It appears that the rumours concerning the “Pak Shouka” (Indoor Market) on Mersrob Mashtots Avenue in downtown Yerevan are true.
The Soviet-era built enclosed market, a jewel of Yerevan architecture with its ornate stone carvings, had fallen on hard times. The site is opposite the Blue Mosque on what was once called Lenin Prospekt (or Prospekt for short). It has now been purchased by MP Samvel Aleksanyan, the owner of the Yerevan City supermarket chain.
I caught up with Aleksanyan outside the market giving instructions to workers. He agreed to answer a few questions but only if I didn’t tape record him.
Is it true that you want to turn the Pak Shouka into another Yerevan City supermarket?
This market will not become a Yerevan City store. We want to restore and renovate it.
A few months back, a draft plan for a supermarket was presented to the Monuments Preservation Agency at the Ministry of Culture.
The site will not only serve as a market but will have stores as well. The stalls now used as storage space in the market will open as stores for retailers.
The Pak Shouka is an icon of historic Yerevan. Will the old “Shouka” sign atop the building remain or will it be replaced with a “Yerevan City” sign?
There will be no “Yerevan City” sign atop the building. The market will also have underground parking.
Won’t the construction weaken the building?
People need parking nowadays. Everyone has a SUV. We have to keep up with the times.
You might have a SUV but most common folk do not. I don’t own a jeep.
Too bad. But a garage is a must.
Can you assure us that villagers will be able to sell their produce in the market after it reopens?
Now, there are only 25 traders in the market. That number will jump to 300 after the place is renovated. Those 25 retailers have been temporarily relocated to the Masif market. They’ll return once the Pak Shouka reopens.