Armenian Wonderland – Famous Foreigners In Love With Armenia

Armenian Wonderland

Armenia has long evoked a wide gamut of feelings ranging from the deepest hatred to sincere admiration, not leaving indifferent both those who are directly connected with its history and those who have just once appeared on this earth.

Rockwell Kent (June 21, 1882 – March 13, 1971), American artist, writer, and traveler, preferred to rest and receive medical treatment in Dilijan. During one of his visits, residents presented him with a jug discovered during excavations near the city. The age of the vessel was determined at 3,000 years, and in the last years of his life, Rockwell Kent bequeathed his ashes to be buried in it.

“Armenia is a country of miracles… If I were asked where you can find the most miracles on our planet, I would say, first of all, Armenia… You are inevitably amazed that in such a small corner of the world, you can meet such monuments and people who have the potential to become an ornament and the pride of the whole world. Thrice be glorified the Armenian land, the cradle of talents, the cradle of great achievements!”

Famous ballerina Maya Plisetskaya and her husband, composer Rodion Shchedrin, are associated not only with travel with Armenia but also with talented representatives of the Armenian people. Maya Plisetskaya shone in various plays and roles in Aram Khachaturian’s ballet Spartak, and Soviet and Armenian composer Arno Babajanyan instilled in them the love of the landscapes and sights of Armenia (as Rodion Shchedrin himself admitted.

Friendship with Armenians connected poet, prose writer, screenwriter, and publicist Yevgeny Yevtushenko with Armenia as well. For the first time, the poet ended up in Armenia in 1957, and for each of his subsequent visits, he would repeat: “I am happy that I am again on this long-suffering land.”

Yevtushenko has translated the works of Paruyr Sevak, Hovhannes Shiraz, Silva Kaputikyan, and many other Armenian poets, as well as edited collections of Russian translations of Armenian poetry.

The poet dedicated the poem “In Charentsavan” to the opening of a monument to Armenian poet Yeghishe Charents (rough translation from Russian):

“… Blood for blood, massacre for massacre –
here is the story of this land.
But flowers do not fade above the earth
where the poets lay on the ground.
Everything in me is from Homer, Catullus,
Everything in Armenia is also mine.
Without the Armenian great culture,
there could be no humanity. “

Russian writer and playwright Kim Bakshi visited Armenia for the first time on the 50th anniversary of the Genocide, and over the following decades, he would dedicate 8 books and a twenty-part film to the country.

“After the first trip to Armenia, I became interested in the phenomenon of the Armenian people. How come that Assyria, Babylon, or all those great countries and peoples that have once shaken the world no longer exist, but Armenians are still here and haven’t gone anywhere?” wonders Bakshi.

Among the nations not friendly to Armenia, there also are figures sympathizing with the Armenian people.

The novel “Stone Dreams” by Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli published in 2012 describes the pogroms of the Armenian population in Baku and Sumgait. Akram Aylisli said that the impetus for writing the novel was the fact that the authorities had pardoned Ramil Safarov in the same year, an officer who had been convicted in Hungary for the murder of Armenian officer Gurgen Margaryan a few years back.

Subsequently, Aylisli was deprived of the title of “National Hero of Azerbaijan”, and mass protests occurred in his native village where people burned the writer’s books and chanted “Death to Akram Aylisli!”, “Traitor!”, “Aylisli is an Armenian!”

Rockwell Kent
Maya Plisetskaya
Evgeny Evtushenko
Kim Bakshi
Akram Aylisli

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