Assyrians in Arzni
Assyria…Quondam powerful country which borders stretched from the mountains Zagros up to the river Zav. Being located in the middle flow of Tigris River, it tied up with Armenian highlands and Small Asia in commercial ways. Assyria had been military powerful country and in the course of time it spread the authority to the neighbor countries due to its mighty kings like Salmanasar, Sargon and even queen Shamiram.
Assyria as a country doesnt exist but the nationality does scattering all over the world. The number of Assyrians is prevailing in Iran, Iraq, Syria,Turkey and USA (its Congress has Assyrian Senator). A large community of Assyrians is also in Australia. There are Assyrians in Armenia as well; they are inhabited in the Ghulyasar, Hoktemberyan, Tsaghriab, Verin Dvin, and Arzni where we were on a visit. At the beginning of 19 century the Assyrians moved to here from Iran, region Urmia (in Assyrian language it means way of water). In 1824 an Assyrian community was formed in Arzni.
The Assyrian Association Atour is settled in Yerevan, the president of it is Arsen Mikhailov and the vice-president is Benyamin Benyaminov. Take a look in www.atour.am to have more details about this association.
In the early period the village Arzni was inhabited mostly with Assyrians. Later the number of Armenians increased, those came from Baku and Karabakh. During the years about 500 Assyrian families emigrated from the village.
According to the principal of Arzni village Benyamin Benyaminov, its population is more than 3260, the majority is Armenians, 260 Assyrian families and 100 Yezidi families. As the residents of the village confirm, they didnt have contradictions ever. For a long time living as one Family, they joined together and joined the holidays as well which they celebrated with great splendor.
Every nation has its habits and culture and in order to preserve them they dont fused with the other nations. But the Assyrians dont put any national discrimination concerning to the Love and Marriage. Their weddings are celebrated with luxury companied by either Assyrian or Armenian music. The national dance sheykhani are very interesting one which are done in round dance way. The musical instruments Zurna, Dhol etc. are also national. As the Armenians, Kurds and other nations, the Assyrians celebrate Candlemas Day as well, which in their language called Maktakuttsunya and it is celebrated on the 28th of February. The fest of Virgin Mary is also national. In this holiday they turn around the church for 7 times in round dance way and sacrifice lamb. This fest is celebrated on the 28th of August; there are 7 churches in the village Arzni and the working one is the Virgin Mary. It is built in the 17th century and in Assyrian language it is called Margyumbas. The clergyman of the village whom they call Ghasha has come from Iran and the residence is Dvin.
The cultural life of Arzni is very active, they have musical ensemble Atour and sport group which leave for Iran for competitions every year. There is a working school in the village the part of which is Armenian the rest Assyrian. For the last 7 years they learn Assyrian language in the school. The headmaster of the school is Sofy Ivanova who does her best to raise the educational level in a high degree. The residents of the village are very thankful to the principle of the village in the efforts of which has been built dispensary, the subsidiary building of Ambulance and has been repaired the school. Since 2002 Arzni has memorial monument devoted to the victims of 1915 – Assyrians and the Armenians where every year they visit and put the wreath after make a way to Tsitsernakaberd. The Assyrian nation left its traces in the history either the Soviet generals A. N. Tamrazov, G. I. Sarkisov, the heroes of Soviet Union S. A. Sarkhoshev, L. SH. Davidov.
The principal occupations of the peasants are agriculture and horticulture. Here every year the garden is full of apples, pears, apricots, nuts. Their traditional dishes are also very delicious; the best known one is jhur jhur.
So the Assyrians and the village Arzni are like this…