“Ruins of Armenia. Ani” – The First Photo Album of the Ancient Capital by Hovhannes Kyurkchyan – 1880

“Ruins of Armenia. Ani” – The First Photo AlbumHovhannes Kyurkchyan was the first Armenian photographer to shoot Ani and to make the first photo album with its sceneries. The unique card compilation “Ruins of Armenia. Ani” (“Ruines d’Arménie. Ani”) was printed in Vienna, but the title page of the compilation and stereoscopic maps contain the name of Kyurkchyan’s hometown Yerevan.

The inscriptions to the photographs are in Armenian and French. There is also the signature of Kyurkchyan in two languages on the cards.

Kyurkchyan managed to publish only the first series of the collection which included 40 photos. The unique project could not be completed due to lack of funding.

Hovhannes Kyurkchyan was born in Yerevan. He first visited Ani over the course of the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-1878. The photographer was so impressed with the architecture of the city that he decided to by all means perpetuate its beauty in photographs. It is known that some of the photos taken by Kyurkchyan were published in the early 1880s in the form of stereoscopic cards.

In 1897, Hovhannes Kyurkchyan moved to Singapore where he lived for several months. Then, he moved to the Indonesian city of Surabaya and founded a photo studio together with British photographer George Lewis. In this city, Kyurkchyan lived and worked until the end of his life – until 1903. In Armenia, the student of Kyurkchyan, famous photographer and actor Aram Vruyr, continued the case of his teacher.

Ruben Shukhyan

Hovhannes Kyurkchyan
Atelier “Surabaya”

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