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Out & About - Photos and Event Recaps


Armenian Independence Day Celebration - Cleveland City Hall Rotunda

In Armenia, Independence Day is an official holiday. It commemorates the restoration of the Republic of Armenia in September 21, 1991, after 70 years of Soviet rule. In Cleveland, the occasion was celebrated on September 21, 2017 with a ceremony in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall and the flying of the flag of Armenia over City Hall.

Leah Jones, Tigran Baghdasaryan, Rouben Sagatelov, Razmig Pounardjian  and Alex Lackey

Leah Jones (Senator Brown's office), Tigran Baghdasaryan, Rouben Sagatelov, Razmig Pounardjian and Alex Lackey (Mayor Jackson's office)

See more of the Armenian event at City Hall


Cleveland Armenian community at Cleveland Multicultural Event

The Cleveland Armenian Community was represented at the 7th annual International Community Council - Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) holiday party on December 14, 2016.

120 people participated in the fashion show and each walked the runway to music from their country. Click on the white arrow to watch the short video of the Armenian models Elza Ter-Artynov, Tigran Baghdasaryan and Ellena Baghdasaryan.

Fashions from Armenia

Fashions from Armenia

Fashions from Armenia

See more from the 2016 International Fashion Show

Armenian Cultural Garden at 2016 One World Day

The Armenian Cultural Garden and Armenian community participated in the 71st One World Day on August 28, 2016. They began with the Parade of Flags.

Armenia in Parade of Flags

Armenian Community in One World Day Parade of Flags

Throughout the day members of the Armenian community of Cleveland hosted hundreds of visitors in the Armenian Cultural Garden and shared Armenian food, dance lessons and gave a look at Armenian culture.

Later in the day Nagregatsi Armenian Folk Ensemble performed on the main stage.

Young lady from Nagregatsi Armenian Folk Ensemble dances

Young lady from Nagregatsi Armenian Folk Ensemble

Photos and Videos of Armenian community on One World Day


Traditional Armenian Clothing

A highlight of the 6th annual Holiday Celebration of Cleveland's Diversity held in the atrium of the Global Center for Health Innovation in the Cleveland Convention Center by the International Community Council-Worldwide Intercultural Network (ICC-WIN) was the multicultural fashion show.

Models Tigran Baghdasaryan and Ellena Baghdasaryan

The Armenian national clothing, called Taraz in Armenian, represents a rich cultural tradition. This style of dress demonstrates one that's typical of the Sassoon Region of Western Armenia in the 19th century. Armenian clothing typically incorporated wool, cotton, linen and silk, and included lots of embroidery. Jewelry was added to complete the dresses.

Armenian national clothing

Armenian national clothing

Armenian national clothing

Armenian national clothing

Videos and photos of the International Fashion Show

Armenian Centennial Flower - the forget-me-not

Louise of St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church spoke about the forget-me-not flower at the 14th annual Armenian Food Festival & Bazaar in Cleveland. The forget- me-not is the Centennial Flower and represents the Armenian Genocide victims. Louise says the million and one half martyrs are now saints so "Now they pray for us instead of us praying for them."

Commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide

The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio put on a program in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall to educate people about the events of 100 years ago. The Rotunda was standing room only as people met to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and honor the memory of the 1.5 million Armenians who perished.

The committee is focused on raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide to prevent future genocides worldwide.

Armenian Genocide slide

Kevan Asadorian

Kevan Asadorian, Chairman
The Armenian Genocide Centennial Committee of Ohio

Photos, videos and more from the Genocide Centennial event

Armenian Cultural Garden in the Snow

The Armenian Alphabet stands out in the snow of Winter 2015.

Armenian alphabet in the snow in Cleveland Armenian Cultural Garden


Armenian Cultural Garden at 2013 One World Day/Festival

Besides marching in the Parade of Nations with the Armenian Flag, the Armenian community was represented at the 2013 One World Day/Festival at the Armenian Cultural Garden. Food, drink, culture and history were shared in the beautiful garden.

Berj Shakarian marching in the Parade of Nations with the Armenian Flag

Berj Shakarian marching in the Parade of Nations

Armenian Cultural Garden at One World Day

Armenian cultural display

Armenian Cultural Garden One World Day volunteers

Armenian Cultural Garden One World Day volunteers
Andre Avitisian, Roupen, Kevan Asadorian, JoAnn Asadorian, George Asadorian, Taleen Avitisian, Ara Pounardjian, Dzaghik Pounardjian, Suzelle Aghamalian, Rafi Avitisian


For the first time, Armenian Independence was celebrated with a ceremony in the Rotunda of Cleveland City Hall. Over 200 people attended the event and the Flag of Armenia flew over City Hall for several days.

