The symbol of the Armenian capital, as an example of the medieval Azerbaijani architecture, or what does a former bra salesman get up in Yerevan?

Attention! The Center for the Caucasian History is starting another research project “Armenian falsifications: disproof and explanations”. Here below is the first article of this series

Lfikatsiya! This neologism has spontaneously appeared in the Armenian society, just recently, from early June 2012. This is a new synonym for the word vandalism! That furiously sounding word is not addressed to the Turkic world, as common in Armenia, but is an alarm about the architectural monument in Yerevan being destroyed — the Central Covered market. Built in 1952, this market was included in the list of historical monuments of Yerevan and is considered one of the symbols of the Armenian capital.

It is an act of vandalism committed by the owner of the building, a former bra salesman, and now member of the National Assembly of Armenia Samvel Alexanyan, nicknamed Lfik Samo. Hence, there comes a new term “lfikatsiya”. On May 27-28, the roof and the inner part of the market were destroyed, the ladder at the front dismantled, and a 5-meter pit dug out nearby on his order.

This story dramatic for residents of Yerevan gives grounds to us, the heirs of the Erivan Khanate and medieval Azerbaijani culture, to develop our own plot about the Azerbaijani city of Erivan destroyed by Armenian nationalists and ponder over the medieval heritage of Azerbaijan that we do not know everything about yet! Note that the Covered Market built only 60 years ago, was listed in the register of historic monuments of Yerevan, a city that calls itself an ancient one!  According to Armenians, Yerevan is reportedly 29 years older than Rome itself!  If this is the case indeed, then how can the building of the mid-twentieth century be revered in the rankings of the old architectural monuments? The answer is quite evident. The 60-year-old Covered market is really an architectural monument of the “antique” for Armenians as their history in the ancient Azerbaijani lands began only in November 1920. It’s well known that it was precisely then that Armenia, a country which had never existed ever before was established in the Caucasus.

Now let’s see what Armenian experts involved in the special Armenian project “Yerevan of the 20th century” said relating the Covered market, a masterpiece of Armenian architecture. An architect Grach Pogosyan said: “The Covered Market should be in the list of protected buildings being of a great cultural value. The Soviet Armenian architects “learned” from the architects of the Middle Ages … Solutions of medieval architecture were applied in this case.”  Director of the National Museum Institute of Architects of Armenia Ashot Grigoryan also emphasizes the medieval style of the market: »
The market is fully covered with a vault. Such a conception of the Armenian architecture was used in the construction of public and religious buildings and temples. In the Middle Ages most of the caravanserais were just under one dome.” And here’s an article in Kurilko «The opening of the central covered market in Yerevan,» published in the «Communist» newspaper on April 29, 1952: “A huge cast-iron tracery stained glass on the background of plate glass, painted in bronze of two colors — dark and light consorts perfectly with the pink tuff facing main facade .”
As you can see, the Armenian experts themselves have concluded that some solutions of medieval architecture were applied during the construction of the market.

In addition, one of them stressed that the Soviet Armenian architects “learned” from the architects of the Middle Ages. We assume that Mr.Pogosyan is a man of conscience, for he did not lie and call the medieval architecture Armenian in this context. The fact is that in the Middle Ages, there was no mention of Armenians on the territory of modern Armenia. It was a land-of Chukhur Saad beylerbeyship ruled by the emirs of the Turkic clan Saadlu – called by the name of the founder of the Emir Saad. At the beginning of the 16th century, in 1511, the Erivan fortress called Revan Gala in honor of the Shah’ s Vizier Khan Revangulu who had built it by the order of Shah Ismail , the ruler of the Safavid State was erected there.  And in the 17th century the Erivan Khanate with its capital Erevan and Muslim population solely, was established. This information was preserved, for example, in the writings of French travellers Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and Jean Chardin, who visited there in the 50-70-ies of the 17th century, in the «Travels Book» by Evlie Celebi, etc. Besides, fundamental evidence base are Azeri-Turkic toponyms listed in the first book of Chardin’s multi-volume books of travel, «… urban lands are irrigated by the river Gyrhbulag flowing through the south west, and the river Zyangi — through the north-west. Serdar Palace is a sublime and majestic palace. The fortress tower called there » Kechi Gala» rises a thousand paces away from it..”

According to European travelers who visited Erivan in 17th -18th centuries, it was a beautiful city of minarets. Gemelli, Ker-Porter, James Morien, Monpero, Cameron, Lynch, Dubois and others described the Erivan Fortress with special admiration rich with magnificent mosques, caravanserais, fountains, and flower gardens. The pearl of the city’s architecture was Serdar Palace described by Chardin, as «the governor’s palace, situated in the fortress, was built on the edge of a cliff. This impressive building makes a special impression in summer”. An English traveler H.Lins called Serdar Palace the heart of the Erivan fortress.

