By Gayane Danielian
Charles Aznavour, the famous French singer of Armenian descent, was treated to an exceptional honor in Armenia on Friday as he inaugurated a square in central Yerevan named after him by the city authorities.
Standing amid a cheering crowd, Aznavour unveiled a stone plaque notifying that the fountain-adorned square, surrounded by the capital’s most luxurious hotel and the biggest movie theater, will carry his name from now on.
“I am very excited and moved by the honor you have done me,” the 77-year-old singer said in an ensued speech. “Never in my life did I dream about such an honor which I thought is bestowed only on deceased persons.”
“I think that my [late] parents, who are up there, must be very happy with and proud of this,” he declared in French after excusing himself for his poor knowledge of Armenian.
Aznavour, who is revered as one of the best known ethnic Armenians in the world, arrived in Armenia the previous night to attend official celebrations of its ten-year independence and the 1700th anniversary of its conversion to Christianity. He will also review the work of the Aznavour for Armenia charity which he founded shortly after the catastrophic earthquake of December 1988. He is expected to visit the cities of Gyumri and Vanadzor located in the earthquake zone.
Yerevan Mayor Robert Nazarian said the decision to name the square after Aznavour was taken in view of the retired singer’s contribution to the country of his ancestors. Nazarian also praised Aznavour for preserving his “ethnic roots.”