The Long Term projects within the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem are more complex and require more time, money, resources, and international lobbying. The biggest challenge will be acquiring building licenses from the Municipality of Jerusalem. These Long Term projects might take years to finalize; hence, their preparation must start now. By the time most short-term projects are finalized, the ground will be ready to start initiating the long-term projects. There are two long-term projects which are vital to guaranteeing the sustainability of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.
Housing Units for Community Members
This is the primary reason for the decline of the Armenian Community of Jerusalem. Save the ArQ is well aware of this problem and is in direct contact with the Patriarchate in order to address and solve the housing crisis within the Armenian Quarter. One objective for Save the ArQ is additional housing units for the Armenian Community; more specifically, on the property of Christ Church also known as Bishop Garabed’s Lot. Priority goes to those in dire situations. The units on the Christ Church property will then be rented out. This means the Patriarchate will be the primary owner with families paying them monthly rent. This project will take more than a decade to be finalized due to the fact that the property will return its full ownership back to the Patriarchate in 2017 or 2018.
Currently, Save the ArQ is researching different methods in order to address the challenges Armenians face finding work in greater Jerusalem. One of our long-term projects—building a lodging facility for Pilgrims—will provide a number of jobs, but is not a solution.
The Short Term projects within the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem are not listed in any order of priority, but rather a complete list which Save the ArQ has assessed in order to further sustain the Armenian Quarter’s future. While these projects are of a shorter duration; still, it may take years to complete these projects depending solely on Save the ArQ’s support.
Save the ArQ is concentrating on Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School. The organization has already taken steps by providing all necessary equipment for the Laboratory School for Chemistry, Biology, Physics and other scientific subjects. Our aim is to create the best education system for these children albeit investing in current education equipment, setting up a program for teachers abroad to come teach/live in the Armenian Quarter for a year or teach via the internet from anywhere in the world to further enrich the educational process.
Renovation of Compounds within the Armenian Quarter
With an urgent lack of housing, it is necessary to renovate uninhabitable, abandoned compounds within Sts. James Convent and within the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem making them available to families in dire need of housing. This will also encourage growth within the Armenian lay community.
Building of a Park/Playground
It is critical to have public outdoor space within the Armenian Quarter where all in the community may gather while the children have space to run and play safely. The section of land near the Old Seminary in the Armenian convent can serve this aim. This land would serve as a public space as well as a playground for the children.
Renovating Sections of the Museum
The museum is regarded as one of the most important tools for propagating Armenian history in general and the Armenian presence in Jerusalem in particular. The museum is already undergoing renovations; therefore, Save the ArQ’s short-term project will mainly deal with presentations representing the Armenian history with innovative exhibitions. While a section of the museum will deal with Armenian history in general (including the Armenian Genocide, Armenian art, and architecture); another section will focus on the extensive and significant Armenian presence in Jerusalem. This will include a section on Armenian Pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Armenian churches within the Holy Land, Armenian ceramics, and photography. Furthermore, proper security measures will be installed for this building and its treasures protecting all artifacts housed within the museum.
Pilgrimages to Jerusalem
Developing new methods and ways in order to attract Armenians to venture to this important historical site. Save the ArQ will prepare a short documentary about Pilgrimages to the Holy Land to be broadcasted on Armenian Television stations in Armenia, North and South America, Europe and Russia.
Digitizing the Patriarchate Archival Collection
The Armenian Patriarchate has a rare collection of historical archives pertaining to the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In addition, it also houses an extremely rare and important archival collection on the Armenian Genocide. The aim of this project is to digitize these collections. While digitizing the archival collection of the Armenian Patriarchate is intended for internal use only, the aim of digitizing the Genocide archives will serve scholars and Genocide researchers examining the subject. This project will be simple to facilitate. Through two heavy-duty feeder scanners, the collections will be scanned using high resolution and readily available for scholars and researchers.