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Armenian National Commitee Of France (In French And English)
The Armenian National Committee of France (CDCA) is the largest French-Armenian grassroots political organization. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters and supporters throughout the European Union and sister-organizations around the world, the CDCA actively advances the concerns of the Armenian community in France and in the EU on a broad range of issues.
Official Website Contact
German-Armenian Society (In German And English)
The German-Armenian Society was founded in Berlin in 1914. Apart from Johannes Lepsius, Protestant priest and first chairman, its original members included the journalist Paul Rohrbach and the Armenian author Avetik Issahakyan.

The aims of the DAG are to promote mutual understanding between Germans and Armenians and to safeguard the interests of Armenians living in Germany. Furthermore, the DAG defends the rights and interests of Armenian minorities, including in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries.
Official Website Contact


The term Hayastantsi refers to a person from the republic of Armenia (Hayastan in Armenian), as opposed to an Armenian from Iran (Parska-Hay), Russia (Rusa-Hay), the US (Amerika-Hay), Holland (Hollanda-Hay)etc. In Armenia itself, the locals are usually called Teghatsi - meaning "from this place".


Armenian Genocide FrontPage Armenian History FrontPage Armenian Apostolic Church Lebanon FrontPage
Armenian diaspora community in the world


From Armeniapedia.org

After the Armenian Genocide, Beirut had the largest number of Western Armenians in the world, and became the center of the Western Armenian world. As conflict hit one middle eastern country after another, many Armenians moved to the west, and eventually Los Angeles became the biggest Diaspora community, with the probably exception of Moscow after Armenia gained independence and mass emigration took place from there as well.

The Armenian community in Beirut is still large, and the suburb of Bourj Hammoud is still the biggest Armenian neighborhood.

Armenians Remember Victims of 1915 Massacre                                                                            By Rym Ghazal Daily Star staff

The Daily Star, Lebanon April 25, 2006 http://www.dailystar.com.lb

Turkey still denies targeting minority community

BEIRUT: Thousands of Armenians from all over Lebanon gathered at Bourj Hammoud Stadium on Monday to commemorate the 91st anniversary of the Armenian genocide, demanding that Turkey "recognize and apologize for" the massacre committed by the Ottoman Turks in 1915.

"It was the first massacre of the 20th century to which the whole world turned a blind eye," former Minister Alain Tabourian told the crowd.

The gathering was attended by 35,000 Armenians who came wearing the Armenian flag but singing the national Lebanese anthem as they marched into the stadium in the Armenian suburb of Beirut.

"Turkey tried to wipe us out of existence, but we survived and were reborn with new citizenships," said Tabourian, who also thanked Lebanon for having welcomed Armenian refugees who fled Turkey. "We never forgot our roots."

He also thanked representatives from the government and President Emile Lahoud, along with Lebanese Forces MP Strida Geagea, who attended the commemoration ceremony.

Beginning on April 24, 1915, Armenians say about 1.5 million Armenians "were massacred" by the Ottoman Turks as part of a government-led "genocide," a term Turkey has fiercely and consistently rejected for decades. Ankara also says the dead numbered 300,000-500,000.

Survivors fled to Syria and Lebanon, with the latter now home to the largest Armenian community in the Arab world, made up of about 75,000 descendants of those who fled the 1915-1917 violence.

"In order for the Armenians to open a new page with Turkey, it has to acknowledge and admit its crime against us, and apologize for committing the highest kind of atrocities possible against human beings," Tabourian said.

"Their admission of this crime would benefit them and help them accomplish their dream of entering the European Union, and would give us our peace and compensation which are rightfully ours," he added, referring to EU demands that Turkey face its past and expand freedom of speech before it can qualify to enter the union.

Apart from the speeches, which were mainly delivered in Armenian, white balloons were released in honor of those killed in the bloodletting and in hope that peace can finally be realized between Turkey and the Armenians.

"It is rather unlikely they Turkey will admit it, but we have to prove that as Armenians, we still exist, and just as Palestinians are fighting for their land, so are we," said one participant at the event, Anto Narguizian, 17.

"Turkey's alliance with the United States is very strategic, both economically and geographically, so the United States will not agree that such a mass genocide occurred, even if most European states have agreed to this," he added. "But if America does not agree, Turkey will not return the land it has taken from the Armenians, and will not repay all the damages it has caused."