US and Armenian flag flying over Cleveland City Hall

US and Armenian flags flying over Cleveland City Hall

Anita Kazarian, Suzelle Avitsian, Michael Patterson, George Assadorian, Fr. Hratch, Dr. Sebouh Setrakian, Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian and Peter Zahirsky

Anita Kazarian, Suzelle Avitsian, Michael Patterson, George Assadorian,
Fr. Hratch, Dr. Sebouh Setrakian, Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian and Peter Zahirsky at the 21st anniversary of Armenian Independence event.

Page 1 of Armenian Independence Celebration in Cleveland City Hall

Page 2 of Armenian Independence Celebration in Cleveland City Hall

Page 3 - Faces in the Crowd


10th Annual Armenian Food Festival and Bazaar
St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church
September 30-October 2, 2011

Thelma Bagdasarian

Thelma Bagdasarian

The beauty and history of Armenia has inspired great world literature. This was demonstrated at an Armenian cultural program at John Carroll University on August 20, 2011.

Armenian cake and wine

This video is a reading of the poem 'I'll not Cry 'Alas'' by Sayat-Nova.

See more from the event including musical performances


2010 Armenian Festival
October 2 and 3, 2010

Sam Mirakian at the 2010 Armenian Festival

Sam Mirakian at the 2010 Armenian Festival

Dedication of the Armenian Cultural Garden
September 19, 2010 - Photos and Videos

Berj Shakarian and Carlos Bozoklian

Berj Shakarian and Carlos Bozoklian,
Architect and Builder of the Armenian Cultural Garden

More photos from the Armenian Cultural Garden
One World day Dedication ceremony


Armenian Festival
October 3 and 4, 2009

Armenian food at Armenian festival


Armenian Cultural Garden Planning
October 18, 2008

Organizations and Resources for Armenian in Cleveland

The mainstay of the Armenian population is their Church. The only active Armenian Church in Ohio is located in Richmond Heights. It is St. Gregory of Narek and is at 678 Richmond Road, Richmond Heights, OH 44143; Tel: (216) 381-6590)

There is also Holy Cross Armenian Church in North Royalton, but with the exception of a few more social events throughout the year, it is not an active Church.

See photos from the beautiful St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Apostolic Church

St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Apostolic Church

Within the Church organization there are a number of benevolent organizations. One such organization is the AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union), which was originally created in 1906 in Egypt by refugees of the genocide. Its goal was to gather orphans from the area and give them homes. The AGBU is active in education and youth programs.

There are also Church organizations such as the Armenian Relief Society, the Youth Guild and the women's Auxiliary.

The Armenian Assembly is a Political Action Committee based in Washington D.C. dealing with policies in Armenia.

The Sons of Malatia is a group of surviving children of the genocide, and now their children as well. It is both a cultural and benevolent society.

Submit your Cleveland Armenian organizations and resources.

Business, Education and Employment Information

Submit your Cleveland Armenian jobs, classes and other opportunities.

Cleveland Armenian Feedback and Memories

St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Apostolic Church Armenian Martyrs mounument

On April 24, 1966, a granite monument was dedicated on the St. Gregory of Narek grounds to commemorate the 1.5 million Armenians who were massacred by the Turks between 1915 and 1918. An annual requiem service takes place before this monument each year on April 24 or the Sunday closest.

Submit your Cleveland Armenian Feedback and Memories.

Armenian History and Culture

Tell us about the music, food, holidays, traditions, costumes, language and other qualities that make Armenians so special.

William Saroyan statue

Armenian Language

The language of Armenia is Armenian, but Russian is used almost as much. There are different regions, which produce different dialects. Cleveland Armenians are mainly from Malatia, but there are also those from Bursa and Aintab.

You can tell a little about a person's Armenian roots by the spelling of his/her last name. Usually an ending of "ian" (such as Mirakian, Atkian, Arselanian) represents roots nearer the Turkish borders, whereas "yan" (such as famed Dudak player Gasparyan) usually hale from the northern, Russian area.

Unlike many of the more modern languages, Armenian is considered a "pure" language, in that it is not really a derivative of any other. It does not have as its base the language of any other country, with the possible exception of Albania, because Armenia itself is such an ancient country.

