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Angela Merkel's Extraordinary Visit to Armenia

International Visitors to Armenia

At first sight, German Chancellor’s visit to Armenia might seem a formal event, until the point when she was kindly doing selfies with Armenian youth on one of the crowded avenues of Yerevan, North Avenue.

​German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Armenia for the first time on August 24, 2018. Not only this was her own first visit to the Republic of Armenia since the country’s Independence in 1991, but it was also the first visit of any German Chancellor to Armenia. Thus, coming to Armenia on August 24 she somehow “broke a record” of becoming the first German Chancellor ever visiting Armenia. 

Upon her arrival, highly ranked officials, including the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan himself, welcomed Angela Merkel to Armenia with an open heart and a very beautiful bouquet of flowers, making one of the most influential women of the world smile and feel like at home. 

Angela Merkel’s visit to Armenia kicked off with formal press conferences and meetings. Angela Merkel expressed her delight about the recent positive changes in Armenia following the Velvet Revolution. She also mentioned Germany’s interest in deepening collaboration with the Government of Armenia, in form of new investments, diplomatic relations, visa policies, environmental practices, and other important issues. 

In her speech, Angela Merkel mentioned that she is happy to find herself in a city that is 2,800 year old, interacting with people with rich history, who have had a great impact on the evolution of civilizations. 

As part of her official visit, Angela Merkel visited the Genocide Memorial in the company of German diplomats and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia. Merkel honored the memory of the innocent victims by putting flowers near the eternal flame and by planting a tree in the alley leading to the Memorial. 

Besides her official meetings, Angela Merkel also visited TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, an after schools educational program for the youth of up to 18 years old. Angela Merkel was amazed at not only high-end pieces of technologies there, but also at the bright minds of Armenian young girls and boys who keep on innovating and creating new concepts, preserving Armenian culture and values.
At TUMO Center, Angela Merkel got introduced to the works of students, including robot machines, design prototypes, animation tools, etc. After her visit to TUMO, the Chancellor said “I am startled! TUMO is not only for Armenia: it is international. It is  a philosophy!”

In reality, though, what made Merkel’s visit really extraordinary was Merkel’s walk in the center of Yerevan. The interest towards her official trip culminated at the very last hours of her visit, when she got out to a “promenade” with the Prime Minister, First Lady, and the President of Armenia in one of the busiest avenues of Yerevan, North Avenue. Right after they unexpectedly got out of state car, everyone was cheering, clapping, and greeting the German Chancellor, not missing the chance to take photos with the special guests.

Angela Merkel’s gestures and the smile on her face definitely expressed her surprise and amazement at how safe Armenia really is, how friendly Armenian people are, how casual they are with the highest official in their country, the Prime Minister, freely giving him a camera and asking to take a picture with the Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Angela Merkel’s visit to Armenia was thus finalized with a delightful interaction with common Armenian people and a dinner with the officials of Armenia in a cozy outdoor cafe on the North Avenue. The German Chancellor”s visit to Armenia will not end without traces - it  promises to be followed by new meetings and deep cooperation.

​Photo sources: gov.am, tumo.org, photolure.amnews.am