Experts claim that almost 50 percent of the 24,000 religious monuments in Armenia are in urgent need of repair, and that around 30 percent are on the verge of collapse.
For many, Armenia’s status as the first country in the world to accept Christianity as a state religion in 301 AD means that the dilapidated state of religious monuments is a blow to national pride. “Who among our officials has seen the state of the churches in our country?” said historian Rafael Tadevosian, a member of a public commission on the conservation of historical-national values and monuments.
Money is the most frequently cited problem. The Armenian government only started allocating money for the restoration of historical-cultural monuments in 2005, 14 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the time since, the dram-equivalent of around $5 million has been spent to restore 34 churches.