Prestigious Austrian “Society” published an interview with the Mayor of Yerevan Hayk Marutyan. The Society-publisher Gerti Tauchhammer visited Yerevan in October 2018 on the event of the 2800th anniversary of Yerevan foundation.
-You are the Mayor of Yerevan since September 21, 2018. What are your objectives and where do you see the biggest challenges of your city in the future?
-One of the fundamental issues our political tam faced before the elections was to conduct a completely transparent and fair elections and for the first time we succeeded in it. Our main goal is to meet the expectations of those citizens who voted for us. We have inherited a lot of unresolved problems connected to public transport, recycling, landfill operation, management of multi-apartment buildings and green areas.
-In 2018 Yerevan celebrates its 2800th anniversary. What does it mean to you to be the mayor of such a historical city?
-The often ask me how we managed to determine the date so precisely? We owe for this King Argishti I. Due to the cuneiform inscription left by him today Yerevan is among those few cities which have “Birthday certificates”.
Being the Mayor of my beloved city-Yerevan is a great pride and honour for me but it is also a great responsibility, because you are the successor of dozen of generations who built it from scratch and handed us today’s city with its all glory and charm. It’s jubilee year and numerous festive events are being held throughout the year. I hope, our co-citizens and guests of the capital enjoy the festive atmosphere of Yerevan. I invite everybody to visit Yerevan, our warm and sunny city. In spite of its ancient roots, Yerevan is still a relatively young city, many buildings of which were built in the recent 150-200 years. It is a huge responsibility to preserve this rich historical and cultural heritage and to hand it down to generations.
-In comparison to other politicians a Mayor should be closer to people. How would you- as a former producer and comedian actor want your relationship with people to look like?
-All politicians must be close to people. I am sure that this is the requirement of the new times. In many countries we witness unexpected “protecting “ election processes, when the traditional parties not justifying the real public demand, get a complete defeat giving a place to new ones. In this regard, one of the most important issues for our political team representing a new Armenia is not to talk about democracy but to build it. It is important for me as the Mayor of Yerevan to ensure participation of residents in urban economy management and solving the problems of high priority for our city.
-Capital cities often function as magnets for tourism. What makes Yerevan an attractive city to visit?
-Tourism is one of the most important sectors of the economics of our country. For the last several years we have registered annual growth of 20%. Yerevan is a so-called “base” city for tourists visiting Armenia and Artsakh. This is due to the fact that all major hotels, recreation and culture centres, and the largest airport of the country are in the capital. Not touching about the details related to the sights of Yerevan and Armenia, I would like to highlight two factors. The first is out inhabitants, who receive visitors with special warm and hospitable attitude, they are full of life and humour. The second is that our city is secure and safe for everyone. In this city with a population of more than one million, you can walk at night from the remote suburbs to the city centre and back.
In the city centre, in cafes and in streets, at any time of day and night you can see young and old people, tourists and locals enjoying their rest. I think this is exactly what gives Yerevan its specific charm.