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Tirayr Muradyan

Saro Baghdasaryan

Jesus Christ Statue: Construction Continues on Armenia’s Mt. Hatis

Despite calls by the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Ministry of Science and Culture to halt construction to build a 33-meter statue of Jesus Christ atop Mt. Hatis, some thirty kilometers northeast of Yerevan, work to build roads to the summit continues. 

A team of Hetq reporters today visited the site and saw that one of the roads starts from the Kotayk community of Akunk and traverses the slope of the mountain to the summit. Pylons to carry electric wires are also being installed along the road. 

This is the same road Gagik Tsarukyan, the initiator of the project, and Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan took on July 9 to reach the site of a groundbreaking ceremony on the mountain.

While Akunk Mayor Hunan Rubenyan told Hetq that the existing road was simply leveled, a completely new road is being built.

Another road to the mountain’s summit is being built from the village of Zovashen.

2019 Google Earth images show no navigable road to the summit of Mt. Hatis, merely a track dug by cars driving to the top.

On July 11, Hetq wrote that Tsarukyan purchased large plots of land on Mt. Hatis recently at rock bottom prices. Hetq found out that in May-June 2022, around 140 hectares of land located in the Kotayk communities of Akunk, Hatis and Zovashen were sold to Tsarukyan’s charitable foundation. On July 12, Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences weighed in on the controversy, saying that the Armenian government, in 2008, recognized the extinct Hatis volcano as a geological monument where any construction work must be preceded by a detailed engineering-geological survey and that seismic risk assessments must also be conducted in the case of large structures. The Armenian government has given a preliminary green-light for the project. Earlier this week, PM Nikol Pashinyan was quoted as saying that the 33-meter tall statue would be a boon for tourism.

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