Ararat Tandoor opens in Diyarbakir, Armenian lavash bread to be baked in Diyarbakir again after Armenian Genocide

January 20th marked the grand opening of Ararat Tandoor Lavash in Diyarbakir. Erhan Yaman and his brothers, who are the founders of the tandoor, learned how to make Armenian lavash bread from Arshak Martirosyan, Artur Aghekyan and his wife Hasmik Harutyunyan, who had traveled from Armenia to Diyarbakir.

Lavash will be baked in Diyarbakir once again after the Armenian Genocide. There used to be lavash tandoors in Mush, but not in Diyarbakir. After living in Mush for many years, Erhan Yaman, who is of Armenian descent and originally from Sasun, decided to open a lavash tandoor in Tigranakert. To open the tandoor, he traveled to Armenia and asked around for the necessary equipment. After arranging everything, Yaman visited Armenia again in order to find the masters. He spent his vacation in Armenia and asked who would agree to transmit skills of baking Armenian lavash for a while in Tigranakert. Yaman offered many Armenians, but they didn’t agree since they were afraid. Radiolur received the information from the family that had agreed to leave for Historic Armenia and teach Yaman and his brothers how to bake lavash. Artur Aghekyan and his wife, Hasmik Harutyunyan voluntarily left for Tigranakert to support the Armenians’ initiative.

On January 20, Ararat Tandoor Lavash opened its doors for the Armenians of Tigranakert with a grand ceremony. Both the buyers and the lavash bakers had mixed emotions.

“What is interesting is that we felt like we were on stage when we were baking the lavash. The visitors were local Armenians. It was a joy and a touching moment to see how Armenians were coming to the tandoor with shining eyes. It seemed as though the lavash was evidence of Armenianness and Christianity for them and helped them feel more worthy,” Artur Aghekyan said.

Besides the idea of opening an Armenian lavash tandoor, scientific worker of the Center for Western Armenian Studies Meline Anumyan says what is important is the use of the name “Ararat” since the official Turkish name of the mountain is Aghr and Ararat is one of the words that are not allowed to be used here. As always, the Turks continue to ascribe “the pearls” of Armenian cuisine to them. “The scene of baking lavash has been presented as an ethnographic material at the Turkish Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography. The Turks are trying to present lavash as a part of Turkish cuisine through museums.”

Although Lavash has been included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the Turks continue to present it as a part of Turkish cuisine, and the advocacy efforts continue.

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