All nations have their contribution to the development process of the world. Discoveries, scientific research, and art masterpieces – this progress has periodic nature due to humanity. Armenia has its small part in this progress. Because of historical circumstances, renowned Armenians lived and created not only in Armenia but also all around the world. But always, directly or indirectly they have contributed to the development of their country. One of such contributions is the promotion of tourism which leads people to discover Armenia. Many would surely like to see the country which gave birth to geniuses who predetermined the course of history.
The list may start with one of the greatest sea painters, Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900), who was drawing on the walls of the district with charcoal since childhood. Aivazovsky’s talent, who was born in a small family immigrated from Moldova, was not unnoticed and his father did an amazing job of providing him with a high-quality education. More than half of 6000 works are seascapes where the sea is alive full of the sunshine, gentle, gloomy or wavering. He ingeniously incorporated sunlight, moon, clouds, fire and fog with sea waves. Now, Aivazovsky’s works are held in the world famous museums, in the National Gallery of Armenia and Saryan House-Museum.
Invaluable is Komitas’s (Soghomon Soghomonian – 1869-1936) contribution, who was composer, musicologist, musician-folklorist, singer, conductor and pedagogue, the founder of Armenian national school of music. He collected and recorded more than 3,000 pieces of folk music, from which only about 1200 was preserved. In addition to folk songs, he was also interested in other cultures and in 1904 he published the first collection of Kurdish folk songs ever existed. His choir presented Armenian music in many European countries and was honored with Claude Debussy’s praise. But 1915 was a turning point in the musician’s life. The Ottoman government, along with many other intellectuals, arrested and deported Komitas to prison camps after which he experienced a mental breakdown and did not recover until the end of his life.
The honor of developing the design of Armenia’s 12th capital went to Alexander Tamanyan (1878-1936) who started the creation of the plan in 1923 and continued until the end of his life. Yerevan is the greatest expression of his architectural genius. He cast a historic bridge between the old and new cultures of Armenian people, revived the art of fret by giving a new meaning to it. He was awarded numerous medals both while alive and after his death. Even today, his soul is present in the city, and the statue of the great architect welcomes everybody in front of Cascade complex.
Another musician is the talented composer Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) who is classified to the most famous composers of the 20th century by UNESCO. His works are samples of world music treasury. Kachaturian’s masterpieces are played in all corners of the globe the most famous of which is “Saber Dance” from the ballet “Gayane”. He was able to skillfully interweave Armenian folk music to his own compositions. Khachaturian’s numerous awards are also evidence of his international fame.
American-Armenian writer William Saroyan (1908-1981), who was born in an Armenian working family immigrated to California from Bitlis (Western Armenia), made the decision to become a writer at the age of 15 which was decisive in his life. His charm was his simple and popular language with which he spoke to his readers. Saroyan’s literary heroes are characterized with “joyous sorrow” which is the result of his life experience. Saroyan wrote more than 1500 stories, numerous novels, plays. He won Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics’ Circle award, but he refused the first on the grounds that commerce should not judge the arts.
Victor Hambardzumyan (1908-1996) was unequalled in the field of astronomy; he was astronomer and astrophysicist one of the founders of theoretical astrophysics. He held all possible academic positions, got a large number of medals and prizes, was elected as a member of three dozen academies, including the world’s five largest academies, twice was awarded by the Hero of Socialist Labor title, after the independence of the Republic he became Armenia’s national hero, always was on the top of the social scale.
Film production is not out of touch. Sergei Parajanov (1924-1990) was one of the greatest film directors of the 20th century who is characterized by his love to folk art, folklore, cultural background, vivid imagery, high artistic taste, documentary authenticity and depth of philosophical thought. “The Color of Pomegranates” by Parajanov confirmed the originality of his art and won great reputation. His paintings have been exhibited in Tbilisi, Yerevan, Paris, and his bust stands in the area of Kiev’s film studio.
World Chess Champion from 1963 to 1969 Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) or “Iron Tigran” as he is reffered sometimes, started to play chess at the age of 8. He was famous due to his almost impenetrable defensive playing style and kept World Champion title for 6 years in row. Being the first Armenian World Champion in the course of history, he played a significant role in the promotion and popularization of chess in Armenia. Those were the names that have already left an indelible mark on history and modern-day heroes are still writing the history. It also thanks to them that tourism in Armenia develops and many come to discover Armenia as hardly would the fans of Charles Aznavour and Serj Tankian miss their exlusive concerts wherever they are held. Besides concerts, discovering Armenia includes sightseeing tours in Armenia.
Charles Aznavour (Vaghinak Aznauryan, born in 1924) is famous French-Armenian singer, songwriter, actor and public figure. He is on the stage more than 60 years, is the author of many of the most unforgettable French songs of the last century and is considered one of the classics of French chanson. His statue is erected in Gyumri, and one of the squares in Yerevan is named after him.
Serj Tankian (born in 1967) is an American-Armenian rock musician and songwriter. He is the founder of metal band System of A Down and Axis of Justice NGO. Tankian and the co-founder of Axis of Justice Tom Morello make great effort in order the USA and Turkey recognize the Armenian Genocide. Tankian is recognized as the world’s 26th best metal vocalist.
Sport comes to implement the music. Andre Agassi (born in 1970), one of the greatest tennis players of all time, has the greatest contribution in this field. He is the first male tennis player who won the “Golden Slam”, also won the all 4 tournaments of Grand Slam in different years, ATP Tour World Championships and Olympic Games. He is engaged in professional tennis since he was 16 years old.
These are just few of the many names who make the world discover this country, its treasures, take sightseeing tours in Armenia, and each Armenian should make the values of his nation recognizable to wider frameworks.