I didn’t know that after four years of walking down the same street in Yerevan, Armenia, I would see a wizard’s store. It is on one of the largest streets in the city center and is barely noticeable from the rows of glamour boutiques that surround it. You can see the Max&co., Luxe, Marina Rinaldi, and “Books.” Not the most original name, I agree, but that is the sign above its entrance. Did no one think about making the shop look pleasing? Turns out, many residents still do not know about this store and its past even though it is practically in the city center!
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What is so unusual? Why is it a wizard’s store? Wait until you are inside and see the treasure behind the shabby doors. Anyone that enters is left speechless for a minute or two because the store looks nothing like the other bookshops.
This is why I wanted to share these photos with you, and let people know how one place is so well preserved but still changed over time. After remembering to close your mouth from surprise, you wonder if the place is home to a Hogwarts Professor. You will never guess, but this bookstore was once a tobacco shop not so long ago.
That’s right! People used to come looking for cigars and cigarettes or smoke under this gorgeous canopy. The carved, heavy wooden shelves were stacked with tobacco pouches that are nothing but ghosts. Today, these same shelves hold books, the air is clean of smoke and is filled with the smell of old parchment instead.
The place captures you and doesn’t let you go. After you think you saw it all (the room isn’t very big) you start finding little postcards and souvenirs. The shopkeeper, Karen Gasparyan, was also caught into this mystical enchantment. He was once a frequent customer himself and became friends with the owner. One day, “he asked me to look after the store for a few days, while he is out of the country.” Karen has been working there for more than 27 years now.
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