Narguizian's mother, Maral, who did not attend the commemoration, told The Daily Star: "Everyone has their way of expressing their beliefs and what they stand for; I would rather express myself through monetary aid to local charities and churches."

But she added that these "protests need to be done, to ask for our rights, which have long been ignored."



Moscow, the capital of Russia, has a large Armenian community, perhaps the largest outside of Yerevan in the world.

External links, http://www.siv.am

Hollywood (where Little Armenia area has been designated)

Hollywood became the heart of Southern Californias Armenian community during the 1970s. With immigrants from the middle east moving to Los Angeles en mass to escape conflict in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Israel and other countries, Hollywood was the primary destination. Armenians from other parts of California also moved there - and eventually a part of the area was officially named Little Armenia in 20??. This happened after the decline of the central Armenian community, however. As the Armenian immigrants became financially established, many moved to the hills, to Glendale, to Northridge, etc.

As the Soviet Union loosened controls on emigration, a massive flood of Hayastantsi (Armenians from the Armenian Republic) moved to LA, and especially the established Armenian communities in Hollywood and Glendale. The number may have exceeded 100,000.

Many of the Armenian shops and restaurants popular today in Glendale or across the LA area began in Hollywood (though some began in Lebanon before that). These include Zankou Chicken, Panos Pastries and Carousel. Sassoun Bakery, Falafel Arax, Karabakh Meat Market and others remain only in Hollywood.

West Hollywood


NBC4, CA April 24 2006

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Flags will fly at half-staff in West Hollywood Monday to honor Armenian victims of genocide.

An estimated 1.5 million Armenians died between 1915 and 1923 in the waning days of Turkey's Ottoman Empire.

Today is the 91st anniversary of what many Armenians consider the start of the genocide, when Turkish authorities arrested 200 Armenian community leaders.

The Turkish government says allegations of genocide have never been proven.

Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy, in response to the Public Broadcasting Service documentary "Armenian Genocide," said last week that "Armenian allegations of genocide have never been historically or legally substantiated."

The West Hollywood City Council has passed a resolution "condemning the human rights violations of the Turkish government," according to City Councilman Jeffrey Prang's office. The resolution was introduced by Prang and Councilwoman Abbe Land.

      St. Gregory Armenian Church in Hollywood       Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood

     St. Gregory Armenian Church in Hollywood                 Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood                           


Glendale, California hosts the second largest Armenian population of any city in the USA (Los Angeles is first). It has the highest percentage of residents of Armenian descent, most of which have arrived to the city in the last two decades. Though exact numbers of Armenians are hard to determine in the United States (because the census does not ask about Armenian ancestry), it is known that about 40% of the students in Glendale Unified School District are Armenian.

With a total city population of nearly 200,000 - the number of Armenians is roughly 80,000. As of January 2007, three of five city council members are Armenian.

The city of Glendale is located in Los Angeles County, and is home to the third largest Armenian community outside of Armenia, after Moscow and Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Times
Aug 8 2005

New Era for Glendale Armenians

Even as the ethnic group marks the milestone of a majority on the City Council, it struggles with internal diversity and a changing community.

By Amanda Covarrubias
Times Staff Writer

Drive down Central Avenue in the heart of Glendale and the telltale signs of the city's long Armenian influence quickly become apparent.

The cursive Armenian writing advertises bakeries, coffee shops and restaurants that serve such specialties as sweet honey baklava and lamb kebabs.

Glendale has been a haven for Armenians for generations, a point of entry for immigrants from Armenia, as well as people of Armenian descent from Turkey, Lebanon, Iran and the former Soviet Union. They now make up 40% of the San Fernando Valley city's 210,000 residents.

But it was not until this year that the city's Armenian community marked a major political milestone: winning a majority on the City Council.

Many Armenian Americans are proud of the election results, saying they illustrate how a community that once stood on the fringes of local government now is playing a central role. But they also are quick to say the Armenian American majority on the five-member council does not reflect a homogenous community.

Despite its size, the population is highly diverse. Wealthy second- and third-generation Armenian Americans live in tony neighborhoods in the hills above the city, while recent immigrants struggle in lower-income neighborhoods.

Bridging this divide is a task with which social service organizations and the Armenian Church struggle. Sometimes the new immigrants complain that their high expectations about life in America are difficult to achieve, especially with limited English skills.

