Article written by Birthright Armenia and Dilijan Community Center Volunteers
The city of Dilijan is tucked away in the gorgeous mountains in the Tavush region of Armenia. When you come here you will find a quiet and peaceful town with fresh air and calm energy. On one of the main roads you will notice a beautiful property with a gorgeous garden filled with luscious trees and unique wooden sculptures in the front. This property belongs to none other than Ashot Babayan, a Dilijan native and wood sculptor.
“I work with wood and create different kinds of sculptures here in Dilijan. I have lots of tourists and travelers that come through here to visit my garden and look at my sculptures. Additionally, lots of my sculptures are often ordered from Russia, America, and Europe. Although I enjoy my work I do not like so many distractions which often come with people visiting me. However, I am always happy to share my work because that is the reason I create it”.
“When I was younger, Dilijan was a much cleaner and quieter town. In my youth I used to gather mushrooms from the surrounding mountains that I would share with my family and we would eat together with our neighbors. At that time, I felt very involved in my community and look back upon that time fondly”, Ashot reminisced about his childhood.
Ashot makes a point that he has never accepted help from anyone and mentions, “Many rich people would often come to my home and want to help and contribute to my work. However, I never accepted this monetary help because the work that I create is not for the sake of money and now I can proudly say that everything you see here is built with my own two hands”.
To add to the visit, we asked Ashot what his hopes are for the future of Dilijan. “I know that Dilijan is the home of many intelligent people. Lots of those people have left because there are not enough opportunities here. My wish is that those people will return to their home, and the city will be full of people again”.