The Museums Of Lori

Hovhannes Tumanyan House-Museum

The house-museum of All-Armenian poet Hovhannes Tumanyan in Dsegh was founded in 1939. In the yard of the house is the bust of the poet, a chapel, under which Tumanyan’s heart was buried in 1994.

Hovhannes Tumanyan was born in 1869 in the village of Dsegh. He spent the 10 carefree and happy years of his childhood in a semi-basement earthen house built by his father, the village priest Father Thaddeus. The house had no windows, the light came in through the roof porch. Only they had tonir (earth oven) in Dsegh, where lavash was baked only on holidays. There is an oven in the wall for baking bread, under the wall there is a hearth for cooking. Household items, copper utensils are preserved, some of which Tumanyan’s mother had brought as a dowry. The grain was stored in barns on which they slept, and the bed tucked in with curtains. Baking utensils are shown: a roll, a baking tray, an oven, a jug of water, pots. The items are mainly preserved from the poet’s childhood, and the room later served as a bakery, it is also preserved. Father Thaddeus, often going to Tbilisi (Georgia) for work, saw many comfortable houses there, and decided to build a bigger room for his family. The oil lamp hanging from the ceiling was the first of its kind in the village, and Father Thaddeus house was also the first that had a wooden floor instead of the former earth one.

They prepared food in the hearth and heated the room with the hearth. There is a cupboard here, and a couch, on which Father Thaddeus played the chongur and sang carol songs, “Koroghli” or “Kyaram”. According to Tumanyan, the father was a very happy, carefree, generous person, and the mother, Sona, was very hardworking, strict and thrifty, due to which the parents constantly argued. Many times, Father Thaddeus secretly from his wife distributed flour and wheat to the villagers and put his son, Tumanyan, on guard at the door so that his mother could not catch him.

According to another story of the poet, the father took the wheat to a mill, saw the fruit seller, bought fruit, brought it home, leaving the wheat in the mill. When the wife learned about it, she said that the wheat could be stolen, to which the priest replied ․ “They are poor people, let them steal a little.” The cradle where Hovhannes, the eldest of eight children, as a child was held is presented. In that regard, years later, Tumanyan’s mother would say․ “․․․․ Very often we would not rock Hovhaness’s cradle as a child, we would keep him in our arms so that his mind would not be shaken and stay bright.”

On the other couch are the poet’s mother’s weaving tools, with which she ragged and spun wool ․ The carpets in the room were made by Tumanyan’s mother. She was a shepherd’s daughter, very beautiful, she could not read, but she told wonderful tales, she had a wonderful voice. She used to say․ “I went to 10 colleges,” and she would list the names of the mountains she knew. Tumanyan’s office has been completely restored, as it was furnished during his lifetime: “a dinner table, a desk, and as surprising as it may seem, medical books ․ They say that when he came from the city, the villagers said “the man is from the city, he is an educated person, he would know everything,” and they asked to him for treatment of various diseases.

So, he had to read medical books to be able to help them. Here he hosted many of his writer friends – Leo, Arazi, Shant, Demirchyan. Khrimyan Hayrik also visited him here․ There is a photo of him, is sitting on Tumanyan’s brother’s horse. The Tumanyan family’s genealogy is remarkable․ A copy of the document given to the poet’s grandfather by the St. Petersburg Senate is presented, which proves that their dynasty descended from the famous Mamikonian dynasty.

Tumanyan was proud of the history of his family. The letters written in 1880-90 were signed by Hovhannes Tumanyants-Mamikonyan. By the way, Tumanyan’s grandfather was a brave man, an officer of the tsarist army, a participant in wars, a Persian translator. Much has been said about his deeds. His sword hangs on the wall, which Tumanyan kept as sacred until the end of his life. Here is the first book of the great poet, which was published in 1890 in Moscow. When it was published, the father called people, had a party and said․ “I will have no death.” Tumanyan loved his father very much.

According to him, the biggest and best thing he had in life was his father. “He was an honest man, a nobleman with a full meaning of this word. Extremely humane and generous, humorous and entertaining, but he always had seriousness deep inside. “He was a priest, but he was a famous rifleman, riding a horse,” the poet wrote. Father Thaddeus was forced to become a priest by his father, in connection with which he loved to joke ․ “I did not become a man, I became a priest.” Among the exhibits are the young student’s inkwell and pen. By the way, only Hovhannes among the students avoided the “methodical beating” of the semi-literate master-teacher Sahak.

According to the poet “I did not get any of the beatings, since I was shy of my father, and especially afraid of my mother.” From the walls, photos and portraits of the All-Armenian poet and his family from different years look at the visitors to the museum. The presented manuscripts, the poet’s clothes and other personal items complete the image of the poet.

Stepan Zoryan House-Museum

Stepan Zoryan House-Museum has been operating since 1990. It used to be Zoryan’s summer house. The house was designed by the writer’s sons. In the yard, visitors are greeted by apple trees planted by the writer, and the museum visitors are allowed to eat the fruits of these trees.

