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Building of the National Assembly

The construction of the building of the National Assembly began in 1948 and was completed in 1950. The building was designed in 1947. It was originally the building for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia. On May 1, 1991, the Council of the Ministers of the Republic of Armenia adopted #314 Decision on "Assigning the building, formerly used by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia to the Supreme Council." By this resolution the building formerly used by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia, was assigned to the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia.  Transfer to this building was realized in May, 1991.

The chief architect of the building is Mark Grigoryan. He was the chief Architect of Yerevan, and subsequently the director of the Armenian Industrial Institute.

Kond, which means circular hill,  is one of the three big districts of the Old Yerevan, occupying the center of Yerevan. The oldest cemetery of the city is Kozern which is located  in the northern part of Kond, on the left part of the center of today's Marshal Baghramyan Avenue.  The cemetery is named after Hovhannes Kozern, Armenian scientist of the first part of the IX century, who is given the honored title "Armenian Vardapet". Kozern means a "boy." The last days of his life he spent in Yerevan, where he died and was the first person, buried in the cemetery, which now bears his name, Kozern. Later also Vardapet Melikset Vzhanetsi was buried near the Kozern cemetery and later the well-known Catholicos Movses Syunetsi was buried between them. Later a grandiose chapel was built in this cemetery, which is called "Chapel of Kozern."

That old cemetery already, in the thirties of the previous century was tumbledown, uncared for and buried in waste materials. At that time the cemetery was ruined as a result of the main reconstruction of the city. Some authors insist that even in those times funerals were organized in the cemetery. There is an opinion that the building of the National Assembly was built on the site of the above-mentioned cemetery, but it does not correspond to the reality. The present site of the National Assembly was a fertile garden before and the cemetery was to the west and north-west from the street Demirchyan. Thus the cemetery was left mainly above the crossroad of Baghramyan avenue and Demirchyan street, below Proshyan street and the constructions adjacent to it. The Lovers Park is also in that district. The fact that the National Assembly is not built on the cemetery was verified from the adjacent construction.  For the construction of the building 5-6 m deep excavations were done and no evidence, substantiating that version was recorded.

The building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Armenia was built on one of the heights of Baghramyan avenue, the site of which is difficult to imagine without that building. The monumental building of the National Assembly is located on the height, 100-200m away from  Baghramyan avenue. M. Grigoryan always managed to harmonize the architecture of the building with the city environment and nature, reaching a scale harmonized with the environment. The building is also a model of expert solutions of complex problems, problems connected with the location of a unique building on a major city highway.

The lucid and expedient aspiration of the building design, which provides comfortable utilization of space and resources, dictated that the building be divided into three portions: first the central part which includes the expanded vestibule, the main staircase and the sitting hall, the two side volumes, perpendicular to façade, where on the two sides of the wide corridor are located the working rooms.

The building is very expressive in the aspect of functional planning. On the other hand, due to the division, the impression of scale discrepancy is dispelled, as the huge building is located on a comparatively low hill.  By leading the wing, containing the main offices, into the remote corner of the building, the author achieved not only the comfortable and mutual connection of the rooms and creation of the best working conditions, but also could provide the predominant position of the central element, building, which is not big in its size, but very important in its content (according to functional and urban development loading.)  The author's architectural solutions and the lateral planning of the façade give the building a grandeur and elastic expressiveness. Spacious greenery on which the building is located, the broad staircase, leading to the main entrance, as well as the cast-iron railings enrich the architectural merits of the building.  In 1951, the architect of the building was awarded with the State Prize of the USSR.

Green terraces and broad steps of blue basalt, which alternate with multiple sites, serve as the natural anchor setting to the building. The expressive silhouette of the building, situated among the greenery of the park and the light orange colour of the stone give the parliament building a majestic and expressive appearance. The complex of the building is not only the building itself, but also the adjacent constructions, built in 1985 (the sitting hall, cafeteria and the main offices on the upper floors,) the adjacent park and the cast-iron railings. Today opinions are expressed that the cast-iron railings should be removed and the park in front of the parliament building to become a public park. But the problem is that the green space environment is an integral part of that architectural ensemble, and without it this unique building certainly will have a great aesthetic loss. The complex of the National Assembly in its parameters can be justifiably ranked among the most valuable architectural monuments of the soviet period, and the architectural heritage of the past should be protected and preserved. The cast-iron railings played an essential role as a decorative component of art and was observed as a small expressive component of architecture. The issue related to the park can be considered party solved as by the direct initiative of the authority of the National Assembly, different events are held there and the doors of the parliament are open for all.

The building is built from light orange tuff, and is separated in the green environment and under the blue sky, giving her special beauty and expressiveness. The well-cared area, flowerbeds with the large pool in the center and the metal fence are the essential components of the building and give it certain solemnity.

The entrance of the building, with beautiful pillars on each side, is made of marble. The high, wide and bright corridors, the central and side stairs and the two elevators create a comfortable connection with the different parts and floors of the building. Notable are the main and side halls, red and green sittings halls, the gilded hall, the red and soft halls and a number of main offices.

High quality wood and natural and artificial marble were used for the interior. The same was used also for the second subsidiary building.

In 2009 the construction of the subsidiary building of the National Assembly was completed. The construction of the building was begun in the first quarter of 2006. The architect of it is M. Rustamyan. There was an attempt to harmonize the architecture of that subsidiary building with the main building, keeping their unit in harmony. In a certain sense it has succeeded. The subsidiary building is entirely of concrete. If the appearance of the building creates the illusion of resemblance to the main building, the dimensions of the interior of the building fully correspond with the main building, and everything is arranged for the employees to work productively.

The ceremony of the official opening of the reconstructed Sitting Hall of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia was held on October 22, 2010. Mr. Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, His Holiness Garegin B, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Tigran Sargsyan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Members of the National Security Council of Armenia, Deputies of the National Assembly, Government Members of the Republic of Armenia, Mayors and other high top officials participated in it. Mr. Hovik Abrahamyan, President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia took the floor with an opening speech.

His Holiness Garegin B, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians brought his patriarchal blessings to the new building, mentioning that the new Sitting Hall with its modern potential will promote to a more productive fulfillment of the deputies' mission, for the glory of our Nation and Motherland.

The oval structure of the Sitting Hall is symbolic. It reminds of round-table debates. The choice of that structure is not by chance. From long ago the round table is considered a symbol of purposeful discussions for cooperation, as logically the interlocutors are acting not for personal struggles, but seeking a path for productive solutions of key problems.

According to the legend the idea of the round table was born in the 12th century, though it was much more ancient and was specific also to Armenian reality. According to the tradition, it is the way the king Arthur deprived his knights of the disputable opportunity of sitting closer to the head of the table. The round table has no corners so those sitting at the round table are equally competent and responsible for the adopted decisions.

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