“Urbatagirk”, the First Printed Armenian Book

“Urbatagirk”, the First Printed Armenian Book“Urbatagirk” (Armenian: “Friday book”) was printed in Venice in 1512 thanks to the enlightening activities of Hakob Meghapart.

Being written in Classical Armenian, “Urbatagirk” was the first printed book in the Armenian language. It is comprised of 124 pages, including 24 illustrations. The content of “Urbatagirk” is partly religious and partly secular and consists of ancient writings, myths, the story of the Virgin and Justinian, and more.

The red- and black-ink type style of the book was designed to mimic manuscript writing. These days, copies of “Urbatagirk” are showcased in the National Library of Armenia and the Mekhitarist Congregation at the San Lazzaro degli Armeni near Venice.

Hakob Meghapart (15th-16th centuries, dates of birth and death are unknown) was the first Armenian printer. Little to no biographic data about Meghapart have reached us.

Apart from “Urbatagirk”, Meghapart printed “Pataragatetr”, “Aghtark”, “Parzatumar”, and “Tagharan”. Containing the works of Armenian poets Hovhannes Tlkurantsi, Frik, Mkrtich Naghas, etc., as well as 137 poetic puzzles of Nerses Shnorhali, “Tagharan” is of particular interest. Meghapart had his own publisher’s emblem. Thanks to his activity, the Armenian language became the first language in the region to be embodied in a book.

Photo: Մանվել Սամվելի
Photo: Մանվել Սամվելի
Photo: Մանվել Սամվելի

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