The museum presents the life and activity of the great novelist, his childhood and adolescence in Gharakilisa (Vanadzor), his literary and social activities in Tbilisi and Yerevan. In one of the rooms, the atmosphere of Gharakilisa of Zoryan’s time has been restored, with furniture from writer’s childhood: a carpet, a pot, a copper pot. The writer’s childhood was spent in the lavish and luxurious nature of Lori. Zoryan’s mother was a wonderful storyteller․ Her relatives called her “Mrs. Homer”.

The fairy tales and myths of mother and grandmother formed the creative imagination of little Stepan. Stepan Zoryan’s manuscripts, books, photos Stepan as a child and as a schoolboy and his parents are displayed. During his childhood, the Russian authorities closed Armenian schools. Zoryan’s farmer father put him in front of Vardan Mamikonyan’s picture and said․ “Do not forget that you are an Armenian, learn the Armenian language the best.” Perhaps from that day the writer’s flexible and perfect Armenian was formed. Zoryan’s office has been preserved as it was during his lifetime – a library, a desk with a table lamp. “A writer should know the Armenian language better than even a linguist,” has famously said Zoryan.

Hrant Matevosyan’s house (museum)

Ahnidzor is Hrant Matevosyan’s birthplace, his source of inspiration, his home. His childhood and adolescence years were spent here, Ahnidzor is Matevosyan’s “house-museum” under the open sky. The prototypes of the heroes of Matevosyan’s works are real people in Ahnidzor – real people who became immortal thanks to the great writer.

On the way to the village, passers-by are greeted by Matevosyan’s large picture embraced by his native highlands. Hrant Matevosyan lived in his father’s house for 16 years, which remained his cherished place until the end of his life, where, in his words, “one can breathe easily.” According to his relatives, Matevosyan’s house cannot become a “lifeless” museum in the classical sense.

According to the writer’s brother, literary critic Hamlet Matevosyan, who lives here with his family, “the house should breathe, there should be no silence of a museum, life should always be felt.” And he is ready to open the doors of the Matevosyans’ house to every visitor, to tell and present memories, stories about his brother.

The management of the Matevosyan Foundation intends to make the house part of the Yerevan Cultural Center, an educational and cultural center, where literary festivals, pilgrimages will be organized, schoolchildren and students will be hosted, and conditions will be created for writers to create here.

Every visit of Hrant Matevosyan filled the house with warmth and joy. He adored every corner of this house and complained when they wanted to change something. Hamo Sahyan, Vano Siradeghyan, Felix Meloyan, Levon Khechoyan, Ruben Hovsepyan, Andrey Bitov were hosted here.

Mikoyan Brothers Museum

The Mikoyan Brothers Museum was opened in 1982 in their birthplace, Sanahin village (formerly the museum operated in the village school). The most remarkable exhibits of the museum are Anastas Mikoyan’s personal car brought to Sanahin from Moscow and the MiG plane designed by world-famous aircraft designer Artem Mikoyan.

The visitors of the museum are introduced to items related to the life and activities of Artem and Anastas Mikoyan, archival documents, photos, and Soviet posters. There is also a multilingual library here, which covers the activities of the world-famous Mikoyan brothers. One part of the museum represents Artem Mikoyan, the other Anastas Mikoyan. Artem Mikoyan was a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, a colonel-general of the Engineering and Technical Service, a two-time hero of socialist work, a laureate of 6 State Prizes.

Under Mikoyan’s leadership, the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters were created, the first MiG-19 missile carrier in the USSR, the MiG-21 with a triangular wing, and the MiG-23 supersonic fighter aircraft with a variable speed. Military-civilian MiG aircrafts with various modifications are widely used in the world. Aircraft designer Artem Mikoyan is one of the founders of jet aviation in the USSR. According to archival documents, 55 world records have been set with the planes developed under his leadership, most of which remain unsurpassed. Artem Mikoyan’s works play an important role in the development of astronautics.

According one story, Artem Mikoyan’s interest in aviation is conditioned by the appearance of a French plane that made an emergency landing in Sanahin during his childhood. In the museum’s gallery, there are many models of MiGs designed by Mikoyan, a pilot’s uniform, which resembles the clothes of astronauts. Mikoyan’s personal belongings and military uniform are also presented. An interesting story has been preserved about the MiG with a super powerful engine. It is said that the USSR delegation, including Artem Mikoyan, left for England to acquire the technologies of the powerful British air engine.

Negotiations did not go well. The delegation was invited to a farewell dinner before departure. Meanwhile, the head of the British company and Artem Mikoyan play a game of billiards and agree that if Mikoyan wins, the company will sell the “Nim” engine, if he loses, it will not. Mikoyan wins and the super-powerful engine gets installed on MiG-15. It is difficult to prove now whether this story was true or not, although according to some aviation experts, Mikoyan managed to reach an agreement in the negotiations.

