"The 20th century Avarayr": Armenians celebrate First Republic Day
YEREVAN, MAY 28, ARMENPRESS. On May 28, the Armenian people mark the 96th anniversary of the First Republic of Armenia. On this day in 1918 the Armenian statehood ruined for centuries was restored. As “Armenpress” reports, in May, in Gharakilisa, Bash-Aparan, Sardarapat the Armenian regular forces and the volunteers managed in the life-and-death battles to win against the Turkey's army, stopping its advance and the desire to completely seize Armenia. The Sardarapat heroic battle is often referred to as "the 20th century Avarayr".
Thanks to the May victory the independence of the Armenian people was restored which had been lost almost 9 centuries ago. On May 26, the Transcaucasian Sejm was dissolved, Azerbaijan and Georgia gained independence, it was Armenia’s turn, and on May 28, in Tbilisi the National Council of Armenia declared the independence of Armenian.
Also known as the First Republic of Armenia, the DRA was short-lived but important, as it represented the beginning of the modern quest for democracy and independence in Armenia.
The new republic faced serious problems from within and without its borders. In 1920, it was invaded by the Bolshevik Army of Russia and made part of the Transcaucasian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic, and eventually part of the Soviet Union, for more than 70 years. Yet the establishment and brief life of the First Republic is still seen as a proud victory for Armenia.
Sardarapat Memorial was opened in 1968 in regard to the 50th anniversary of Sardarapat Battle. It was constructed in the place where the battle took place. The entrance is flanked by huge winged oxen made of red tufa. A flight of steps leads to a square from which a 26-metre-high bell tower rises. The beautiful trellis structure with its twelve bells can be seen from afar. The bells ring every year on the day of the historic victory. The monument is guarded by massive ancient style Armenian-winged lions, and is flanked by a memorial garden for Karabakh (Arstakh) martyrs.
Today in the whole territory of Armenia, as well as in Artsakh, traditional events will be held in memory of the Armenian heroes who fought for independence. On this day traditionally the leadership of the republic visits the memorial to pay tribute to our heroes.
President Serzh Sargsyan will visit the memorial today to participate in the celebrations devoted to the First Republic Day.