The statues on Haik avenue
Haik Avenue (also known as Gai Avenue) in the northeast of Yerevan is the main road out towards Garni and visitors heading there frequently notice the four statues alongside the road. The first, on the left, made of copper and dating from 1975, is of a man wearing a lion skin and aiming his bow either at Turkey or at the block of flats opposite. This is Haik, great-great grandson of Noah and legendary founder of the Armenian people. The second statue, by the well-known sculptor Ervand Kochar is of another Haik. The figure on horseback to the right of the road brandishing a sword and looking back towards Turkey is Haik Bzhshkian (1887-1937). Born in Tabriz (Persia) he was active in revolutionary movements and also in World War I when he commanded Armenian troops. Subsequently he supported the Bolshevik cause and after service in Siberia became commissar of the military forces in Soviet Armenia. His military career continued but he succumbed along with 40,000 others, to Stalin's purge of the Red Army. The victims were variously accused of being 'spies', 'Fascists', or 'Trotskyite-Bukharinite'. The bronze statue was erected in 1977, a time when the true cause of death was not acknowledged.
The third statue, on the left and opposite a market, is a 2003 marble statue of King Tigran II (the Great) who ruled from c95bc to 55bc. The fourth statue, also on the left and dating from 1982 is of Tork Angegh ('Ugly Tork'). He is shown standing on a pile of boulders, carrying an enormous rock on his shoulders, and with a grotesque expressionistic face. In legend he was a very kind giant and a skilled artist. Eventually, despite his ugliness, he was able to marry the woman he loved after defeating her 20 other suitors.
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