First published in the Oct. 1 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The city on Wednesday welcomed a delegation from the Republic of Artsakh to sign the sister city agreement that establishes the relationship between Glendale and Martuni.
The City Council unanimously approved a resolution establishing the sister city relationship with the city of Martuni on Aug. 23. This partnership will allow the two cities to engage in a critical exchange of ideas to further economic stability, cultural preservation and strong social ties.
“I believe that now — more than ever — we must show our support for the people of Artsakh. That is why we are excited for what this partnership with the city of Martuni means for the republic and its people,” said Mayor Ardy Kassakhian. “While we can only begin to imagine the hardships Artsakh has undergone, this collaboration underscores our commitment to strengthening the Artsakh region as well as in anchoring our relationship as Armenians in the diaspora and Armenia alike.”
The Artsakh delegation was composed of Foreign Minister Davit Babayan, Deputy Minister of Culture Lernik Hovhannisyan, Permanent Representative to the United States Robert Avetisyan and Adviser to the Foreign Minister Sergey Abalyan.
“We are convinced that together we will create horizons of new development and strengthening,” said Martuni Mayor Aznavour Saghyan in a statement. “Martuni, wounded but full of life, is an inseparable part of universal values with its centuries-old culture and history.”
Martuni, which consists of majority ethnic Armenians, was a frontline city during the First Artsakh War and is home to nearly 700 war refugees. While primarily an agricultural region, Martuni is home to an opera house, the Amaras Monastery — which was constructed in the 4th century — and khachkars, or carved stone crosses. Recently, the TUMO Center for Creative Technologies, a free educational program for teens, opened a TUMO box in Martuni — a transportable and fully-equipped mini-TUMO where students can participate in programs and expand their education in their hometown without having to relocate.
Martuni will be Glendale’s 10th sister city and third Armenian sister city after Ghapan and Gyumri.