St. Gregory's has been operating an Armenian language school for 30 years.

Armenian Music

Watch Loris Ohannes Chobanian, Ph.D. perform Lament for Homeland
at an Armenian Cultural event at JCU

Dr. Chobanian is Emeritus Professor of Composition and Guitar and Composer-in-Residence at Baldwin-Wallace College and performed original compositions on guitar at the event.

Dr. Loris Chobanian

Dr. Loris Chobanian

The instrument most associated with Armenian music is the "Dudak", which is a flute-like instrument made from the wood of an apricot tree. The "Zurna", which is similar to a clarinet, is also a popular instrument. It has a loud, piercing, nasal sound and is often associated with great gala festivities.

Ruzanna Tovmasyan

Ruzanna Tovmasyan performs at
the Armenian Cultural Garden dedication

The "guitar" with an oval and teardrop shaped body is known as the "Tar". It has two strings and it leans against the chest as it is played. Armenians also have a type of bagpipe, known as a "Parkapzuk", a drum referred to as "Dohl".

Together these instruments produce a haunting, lyrical sound unlike typical western music. Learning to play these instruments takes much patience and skill, but the result is worth the effort.

You can hear Armenian music every Sunday from 5-7:00 p.m. on WJCU 88.7 FM where Sam Mirakian has been hosting the Armenian program for twenty years.

Armenian Poetry

Watch a live reading of I'll Not Cry "Alas"
and read translations of these four poems from an Armenian Cultural event at JCU

Of My Motherland Armenia
Yeghishe Charents (1897-1937) Translation by Armine Grigoryan

Words For My Child
Silva Kaputikyan (1919-2006) Translation by Diana Der Hovanessian

I'll Not Cry "Alas"
Sayat-Nova (1712-1795) Translation by Aram Tokgian

Lined Up in the Sky
Shushanik Kurghinian (1876-1927) Translation by Shushan Avagyan

Armenian Culture

The Tekeyan is a small cultural organization. Along with the AGBU, the Tekeyan sponsors many cultural events. They are the original sponsors of the Armenian radio show. Dance troupes from Detroit and New York are often brought in to demonstrate Armenian dancing.

There are really no places in Cleveland to experience Armenian music and culture, other than the radio show and the special events put on by the various cultural groups.

Armenian Food

Traditionally, Armenians are noted for shish kebab, stuffed grape leaves and lahmajoon, (lamb meat with an assortment of spices)

They will eat rice, grains and vegetables, but you will seldom find potatoes on an Armenian table. Similarly, you will often find lamb and beef, but not pork. (This changes if the Armenians are from the northern section of Armenia in which case both pork and potatoes are prevalent).

Eggplant and zucchini are favorite vegetables and salad is a must. Rice pilaf and tabooleh, grace many of the Armenian tables. Then, of course, there is dessert! Sesame seeds and apricots are used in many cookies and candies and honey is often used as the sweetening agent. Shakareeshi is a melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookie and Paklava is similar to the better-known Greek pastry, Baklava.

It is unfortunate that you cannot find an Armenian restaurant in the greater Cleveland area, but if you watch for the Festival at St. Gregory's Church you will be able to taste some of these delicious foods.

Map of Armenia

Armenian History

Armenia prides itself on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity (early 4th century). Despite periods of autonomy, over the centuries Armenia came under the sway of various empires including the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Persian, and Ottoman.

During World War I in the western portion of Armenia, Ottoman Turkey instituted a policy of forced resettlement coupled with other harsh practices that resulted in an estimated 1 million Armenian deaths. The eastern area of Armenia was ceded by the Ottomans to Russia in 1828; this portion declared its independence in 1918, but was conquered by the Soviet Red Army in 1920.

Armenian leaders remain preoccupied by the long conflict with Muslim Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a primarily Armenian-populated region, assigned to Soviet Azerbaijan in the 1920s by Moscow. Armenia and Azerbaijan began fighting over the area in 1988; the struggle escalated after both countries attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

By May 1994, when a cease-fire took hold, Armenian forces held not only Nagorno-Karabakh but also a significant portion of Azerbaijan proper. The economies of both sides have been hurt by their inability to make substantial progress toward a peaceful resolution. Turkey imposed an economic blockade on Armenia and closed the common border because of the Armenian separatists' control of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas.

(facts courtesy of CIA World Fact Book)

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Profiles of Armenians in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

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ClevelandPeople.Com - Armenian Ambassadors

Anita P. Kazarian
Anita P. Kazarian

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