COVID-19 Travel Update: Learn More

Make your own souvenir from Armenian tuff stone

Make your own souvenir from Armenian tuff stone image

From the collection of My Armenia Program

The stony, mountainous area around the village of Pemzashen holds the raw material responsible for the city’s name—Pemza (pumice) and shen (built by). Here, you can find the tuff (volcanic) stone characteristic of Yerevan’s pink cityscape, as well as pumice and other stones used in buildings, sculptures, and more. Discover this legacy of stone in Pemzashen and learn techniques from a local stone master on how to create your own work of stone art to take home.

As soon as you arrive at the Stone Art guesthouse, you will meet Hovhannes and Volodya, the two neighbors in charge of the experience. First you will venture through the “Traveler’s Pathway,” a long, decorative wall made from the literal building blocks of Armenia—multicolored tuff that master stone carver Volodya has fashioned into a fascinating historical gallery of calligraphic inscriptions, coats of arms, and even fairytale characters and (in the nearby garden) animal sculptures.

With the wall as your inspiration, you will learn from Volodya not only how to carve the delicate tuff, but also how to fit together colored stones to create original designs—from representations of Mount Ararat to puzzle-like mosaics and architectural collages. When you are happy with your work of art, Volodya will help you with varnishing and placing it on a stand to take home as an enduring memory of Armenia. If you wish to spend more time learning from this master, Volodya also offers more intensive stone-carving workshops.

Hovhannes and Volodya’s initiative has been significant for the entire region. Many of Volodya’s sculptures are displayed in the Pemzashen park, and the Stone Art guesthouse allows visitors of all ages to enjoy the village’s stone legacy within the neighbors’ own homes.

Meet your hosts

Two neighbors, economist Hovhannes Margaryan and master stone carver Volodya Saribekyan, have turned their gardens into an art gallery for you to enjoy. After their ancestors migrated from Western Armenia to Pemzashen, the two families have remained neighbors for nearly 200 years. When Hovhannes established the Stone Art guesthouse and incrementally decorated his garden, it eventually began to merge with Volodya’s open-air sculpture studio. The two decided to turn their homes into a place where they can showcase Pemzashen’s stone heritage through art. The initiative is intended not only to unleash the rich world of stones, but also to convey through them the values of Armenian culture and local identity.

From the collection of My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

From the collection of My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

From the collection of My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

From the collection of My Armenia Program

My Armenia Program

Nearby Experiences

Similar Experiences

Stay Informed

Sign up to learn more about upcoming events, activities, and our work to preserve and share Armenia's cultural heritage.