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What’s a House Without a Balcony?

A town in southern Armenia is determined to preserve its architectural heritage, including a peculiarity once fashionable in the 19th century. From Jamnews.

by Anahit Baghdasaryan 23 June 2017

Goris is regarded as a town of “mansions” and private houses, owned by various people and built in a common style. Though the construction of Goris started in the 1830s, 1870 is still believed to be the date when it was founded.



In 1870, Goris was granted the status of being the center of the Zangezur province of tsarist Russia’s Yelizavetpol Governorate (also known as the Elisabethpol Governorate). As a result, many well-off residents in the area started building mansions here.



These houses have preserved their original appearance up until the present. Goris residents still name these buildings after their former owners – for example, the house of Melik Khusenyan, the house of Galust Badiryan, the Yolyans’ house, and so on.



Balconies are “the cherry on the top” of all these buildings. It’s also a “mandatory” feature of the buildings that are being constructed in Goris nowadays.



Some residents restore their old balconies, preserving the Zangezur-style wooden decor of the balustrades, which was fashionable in the 19th century.



There are also balconies on the side of the houses where there is a yard. According to municipal government officials, one of their main focuses are the balconies of houses in Goris and all of these will be preserved at any cost.



Garegin Parsyan, an architect and also the head of Goris Municipality’s Urban Development and Public Utilities Department, says there is a plan to reconstruct the town’s historical center in the near future, including all its balconies, private houses, facades, and sidewalks. And, most importantly, the original appearance of the town will be meticulously preserved. That would be a good example for Yerevan, the Armenian capital, where old buildings are pulled down methodically.

Anahit Baghdasaryan is a regular contributor to JAMnews, a news and analysis site based in the South Caucasus where this article was originally published. TOL has done some editing to fit our style. Reprinted with permission. All images courtesy of JAMnews. 
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