MONASTERY OF BARDZRAKASH ST. GREGORY, DSEGH IS ONE OF 11 EUROPEAN HERITAGE SITES SHORTLISTED FOR ‘THE 7 MOST ENDANGERED’ PROGRAMME -
The leading European heritage organisation Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute announce the 11 monuments and sites shortlisted for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme 2014. Among the threatened landmarks selected by an international panel of experts are a Roman archaeological site in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a medieval monastery in Armenia, two historic neighbourhoods in Kastoria in Greece, an 18th century citadel in Italy, a 19th century stage machinery in Belgium, and a 20th century housing complex in Russia. Some are in danger due to lack of resources or expertise, others due to neglect or inadequate planning. The announcement of this year’s shortlist coincides with the opening day of the conference ‘Heritage First: towards a common approach for a sustainable Europe’, hosted in Athens by the Greek Presidency of the European Union. The final list of 7 sites will be made public on 5 May during the European Heritage Congress in Vienna.
The remains of this monastic complex consist of a remarkable collection of medieval buildings, dating from the 10th to the 13th centuries, in the cultural landscape of the village of Dsegh, birthplace and setting of the writings of Hovhannes Tumanyan, considered by many to be Armenia’s national poet.
Deep in a verdant gorge, the remains of the monastery, dedicated to the first official head of the Armenian Church, include the Church of St. Gregory (10th century), the three-nave basilica of Sourb Astvatsatsin (1221), its narthex with delicately carved reliefs (1247), the Chapel of Sourb Harutiun (1234) and the Mamikonians’ cemetery. These ruins are in a deeply vulnerable state, not only from the encroaching jungle, but also from destructive looting.
It is proposed that the undergrowth that is causing movement in the structures be removed, and preliminary conservation measures be taken as a matter of urgency to stabilise the ruins, alongside an effective drainage system and excavation where necessary. The longer term vision is to see the establishment of Dsegh as a centre for tourism within the area, using the cultural landscape and the ruins of monastery of Bardzrakash St. Gregory as a means of boosting the local economy.
The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia nominated the monument for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ 2014.
11 European sites shortlisted for ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme
(listed alphabetically by country)