The FIRST BYURAKAN SURVEY as UNESCO HERITAGE
One of the UNESCO “Memory of the World” documentary heritage items, Markarian survey (the First Byurakan Survey, FBS), has been created in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) and is the only scientific heritage UNESCO item in Armenia and one of the rare scientific heritage UNESCO items in the world.
UNESCO Heritage Lists
UNESCO has 3 heritage lists, where hundreds of world important heritage items are listed.
- UNESCO World Heritage list. Created in 1972, 3 items in Armenia: Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin (1996), Cathedral and Churches of Ejmiatzin and Archeological Site of Zvartnots (2000) and Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley (2000).
- UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Created in 2003, 6 items in Armenia: Duduk and its music (2008), Armenian cross-stones art. Symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars (2010), Performance of the Armenian epic of 'Daredevils of Sassoun' or 'David of Sassoun' (2012), Lavash, the preparation, meaning and appearance of traditional bread as an expression of culture in Armenia (2014), Kochari, traditional group dance (2017) and Armenian letter art and its cultural expressions (2019).
- UNESCO “Memory of the World” Documentary Heritage International Register. Created in 1992, 3 items in Armenia: Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran ancient manuscripts collection (1997), The First Byurakan Survey (FBS or Markarian survey) (2011) and Collection of note manuscripts and film music of Composer Aram Khachaturian (2013).
UNESCO Documentary Heritage
The “Memory of the World” Documentary Heritage International Register was launched by the UNESCO in 1992 to preserve valuable archives and library collections all over the world and ensure their wide dissemination. It includes all types of material, including stone, celluloid, parchment and audio recordings. The vision of the “Memory of the World” (MoW) Programme is that the world's documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.
At present, there are 3 jewels in the MoW International Register from Armenia.
1. Mesrop Mashtots Matenadaran ancient manuscripts collection (registered in 1997)
The Mashtots Matenadaran, an Institute of Scientific Research on Ancient Manuscripts, named after the immortal creation of the Armenian alphabet in 405 and founder of the Armenian school Mesrop Mashtots is situated on one of the north-west scenic hills of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The collection of approximately 17,000 manuscripts includes almost every sphere of Armenian ancient and medieval science and culture.
2. The First Byurakan Survey (FBS or Markarian survey) (registered in 2011)
The First Byurakan Survey (FBS or Markarian survey) contains the records of a unique astronomical survey carried out in the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) by the great Armenian astronomer Beniamin Markarian and his colleagues in 1965-1988. The survey involved the largest ever astronomical spectroscopic study of the nearby universe and is considered as one of the most important achievements of the 20th century astrophysics. It provides data on 40,000,000 low dispersion spectra for 20,000,000 objects. The records were carried out on BAO 1m Schmidt telescope. They cover the whole Northern Sky and part of the Southern Sky at high galactic latitudes and some part in the Milky Way areas. The FBS was conducted originally for search of galaxies with UV-excess (UVX). The discovery of 1515 UVX galaxies by Markarian and colleagues (later called Markarian galaxies) was the first and the most important work based on the FBS plates. It was digitized in 2002-2007 by Areg Mickaelian and his team and the Digitized First Byurakan Survey (DFBS) was created, the largest low-dispersion spectroscopic database in the world, and the first digitization project in Armenia in all spheres (https://www.aras.am//Dfbs/dfbs.html).
3. Collection of note manuscripts and film music of Composer Aram Khachaturian (registered in 2013)
Aram Khachaturian is a world-renowned Armenian composer and musician of genuinely universal stature who has left a comprehensive musical legacy embracing almost all genres and forms. Making extensive use of the Armenian rural and urban folklore, Khachaturian raised Armenian composition school to a new classical level, ensuring its place in the world culture. His works influenced the formation of the composition schools in South Caucasus and Central Asian Republics.