Traces of the Armenian diaspora across Europe

Architecture and cultural heritage of the Armenian diaspora

black and white illustration of a mountainous landscape
by
Adrian Murphy (Europeana Foundation)

Armenia is a land-locked country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It was one of the first states in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion in the late 3rd or early 4th century.

For centuries, Armenians have moved to many cities and countries across Europe, establishing communities.

Particularly since World War I, in the wake of the 1915 Armenian Genocide, many Armenians were forced to leave their homeland.

In this blog, we explore traces of the Armenian diaspora found across Europe in digitised cultural heritage collections.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

This Armenian church is located in the centre of Amsterdam. The church was founded around 1715, with the year carved in the flagstone above the main door.

colour photograph, exterior of a building with a tree growing in front

Nearby the church, a bridge is named Armeensebrug (Armenian Bridge).

colour photograph of a canal, with railing from a bridge saying Armeensebrug

Venice, Italy

San Lazzaro degli Armeni is a small island in Venice which has been home to the monastery of an Armenian Catholic congregation since 1717.

sepia illustration, showing a gondola on water with a convent building in the distance

Czech Republic

This 2012 documentary from Czech Television explores the everyday activities of the spiritual representative of Armenians in the Czech Republic and those he cares for.

colour photograph, a man in a hooded garment speaking to a small religious congregation

Watch the documentary here

London, United Kingdom

St Sarkis Armenian church in London is the largest Armenian church in the UK. It is located in Kensington and was built during the 1920s.

colour photograph of architectural detail of a church building
colour photograph of architectural detail of a church building with Armenian writing

Smyrna / Izmir

These photographs show soldiers operating machinery in a workplace manufacturing macaroni for the Greek army during the 1919-1922 Greco-Turkish War. The factory, which is located in Smyrna (today this is Izmir in Turkey), is described as being a former Armenian cinema.

black and white photograph, a number of men in a factory
black and white photograph, two men working on a machinery in a factory

Hungary

This documentary explores Armenian carpet makers living in Hungary, presenting a profession that is vanishing.

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Baltic states

From 1922 to 1991, Armenia was part of the Soviet Union with internal migration establishing Armenian communities in other former-Soviet states. These photographs show Armenians in the Baltic states (Estonis, Latvia, Lithuania) taking part in events in the run up to those states' independence in the late 1980s.

black and white photograph, group of people holding a banner at a political protest
black and white photograph, group of people holding a banner and flag at a political protest
black and white photograph, group of people holding a banner at a political protest

Tallinn, Estonia

The St Gregory the Illuminator Church is an Armenian church in Tallinn, capital of Estonia. It was given to the Armenian community in Estonia in 1994 for their use. It is estimated that around 1,000 Armenians live in Estonia.

colour photograph of a small wooden church in a city landscape

Solna, Sweden

This small chapel is located in Solna, a municipality to the north of Stockholm. The chapel was built in the 1870s on Överjärva farm. It is also known as the Armenian chapel, as the farm had been leased by Ohan Demirgian, an Armenian who was the stablemaster for King Charles XV.

colour photograph, a small wooden building
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