"Some of these people can't get jobs that will pull them out of their financial situation," said Angela Savoian, regional chairwoman for the Armenian Relief Society. "They get deeper into debt because their children want what their neighbors have.... It's much more difficult to be poor in this country than where they came from."

Sometimes parents work two or three jobs to make ends meet, leaving their children unsupervised for hours. In the past, authorities have said the situation helped boost the ranks of Armenian street gangs, a problem seen five years ago when an Armenian gang member fatally stabbed a Latino student outside Hoover High School.

In recent years, police say, Armenian gang activity has declined. But both Glendale police and the FBI are becoming increasingly concerned about Armenian organized-crime rings linked to drug dealing and robberies.

"I see a lot of materialism and anger and resentment," said Father Vazken Movsesian, who runs a youth drop-in center at St. Peter Armenian Church, across the street from Hoover High. "I have to keep telling them: 'Appreciate all that America's giving you.' "

The newly elected Armenian American council members have vowed to help newcomers integrate into the community, fight youth crime and bring about changes that will ease some of the parents' problems.

Among the steps they can take, said Councilman Ara Najarian, is to encourage the Police Department to hire more Armenian American officers and work to secure more federally funded housing for low-income families. The city has 1,500 vouchers for government-funded housing and a waiting list of 9,000.

"Armenian Americans don't all think the same way or walk in lock step," Najarian said. "We're very diverse, from the poorest in the city to the richest; some are professionals and some are newly arrived with their own language and customs. It's not like we had 60,000 people who came from Armenia yesterday and settled in Glendale."

Once a bastion of white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant political power, the city is now home to about 85,000 Armenians, one of the largest populations outside Armenia itself.

In addition to Central Avenue's bustling shopping district, Glendale is home to at least half a dozen Armenian-language newspapers, and local cable TV outlets are filled with Armenian-produced talk shows and public affairs programming.

"When I first came to California to go to school in the 1950s, there were few Armenians in Glendale," said Richard Dekmejian, director of the USC Institute of Armenian Studies. "Most of the Armenians were in West Adams, Boyle Heights, a few in the Valley. There were a small number of Armenians in Hollywood, but they grew very fast."

Armenian families have lived in the city since the 1920s, but immigration did not transform its social fabric until the 1970s, when Armenians who had scattered across the globe during the era of genocide in Turkey uprooted themselves in rapid succession from Lebanon, Iran and the then-Soviet Republic of Armenia. They were forced to leave these countries because of world events that prevented them from practicing their Christianity freely and to escape anti-Armenian discrimination.

Many were drawn to Glendale, as well as East Hollywood and Fresno.

In many respects, the Armenian American councilmen represent the diaspora. Bob Yousefian was born in Iran, moved to Lebanon as a teenager and later followed his family to the United States; Rafi Manoukian was born in Beirut and immigrated to the United States in 1975; and Najarian, whose parents emigrated from Armenia, is a Cleveland native whose family moved to Glendale in 1980.

The leaders consider former Gov. George Deukmejian and former Mayor Larry Zarian, the first Armenian American on the City Council, to be their role models. Zarian, who served on the council from 1983 to 1993, was invited to Armenia for an official state visit after becoming the first Armenian American mayor of a relatively large U.S. city.

"I think what the community is doing in Glendale is something it has not been able to do in many other parts of the world," Zarian said. "Our parents, who come from Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, the Soviet Union and Iran, were not able to participate in the governmental political process and run for public office.

"But their children became lawyers, teachers and doctors and said: 'We want to be able to get involved.' "

The growing Armenian population did not always experience a smooth transition. In 2000, when city officials lowered the American flag to mark Armenian Genocide Commemoration Day, some longtime residents complained about all the attention the event was receiving. The day recognizes the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks between 1915 and 1923.

Around the same time, officials became concerned about violent clashes between Armenian and Latino students at a local high school.

More recently, the FBI's Eurasian Crime Task Force and the Glendale Police Department have worked together to combat organized crime involving Armenians from the former Soviet Union and the United States. Authorities said the groups have taken root in the last five years, dealing primarily in white-collar crimes involving auto insurance, credit cards, identity theft and welfare fraud. But the rings have also been linked to several murders.

In March, the FBI filed charges against members of a Russian Armenian organized-crime ring accused of plotting to smuggle $2.5 million in illegal guns into the United States.

