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ABC – Armenia and Belarus in Czech Republic


As new Brontosaurus volunteers, we were invited to make presentations of our countries during weekly Brontosaurus club. Seemingly easy, it turned out also to be in some way challenging: how to push all the history, nature, amazing things and admirable people of your country into 1 hour presentation? How to avoid stereotypes? What to tell about existing problems? And last, but not least: what to cook?

Well, I think we got through this pretty well! Armenian evening began with the most delicious smell, but firstly we had an interesting and deep talk about Armenia’s ancient history – and the sad date of the genocide, amazing nature, its old Christianity and unique language and alphabet, interesting old and contemporary artists.

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Martiros Saryan- Midday stillness

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Armenian cross stones (խաչքար [khachqar] ). „The embroidery on the stones“. Unique stone decoration art and culture that came with the Christianity and symbolizes the Christianity itself that came to save the entire world. Because of a numerous cross stone all around the Country Armenian is known as “ museum under the open sky“.

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Armenian alphabet. The armenian language is unique and doesn’t have any neighboring branches on the big language tree. It has also an unrepeatable alphabet.

Of course everyone was most excited about degustation: delicious food with unpronouncable names (imam bayaldi, qyoma, basturma, sudjukh) plus pomegranate wine and cognac, followed by informal and easy conversations. One more country on our mental map became closer!

In a week we had Belarusian evening, following quite the same pattern. The history of Belarus shares a lot of common events with other European countries – we have some important connections even with Prague, our first book being published there by Francisk Skaryna in 1517. As for natural landscapes, nothing could be more different from Armenia than Belarus with its proud highest point of 345 meters:) Still you can admire forests, lakes, bogs and swamps, castles and churches – for example, like in this video, under a glorious starry sky.

Беларусь: у абдымках зорак (Belarus: in Embrace of Stars) from Viktar Malyshchyts on Vimeo.

This followed by some ghost stories, art (Vitebsk cityscapes in Marc Chagal’s paintings) and, of course, food! This time we had simple and nutricous potato dish draniki – and they were so popular we had to make a second portion! Plus some cranberries for desert, as Belarus was announces as a cranberry country.

Ghost Stories (by photographer Sergej Shvaiko)

Vitebsk by Marc Chagal:

We want to thank everyone for visiting our evenings, for the interest expressed to our countries and cultures. We hope our countries became closer to you.

Text: Masha Gulina & Shushan Harutyunyan

Photos: Masha Gulina

 

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