The Mikoyans’ photos and family members are also presented. Anastas Mikoyan, a high-ranking USSR state and political figure, was the Deputy Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers in 1946-55, the First Vice-Chairman in 1955-64, the Chairman of the USSR Supreme Soviet in 1964-65, and the Central Committee of the party until 66. Member of the Politburo (Presidency). He played a major role in overcoming the so-called “Caribbean crisis” that arose between the Soviet Union and the United States in 1962. Due to Mikoyan’s efforts, certain consumer products about which the Soviet people had not even heard about appeared in the USSR shops.

The section dedicated to Anastas Mikoyan’s life and activity in the museum draws attention with the small refrigerator filled with those products: cocoa, condensed milk, candies, ice cream, etc. During the Great Patriotic War, Mikoyan oversaw the supply of food to the Soviet army. For well-known reasons, Anastas Mikoyan’s personal car is of great interest among visitors․ After all, in those years only a high-ranking statesman could have such “luxury”.

Vanadzor Museum of Fine Arts

The Carlos Abovyan Museum of Fine Arts in Vanadzor has been operating since 1974. It used to be a branch of the National Gallery of Armenia. Carlos Abovyan is a talented painter from Vanadzor, whose portraits are distinguished by the originality of the depiction: crosses are painted instead of eyes.

The museum has about 1800 exhibits: paintings, graphics, sculptures, decorative-applied works of art. Classical and contemporary works of art, works of senior and junior generation artists are on display. Sculpture and graphics are presented on separate floors. In the museum you can see the works of Yervand Kochar, Rudolf Khachatryan, Armine Kalents, Ara and Seda Bekaryans, Lavinya Bazhbeuk-Melikyan, Eduard Kharazyan and others.  One of the unique exhibits is Benik Petrosyan’s sculpture “Children’s Sorrow”․

The girl with her head bowed down does not leave any visitor indifferent. The girl’s hair covers the face, and almost all visitors bend down to see it. The idea is brilliant, it makes everyone bow to the grief of a child. The little visitors of the museum express their feelings very tenderly while watching the “girl of the age”․ they leave candies for him. Artists from Vanadzor are presented in a separate exhibition hall. The museum stock is always enriched with valuable works, mainly donations. The museum has scientific, stock accounting and preservation departments, a restoration studio, a cinema hall and a library.

Lori-Pambak Geological Museum

The Lori-Pambak Geological Museum has been operating in Vanadzor for more than 80 years. It has about 37,000 exhibits, which represent the rich material heritage created by the Armenian people over the centuries. About 2000 archeological specimens collected in the 1950s became the basis for the creation of the Kirovakan Provincial Museum. The oldest specimens of the fund belong to the Eneolithic period (5th-4th millennium BC). The archeological department of the museum keeps more than 5500 finds, which were found in different settlements of the region. They represent the Stone Age, Bronze Age and late medieval periods.

The ethnography section presents more than 1900 exhibits of applied art of the region: household, ritual items, work tools. The gata ornament used by women and the Lori women and men’s costume are interesting. Carpets, rugs, silver jewelry, weapons, belts are collected in the expensive fund. The fabrics brought by immigrants from Western Armenia in the 17th century are remarkable. A unique example is the silver mailbox, which was once commissioned by the princes to keep the correspondence secret.

The latest fund of the museum holds more than 29,000 documents, manuscripts, newspapers about the political and economic life of the region and Armenia in general, including the participants of the Patriotic War, the Battle of Gharakilisa, the Bolshevik movement, famous people of different professions. The rich library of the museum has more than 5000 books. The permanent exhibition “Lori Meeting Place” operates here.

Matchbox Label Museum:

The Lutsky (Match) Box Label Museum has been operating in Tumanyan Town since 2021. About 8000 labels from 38 countries are presented here. It can be said that the labels representing these different periods are unique advertisements of different countries or organizations, and in some cases, a source of information.

The labels are presented by countries: Soviet, European, African, Japan, China. Interestingly, in the past, match tags also had an educational function: they “taught” people how to drive a car, brush their teeth, and eat healthy. The exhibits are arranged according to the categories: culture, social advertising, propaganda to give up bad habits, etc. The oldest of the exhibits is an English label created in the 1920s. Among the labels with pictures of famous people is the series presenting Alexander Pushkin.

There are labels with pictures of USSR nations. Matching labels also showcase the sporting achievements, culture, customs, cities, fauna and flora of different countries. The series dedicated to the history of aircraft models is unique. For example, the French labels are distinguished by the fact that the authors of their pictures are children, whose names and age are written on the opposite side of the boxes. This unique museum really to “remind, tell and teach”.

Museum of Folk Art

There is also a museum of folk art in Tumanyan Town. Knitted dolls are presented here, including Tumanyan’s heroes.

Many times visitors offer to create their own doll with a specific hero. The dolls are so lively and colorful that they evoke a smile and admiration from visitors of different ages.

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