Wales’ Armenian Genocide Memorial

The Armenian Genocide Memorial

Whilst November is traditionally the month of remembrance of WW1, April 24th is internationally recognised as Armenian Genocide Memorial Day – the date that intellectuals or Armenian identity or descent were rounded up by Ottoman Forces and marched out of Constantinople.

One of the most striking monuments in Wales’ National Garden of Peace is a tall, red sandstone sculpture with a cross of Welsh slate representing the ‘Khachkar‘ – the cross of Armenia. This is Wales’ Armenian Genocide Memorial, the first UK monument to formally recognise the genocide between 1915 and 1923 that killed 600,000 to 1,500,000 ethnic Armenians.

Created by sculptor Ieuan Rees, the memorial was unveiled in 2007 by Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, in the presence of over 300 from Wales’ Armenian Community, descendants of survivors offered sanctuary in Wales having fled the massacres in Anatolia in WW1.

Each November and April , descendants gather in the Garden of Peace for a memorial service that is an intrinsic part of intergenerational learning – passing on and ‘keeping alive’ the story so that successive generations of Welsh Armenians understand their roots.

In 2020, for the first time the memorial service was unable to go ahead due to the COVID lockdown. However, it is hoped that the tradition will continue from April 2021.

Excerpt from WCIA magazine, December 2007

More about Wales’ Memorial

More about the History of the Armenian Genocide

Recognition and Diplomacy