Armenian Jerusalem
            The Armenians   of   Jerusalem   enjoy   the   distinction   of   having   established   the   city's   first printing press.        Copy   was   set   by   hand,   a   cumbersome   and   time-consuming   task,   which   remained   practice until quite recently when hot metal (Linotype) was introduced.        When Archbishop Torkom   Manoogian   ascended   to   the   throne   of   St   James,   he   revamped the   process,   and   the   printing   press   was   speedily   computerized   and   converted   into   a state-of-the-art enerprise. and its location moved outside the convent.        The   facility   has   been   a   proficient   producer,   catering   not   only   to   the   needs   of   the Patriarchate,   in   particular   publication   of   its   official   gazette,   SION,   but   also   providing local writers with an affordable avenue for expression.      A copy of the first book printed here, in 1833, is on show at the Gulbenkian library.       Originally,   the   building   had   been   a   caravanserai   where   caravan   leaders   parked   their camels,   as   evidenced   by   the   curious   metal   rings   nailed   to   the   wall   at   the   entrance.   The huge manual printing machine is also on display, as are the leads of cold of lead type.         The    building    has    now    been    converted    into    an    exhibit    of    rare   Armenian    books, including   the   first   book   (an   almanac)   ever   printed   in   Armenian    (in   Venice,   in   1512),   and the first printed Armenian bible (the work was done in Amsterdam, in 1666).    
This project has been supported by the Gulbenkian philanthropic Foundation, the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and members of the worldwide Armenian community. Reproductions of the genealogical documents [domar’s] are courtesy Photo Garo, Jerusalem. Copyright © 2007 Arthur Hagopian

First issue of gazette

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