Tsisernakaberd Memorial Complex in
Yerevan is dedicated to the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished in
the first genocide of the 20th century, at the hands of the Turkish government.
Completed in 1967, the Genocide Monument has since become a pilgrimage site and
an integral part of Yerevan's architecture. Set high on a hill, dominating the
landscape, it is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. The austere outlines
convey the spirit of the nation that survived a ruthless campaign of
The complex occupies 4500 square meters of
territory and consists of three main buildings: the Memorial Wall, the
Sanctuary of Eternity (Memorial Hall & Eternal Flame) and the Memorial
Column "The Reborn Armenia."
Before reaching the central part of the monument,
visitors first observe a 100-meter long basalt Memorial Wall with the names of
cities engraved in stone. The names also include the Armenian populations that
were massacred by Turks during the Genocide campaign. Since 1996, the last
portion of the Memorial Wall houses glass casings that contain soil taken from
the tombs of political, and intellectual figures who raised their protest
against the Genocide committed against the Armenians by the Turks. Among them
are Armin Wegner, Hedvig Bull, Henry Morgenthau, Franz Werfel, Yohannes
Lepsius, James Bryce, Anatol France, Jakomo Gorini, Benedict XV, Fritioff
Nansen, Fayez El Husseyn.
As part of the monument, an arrow-shaped stele of
granite, 44 meters high, reaches to the sky, symbolizing the survival and
spiritual rebirth of the Armenian people. Partly split vertically by a deep
crevice, this tower symbolizes the tragic and violent dispersion of the
Armenian people, and at the same tame, expresses the unity of the Armenian people.
At the center of the Monument stands the circular
Memorial Sanctuary. Its unroofed walls consist of twelve, tall, inward-leaning
basalt slabs forming a circle. The shape of these walls simulates traditional
Armenian khatchkars, which are stone slabs with large carved crosses at the
center. These slabs also suggest figures in mourning. The level of the floor of
the Genocide Monument is set at one and a half meters lower than the walkway.
At its center, there is an eternal flame which memorializes all the victims of
the Genocide. The steps leading down to the eternal flame are steep, thus
requiring visitors to bow their heads reverently as they descend.
From 1988-1990 the Khatchkars (Cross-Stones) were
mounted in the vicinity of the Genocide Monument to commemorate Armenians
massacred in the 1980s by the Azeri government, in the Azerbaijani cities of
Sumgait, Kirovabad (Ganzak) and Baku.
In 1995, the Museum and Institute (architects S.
Kalashyan, L. Mkrtchyan, A. Tarkhanyan, sculptor F. Arakelyan) was built near
Tsisernakaberd to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Today, the Museum & Institute functions as a research center within the
Armenian National Academy of Sciences.