Stories From Kond

The Invisible People

As the evening approaches the once quiet streets of Kond become full of life again. Young children are often playing together in large grounds while the adults are outside enjoying a coffee or tea talking about the daily news, politics, or city gossip.

As the evening approaches the once quiet streets of Kond become full of life again. Young children are often playing together in large grounds while the adults are outside enjoying a coffee or tea talking about the daily news, politics, or city gossip.

Each time I take a walk through Kond I get a different vibe, see something new I missed before, or happen to meet some new interesting people young and old. This time around I believe I might have met two of the most lively girls in Kond, Marie and Sarah.

Marie and Sarah are both five years old, neighbors, and best friends. They spend everyday together running thorough the old streets and being the mischievous girls that they are.

Their laughter was contagious and I could not hold back my own laughter and smile as these two would play and run around asking me to take their photos. This was something new to me, especially in Armenia because most children are afraid to have their photographs taken.

No matter where a child lives in the world, their economic situation or condition they should all be given the same opportunities as the child next to them. One of those children could make a ground breaking discovery one day or be taking care of you and I. It is our duty to help pave the way for them to have the best opportunity to succeed, achieve their goals and have a more promising future.

At one time the modern-day Armenian Republic was once part of Qajar Iran up until 1828 and there were many mosques throughout he country and the capital of Yerevan prior to becoming part of the Soviet Union. The name Kond means “long hill” in Armenian and Tapabashi in Persian. It was one of Yerevans three original quarters and was multiethnic during Persian rule, according to multiple records approximately one hundred Armenian Boshas (Roma) lived on the hill of Kond. Many of the structures still standing today throughout the quarter were once inhabited by Ottomans, Persians, and Muslims.

Along Rustavelli Avenue stands the remnants of Tepebaşı or Thapha Bashi Mosque which was constructed in 1687. After the genocide in 1915 many families left their homelands and made their new home in Kond where the Persian mosque served as a temporary refuge for seventeen families. According to some sources descendants of 5 of the families still have their home in the mosque even though it is slowly deteriorating. 

A common sight throughout the old streets of Kond are neglected homes with rooftops that are in the process of or have already collapsed. Many of the residents in this district simply do not have the money or the will to repair their homes and are living each day by the bare minimum.

One of the most common sights throughout Armenia, linens hanging to dry during a cool spring evening.

One of the most common sights throughout Armenia, linens hanging to dry during a cool spring evening.

Anahit, 66 years old, used to live a comfortable life as an accountant before her husband died 25 years ago which placed her literally on the edge of poverty. She is both a mother and a grandmother and has difficulty finding any kind of job that can pay the bills.

Anahit, 66 years old, used to live a comfortable life as an accountant before her husband died 25 years ago which placed her literally on the edge of poverty. She is both a mother and a grandmother and has difficulty finding any kind of job that can pay the bills.

Her three children grew up playing piano and life was good when they were young. All of her children have university degrees however they also have difficulty finding good jobs that can sustain a comfortable life. Anahit’s elder daughter and her daughter live with her in a small 2 room home that is on the verge of collapsing. She had to move back in with Anahit after her husband passed away. Her daughter is now cleaning apartments making just enough money just to afford food and baby supplies.

Her three children grew up playing piano and life was good when they were young. All of her children have university degrees however they also have difficulty finding good jobs that can sustain a comfortable life. Anahit’s elder daughter and her daughter live with her in a small 2 room home that is on the verge of collapsing. She had to move back in with Anahit after her husband passed away. Her daughter is now cleaning apartments making just enough money just to afford food and baby supplies.

Approaching one of few markets in Kond where children can purchase ice cream and adults can get their produce for dinner. There is also a building where lavash is made everyday, some say it's one of the best in the city of Yerevan.

Approaching one of few markets in Kond where children can purchase ice cream and adults can get their produce for dinner. There is also a building where lavash is made everyday, some say it's one of the best in the city of Yerevan.

Razmig, 9 years old, is like the boss of his street, he knows all the gossip that occurs between neighbors and has the persona of someone much older than his age. He does not like Kond because he says it’s old and sad.

Razmig, 9 years old, is like the boss of his street, he knows all the gossip that occurs between neighbors and has the persona of someone much older than his age. He does not like Kond because he says it’s old and sad.

The Children’s Railway is like a slice of heaven for Razmig and his friend Marianna. They often do not have enough money to ride any of the rides but when they do they appreciate every second. These children have learned to appreciate the little things in life.

The Children’s Railway is like a slice of heaven for Razmig and his friend Marianna. They often do not have enough money to ride any of the rides but when they do they appreciate every second. These children have learned to appreciate the little things in life.