There have also been tensions within the Armenian community. Earlier this year, Manoukian and members of the Armenian Council of America accused each other of politicizing the city's annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration activities.

Arguments broke out over who would serve on the committee that plans the events. Vasken Khodanian, chairman of the Armenian Council of America, said Manoukian excluded all but one representative from his committee and filled it with members who have ties to the Armenian National Committee.


        Brand Avenue in Glendale, California.                                St. Mary's Armenian Apostolic Church in

        Armenian owned Alex Theatre visible                                 Glendale, California.    

Zankou Chicken


Glendale branch                                                       

The first Zankou Chicken opened in 1962 in the heart of Beirut, Lebanon by Vartkes Iskenderian and his family. After serving Lebanon's diverse community for 20 years, Vartkes and his son Mardiros Iskenderian sold the business and moved to Los Angeles, California. In 1984, Zankou opened its doors in Hollywood at the corner of Sunset and Normandie. Centered in the heart of America's motion picture industry, Zankou attracted thousands of aspiring actors, writers, artists, and musicians with its delicious, inexpensive meals.

In 1992, Mardiros Iskenderian opened Zankou Chicken in Glendale. The restaurant was heavily crowded on opening day, and the immense success of that branch led him to open further Zankou Chicken restaurants in Van Nuys, Anaheim, and Pasadena. Zankou's legendary garlic sauce and exceptionally fast food still attract new customers every day.

Quotes about Zankou Chicken

That Zankou is legendary is no doubt. Here are some worthy quotes about it.

Chicken chains have cult followings. Los Angelenos worship Zankou's Armenian chicken and its pungent garlic sauce. -New York Times (Feb 23 2005)
"The best chicken in town at any price: moist, juicy and fragrant." - L.A. Times

Zankou Chicken is also mentioned in the Beck song, Debra.


Toronto is the capital of Ontario, Canada, and is home to an Armenian community of approximately 20,000 individuals. Between the 1920s and the 1980s, the majority of Armenian Canadians lived in the Toronto area. A number of orphan boys that arrived from historic Armenia after the Armenian Genocide of 1915, who were known as The Georgetown Boys, settled in Toronto after leaving their school. Today the Armenian community of Toronto is concentrated in the Victoria Park and Agincourt neighborhoods of the city.

There are four Armenian churches in Toronto (1 Diocese Apostolic, 1 Prelacy Apostolic, 1 Protestant, 1 Catholic) and there are other Armenian churchs in neighboring suburbs (including Mississauga).

The Armenian Apostolic (Prelacy) church on Victoria Park features a daycare, and is adjacent to the Armenian Community Centre which is affiliated with the Armenian National Committee (ANC). The church features a genocide monument by artist Arto Chakmajian.

The AGBU Toronto Center (aka The Alex Manoogian Center) at the intersection of Progress Avenue and Markham Road is adjacent to the AGBU Zaroukian Day School and the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church (Diocese). There is a genocide monument designed by a local Armenian Canadian architect.

Seven Oaks nursing home at Military Trail and Ellesmere Rd. in Scarborough opened in 1989 and serves 250 residents. A number of beds are designated for residents of Armenian heritage, and volunteers from the Armenian community are active in the home. Source: http://www.Toronto.ca/homesfortheaged/sevenoaks.htm

For more information on the history of Armenian Canadians, see Armenians in Ontario and Quebec.



Armenians of Jordan: A community with duel identity
by Mike Derderian

The Star
May 2, 2003 Friday

JORDAN (Star) - The first question I am asked when a person knows I am Armenian is, "Aren't you a bit far from home? What made you Armenians immigrate in the first place?"

The presence of Armenians in the Arab world dates back to the 13th century. However, it wasn't until 1914, just before the WWI, at the time of the Armenian Genocide, leading to their mass immigration, that Armenian communities began to be formed in this part of the world.

Armenians came to Jordan, believe it or not, on foot "Walking all the way from their motherland through Turkey, under the scorching sun, children, women and the elderly made their way to the deserts of Syria and Jordan. Some were killed on the way, others perished either from exhaustion or butchered at the hands of heartless soldiers.

The ones who were lucky to survive this grueling journey were received and generously treated by Arabs. Al Sharif Hussein offered them protection and told his Arab subjects through a formal letter they should be treated well and their language and religion must be respected.

