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Colloquium "The Triumph of Uniformity in Armenian Religious Architecture in Lebanon", 24.05.2022

24.05.2022 | 16:00 c.t.

Dear all,


it is our pleasure to invite you on behalf of Prof. Dr. Elke Shoghig Hartmann to next week's Forschungskolloquium of the Institute of Ottoman Studies and Turcology:


Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 6 - 8 pm (CEST)

Dr. Joseph Rustom & Dr. Vahé Tachjian: “The Triumph of Uniformity in Armenian Religious Architecture in Lebanon: Breaking with the Ottoman Past”


The lecture followed by a discussion will take place in 1.2058 (Holzlaube).



The 1920s were pivotal years for the new and emerging Armenian diaspora. After the destruction and the suppression of the Armenian collective existence in the Ottoman Empire (the exception was Istanbul) and the failure of the post-WWI attempts to create a new homeland for the Armenian genocide survivors within the frontiers of the former Empire, tens of thousands of refugees, away from their homeland, were forced to start a new life particularly in two Middle Eastern newly established countries: Lebanon and Syria, both of them under the French mandate rule. This was the starting point of the modern, post-genocide Armenian diaspora with many challenges of reconstructing community life and identity.

The slogan of the day was national reconstruction. It was imperative to gather up the refugees and bring about national rebirth. The purpose of this article is to study the impact of the Armenian reconstruction ideology on architecture in Lebanon, particularly the construction of Armenian Churches from the 1930s until the 1960s. It proves that the creators of these typologies purposefully turned their back on the architectural styles and structural know-hows related to the churches of the lost Ottoman hometowns and embraced the medieval religious architecture of historical Armenia as ultimate reference and main source of inspiration.


Vahé Tachjian is currently a research fellow at the Institute of Ottoman Studies and Turcology within the DFG Priority Programme “Transottomanica”. He received his doctorate at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. His numerous articles and books examine French colonialism, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and refugee issues in the Middle East. He is the project director and the chief editor of the Berlin-based Houshamdyan website, which aims to reconstruct Ottoman Armenians’ local history and life stories. Among his main publications: La France en Cilicie et en Haute-Mésopotamie (2004), Daily Life in the Abyss: Genocide Diaries, 1915-1918 (2017).


Joseph Rustom is a conservation architect, educator, and researcher at Houshamadyan e.V. and the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (Alba) – University of Balamand. He studied in Beirut, Paris, and Berlin where he earned a doctoral degree in urban planning from the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg with a thesis on the impact of religious endowments on urban projects in Late Ottoman and French Mandate Beirut. He was research fellow of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Berlin Forum Transregional Studies, and the German Research Foundation (DFG).


We are looking forward to your participation! Please forward the announcement to anyone interested.