Today is Yerevan architect Alexander Tamanian’s birthday

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He saw a sunny city,

Like one, painted on a blue marble side,

A solar watch, here is the map of the city,

Streets, avenues, and a granite altar

In the center, reaching the sky.


Yeghishe Charents


Alexander Tamanian was a Russian-born Armenian neoclassical architect, well known for his work in the city of Yerevan.

Tamanian was born in the city of Yekaterinodar in 1878 in the family of a banker Hovhhannes Mironovich. He graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1904. His works portrayed sensitive and artistic neoclassical trends popular in those years. Some of his early works included the mansion of V. P. Kochubei in Tsarskoye Selo, 1911–1912; the house of Prince S. A. Scherbatov in Novinski Boulevard in Moscow, 1911–1913; the village railway employees housing and the tuberculosis sanatorium at the Prozorovskaya station (now Kratovo) near Moscow, 1913–1923; central workshops of Kazan railway in Lyubertsy, 1916).

He became an Academician of Architecture in 1914, in 1917 he was elected as the Vice-President of the Academy of Arts.

In 1923 he moved to Yerevan, heading the new construction effort in the republic. He was the chief engineer of the local Council of People's Commissars and was a member of the CEC of the Armenian SSR (1925–1936), sponsored the construction industry, designed the layouts of towns and villages including Leninakan (now Gyumri) (1925), Stepanakert (1926), Nor-Bayazet (now Gavar) and Ahta-ahpara (both in 1927), Echmiadzin (1927–1928), and others. Tamanian created the first general plan of the modern city of Yerevan which was approved in 1924.

Tamanian's style was instrumental in transforming what was essentially a small provincial city into the modern Armenian capital, a major industrial and cultural center. Neoclassicism dominated his designs but Tamanian also implemented a national flavor (red linings of tuff, traditional decorative carvings on stone etc.).

Among his most famous designs in Yerevan are the hydroelectric station (ERGES-1, 1926), the Opera and Ballet house named after A. Spendiarian (1926–1953), the Republic Square (1926–1941) and others. He also played a major role in the development of restoration projects of historical landmarks in the country, chairing the Committee for the Protection of Historic Monuments in Armenia.

Tamanian was married to Camilla Edwards, a member of the Benois family. Their sons Gevorg (Georgi) and Yulius Tamanian also became noted architects and continued their father's work.

Tamanian died in Yerevan on February 20, 1936 and is buried at the Komitas Pantheon which is located in the city center of Yerevan.

Tamanian also designed the layout of many towns and cities in Armenia, such as Yerevan, Nor Arabkir town, Nubarashen, Ejmiatsin, Stepanakert.

His plan, intended for a city of a couple of hundred thousand residents, has since been mushroomed into a metropolis of over 1 million. The center bears his firm imprint however, as he came up with the wide avenues, the ring roads and the numerous parks.

Even the brand new pedestrian Northern Blvd in the heart of the center is part of his original plan. An example of a building he has designed is the Yerevan Opera house, which has won awards for it's design, which combines two venues in one building.

Tamanian is buried with other artists and intellectuals at the Pantheon in Yerevan.

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