A Remaining Piece of Old Yerevan
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Kond, established in the 17th century, is the last preserved district of old Yerevan. Until now, Urban developments in Yerevan have bypassed Kond. Yet there is a danger that one day Yerevan will lose the last witness of its old history.

 

Kond is located in the center of Yerevan. It takes 5-10 minutes to walk there from The Republic Square. Narrow streets, staircases and arches take you in and out to the one of the oldest districts of Yerevan.
The first thing that catches your eye, are locals going out and into the district. Though it is central, people still have to go to the downtown for shopping or solving other household problems. These children are walking to Leo Street to throw out used bottles.
Two types of architecture, which show the development of the history and life in Kond.
They both are born in Yerevan in 1940s. They remember old Yerevan, and the architecture that was destroyed during the last 20 years because of urban development. They mention, that the government must realize that historical monuments and districts are cultural assets; rather than to demolish them, it is better to reconstruct them.
Walking through the streets of Kond, you see drying laundry, carpets or bedding. It is a culture, which you cannot see in the other central districts of Yerevan.
A beauty salon and food/vegetable shop of Kond.
Though many buildings and houses are in precarious conditions, there are families living inside.
Vardush Zargaryan got married and moved to live in Kond in 1954. She complains about the conditions in this old district and demands the state to reconstruct the houses.
Dvin hotel is under construction now. In the place of the hotel, the big house of Aghamalyans used to be; he was one of the founders of Kond.
The building was constructed by the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries. It belonged to Aghamalyan's – then the richest family of Kond. It is one of the few buildings which remained without any change. The owner of the house mentioned, that because of bad conditions, they left the house.
Samvel Martirosyan was born in Kond and calls himself ‘kondeci’ (Arm. from Kond). He says. “It is one of the best places in Yerevan, the location, the climate, the mood and the silence. Though Kond is in the center, it is far from it. Kond has its own history and it is the most important value of the district”. He is against demolishing the district and adds, that, those who want to see Kond demolished are not from Kond; those born in Kond prefer to live there even in these poor conditions.
Till the early 20th century, this building was an Iranian mosque, then it was inhabited by Armenian families. Since then, architecture has not been changed.
Garush Vardanyan gives a welcome to the Mosque- House. Starting from 1928 his wife’s family has lived in this house. Since 1965 he lives in the former Iranian Mosque, which is now a house.
Inside the Mosque-House. They repaired the rooms, made them more comfortable for living..
One of the old doors of Kond.
People of Kond are very hospitable. If you meet someone in the street and ask a question, they invite you into their homes and you do not have an option to refuse.
In 2006, Kond became considered a ‘Public Eminent Domain’ by the Government. The inhabitants must now get contracts with private construction companies and get new houses from them. Those citizens, who got contract, do not get their houses. The construction has been stopped.
These men were born in Kond, but because of the conditions, moved to another district. Both of them say that they demand either new houses, or reconstruction of their old ones.
On almost every street you meet dovekeepers. It is already 40 years that this old man is keeping doves – an indivisible part of his day.
The new generation of Kond. The playing yard for the children are these narrow streets. They were listening the names of different projects whose aim is to preserve the last piece of Kond.
Different generations of Kond spend time in the same small place. Grandmother Varsik lives in Kond since 1962. She wants to see her house renovated.

 

The word ‘kond’ stands for ‘a long hill’ in Armenian; the district got its name simply because of its construction on a long hill. The low ceilings, disorganized gateways and old brick houses with specific architectural motifs give you an idea how old Yerevan once used to be. Additionally there is a distinct difference between the lifestyles of the locals and the rest of the city; here four or five families live in one yard, sharing a small area and daily life together.

 

In these small yards, neighbors drink coffee, children play in narrow streets and men repair cars or play backgammon. The traditional customs and culture are well maintained in the courtyards of Kond, one of the unique parts of Yerevan, where people still live in the same place, generation after generation. Yet still, there is a danger that one day the last witness of the city’s old history will be lost.

Chai Khana
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