Nigol Touman’s Home – My Experience

Tucked away in the Askeran region of the mountainous Karabagh Republic, the museum-home of Nigol Touman is, historically, an important contribution to the preservation of the homestead that is currently in use.

The stone walled “village” is composed of several buildings. The museum is in the front entrance with two separate entries. The museum takes a holistic look at the revolutionary leader through documents, letters, photographs, and various artifacts. The second entry resembles more of a cellar with its cobwebbed wooden beams and an array of weaponry piled atop one another.

As one continues down the stone walkway, the residence of Touman is safely secluded by trees, plants, and an array of fruits planted by previous generations of the family. The main building serves as a historical and functional kitchen and was accessible to all the Hamazkayin participants as we prepared dinner for the evening. The functional quality is a unique opportunity to engage with the traditional methods of cooking. Moreover, the space dictated a communal engagement with Hamazkayin members as each had to work together and create the traditional Armenian dish.

Significant to my experience is the use of the space. The Touman homestead is not a static museum but one that allows the public to participate and experience the historical and present experience of living in a rural setting. Located in a country that has experienced war, the Touman residence spoke of the resilience of nature above the man-made elements of war. Touman’s nature, whether it is the home, the soil, or the discarded fragments left on display, is a testament to the survival of tradition and culture in Karabagh.

— Liza Kiraz
Participant of the Hamazkayin Forum 2013

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