In yet another case of an Armenian official overstepping his legal bounds and selling off land registered as a “historical-cultural monument”, Alaverdi Mayor Artavazd Varosyan has allowed for a 150 square meter parcel surrounding a monument built in 1970 dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Soviet Armenia to be sold to a developer for 165,000 AMD ($400) for the construction of a children’s cafe.
Mayor Varosyan signed the sale decree on September of last year despite the fact that the law specifically prohibits such land from being used for commercial purposes.
Not surprisingly, the buyer is one Meruzhan Abelyan, who sits on the Alaverdi Municipal Council and is employed as the Head of Metallurgy Production at the Armenian Copper Programme.
Garnik Shakhkyan, who designed the monument, told Hetq that he opposes the move.
He said not only was the sale illegal but that the cafe would conflict with a 12th century stone bridge spanning the Debed River nearby that is a local attraction for tourists.
Sahakyan said that he would be filing a complaint with the national government and the Armenian Union of Architects.
This isn’t the first such sale of a cultural heritage site approved by Mayor Varosyan.
This April, he sold at auction the northern section of the medieval stone bride for 150,000AMD; also for commercial purposes.
There are already two cafes on either side of the bridge.
In June of last year, Mayor Vanosyan approved the construction of a two story store (see photo) in a square adjacent to the market on Toumanyan Street.
Not only does the store clash with the surrounding environment, but it blocks the view of a swinging bride spanning the Debed River.
It would seem that Mayor Vanosyan is out to redesign Alaverdi into a town of his own image and damn the aesthetics.