The letter still exists and is part of the many documents that Armenians are proud of, always reminding them of the humanistic role Arabs played in helping Armenians to survive.

Today, 24 April, Armenians are meeting at the Sorp Tatyos Church to commemorate the memory of those who died in 1914 for it is through their devotion and persistence the Armenian language and tradition survived. Armenian communities in various Arab countries are indebted to those who gave them homes and a new chance in life.

In search for a better life, some refugees decided to stay in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, formerly known as Belad Al Sham, others traveled to Europe and America.

Armenians in Jordan and through out the world were able to prove themselves skillful craftsmen in fields like photography, art, gold, Jewelry, medicine, architecture, car mechanics and shoe making.

The early Armenian refugees first resided in places like Ma'an, Petra, Al Karak, Irbid and Zarqa in 1915. Yet it wasn't until 1928 and 1930 when they began to move to Amman and live in what is known today as the Armenian alley in Al Ashrafiyah today, it composes the Armenian Church, a school and two clubs.

But the first Armenian school was in Al Karak established in 1928 to teach the Armenian alphabets to children orphaned during WWI. In 1933 their own private school with a little chapel came to exist.

In 1960 the Armenian bishop of Jerusalem made generous contributions to build the current church called (Sorp Tatyos, meaning St Tatyos. The head of the Armenian Church is the Archbishop Vahan Topalian.

The school is called Yuzbeshian-Colbenian consisting of an elementary school and a Kindergarten. The number of students is about 140 and admits children from KG up to the 6th grade after which students are transferred to other non-Armenian schools. The school teaches Armenian, English and Arabic.

Armenians also have two clubs in Al Ashrafiyah, Al Watani club and Al Homentmen and are considered to be part and parcel of the Armenian life style.

The current Homentmen club dates back to1960. Edward Tchackmakian, president of the club said, "The club is a place for social gathering, offering and arranging different activities, most importantly we have a basketball team for all ages, and a large scouts movement of 92."

Aline Benyan, a journalist at the Jordan Times, and head scouts leader in The Homentmen said, "We aim to make our children learn how to become good Jordanian citizens. "We have two identities which is something that makes us proud, however, it is also essential to give importance to our roots."

The Watani Club has been in existence since 1946 and was registered in 1955 and its current place dates back to 1973. "The activities held at the club vary between cultural activities, sports, and drama for we have a stage that allows our members the chance to act, in addition to an Armenian folklore dance group that reflects the artistic and cultural aspects of Armenia," said Anto Lepegian, its president.

Varougan Sarkisian, 76, had a business in medical supplies and is now retired, said his father-in-law Isaac Korkian known as Isaac Saliba, was the first Armenian to be given Jordanian citizenship.

"I'm Jordanian, and I love Jordan. I'm also Armenian." He further added, "lately a monument was built in Armenia to commemorate how Arabs helped us during our time of hardship."

The Armenian Relief Society. was founded in 1956, as a charitable organization. Maral Derderian, president of the society said, "The society works under the supervision of the Union of Voluntary Societies in Amman. Their work revolves around helping the poor and needy by giving them monthly salaries, we also help students who require money for school and college tuitions.+ACI-." She continued that the society consists of 7 active members including herself and about 135 members and all work on voluntary basis.

There are about 4000 Armenians living in Jordan, the new generations of Armenians were born in Jordan and all consider themselves as Jordanian citizens of Armenian roots who have deep affinity to the Kingdom. So if you ask any Armenian born in Jordan, a question about his identity, he will proudly say "I'm a Jordanian."


From Armeniapedia.org


Armenpress Dec 5 2005

Most of current Armenian Egyptians who are permanent residents of Egypt were born in Egypt. Armenian Egyptians are full Egyptians with an extra cultural layer. Their small community numbered around 8,000(before 1952 there around 60,000 Armenians in Egypt) is in Cairo and Alexandria.

Clubs, schools, and sports facilities run by Armenian Egyptians, the Armenian Church and the apolitical structure of the Armenian community have a very important role in unifying Armenians in Egypt. Armenian Egyptians work in the private sector, as successful business men, skilled handicraftsmen (especially as jewelers). Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, Armenians fled to Egypt from the Ottoman Turkey with a range of skills in the field of business, commerce, and finance. In addition they came to Egypt mastering foreign languages. Nowadays, Armenians who master foreign languages work in offices and branches of international organizations as well as foreign embassies in Cairo.

