Journey in time: the accidential creation of Armenia’s main clock and its history

Morning in Yerevan starts from the chiming of the bell on the main clock located on the tower of the Armenian government building at Republic Square. That clock can be considered the “first” clock of the city. Most of us have seen how passers-by look up at that clock to check the time when they pass by Republic Square. The chime of that clock reminds us that we are getting late, have already gotten late and that time is irreversible. But what else do we know about that clock? We know almost nothing. Every day, citizens of Yerevan pass by that clock at different hours without even doubting its rich history.

In reality, the clock at Republic Square was discovered by chance. During construction of the Armenian government building in 1940, all construction materials were brought to the building through a special passageway that was not initially foreseen according to the plan and didn’t close. To solve the issue, the country’s administration addressed the Kremlin, which gave the advice to place the clock there. It was decided to have the clock close the passageway of the government building, and that clock went on to become the symbol of Yerevan. Interestingly, the clock was not created by an Armenian, but by a person by the name of Magnisheyevsky. Unfortunately, nobody knows where the main clock of Armenia was created and how it was brought to the homeland.

However, it is known that it wasn’t easy to bring the clock all the way to Yerevan. It was initially foreseen that it would be brought to Yerevan in June 1941. However, due to the Patriotic War, only in the fall did the clock reach Yerevan. The clock, which has a 3m 6 cm diameter, a large, 170 cm arrow weighing 4 kg 850 g and a small, 110 cm arrow weighing 3 kg 500 g, was placed on the tower by the first creator of the city’s main clock, Artsrun Yavroyan. There were only five people who made the main clock in Yerevan, including Artsrun Yavroyan, Zorik Hakobyan, Gegham Mkrtchyan, Ashot Maliksetyan and currently, Lyova Alexanyan. The first of them, Yavronyan, served for the clock for 40 years.

It is unclear as to in which month and on what day the clock began to function, but it is clear that it has stopped only for 2-3 hours in 70 years. Even during the Artsakh war, when Yerevan was under a “fan” electricity regime, the clock at the country’s main square continued to tick. Throughout its entire history, the clock at Republic Square has only undergone changes once after it made the transition from the mechanical block to the electric one on July 5, 2001.

Many citizens don’t even doubt that the clock that wakes them up and puts them to sleep has five options for chiming, including do, mi fa, sol and la, which start the Armenian national anthem, fill the passers-by day and remind citizens of Yerevan about the passing time.

We can say with confidence that throughout its history, the clock has seen many turning points, has seen the “rebirth” of the city when the old buildings were replaced with the new, and when the ensemble of buildings at Republic Square began to be decorated with singing fountaints. As current creator of the city’s main clock Lyova Alexanyan mentioned, the clock has already “gotten used to” the city and should stay the way it has always been.
And truly, the clock at Republic Square is an inseparable part of the city. After all, the chime of that bell is what waks citizens of Yerevan up.

Mariam Matnishyan/PanARMENIAN.News

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