Pak Shuka

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Demolished during re-equipment?: Pak Shuka lost some of its arches despite owner’s promises

By Siranuysh Gevorgyan ArmeniaNow reporter 29.05.12

Yerevan’s well-known and beloved Pak Shuka (Indoor Market) has again appeared in the center of public attention when on Sunday heavy machinery demolished some arches of the roof of the building, included on the State List of Immovable Historical and Cultural Monuments of Yerevan. Public activists, concerned about the future of the market, called this “vandalism” and “illegality”.

After some photo and video materials posted on Facebook as well as after the interference of a representative from the Ministry of Culture of Armenia, the construction works done at nights were ceased. Owner of the market, lawmaker and businessman Samvel Alexanyan, who also owns Yerevan City supermarket network, refuses to make any comment.

When it was published that Alexanyan bought the indoor market which was put into operation in the 1950s in central Mashots Avenue of Yerevan, many people were worried that he was planning to build another Yerevan City in the place of the market, however, Alexanyan has repeatedly refuted this information, saying that he planned only to renovate and re-equip it and build underground parking.

Styopa Safaryan from Heritage Party, who initiated a signature-collection campaign in front of the market on Monday, posted on his Facebook page: “It is demanded to launch a criminal case against the perpetrators of the vandalism, besides, to take measures with the entitled bodies to return the former image of the market.”

Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan has also referred to the issue, posting on his Facebook page that the municipality had provided no license for the construction in the market.

“What has happened refers to the collapse of the building structures; and the economic entity on his own initiative has taken measures to strengthen it, aiming to avoid accident-prone states and collapse,” Mayor Margaryan wrote.

A group of citizens on Monday argued with the activists, saying that Alexanyan has done a good deed by clearing out the old structure.

Haykakan Zhamanak (Armenian Time) daily writes that according to its sources, the largest, four-storey Yerevan City supermarket in Yerevan will be located inside Pak Shuka despite Alexanyan’s promises.

“However, the roof of the market cannot carry such weight, therefore the roof is being ‘neutralized’,” the daily writes.