Wednesday, June 10, 2009

HISTORY: Monument to Sayat Nova opened in Tbilisi on June 7 (

For more than a century, Tbilisi has been holding the Rose Festival dedicated to Armenian poet and ashug (bard) Sayat Nova.

This year, the festival was celebrated on June 7, a week later than usual. The ceremony was attended by Armenian and Georgian Foreign Ministers.

Within the frameworks of celebrations, a monument to the poet was opened near Sourb Gevorg (St. George) Armenian church, not far from his grave.

The monument was created Gia Djapridze and Kakha Koridze.

An Armenian poet, ashug and master of love lyrics, Haroutyun Sayadyan (pseudonym: Sayat Nova; 1712-95) was born in Tbilisi, in a family of a poor immigrant from Aleppo. At age 20, he set out for a trip and traveled for 7 years. As to what countries Haroutyun Sayadyan visited remains a mystery. He returned to Tbilisi with the pseudonym Sayat Nova which in the Hindu language meant “king of psalms” or “lord of music” (according to Hovhannes Toumanyan). Rumors about the talented musician were immediately spread all over the town. For more than 10 years, Sayat Nova was a palace musician and conductor of a palace ensemble. At the end, he fell victim to noblemen's intrigue. The king ordered him to enter into religion. Sayat Nova was named Stepanos, adopted san archimandrite and joined Haghpat Monastery’s fraternity (on the Georgian border). He stayed there till the end of the war, together with fierce eunuch Aga-Mohammed-khan from the Turkish Kadjara royal house which ruled the Persian throne. In 1795, he fell under the pressure of Aga-Mohammed-khanaza; the 83-year-old monk was found and killed in Sourb Gevorg Armenian cathedral church. Sayat Nova was buried below the northern wall of the church, the site where he was murdered.

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