Charm and mystery
The striking island of San Lazzaro Venice is located in the lagoon where stands the Monastery of the Mekhitaristi. On the island, was born a prime location in the world for the dissemination of Armenian culture.
In the past, the island boasted a perfect location for the quarantine, in the twelfth century, it became a leper hospital (lazaretto), acquiring the name of St. Lazarus, patron saint of lepers as a beggar.
The Republic of Venice, in 1717, gave it to a group of Armenian monks who fled Turkish persecution. Then Manug of Peter, known as Mekhitar (the comforter) with his seventeen monks provided for the restoration of the church and monastery, and the magnification of the island until the current three hectares. Later, Mekhitar worked to spread knowledge in the East with the help of young compatriots he met and trained.
Inside the church, there is a library containing about two hundred thousand volumes, as well as a museum with over four thousand Armenian manuscripts and archaeological finds from Egyptian, Oriental, and Roman, including the mummy of Nehmeket dating back to 1000 BC. Scientific, literary and religious were translated into Armenian by different languages. After the death of Mekhitar, in 1786, multilingual typography was founded that developed Mekhitar’s project. In the library are kept priceless works of art by Palma the Younger and Ricci, as well as a beautiful fresco by Tiepolo.
Important people have lived in the past on San Lazzaro Venice
San Lazzaro Venice. Famous people have stayed on the island among them the poet George Gordon Noel Byron, English politician, VI baron Byron, better known as Lord Byron (22/01/1788 – 19/04/1824) – who, in 1816, studied the Armenian language and today is remembered with the help of a permanent exhibition. It is said that the poet adored the jam made from petals of the rose, a typical recipe of Armenia and known as “Vartanush” which is still produced today by means of the rare roses grown on the island.