Exhibition of Armenian Old Printed Books

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An exhibition of old printed books has been opened in Mashtots Matenadaran. In the collection of old printed books of Matenadaran (more than 2400 units), the first Armenian printed book, “The Friday Book,” has its unique place. It is a medieval prayer and medical book, which was published in Venice in 1512 by Hakob Meghapart. The rich collection includes old books published in New Julfa, Rome, Amsterdam, Marseilles, Livorno, Constantinople, Smyrna, and Russia. The first Armenian Bible published by Voskan Yerevantsi in Amsterdam in 1666–1668, with rich illustrations and beautiful binding, deserves special mention.


The collection of Matenadaran contains more than 90 unique books, which are the only copies in Armenia. From these books, the exhibition includes the Psalter published by Abgar Dpir Tokhatetsi in Venice (1565–66), the "Gregorian Calendar" printed in Sultanshah’s letters in Rome (1584), the Lives of Holy Fathers and Breviary published by Khachatur Kesaratsi in New Julfa (1641–42, Francesco Rivola's "Armenian Dictionary" published in Milan (1621), the Bible printed in Venice by Mkhitar Sebastatsi (1733), which is a proofread version closer to the original of the “Voskanyan Bible,” and the Psalter published in Marseilles.


The exhibition is supplemented with some luxury publications such as the Gospels with splendid bindings published in Venice and the booklet “Spiritual Miscellany" by Catholicos Simeon Yerevantsi (1772), which was the first book printed in Armenia. The #exhibition also includes the first Armenian monthly, “Azdarar” (“The Monitor”), published in Madras in 1794–96 by the pioneer of Armenian journalism Harutyun Shmavonyan. Almost all old Armenian printing houses, with their diverse and original publications, and their outstanding typographic art, are represented at the exhibition.

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