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"The construction works on the territory of "Symphony of Stones" have a negative influence on tourist attraction". Announcement

15:30, Friday, 23 February, 2018
"The construction works on the territory of "Symphony of Stones" have a negative influence on tourist attraction". Announcement

Facebook user Aghvan Ghukasyan posted on his page photos from the territory of the natural monument "Symphony of Stones" in Garni, alerting that constructions are being carried out there.

Minister of Nature Protection Artsvik Minasyan commenting on the alarming, said that at the moment construction works on the territory of the monument are suspended. "Whether or not the materials are woodworking, the works will be suspended until all the legal grounds are clarified", said the minister.

The Armenian Association of Professional Tourist Guides has posted a statement on this issue on its Facebook page, noting: "Yesterday, on February 21, our colleague Aghvan Ghukasyan shared pictures on his Facebook page from the territory of the "Symphony of Stones" located in Azat Gorge, where it was clear that construction works are being carried out near the monument, where there is a transport equipment and a wooden structure has been built. Broad segments of society, including the community of guides, are concerned about this issue. A rapid response group was formed in the Armenian Association of Professional Tourist Guides, who on February 22 visited the scene. It turned out that a resident of the Garni community Shmavon Hambardzumyan and his daughter Tsovinar Hambardzumyan have undertaken construction works on the farm land they owned on the territory between the monument and the Azat River to build a "tourist recreation" zone, expecting the tourist visiting the area to have tea and coffee and thus to "develop" tourism in the region.

We would like to give a little historical overview.

Shmavon Hambardzumyan is the son of the man who was very well known among the workers of the tourism industry. It is the same man who frequently brought trouble to tourists and guides, by blocking the road to the "Symphony of Stones" and demanding unreasonable sums of money.

On this case a meeting took place with the Mayor of Garni Aharon Sahakyan. During the meeting the mayor assured that the construction works are illegal and there is no appropriate permission and there will never be. He also assured that he would not allow any activity on the territory of the "Symphony of Stones" that would undermine the appearance and integrity of the monument. According to him, the illegal construction built by Hambardzumyans in the territory of the monument will soon be destroyed and if necessary with the law enforcement intervention.

The Armenian Association of Professional Tourist Guides also expresses its position on this fact. "The aforementioned construction distorts the appearance of the monument, disrupts the natural environment and has a negative influence on tourism attractiveness of the monument. We will continue to closely monitor the developments in this case and if necessary intervene referring to the relevant authorities," the statement said.

Let us add that the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, referring to the rumors, said yesterday that the technical documentations of the mentioned monuments were approved by the order of the Minister of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia dated August 18, 2017, 274-N, where according to Article 19 of the RA law "On Specially Protected Natural Areas", the set of features of the appropriate protection and use of the regime is established.

The problematic wooden pavilion is located about 12 meters away from the mentioned monuments in a privatized area on the left side of the road, on the right bank of the Azat River. At present Environmental Protection and Mining Inspection Body of Ministry of Nature Protection of RA has initiated administrative proceedings and made a decision to oblige the developer to stop construction works on the land near the monument, until the assessment and expertise of the impact on the environment. It should be noted that the privatized territory is an agricultural and arable land, where no construction work can be carried out. "

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