YEREVAN — Armenia has been in a constant tug of war between tradition and modernity, and a district that fully embodies this struggle is Kond. Kond, which means long hill in Armenian, is one of the three original districts of Yerevan, and was formerly known as Tepebashi during the 17th-century Persian rule. Today, it is known for its vibrant street art which stands in contrast to its history.
One of the historical relics in Kond is the 17th-century Tepebashi Mosque, which was used as a place of refuge for Armenians after the Armenian Genocide. After the genocide, 17 families were housed in the mosque. Today, with generations moving in and out of the district, four families remain. Each has their own “apartment” or section of the building.
Two current residents are Clara, 6, and Garush, 82. The two are neighbors, with drastically different worldviews of the space they occupy.
When walking through the Kond, one might miss the mosque at first glance. However, if one pays attention to the buildings, one can see the characteristic arches of the mosque at its entrance.
Upon entering the mosque through its creaky wooden door, one will find a large well with a faucet that the residents use for drinking and washing. It was there that Clara first introduced herself. The 6-year-old seemingly knew what she was doing in front of the camera, because journalists have visited the mosque quite often and she has done several interviews, according to her mother, Silva.
Since Clara is so young, she sees her surroundings as a playground. During this interview, she spoke about her late grandmother, who was one of the older residents of the mosque, along with Garush, before her death.