Amidst the freeze on normalizing ties with Turkey, a group of Armenian architects and cultural heritage professionals is pushing ahead with a plan to rebuild a medieval bridge that links Armenia to Turkey.
The 10-11th century bridge across the Akhurian River (Arpaçay River in Turkish) to Turkey once connected the Silk Road with the powerful Armenian city of Ani. Celebrated in the Middle Ages for its “thousand and one churches,” the city, now in ruins in eastern Turkey, remains a hypnotic cultural symbol for Armenians.
The Аrmenian chapter of the International Council of Monuments and Sites, an international non-governmental organization that promotes preservation of cultural heritage sites, proposed the plan to rebuild the bridge.
“Оne shouldn’t wait for the normalization of diplomatic relations before starting to restore cultural heritage,” commented ICOMOS-Armenia’s head, former Deputy Culture Minister Gagik Giurjian.
Giurjian says that the organization’s Turkey branch has also approved the project and allegedly received “a positive response” from the Turkish government. UNESCO has been petitioned for assistance.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan. Photo provided by Henrik Hallgren/New Eurasia Center at http://www.neweurasia.org.