The Armenian community operates two benevolent and one cultural associations, the Armenian Red Cross Association, the Armenian General Benevolent Union and the Houssaper Cultural Association. The community has four social clubs in Cairo and two in Alexandria, in addition to three sporting clubs in the capital and two in Alexandria. There is one home for the elderly, and many activities for young people, including a dance troupe, Zankezour, a choir, Zevartnots, and a children's choir, Dzaghgasdan.

Egyptian Armenians run two daily papers and one weekly publication. Armenian Egyptians are divided into Orthodox (Gregorians) and Catholics. Catholics comprise the majority of Armenian Egyptians. There are five Armenian churches in Egypt, one in Alexandria and four in Cairo: The Prelacy of the Armenian Church in Egypt, which is under the jurisdiction of Holy Etchmiadzin, is the primary guardian of community assets such as endowments, real estate in the form of agricultural land and other property bequeathed by generations of philanthropists. The most famous Egyptian Armenia is Boghos Nubar Pasha (1825 - 1899), Egyptian statesman, politician and the first Prime Minister of Egypt. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt three times during his career.



Home of San Lazzaro Island. Once had an Armenian quarter, Armenian street, and thriving Armenian merchant community linked to Cilicia.




Map of San Lazzaro Island.

San Lazzaro Island

San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in the Venetian lagoon, lying immediately west of the Lido; completely occupied by a monastery that is the mother-house of the Mekhitarist Order (a christian catholic order), the island is one of the world's foremost centers of Armenian culture.

The islet's isolation, at some distance from the principal islands forming the actual city of Venice, made it an ideal location for the quarantine station and leper colony founded there in the twelfth century, receiving its name from St. Lazarus, patron saint of lepers. Abandoned in the sixteenth century, in 1717 it was given by the ruling council of Venice to a group of Armenian monks that had escaped from Turkish persecution, five years earlier placed themselves under the protection of the Pope, and eventually made their way to Venice. Mekhitar and his seventeen monks built a monastery, restored the old church, and enlarged the island to its present 3 hectares, about four times its original area.

Its founder's temperament and natural gifts for scholarly pursuits immediately set the Mekhitarist Order in the forefront of Oriental studies: the monastery published Armenian historical, philological and literary works and related material, renowned for their scholarship and accuracy as well as for the beauty of the editions, on its own multilingual presses, which, sadly, shut down in 1991, although an an eighteenth century printing press may still be seen. S. Lazzaro houses a 150,000-volume library, as well as a museum with over 4,000 Armenian manuscripts and many Arab, Indian and Egyptian artifacts collected by the monks or received as gifts.

The monastery and its gardens, noted for its peacocks, may be reached by vaporetto (#20 from S. Zaccaria) every 40 minutes and offers daily tours at 15.30 to visitors. The boats leave S. Zaccaria at 15.10 - 15.50 - 16.30, etc. The boats leave S. Lazzaro at 16.05 - 16.45 - 17.25, etc.

Groups of visitor may ask a private tour with different schedule. Father Vertanes and other fathers guide the tours in several different languages.

It also has a long tradition of hospitality to scholars and students of Armenia, among whom Lord Byron, who studied Armenian there during much of the year 1816 and who is remembered by a permanent exhibition.


Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem

Armenian Quarter of Jerusalemrmenians have an important portion   of the Old City of Jerusalem called the Armenian Quarter. The other three quarters are the Muslim,  Christian and Jewish quarters.

The Armenian Quarter is home to the St. James Armenian Church   and the Edward and Helen Mardigian Museum of Armenian Art and History.   It also has the Calouste Gulbenkian Library.

The Armenian Quarter is one of the four quarters of the Old City     of Jerusalem. It might appear that the Armenian quarter would be a part of the Christian Quarter, since virtually all Armenians residing in Jerusalem are Christians, yet for historical reasons the Armenian quarter has remained separate and has not suffered the same disruptions as the other quarters over the last thousand years. Although the smallest of the four quarters, with the fewest residents, the Armenians and their patriarchate remain staunchly independent and present a vigorous presence in the Old City. The story of the Armenian quarter, its growth and decline, its assets     and community, is one often overlooked in studies of Jerusalem.

