Bookstore “Luys”: Old Yerevan bookstore you would love to visit
Those who enter the store for the first time are usually surprised by the interior of the store – there is definitely no such design in any Yerevan store.
In the early 40s of the last century, at the end of the current Mashtots Avenue (formerly Joseph Stalin Avenue), a small tobacco shop appeared. It was unusually and picturesquely decorated with carved and painted furniture, and surprisingly, almost eight decades have passed, but the interior of the store remains the same as on the opening day.
Then, years later, a music store was opened here, selling sheet music and musical literature. In the 1990s the store has already started operating as a bookstore.
Hovhannes Nagashyan, the famous cabinetmaker, who is considered the founder of the Armenian style in furniture called “Nagashyan”, designed the store in a sophisticated oriental style – walls, ceiling were painted with intricate patterns, carved wooden elements adorn the cornices.
Hovhannes Nagashyan was born on January 16, 1876 in Yerevan, in Kanaker. He graduated from school here. It is not known what made the teenager leave his father’s house and walk to Tiflis in seven days.
Lacking a livelihood, he began to carve toys from wood and sell them on the streets of Tiflis (modern Tbilisi, Georgia). He was noticed by a passer-by who had a furniture workshop. He took the boy to his place, provided him with shelter, food and taught him the art of woodworking.
Since 1920, Hovhannes Nagashyan began to work in Yerevan. Nagashyan made the front door of the Russian Church in Kars (Turkey) and the doors of the Russian St. Nicholas Church in Yerevan.
Nagashyan is also the author of furniture for the Public Library in Yerevan, the Palace of Pioneers, some universities and state institutions. In the early 50s he made the furniture for Matenadaran. It is hard to imagine that it was made by the hands of an almost eighty-year-old master.
Hovhannes Nagashyan died in 1968 at the age of 92. Unfortunately, much of Nagashyan’s furniture has been lost. New time, new architecture demanded from “small architecture” submission to itself and to the image of the modern time…
Today the “Luys” bookstore sells fiction in various languages, albums of world famous artists, Armenian studies literature, books on modern philosophy and second-hand books. Here you can also buy sheet music, postage stamps, souvenirs, paintings and postcards.