Coming to Armenia is a homecoming, a return to my ancestral homeland.
As a fourth-generation descendant, I belong to the minority Armenian community in Ethiopia. I’m an Ethiopian national of Armenian origin. I speak Amharic and some of my favourite Ethiopian dishes are Shiro and Tibes.I still live in Addis Ababa but I frequently travel to Armenia. My first visit to Armenia was in 2001.
Growing up in Addis Ababa, Armenia was not completely unfamiliar. I studied at Matik Kevorkoff Armenian School in Addis Ababa and and afterwards I went to Cyprus and attended in Melkonian Educational Institute for 6 years. I’m lucky to call the two countries Home.
My father, Yervant Kevorkian and my mother Araxi Aslanian Kevorkian were born and raised in Addis Ababa. I have a sister Tamar Kevorkian who like me was born in Addis Ababa. My parents and grandparents were part of the Armenian community who used to manage and run businesses in many parts of the city, making significant contributions to the economic and cultural prosperity of the city. Unfortunately, many had their property and businesses confiscated when the military regime seized power in 1974. After those years, many members of the community left the country. But my grandparents and parents stayed, along with others who kept the Ethio-Armenian community alive. My sister Tamar, my mother and me started a family resutrant called Aladdin some twenty one years ago and it’s still up and running.
Now I am back in Yerevan after three years, this is the longest I have been away. This year Yerevan is celebrating 2800th anniversary, one of the reasons I’m here is to be part of the celebrations.
Now that I’m here I am enjoying every moment of it. This is an ancient city. So much to see and so much to learn from. Every time I come here, it surprises me with its constant growth and artistic, cultural richness. Yerevan is a beautiful city to explore. Everywhere you look there is an art work that makes you stop for a moment and appreciate it. There is Yerevan Cascades, the museums, various art galleries and parks to name a few. Its a city of new modern architecture that is blending with the old by respecting culture. What is new is state of the art, what is old is cherished.
Walking in the streets one could find works of some famous sculptors; in museums, artefacts; in galleries, at the flea markets, brilliant creations of contemporary painters, ceramists and jewellers. This was what motivated me to attend pottery making course here few years ago.
Armenia is magical.
So many beautiful cultural holidays. One of my favourites is Vardavar, an ancient joyful holiday, the celebration of water and fertility. The day of Vartavar that the minute you walk out of your home people will sprinkle or pour water on you. Its one of the most joyful holidays ever.
One has to travel here to feel the magic it provides.
Main Image: Surp Hovhannes Mkrtich, an active church in the old area of Kond, Yerevan. Photo Kohar Kevorkian