A small island in the Venetian Lagoon, San Lazzaro degli Armeni, is one of the most important centers of the Armenian culture in the world, writes Venezia Eventi.
“The Saint Lazarus Monastery houses 170,000 old-printed books and 4,500 manuscripts. This enormous collection is stored outside its homeland. The island has been a part of the spiritual world of Armenians for over 3 centuries,” writes the portal.
“Today, three million people live in Armenia, while the nine-million Armenian diaspora is spread throughout the world from the US to Russia.”
Venezia Eventi reminds that in 1717, Mkhitar Sebastatsi (Mekhitar of Sebaste) together with his monks migrated from Armenia plagued with Turkish hostilities to Venetia, where they would be given the island San Lazzaro degli Armeni. However, the first connections between Armenia and Venice have been formed back in the Middle Ages.
“Ancient toponyms testify to this. Armenians from New Julfa in Iran came to Ruga Giuffa not far from the square of San Marco. In the vicinity of the square stands the Surb Khach Church as well as a small 8th-century chapel.” Venezia Eventi also remarked that Marco Polo has at some point in his life paid a visit to the Armenian city of Artashat lying on the Silk Road.
Describing the national features of Armenians, the author notes that they are a small people surrounded by Muslims, which is why they learned “special wisdom.”
“The saying ‘You need seven Jews to deceive one Armenian’ still flies around Venice. Another legend of the times of Napoleon says that when the Emperor returned to Venice, he decided to wipe out its churches and monasteries. Armenians on their island rose a Turkish flag and pretended to be the subjects of the sultan. Napoleon believed them and, not wishing to dispute with the Turks, didn’t touch the Mekhitarists’ temples.”
Venezia Eventi also writes that a trip to Armenia is an unforgettable experience. “Majestic monasteries at the foot of Ararat (now in Turkey), archaeological monuments protected by UNESCO, striking canyons” await the country’s tourists.
“A proof of the ancient heritage of the Armenian civilization is the 6,000 years old astronomical observatory Karahunj, an Armenian kind of the Stonehenge.”
The author of the material also didn’t forget to mention that Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD, concluding: “They have always anticipated the times.”
San Lazzaro degli Armeni – Venezia
Venezia – Isola di San Lazzaro degli Armeni — Սուրբ Ղազար կղզի — Island of San Lazzaro