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  22/02/2018   9:10

Armenia Tourist Attractions
 Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial
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In the beginning of the XX century the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) committed one of the biggest crimes against humanity, the Genocide of Armenian people which took over 1.5 million innocent lives. As a result of this crime, the Armenians, who had lived in their native land for over 3 thousand years where physically eradicated from their motherland.

The idea of exterminating non-Islamic nations from the Ottoman Empire was nurtured by Turkish sultans and later by Young Turk government for a long time. Back in 1895-1896 the Turkish sultan provoked a massacre of the Armenian population, which according to different sources resulted death of 300 thousand Armenians.

Young Turk rulers were convinced that Turkey's entry in the First World War in August of 1914 provided a "unique chance" for final resolution of the "Armenian Question". The extermination plan is well reflected in the word of Talaat pasha, one of Ottoman Turkey leaders, the minister of internal affairs: "Kill all Armenian women, children and men without concern".

The extermination of the Armenian population started in 1914 and continued till September of 1918. As a result the native Armenian population was physically annihilated or deported to so called relocation centers - actually barren deserts of Syria and Mesopotamia, where those who had survived the inhumane conditions of deportation, were put to death or left to die from hunger and thirst. The Armenians, who served in the army at that time, were dismissed from service, put into concentration camps and executed. About 1.5 million young and old people, women and children were slaughtered inhumanly, many of them were forced to adopt Islam, and children, who were deprived of their parents, were raised as Turks. This was the 1st Genocide of the 20th century, and this was the human misfortune that eventually had to coin the term "Genocide."

Though many statesmen from numerous countries condemned the mass murder of the Armenians, the Armenian Genocide was soon temporarily forgotten amongst Europeans to be mentioned again in an ominous speech by Adolph Hitler, who after achieving total power in Germany, decided to conquer Poland in 1939 and told his generals: "Thus for the time being I have sent to the East only my 'Death's Head Units' with the orders to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of Polish race or language. Only in such a way we will win the vital space that we need. Who today remembers the extermination of the Armenians?"

April 24th is considered to be the memorial day of all victims of the Armenian Genocide. On April 24th 1915 the Young Turk rulers, led by Talaat, Enver and Jemal pashas, illegally arrested Armenian religious, political, educational and intellectual leaders in Istanbul and put to execution. April 24th"¦ This day condenses in itself the pain for loosing millions of innocent lives, the pain for suffering Turkish yoke for centuries, the pain for shameful denial of Turkey of its past! No Armenian forgets this day of the year. Every year on this day more than one million people visit to Armenian Genocide Memorial to bow heads to the innocent victims of this first Genocide of the 20th century. Each year on this day at 7:00 p.m. a minute of silence is declared in Armenia.

Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial, was built in 1965, for the 50th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and is located on a hill inside Yerevan to narrate the yet unpunished atrocity towards innocent victims and to console all those who have human compassion"¦ The Genocide Memorial includes three main structures: a 100 meter long basalt wall with names of Armenian villages and towns, where Armenians were massacred by Turkish government, a 45 meter high granite stele which is split vertically by a deep crevice, symbolizing the unity of the people in Armenia and Diaspora, who continue their eternal progress towards future, and the Memorial Sanctuary, which is a circular composition with eternal flame in its center and is the main structure of the memorial. Next to the Genocide Memorial, an alley of fir trees is created. World leaders, including the Pope John Paul II, V. Putin, the president of Russia, Jacques Chirac, the president of France, Leonid Kuchma, the president of Ukraine and many others have planted trees along this alley in memory of millions of innocent victims.

In 1995 the Genocide Museum was opened next to the Memorial. The Museum has thousands of documents and photos, which reveal the history of preparations and implementation of the Armenian Genocide by the Turkish government. Many documents from various international organizations, state entities condemning the Armenian Genocide are also presented in the museum. Because the museum is also a scientific center for research on Armenian Genocide, it has a library, archive of documents, a conference hall and offices.

Armenian Genocide Museum and Memorial stands to give hope to all survivors and to their generations. It stands in a solemn silence on a hillside where one feels the loving power of biblical Mount Ararat.

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