Map of Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem

The Armenian and Jewish peoples have several things in common: Both have a defined religion and nationality, both have a past of continuous pogroms and persecutions, and both have been subjected to genocide - the Armenians during the first World War and the Jews during the second. Both peoples have realized their age-old dreams of national independence in the modern period, we in 1948, and the Armenians in 1991.

The uniqueness of the Armenian Quarter is its being placed within its own walls, in addition to the walls of the Old City. The Quarter, sort of its own enclosed ghetto, takes up around a sixth of the territory of the Old City, and is home to around 2,000 Armenian, both secular and religious (another point in common with the Jewish people). Most earn a livelihood from local businesses, artwork (like the famous ceramics), printing and academe.


Home to a small but well organized Armenian community. Many of the Armenians who fled Northern Cyprus after the Turkish invasion fled to England, and especially London.



Paris has one of the largest Armenians communities in France.

The Louvre has an ancient Armenian khachkar in it's collection.

King Levon VI (1342-1393), the last king of Cilicia (Lesser Armenia) is buried at St. Dennis Cathedral, along with the French royalty.

The Birth of a Community

by Jean-Claude Kebabdjian

Paris An Armenian-style church at Germigny-des-PrËs south of Pithiviers on the River Loire, lost like a lonely jewel in the depths of France, is one of the examples of early contacts between the French and Armenian people dating back to between the 10th and 12th centuries.

Religious contacts were established during this period and these are documented in the country’s oldest historical records. The French were in no doubt, even way back, that Armenians would play an important role in the future.

The Crusaders were a glorious turning point. Political and commercial links flourished between the French and Armenians. First of all there were blood ties, stretching right up to almost the royal palaces. The last Regent of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia , Leon VI of Lusignan, of French stock, died in 1393 in Paris and was buried at the Saint Denis Basilica just to the north of the French capital.

After that, Cardinal Richelieu and Colbert helped the Armenians set up trading posts.

Succeeding waves of immigrants

History was to gather pace and the skies were to darken. The era of the Genocide dawned, the French sometimes present, and sometimes not. After the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, the French authorities needed workers. The Armenian refugees and orphans crammed into Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon, arrived by the boatloads to Marseilles and journeyed to the mines and factories around Marseilles, Valence, Grenoble, Lyons and Paris.

There, a quarter of a million Armenians settled down into tight little communities of between 2,000 and 4,000 people. The foundations of theArmenian community in France had been set.

The Armenian immigrants who arrived between 1920-30 fought and died for France on the battlefields of World War II and in the Resistance during the occupation by Nazi Germany. They paid the price for their assimilation and integration.

Their offspring, the first generation Armenians born in France, provided many celebrities like the singer Charles Aznavour and the film director Henri Verneuil, both the sons of refugees, or later still, world Formula One driving champion Alain Prost, whose father was Armenian.

Armenian refugees were also prominent in the arts. Paris is full of faded memories of artists famous in their days, entertainers who graced the prestigious stages of the French capital. Alice Sapritch, GrÈgoire Aslan and Jacques Helian are only a few of them.

French-Armenian ties were preserved and consolidated over the years. Thousands of new immigrants who arrived after the troubles in Turkey (in 1956), Lebanon (in 1975) and Iran (in 1979) comprised the next wave of immigration. Today, many youngsters who are the product of this movement are completing their studies in France, setting up Armenian households and sending their children to Armenian language schools.

Faced with the growing demand and the awakening of cultural identity, the future looks bright.

Institutions with firm foundations:

The Armenian General Benevolent Union, established in 1906, and its founder Boghos Nubar moved in 1921 to Paris, the diplomatic and political hub of the Armenian Question. AGBU chapters were set up in Paris, Lyon, Valence, Marseilles and Nice.

The Armenian Social Aid Association, operating Armenian retirement homes, was founded before this period and is unique to France. National institutions, and first and foremost the Armenian Church of Paris founded in 1905, were very soon to co-exist in Paris, playing a fundamental role in defending and protecting the refugees.

Today, Armenian classes are organized in many localities with full bilingual kindergartens and primary schools near Paris and Marseilles attended by several thousand children and youths. Armenian is currently a valid option counting toward the Baccalaureate, the French High School certificate.

A caring community

In 1983, the bloody attack at the Paris Orly airport, blamed on a badly divided Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA), raised a public outcry. Unlike the Orly attack, the occupation of the Turkish Consulate in Paris in 1981 was enthusiastically supported by young and old, and by all shades of public opinion.

