Museum Director Says Ancient Artifacts Sold at Yerevan Vernissage

Art on display at the Yerevan Vernissage outdoor market.

Art on display at the Yerevan Vernissage outdoor market.

YEREVAN—Highly valuable ancient artifacts are freely on sale at the Yerevan Vernissage — an open-air market for art and souvenirs — the director of the Erebouni Museum said Monday, calling on vendors to hand over such items to museums.

“Ceramics and bronze artifacts dating from different epochs are now on sale in the Vernissage. They are serious archaeological values; yet they are freely on sale,” Gagik Gyurjinyan told reporters at a news conference on International Museum Day.

As an important measure for preserving the historically important valuables, he firstly called for relevant legislative efforts.

Gyurjinyan further highlighted the need of elaborating the right information and historic guidelines for foreign visitors to Armenia’s museums.

The museum’s director said he expects historians to develop standardized information guidelines to be introduced to foreign guests. He said the measure is particularly important against the backdrop of Turkey and Georgia’s aggressive cultural policies.


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  1. April 24 @ 24/7/365 said:

    Just hand them over? What about asking where and whom did they obtain the ill-gotten artifacts? It seems the underground merchants are not so underground anymore, they’re selling in the open-air markets these days.

  2. Edward Demian said:

    Once again Armenia has a chance to write appropriate legislation. However, true to most countries hat use the “code Napoleon” or worse, communist style legislation, the laws are arbitrary and often nonsensical. Armenia needs tourism. Tourists spend big money buying art, and mostly ancient looking art. Armenia should make sure that with one sweep, they prohibit the sale of anything that looks antique. That would destroy the fledgling artist community whose wares, often replicas of ancient artifacts, are not bankrupted. And one more thing, Gagik, if the museums would fairly assess and compensate the owners of genuine artifacts, why would anyone sell their stuff on the street. It seems that museums everywhere want their items for nothing.