businesses. Since 2016, nearly 30 teams have participated to the acceleration programs of the Center. Other areas of activities pertain to the development of professional abilities. Software design classes for all age groups are organized here, starting from 10 years old children.
The President of Armenia toured the premise of the Center, conversed with the kids participating to the classes. Later, he met with the representatives of the companies located in the Center, inquired about their activities, and responded to their questions.
The President urged them to think big, “My appeal to you is the following: Think big. The lesser you think, the lesser your development will be; it means we will be not winning but just surviving. This is very important,” Armen Sarkissian underscored. “In your creative life think big, don’t be afraid of unsurmountable or seemingly difficult problems, try to solve them. If you have, for instance, modern high-speed internet connection and opportunity to link to your partners, to learn what’s going on in the markets, there is no reason why you should be unsuccessful here; you can have the same creative success as abroad. There is no reason whatsoever not to have it. In the 21st century, the world is changing rapidly, and those who don’t see it, will fall behind.”
He urged to walk in step with these changes and manufacture products which will be competitive in the world.
“To be competitive, you need to have the best possible product. We have a showcase of that: In agriculture, we have hi-tech – brandy. From the grapes we are producing brandy which is simply a hi-tech grape juice. It means that if we are going to develop something, it should be at least like the Armenian brandy. Should we develop high tech here, it must be of the best artificial intelligence quality,” the President underscored.
“To achieve that, we need to walk a long road, all together, and the state should provide support too. We need to pass that road fast, and education is of key importance here.”
Noting that science and technologies are interesting to engage in, President Sarkissian urged the young entrepreneurs to love and enjoy the work they are doing.
President Armen Sarkissian is deeply impressed with the picturesque sites of Lori’s nature. The President told it in the conversation with the journalists during his working visit to Lori.
The President stressed the necessity of encouraging tourism, and especially domestic tourism in the marz and development of infrastructure. “If you live in Yerevan, is there anything better than to go on weekend to Lori marz, or Syunik, Gegharkunik, Gyumri? No, there isn’t,” the President said. “I have been here for two days and got totally recharged because I am in touch with the real nature and exceptional beauty.
In two days, I have had the opportunity to see and enjoy many testimonials of historic value, for instance, the Odzun cloister or Lori Citadel. Many countries would dream of having such a citadel and not only preserve and demonstrate it but also make it attractive for their young people, the nation, and the foreigners. The fact that there was an advanced civilization in Armenia, in Lori in 10th -11th centuries is something which many are unfamiliar with.
Can you have a better time on weekend than submerge in the silence surrounding Dsegh, enjoy fresh air, spend time conversing with friends on poetry and science, and our culture. Dine in Ahnidzor, at Hrant Matevossian’s home with his brother, son, and relatives. To see the “We and our mountains” movie in real life, see the people who inspired Hrant Matevossian. They are real people with their problems. Or you can come to interact with the bright personality of Hovhaness Tumanian, and this is not only about the poet but also about a great personality and a great patriot.”
Urging to spend weekends visiting remarkable places in Armenia, President Sarkissian said that patriotism manifests itself not only in serving the Fatherland or becoming a soldier during a war but also in knowing one’s country.
From the viewpoint of tourism and development in general, President Sarkissian stressed in particular the importance of having good roads. “I was pleased to learn that in two recent months nearly seven thousand people have visited Tumanian’s home-museum and nearly 6,000 of them were schoolchildren. They have come because the roads were built in good time and today that road allows for the schoolchildren to come here,” Armen Sarkissian said. “Yesterday we were in Ahnidzor, and there was no road. Twenty kilometers you have to drive in dust, quivering and shaking but on the other side of the window you see wonderful, untouched nature. The school of Ahnidzor has only twenty pupils, from the first to the ninth grades, while there are nearly three hundred kids in the kindergarten of Dsegh because the road is much better, people have better opportunities.
Over one hundred people live in Ahnidzor. They are just surviving because it is impossible to move back and forth on that road every day. They live in seclusion, in a paradise with a hellish road. For Ahnidzor and surrounding villages a road must be constructed but before that we need to think over how to build a road without damaging the nature.”
Stressing the importance of environmental issues, the President said, “Special efforts should be made lest we cause harm the nature. We need a clear-cut program of what we are doing in the areas of ecology, economy, development, and tourism. We need a clear vision which should be in line with the global development vision. It means that we cannot move in the direction opposite to that of the global development.”
The President of Armenia said that in building our vision, we need to think where the world will be in 20 or 30 years, and where we want to be in that world. “We need a strategy, a program to get there. And that programs needs to be multipart,” President Sarkissian noted. “We, as a nation and a state, need to have a program and need to know precisely where we are headed. That program should be general and national. We need to think big and wide because we are a great nation, a great people.”
President Sarkissian underscored that the road of survival will not get us to development. “We all can deny ourselves certain things in the name of the vision and national program, if we know that tomorrow we will get somewhere, there is a program and we all take up the implementation of that program,” the President said. “Our greatest asset is our Armenian world, the people. Our vision should be based on that. Everything must be developed in Armenia – agriculture, tourism, modern technologies. I propose the following: We need to hold state and national discussions on the vision and our national programs. Everyone should be able to state his or her opinion. When time is right, I will tell you about my vision. Everyone should share his or her vision.”
In that context, the President stressed the importance of developing the area of education. “In education too, conditions should be created for the people to receive benefits fast. Successful individuals very often, as a charity, invest in education. The problem is that these should not be small lakes of excellence; the area of education should become a great sea, then every child from rural areas will be able to receive education adequate or close to that in Yerevan. It brings us back to the same problem – roads, which include also virtual ones. If a village has a high-quality internet, if every kid has a computer and is linked to the national educational program, that kid, who might be living in Dsegh or Ahnidzor, will be able to receive the same education. In the future, the computer will be the main tool in universities, and the lecturer will become a commentator. Universities will seize to be places where information is provided but rather students will attend them to listen to interpretations, analysis, they will learn to analyze,” President Sarkissian said.