Friendship of Yerevan and Carrara

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Yerevan and Carrara are twinned cities. To symbolize this friendship, there is a monumental drinking fountain “Friendship of Yerevan and Carrara” in the Italian city of Carrara, and a marble Hands of Friendship in Yerevan.

It all started at the international biennale of sculpture in the Italian town of Carrara, a famous center of mining and processing of natural white marble. The biennale took place in 1965, both Soviet and Western sculptors attended it. Ara Harutyunyan also came there in the group of Soviet delegation. He brought one of his early works, named “Youth”. In Carrara he visited the famous mountain crater, where marble is mined. At the quarry Harutyunyan noticed a sculptural work of an impressive size: the head and hands of Jesus Christ, and inquired what was the project these fragments had been made for. The answer was that it was planned to create a giant statue of Christ from Carrara marble, but the customer had stopped funding. The sculptor refused to continue working and left Carrara.

After returning home, Harutyunyan suggested Grigor Asratyan, that time Yerevan’s administration head, continuing friendly contacts with Italy and taking those powerful marble hands from Carrara to Yerevan as a symbol of friendship. (It must be mentioned that despite of all the desire the Soviet delegation could not accept such a gift as the head of Christ due to that in the USSR there was established the ideology of aggressive atheism.) The Mayor supported the master’s idea, and indeed the “Hands of Carrara” were transported to Armenia; they are installed in one of the central squares of Yerevan. In its turn, the Armenian SSR also made Italy a gift made by Ara Harutyunyan: a red tuff monumental drinking fountain called “Yerevan and Carrara: Twin Cities”. It was installed in Carrara in 1967. The monument is represented by a small stele, bringing to mind a medieval cross stone. It is decorated with a grapevine, carved in the stone; at the top of it is the mythical image of Sirin, and on the sides of the stele there are two rams decorated with relief ornament.

Many years later, this historical fact has found a new meaning. In 2013 the mayors of Yerevan and Carrara met together. The delegation of Yerevan Municipality came to Italy with an official visit. The ceremonial event was held in the park on the seaside where in 1967 the monument to friendship was set by sculptor Harutyunyan.

The monumental drinking fountain “Friendship of Yerevan and Carrara” can be found at: Italy, Сarrara, Marina di Carrara, viale Giovanni de Verrazzano – giardin.


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