Now ATTENTION! We emphasize that this palace was built in the style of the Azerbaijani architecture Hasht-Behesht. The problem is that this style of architecture is attributed to Persians only for the reason the world famous Palace “Hasht-Behesht” located in Isfahan and the word “hasht-Beheshti” in Farsi means “eight levels of heaven”. Those interested in this falsification deliberately ignore the fact that the Isfahan palace was built in the Safavid era in 1669 on the order of Shah Suleyman Safavi while Safavid dynasty, as commonly known, marked the beginning of the Azerbaijani statehood. Here’s another fact of sensation! A similar heavenly palace “Hasht behesht” was built in Tabriz, even 200 years earlier than that of Isfahan. It was built in 1483 on the order of Sultan Yacoub Akgoyunly- a son of Uzun Hasan, the ruler of the Azerbaijani state Akgoyunly!

Thus, the palace “Hasht-Behesht” and other beautiful buildings erected in the era of the Safavid dynasty in present-day Iran are the pearls of the Azerbaijani architecture, dating back to the ancestor of Azerbaijanis – Oguz, not Iranian, as they claim today. In the same way, the Erivan Fortress established by the Safavids, Sardar Palace, and magnificent mosques are examples not of the Persian architecture but Azerbaijani! And this undeniable fact is imprinted in the medieval sources. Photos show that 100 later after the capture of the Erivan Fortress by the Army of the General Paskevich, the Palace was preserved as the most beautiful sight of the Caucasus. It was destroyed in the early ’50s of the 20th century. And immediately the striking elements of the palace architecture were “successfully” attributed to Armenians by an architect G.Agababyan and used in the construction of the Covered market, built in 1952.  Thus, the Soviet Armenian architects learned from Azerbaijani architects of the Middle Ages and the symbol of the Armenian capital – the Covered Market – was built using elements of the magnificent buildings of the Erivan fortress. Here are the proofs.

Thus, Armenian architects see the uniqueness of the Covered Market in its completely being covered with a vault. However, they try to dissemble, calling an arch the Armenian element in religious buildings, as the Museum Director Grigoryan does. But at the same he himself notes that “most Caravanserais in the Middle Ages were covered with a single arched surface”. It is not even the cunning; it’s already brazen cynicism with the militant amateurish. And every student knows that caravanserais have been a landmark sign of the Muslim way of life for centuries, not Armenian. The Medieval Azerbaijani Erivan, lying at the crossroads of trade routes was a city of caravanserais. Here are their Azeri-Turkic names known, as wel — Sardar, Sheikh-ul-Islam, Dagly (Nagorno), Sulu (Water), Susuz (Anhydrous), Haji Ali, Kemyurchyu (Coal miners), Julfa, Haji Ilyas, etc.

It is appropriate in this context to recall a famous picture of President of the Academy of Fine Arts of the Russian Empire Prince G.Gagarin written in the mid 40s of 19th century “Caravanserai in Erivan”. It clearly depicts people in Eastern robes, not Armenians. Consequently, the entire vaulted ceiling of the market, too, is borrowed from architects of the Erivan khanate. However, by his unfortunate comparison the museum’s director actually let slip that the element of vault had been copied from the caravanserai, and not from the Armenian “religious buildings and churches”. Continuing the proofs, it’s worth noting such bright elements of the Covered market as a large pattern-decorated arch, cast iron tracery stained glass mirror in the background of dark and light glass, and eight-pointed star on it, meaning the eight branches of the Turkic peoples. The patterns of the arch resemble those on the Erivan rugs famous in the Russian Empire and Europe. They have become a metaphor for Pushkin: “His stories stretched as the Erivan carpets. And they decorated brightly Khan’s feasts of Girei.» These are the lines from the poem “In the cool of the sweet fountains” written in the 1828, the same year the resettlement of Armenians from Persia in the Erivan khanate just started!

This means that the Russian establishment knew and appreciated the Azerbaijani Erivan carpets, and not the Armenian ones. As to the chief ornaments of the facade of the market — the stained glass mosaic mirror, then the architect was surely trying to attribute to Armenians the mirror decoration of Sardar Palace. The palace was razed to the ground, and the elements of its amazing mirror room were at once applied on the first building under construction at the time, though it was a simple market. Fortunately, the beauty of this unique hall is described in Griboyedov’s letter to his friend Begichev in travel notes of European and Asian travelers, on a beautiful canvas by G.Gagarin “Mirror room in the Erivan Sadar Palace”. So, a former bra salesman, and now a member of the Parliament Lfik Samo is methodically destroying not only a monument to the history of modern Armenia, but a sample of the Soviet Armenian architecture with expressive elements of medieval Azerbaijani architecture.

The territory of the Erivan Fortress in 1827

№1 location of the Blue Mosque

 №2 approximate location of the Central Covered Market

Yerevan in the early 50s. Foundation of the market laid near the Blue Mosque. 


G.Gagarin. “Mirror room in the Erivan Sardar Palace”

An ancient Turkic symbol — eight-pointed star with inserted mirror on the cast iron tracery stained glass mirror of the Covered Market


Entrance of the Blue Mosque

Entrance of the Covered Market

1840 . G.Gagarin. “Caravanserai in Erivan”

Vaulted ceiling of the Market borrowed from the caravanserai architecture

Shelale Hasanova

Director of the Center for the Caucasian history at the Institute for Public Policy Research “AZER-GLOBE”

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