Tsitsernakaberd: the Armenian Genocide Memorial

The Armenian Genocide is an open wound for the entire nation as well as the diaspora. Every year on April 24, Armenians all around the world pay tribute to the memory of the victims of the Genocide at Tsitsernakaberd Memorial.

The Armenian Genocide: Historical Glance

One of the heaviest “scars” in the history of Armenians is the 1915 Genocide, executed by the Ottoman Empire. The massacres, atrocities, forced labor cases and deportation of the Armenian population, all this happened during the first World War, from 1914 to 1918.

Although the massacres happened all along the World War I, the Remembrance Day of the Genocide is observed on April 24, as it was on that day that Armenian intellectuals were deported from Constantinople (current Istanbul, Turkey) and killed. During the Genocide, ethnic Armenians were not only killed, but also tortured and sent to deserts to starve. Many Armenians who managed to flee from the Genocide were the main core of the diaspora that was mainly formed as an aftermath of the ghastly Genocide.

The happenings of Armenian Genocide are described in the works of many Armenian poets. For a foreigner to have an overall picture of the Armenian Genocide, one can read international literature, as well as watch the recently released movie “The Promise” (2017), starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, and Charlotte Le Bon. The movie depicts the events from a perspective of an individual life, with love and family featured in it.

Despite the fact that “Genocide” is not the internationally acclaimed term for the happenings of 1914 to 1918, the day - April 24, is commemorated in Armenia by thousands of people paying tribute to the victims by walking up the Genocide Memorial on that very day every year.

Tsitsernakaberd Memorial

Tsitsernakaberd, literally translated as “fortress of the swallows”, is the monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The building of the memorial has a symbolic significance. It is comprised of two parts: on the left, one can find twelve slaps positioned in a circle, referring to the twelve provinces of ancient Armenia, and on the right - the acute stele of 44 meters, impersonating rebirth and struggle. Inside the slabs, in a central location, one can see the eternal flame is burning, which symbolizes the everlasting spirit and memory of the innocent Armenian victims.

The road that leads to Tsitsernakaberd is full of green spaces and trees. Along this park there is also a large, 100-meter wall with the names of towns and villages, where the massacres happened, inscribed on it. It goes without saying, that the Memorial is frequently visited by tourists and locals, and the road to the Memorial is especially abnormally full on April 24, and it might take about an hour until you get to the actual Memorial and the eternal flame. Typically, after that much flow to the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, the eternal flame gets surrounded by so many flowers, creating a type of a “wall” that makes the fire no longer visible for visitors.

Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute

Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute contains thousands of materials, all in English, Russian and Armenian, relating to the facts of the Armenian Genocide. After the recent renovation, high-tech improvements, such as touch screens and projectors are available for better acquaintance the history - atrocities of the 20th century. Foreign language speaking qualified tour guides are always available in the museum.

What is there for tourists?

Every year, on April 23, thousands of people march to the Memorial with torchlights and flags in their hands. The organizers have declared April 23 as a day of condemning the denial of Genocide and showing the invincible spirit of the Armenians. Torchlight procession usually begins from Freedom Square, and is accompanied by Armenian spirited songs, with people shouting “recognition” to have their voices heard.
On the actual day, on April 24 (the day when most of the Armenian intellectuals were massacred in 1915), however, the procession is quiet.The flow of visitors is enormous and does not cease a moment during the whole day. People go up the hill to the Genocide Memorial as a pilgrimage on foot and pay their tribute to the victims around the eternal fire in the center of the Memorial. Visit to the memorial is viewed to be a national and moral duty for every Armenian, and all ages of people go there to pay tribute to their ancestors.