YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Samvel Karapetyan, famous expert on monuments, historian, and chairman of the Yerevan Office of Foundation for Research on Armenian Architecture, has appeared in the list of undesirable persons in Georgia. On October 18, his entry was banned at a checkpoint of Sadakhlo. During an interview, Karapetyan said that he had never broken any laws of Georgia, and that he is confident that the ban is connected with his professional activities.
Karapetyan has been examining Armenian monuments which have been destroyed, usurped or have appeared in a poor condition in Georgia for many years. During his most recent trip, he had organized a 10-day expedition to Georgia for more research when he was stopped at entry and told he was “Our entire group passed the border and I was the last one. I encountered problems crossing the Georgian border back in 2011; I was always detained at the checkpoint for 10-15 minutes. This time I was held for 35 minutes, and then an officer told me that I was banned to enter”, Karapetyan said.
Receiving no explanation for the ban, Samvel Karapetyan wrote to Ambassador of Georgia to Armenia Tengiz Sharmanashvili, Minister of Culture of Armenia Hasmik Poghosyan, but has not yet received a response.
Back in 1995 Samvel Karapetyan published a brochure in which he enlisted 650 Armenian churches with the description of their condition and exact indication of the addresses.
According to Karapetyan, the process of appropriation and destruction of monuments of Armenian architecture in Georgia is organized at a state level. For example, when the construction of the Cathedral on the site of the Armenian cemetery in Khojivank began, it had the blessing of then-Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.