UNESCO Intangible Heritage
Armenian “Lavash” Bread
World famous UNESCO has recently declared “Lavash” bread as Intangible Armenian Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Though the neighboring countries also submitted their applications for lavash to be announced as the integral part of their cuisine, nevertheless Armenia won… Lavash bread is inseparable part of every Armenian family’s everyday dish. Lavash is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats, and can be preserved for up to six months. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. The group work in baking lavash strengthens family, community and social ties. As other cultural values, this one as well boasts with a list of legends, here is one of them.
In the ancient times, there was king Aram of Armenia. It so happened that during one battle the Assyrian king Nosor captured him. There was a condition brought forward by the winner: “You will stay hungry, without bread for ten days. On the eleventh day we will compete in archery – if you win, I will let you go unharmed, you will return to your people with gifts, honorable for a king.’’ The next day Aram demanded to bring the most beautiful armature from the Armenian army standing at the borders of Assyria. Assyrian soldiers hurried off. Armenians immediately guessed that their king hinted at something, and to gain the time to think, they detained soldiers throughout the night. At dawn, the Assyrians rushed back to the king Aram and gave the armature to him. They did not know that thin bread (Lavash) was hidden in the armor. In those days no one knew anything about Lavash and couldn’t even guess that the bread could be hidden in armature. Aram took the armature, and then suddenly said that it was not the most beautiful onr, and the soldiers had to go back again to bring another. But Armenian king did not like any of them making the soldiers bring new armatures every day till the expiry of the stated date.
On the eleventh day Nosor and Aram went on a shooting range. Nosor was sure that Aram, left without bread, lost courage, strength and keenness of vision. But what a surprise! Aram came off victorious in the competition and returned to his country with honor through the help of Armenian bread which saved him. After returning to Armenia, the king ordered to announce across the country: “Henceforth Armenians must bake only Lavash instead of other breads…’’