Photographer's Note

Surb Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother of God) in Gyumri is one of two churches located on the central square of the city. It is noticeable that the church is built in the 17th century and has European influences. It is very pleasing to see a church of this era simply because there are so few. Most of Armenian 17-19 century churches were built in Turkey (where they no longer exist due to the 1915 Genocide) and in Tiflis (Georgia) where most of them were nationalized and converted to Georgian Orthodox churches. As you travel through Armenia it comes to mind that a large majority of the churches is from the pre-medieval times, yet there are simply no 20th century churches. What happened? Most churches in Armenia fall into two categories extremely old or recently built. Most of the 17,18,19 century churches were torn down by the evil Communist regime. This is why this church and the Gazancheots church in Shushi Artsakh are the two best examples of Armenian non-ancient architecture.

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