Musaler: the village with it’s own victory
Musaler is situated not far from the capital city of Yerevan. It is only 20 minutes ride from there to the city-center. If you pass through this village you will not probably even notice the memorial standing on the nearby hill and will never think that this very place holds in itself a strong and interesting history.
No, it wasn’t a place of any battle or important decision. It was just a spot, where in the second half of 20th century many Musalerian Armenians immigrated to…
What was the purpose of this flow of immigration? It was the Armenian Genocide of 1915, where Musalerian people fought heroically to rescue themselves and their territory, which consisted of 5 villages situated on the mount Musaler, which can be seen in the image. These places are now in the territory of Syria, and unfortunately were half destroyed during Syrian war. The mount itself is in the South of Turkey.
Musalerians fought for their homeland for more than 50 days, but the book written by Franz Werfel “40 days of Musaler” summarizes the story and gives us the description of these battles and protection.
By the time the Armenians had no more energy and weapons to fight against Turkish forces, French ships came to help them. Most of the population of old Musaler were settled in Egypt, where the French ships harbored. One part came to the territory of present Armenia and settled in the present Musaler village (renamed in 1972). Which is very famous, because it contains a part of this heroic story.
Musaler is visited by many Armenians, who want to learn much about the Armenian Genocide not from the tragic, but also from the point of view of little victories. This visits can’t be imagined without probably the most important point of the village, the monument dedicated to the Musalerian battle (constructed in 1976).
The monument is more like a complex, where one can visit two museums and learn about the story of Musaler. The first museum holds in itself many documents and more than 20 copies of the famous book “40 days of Musa Ler” written by Franz Werfel.
The second one represents the traditions of Musalerians by showing their clothes and tools of everyday use. The second museum also has an open-air part, which is used during a very special celebration.
Every year, in the second part of September, all interested people, true Musalerians and others are gathering around this place to celebrate anniversary of the victory. This celebration is followed by national Armenian dances starting from Saturday evening and finishing on Sunday afternoon. Besides it, there is a very unique tradition. All these celebrations will not be typical Musaler ones, without the traditional dish making….there are certain cooks, who are invited to the celebration to cook “HARISSA” – a kind of homogeneous porridge made of previously stewed and boned chicken or lamb and coarsely ground soaked wheat.
Harisa is not the only attraction in the village. Musaler is now trying to become a touristic destination as well. It has mainly worked on different kinds of projects which will make the youth of the village be more vital and creative. Here is one of the tries: a very old and broken panel became a masterpiece of urban street-art.
The same group of young people made a wish wall in Musaler: Look at it, the text in Armenian language says “I wish in Musaler…” and there are options for it: I wish…it’s clean, I wish…there is love, I wish…all are happy, etc.
The only problem of the community is that there are few places for children to play. There is only one park in one side of the village, which is far from the children, who live in the other side.
But, the children are creative enough to find places to play their lively and wild village games…