Address:741 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44108
Architect/Designer:Berj A. Shakarian
Dedication Date:Sept. 19, 2010
Armenian Cultural Garden Association
History & Design:
The Garden was developed by devoted members of the Armenian community in Cleveland beginning in 2007; it celebrates the distinctive identity of the Armenian people.
Designed by architect Berj A. Shakarian, the garden assumes the form of the “vesica piscis”, a sacred geometric symbol representing Christ, and by extension, the conversion of Armenia as the first Christian nation in 301 CE. The Alphabet Monument is the central symbol, alluding to the fact that the Armenian alphabet emerged as a result of Armenia’s conversion to Christianity.
Alphabet Monument: The Alphabet is composed of staggered granite blocks, representing both the turbulent history of the Armenian people and the ruggedly beautiful landscape of Armenia and the Caucasus Mountains. St. Mesrop Mashtots invented the alphabet circa 404 CE in order to translate the Bible into the Armenian language.
According to the Armenian delegation, “the garden’s divinely inspired script is the ‘secret code’ that defines the unique Armenian identity. The reverse side of the Alphabet monument includes the names of 33 men and women noted for their historical and cultural contributions to the Armenian nation. The list of names, entitled Pride of a Nation, spans from antiquity to the 21st – from King Tigran the Great, to the martyred contemporary journalist, Hrant Dink.
The intent of the landscape is to keep the design uniform with other gardens. Vinca Mynor (myrtle) is the ground cover with juniper on the mound facing Martin Luther King Boulevard. Nuuk Ptantilla is planted in the flagpole area.
Two of the original founders of the Armenian Cultural Garden, builder Carlos Bozoklian and architect Berj A. Shakarian, donated their professional services as a gesture to their community. Mr. Bozoklian passed away in 2011. A tree was planted on the site in his memory. The youngest member of the original committee, Pietro A. Shakarian was 16 years old in 2005 when he inspired his architect father to “do something to have an Armenian garden” in Rockefeller Park.