I visited Gyumry 20 years after the tragic earthquake of 1988 when the city was completely destroyed. The pain unified all its inhabitants. Armenians, Greeks, Russians etc,. There wasn't a family in Gyumry that was spared of human loss. I was totally surprised. The people however have moved on from that terrible catastrophe and are now full of life, creative and energetic.
NOTES ON GREEK GYUMRY
DR M. MKHITARYAN
I met with Mr. Mikhail Izmirov, the Head of the Board of the Greek Community of Gyumry, his wife Mrs. Melania Izmirova and Mr. Kensaber Izmiryan, the Deputy Chairman of the Board. As is known, Gyumry (formerly Alexandropol), is the city where two famous Greeks were born, namely the great sculptor Sergei Merkurov and the philosopher George Gurdjieff. We visited the Museum which is named after S. Merkurov and which is one part of the City History Museum.
Gyumry City History Museum, Armenia
Greek parents of Sergei Merkurov. from the S. Merkurov Museum, Gyumry.
Certainly, there are no words to express feelings of people who survived after the tragedy in 1988. I was impressed with the monument named ‘Sorrow' of Sergei Merkurov located next to the entrance of the museum. Human pain in stone! It seems the sculptor forecast the tragedy of 1988.
'Sorrow' by scultor Sergei Merkurov
Then I visited the Greek Center of Gyumry. Many Greeks left the country after the earthquake and the collapse of the former Soviet Union. All people of Greek origin living in Gyumry are registered in the Community database. The Greek language lessons are organized for everybody who wants to learn Greek. The Board of the Community has created excellent conditions for productive learning.
Mr. Mixail Izmirov, Head of the Board of the Greek Community of Gyumry.
Auditorium of the Greek Center of Gyumry.
We had a friendly conversation at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Izmirov. His father Dimitri Izmirov was the head of the Gyumry bank and became a victim of Stalin's repressions.
I am writing this article while I am in Greece. My impressions from this visit are unforgettable. It was a life lesson. People can keep and develop their human character despite tragedies such as the earthquake of 1988. When I return to Armenia, I will visit Gyumry again. I liked the people and how they were devoted to the Greek Community of their town, Gyumry.
Dr Marina Mkhitaryan