STEPANAKERT–Some six months ago–the ARF Student Organization of Artsakh (Karabagh) was able to locate–in the Askeran region of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic–on the road to the Gandzasar monastery–the birthplace and the still-intact family home of Nikol Douman (or Nigol Touman)–a leading revolutionary figure in the Armenian national-liberation movement of the late 19th/early 20th century. The undertaking was sponsored and financed by the Asbar Tourist agency.
This was the first in what will be an ongoing effort initiated by the ARF Student Organization of Artsakh to locate the birthplaces and graves of ARF freedom fighters on the basis of historical evidence. Another objective of the Student Organization is to place memorial stones at sites where ARF freedom fighters were killed during the recent Artsakh war of liberation.
According to villagers–Nikol Douman’s home has been unoccupied for decades–because its owners moved to Russia.
When the students entered the home–they were shocked to find century-old objects and implemen’s used in the time of Douman’s parents. Pictures hanging on the wall were not of Douman–but so closely resembled his that they were likely those of his uncle or brother.
The house is being converted into a museum–and the second of the two-story home has already been renovated. The ground floor–where the barn was located–is still undergoing some work. During the renovation–workers have uncovered caches of swords–Mosin rifles–and various weapons parts hidden in the walls of the home.
The renovation has maintained the appearance of a traditional Artsakh house–and visitors will be able to familiarize themselves with surrounding that would have been well known to 19th century inhabitants of Artsakh.
The barn will now serve as a venue for providing information on the day-to-day economic life of Artsakh’s population–how people made their living–milled wheat–mended clothing–and so on.
The remainder of the dwelling will house materials describing Douman’s life. However–there is a distinct lack of materials and sources–including Douman’s letters. Anyone who has information–publications–letters–and other materials dealing with Nikol Douman are encouraged to contact the Asbar tourist agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nikol Douman’s museum-home is slated to officially open in April 2004.