Monday, 24 September

Sanahin’s $21,500 Public Toilet Being Used as Storage Space

A $21,500 public toilet built in 2007 near the entrance to Armenia’s famous medieval Sanahin Monastery is now being used as storage space by local vendors. 

I got the scoop on the expensive toilet from Siramarg Simonyan, a senior citizen who can be seen cleaning up around the monastery every morning. 

Siramarg volunteers her services, assisting her sister Sokhak who is a salaried cleaning employee at the monastery. 

When I approached Mrs. Siramarg and expressed my thanks for her efforts, she smiled but complained that the toilet wasn’t being used for its intended purpose. 

“Visitors to the monastery relieve themselves out in back, near the small hut where candles are sold. Sometimes, upon exiting the church, we come across men with their backs turned doing their business. It’s quite embarrassing.” 

When I asked why visitors don’t use the toilet instead, Mrs. Siramarg said that local women vendors often use the area in front of the toilet to make coffee and have lunch.


“Many don’t use the toilet because they feel embarrassed,” she said. 

A woman working in a food store nearby also complained that the vendors use the building as storage space. 

Mrs. Siramarg told me that the Alaverdi Municipality, who paid for the toilet in the first place, needs to address the issue before the next wave of visitors in the spring.

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Comments (5)
1. Telo02:16 - 19 November, 2013
When a group of us visited Sanahin this past July, we were told that the new toilets were not yet working and could not be used! Could this be possible? One desperate traveler was taken to a gift shop employees' house across from the monastery and left her a few dram for her kindness.
2. Mihran23:36 - 19 November, 2013
They are all on the take from church to political leadership,a bunch of corrupt thugs running the country.
3. Taline23:53 - 19 November, 2013
Speaking of toilets: The public one at the entrance to Artsakh is an absolute disgrace. It has been this way for more than 10 years. I would not even call it a toilet (it has an accompanying alleged sink). It is more like a ceramic garbage pail. It is filthy beyond belief. It looks like it has not been cleaned since the Azeris left. I did not use it. It should be clean and modern, to impress visitors, especially non-Armenian ones. As it stands now, it does not even come up to the lowly standards of a Banana Republic. That is the first impression a visitor gets: that Artsakh is just some lousy little country. You must ask yourself: who is in charge? What could they be thinking to have let this disgraceful situation go on for so many years? That border station ought to be top-notch for obvious political and PR reasons. I would expect this from Azeris but not Armenians. Maybe I have things backwards. Maybe ask the Azeris to help modernize that station if Armenians are incapable of doing so.
4. armine11:21 - 20 November, 2013
Taline, if you want clean modern restrooms, go to Las Vegas. You will not find them in Armenia nor in Artshakh.
5. Mary21:50 - 20 November, 2013
Armine,I take it that you mean Armenia and Artsakh cannot make a serious effort to have their toilets clean?Its a serious hygiene problem that needs to be tackled as a matter of priority apart from the fact that it gives a bad impression and opinion on all visitors.
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