In this article, I will briefly tell you about the history of the establishment of the first Armenian Republic. When we touch upon this topic, there is one monument that always comes to the mind of all Armenians, and that is the Sardarapat Memorial, which is a quite impressive one, and I believe travelers would find it an interesting thing to see. It is located in the Armavir Province of Armenia, not far from Yerevan.
In 1918, the bells ringing all over the country announced the war, that would later become the base for the birth of the first Armenian Republic. The day before the Sardarapat Battle, when the Turks were already close to Sardarapat, Aram Manukyan (an Armenian revolutionary statesman) and general Silikyan visited the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Catholicos Gevorg V, to take him to Byurakan for his security. He refused to go saying that the head of the Armenian Church will never hide, and he entered the main church to pray. They say that, in his prayers, he asked for a miracle and also the protection for the Armenian army. Then he told Aram Manukyan and the others to inform the Armenian army that he will stay at the Ejmiadzin, and if they do not protect Ejmiadzin, they will find him dead there.
The Catholikos ordered to ring the bells in all the churches, and one after another, the churches joined the bell ringing until the sounds of bells reached all the corners of the country. Thus, it was calling the locals to get ready for the war. This is how the Sardarapat battle started.
The victory in the battle of Sardarapat and Bash-Aparan, as well as the way the Armenian Army resisted the Turkish forces in Gharakilisa, helped to establish a free and independent republic. So, each year on May 28th, Armenians celebrate the day of the first Armenian Republic and the victory of Sardarapat. Many people visit the Sardarapat Memorial on that day. Sometimes, military parades and open-air events also take places in this area. Even if you do not know why it was built for and what the story behind it is, just seeing the monument with two winged bulls and a bell-tower will make you understand that it symbolizes the victory and pride. It is made of a red tufa (an Armenian stone). The architect of the memorial was Rafael Israelyan, and it was sculpted by Ara Harutyunyan, Arsham Shahinyan and Sambel Minasyan.
This is actually how the first Armenian Republic was established, about which you can learn more at the Sardarapat Ethnography and Liberation Movement History Museum, located just next to the monument. It was built in 1978 and is a part of the Sardarapat Memorial complex in Armavir.
Cover picture © credits to Flickr/Clement Girardot
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