The campaign to pass the resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide at the European Council unleashed on June 19, 1987 at Strasbourg a demonstration rare in its emotional intensity.

The earthquake on December 7, 1988 in Armenia and the huge mobilization of the French Armenian community in aid of the victims served not only to underline how numerous they were, but also proved that contrary to what was thought, they did care. The exhaustive effort made by French Armenians to provide humanitarian and logistical aid to the quake victims was probably unprecedented.

The passage of time, despite some heart-rending tragedies along the way, has opened the doors to social and human progress which is at once powerful and worthy. Successive waves of immigrants have brought with them their own contributions. The Armenian legacy can be found in trade, industry, science, fashion and the arts.

A lot has changed since the first Armenians arrived in France. They have rapidly become an extremely dynamic economic, social and intellectual component of French society.

The Armenian Community of the Netherlands

There is evidence of Armenians in the Low Countries, that is Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg, beginning in the eleventh century. Trade became active, however, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, when Dutch and Flemish merchants arrived in Cilicia and Armenian trading houses opened in the Low Countries. Armenians brought in carpets, dyes, cotton, and spices, concentrating their trade in the city of Bruges, specifically St. Donat's Church square, where they traded their goods for woollen cloth, Russian furs, Spanish oil, and other items brought from the four comers of Europe.

After the fall of Cilicia, Armenian refugees arrived in Bruges where they were supported by a number of Flemish Christian charities. In 1478 Armenians built a large hostel in Bruges which became the "Armenian Hospice." By the end of that century Armenians began to move to Amsterdam, the new center of commerce in the region. Dutch sources record Armenian merchants selling pearls and diamonds there in the second half of the sixteenth century. Armenian commerce in Amsterdam received a major boost when Armenian merchants from
Iran began trading in Western Europe in the first half of the seventeenth century. Dutch merchants went to Isfahan and some even settled in New Julfa, while Armenians opened trading houses in Amsterdam. The first Armenian Bible was printed in 1666 in that city, by Voskan Vardapet. Armenians from Amsterdam also introduced the first printing press to Iran.

Soon after the conclusion of a trade treaty between the Turks and the Dutch in 1612, Armenian merchants from the Ottoman Empire arrived in Amsterdam. Silk was the primary item traded by the Armenians there, as in the rest of Europe, and they continued to control the Dutch silk trade until the mid-eighteenth century. According to Dutch sources there were some 500 Armenians living in Amsterdam, concentrated in the Monnikenstraat, Dykstraat, and Keiserstraat streets and selling their wares in the Qoster ("Eastern") Market.

In 1713 the Armenians constructed an Armenian Church in Amsterdam and received permission from Etchmiadzin to have their own priest. A number of Armenian merchants were wealthy enough to have their own ships flying the Dutch colours and to be escorted by armed frigates on their journeys to Smyrna. A hundred years later, however, due to various European conflicts, particularly the blockade enforced during the Napoleonic wars, as well as the rise of English trading companies, the Armenian community had lost its economic power in the Netherlands. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Armenian church of Amsterdam was closed down and eventually sold.

By the end of the nineteenth century most of the Armenian communities in Europe had reached the low ebb of their social and economic influence in their adopted lands. No one could predict that cataclysmic events at the end of that century and the first two decades of the twentieth would bring new, and very different, Armenian immigrants to the shores of Eastern and Western Europe.

The Armenian communities of Belgium and Holland experienced Europe's world wars firsthand. During the First World War, many Armenians, who were still Turkish citizens, left Belgium for Holland to escape the German onslaught and from fear of being sent back to Turkey to be drafted. Most returned after the war and a chair in Armenian studies was established in the University of Brussels in 1931, with the famed professor Nicholas Adontz as its first chair holder.

The community in Holland had all but disappeared, when it got a minor influx from the Armenians who had left Dutch Indonesia in the 1950s after the nationalist government took over there. More Armenians came to Holland from Iran, Turkey and Lebanon in the 1980s and eventually managed to repurchase the Armenian church in Amsterdam, which had been closed in the 1850s. Although barely 10,000 strong, the Armenian communities of Belgium and Holland are culturally active.

Source: A History of the Armenian People Volume II
By: George A. Bournoutian



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