Autumn in Armenia! It has been an extraordinary journey, made all the more meaningful by having my mother, Mrs. Mariam Tatosian, as my traveling companion. But make no mistake, this trip is all about business.
The first highlight was meeting the President of Armenia, Mr. Serzh Sargsyan. I serve on the board for the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR) and waspart of a delegation presented to the President on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. As you can imagine, this was quite an honor, and an experience I won’t soon forget.
The next purpose for the trip was to check in on a group of Fine Art students we are sponsoring at Yerevan State University. This is oldest continuously operating public university in Armenia, founded in 1919, and is considered by many to be the most prestigious university in the country. Among its teaching staff of academics, professors, lecturers and researchers, there is the brilliant and singular scholar, LevonChookaszian, Head Chair of History and Theory of Armenian Art, and the UNESCO Chair of Armenian Art History. We are honored to be supporting Fine Arts scholarship recipients under Mr. Chookaszian’s tutelage, as he guides them in their uniquely specialized study of Armenian rugs and textiles. Our family remains committed to helping educate future textile scholars in order to keep the rich history, craft and artistry of Armenian carpets alive and well for generations.
Just over an hour outside of Yerevan is the famous 13th century Armenian monastery, Noravank, and we decided to take a side trip to see this ancient treasure of Armenia. Founded in 1205, the monastery complex includes: the two-story Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) church, the Surb Karapet church and the Surb Grigor chapel with a vaulted hall. We almost couldn’t believe our eyes when we walked up to the façade of the Surb Karapet Church. Over the door is an intricate stone relief depicting the Holy Virgin Mary and the child Christ seated on a 13th century rug, complete with drooping tassels! It is an amazing archival piece of ancient Armenian and world history, spotlighting the importance of rugs throughout the ages. What a discovery!
Topping off our trip were the magnificent views of Mount Ararat, the national symbol of Armenia. Travel continues to teach us and enrich our lives and our life’s work. Sharing this time with my mother has been a joy, and am honored to share details of this trip with you.
Next stop, India! Stay tuned, friends!