Culture Ministry Moves Ahead with Plans to Build Cafe at Garni Temple
An organization under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia (RA) has resumed construction of a cafe in the area of a historic cultural monument after the ministry claimed it cancelled such plans.
Two months ago, as a result of public pressure and direct action, the RA Ministry of Culture declared that it would be cancelling plans to build a cafe in the vicinity of Garni historical and cultural museum reserve.
After the announcement, the Service for the Protection of Historical Environment and Cultural Museum Reservations, the non-commercial state organization (NCSO) of the Ministry of Culture that is implementing the project, was obliged to remove its construction equipment and rebuild the supporting walls it had demolished in order to build the pavilions for the cafe.
The non-commercial state organization, after being forced to halt the project, declared it would improve the area. However, the organization instead poured concrete to prepare the grounds for the pavilions.
Meanwhile, the issue of building a cafe at Garni Temple was discussed with RA Vice Prime Minister, RA Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan. Participating in the discussion were RA Ministry of Urban Development employees and head of the Garni community, who argued that engaging in economic activity at a reserve is unacceptable and the NCSO cannot get permission for construction. Furthermore, the NCSO's task is to preserve historical and cultural monuments — not to engage in economic activity.
The Ministry of Culture to this day has done nothing to resolve existing problems at the Garni historical and cultural museum reserve. Hetq earlier reported that the mosaic tiles of the 3rd-century Roman baths were crumbling. For more than 3 years, water from the winter thaw has been seeping into the baths and destroying the mosaic depicting figures from mythology, but the NCSO director has done nothing to save the mosaic tiles. Even the path paved with stones at the museum reserve has not been renovated.