St. Petersburg University to teach Caucasian languages again

The Caucasian languages will be taught at St. Petersburg State University again -- the Caucasian studies department was opened after a 50-year break, said dean of the University's faculty of oriental studies Ivan Steblin-Kamensky.

The presentation of the Caucasian studies department will take place at the University's centre on Monday, November 18th. Taking part in it will be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Armenia in Russia Armen Smbatyan, head of the Novo-Nakhichevan and Russian diocese of the Armenian Apostle Church Bishop Ezras, and representatives of Transcaucasian parliaments.

Within the framework of the presentation the participants will be informed about a new programme of the University, and a photo exhibition "The Beauty of the Caucasus" will be opened. It will show 50 works devoted to the historical sights of Georgia and Armenia. They will also visit the library of the Caucasian studies cabinet where collections of manuscrpts, xylographs, rare books, and lithographs in the Armenian, Georgian and other languages of the Caucasian peoples are kept.

The Caucasian studies originated in Russia at St. Petersurg University. In 1818 the courses were organised there to teach the Armenian language, and in 1844 the chair of the Caucasian philology was created at the University on the decree of Emperor Nikolai I. In the 1950s this chair was liquidated, and the Caucasian languages were studied at the academies and universities of the Caucasian republics.

Since September 2002, six students have entered the Caucasian Studies Department (the oriental studies faculty, the chair of the Iranian philology). They will study the Armenian, Persian, Georgian, Arab, Chechen and other languages of the Transcaucasian peoples, as well as their history, geography and ethnography.

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