Museum of the Battle of Musaler & Ethnography of Armenians

The slopes of Mount Musa (Musaler in Armenian) were covered in small Armenian villages since the early Middle Ages, inhabitants known for their love of independence and their courage to fight for their communities’ rights.

In 1915, according to the Turkish plans to cleanse historical Armenia of its people, announcements were posted to the six villages ordering the 6,000 villagers to prepare for deportation in eight days. This could not be tolerated by these brave Armenians, so 4,300 villagers, including just 600 capable fighting men with just over one hundred shotguns, climbed the mountain and prepared for battle.

The first wave of 200 Turkish soldiers fought for six days, before the Turkish had to call in reinforcements. 5,000 joined them, followed by another regiment of 9,000 trained soldiers on the 19th of August. After another two days without success, the Turkish troops retreated, leaving behind 1,000 dead soldiers and a considerable arsenal. These failed attacks prompted a change of tactics, and the Turkish regiments returned and surrounded the Musaler, hoping to starve out the remaining Armenians.

The situation looked dim for the battling survivors, so they finally raised a banner with the words “Christians in Distress: Rescue,” which a French cruiser passing by happened to see. This prompted a rescue attempt, saving the Armenians and transporting them safely to Egypt. Heeding the call of their homeland, in 1939 many of them returned and founded a village on the outskirts of Yerevan in honor of their mountain and centuries of survival. The Museum dedicated to the Heroes of Musaler is perched on a hill above this village, where the descendants of these national heroes still live.