Asbarez – Six months after Colorado became the first US state to memorialize the 1915-1923 Armenian Genocide with a khachkar monument on its capitol grounds, Google has added the prominent location to its Maps.
On October 20, The Google Maps Team notified Simon Maghakyan that “the listing for [the] Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden has been added to the map.” As chair of Armenian of Colorado’s (AOC) Capitol Khachkar Committee, Maghakyan spearheaded the unparalleled effort to adorn the seat of Colorado’s government with the khachkar monument.
On April 24, 2015 Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper and AOC leaders unveiled America’s first capitol khachkar on the Centennial anniversary of Ottoman Turkey’s extermination of its indigenous Armenian population. The Capitol, which has been in use since the 19th century and has 250,000 annual visitors, memorializes several notable events on its grounds. Colorado’s generous response in helping Armenian Genocide survivors is noted in the plaque accompanying the khachkar.
The Colorado State Capitol Khachkar was added to the existing Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden, which the AOC established in 1982 and renovated in 2015. Khachkars are intricately-carved monuments that memorialize individuals and events. In 2010, UNESCO recognized the value and vulnerability of this Armenian art tradition by declaring it part of Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The Colorado State Capitol Khachkar was crafted in Armenia by Varazdat Hambardzumyan (Master Varo), and donated by Alexander Ter-Hovakimyan. It is a replica of a medieval Djulfa khachkar, destroyed by the Azerbaijan Army in December 2005.
“The addition of the Armenian Genocide Memorial Garden to Google Maps will bring even more visitors to the Colorado State Capitol Khachkar,” remarked AOC President Sona Hedeshian, “and more visibility to the need to remember, punish, and prevent genocides. We will gather at the Garden for a candlelight vigil on December 6, 2015 to conclude the Centennial Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, commemorate the 10th anniversary of the genocidal destruction of Djulfa, and shine a light on all genocides. For directions, the public can now go to Google Maps.”