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San Lazzaro degli Armeni island
Complementary to the work of the monks is the hospital for lepers of St. Trovaso that is transferred to St. Lazarus for the initiative of noble Leon Paolini (1182). It is from this moment that the island takes its current name in clear reference to the activity performed. At this time also dates back the construction of the first church dedicated to St. Leo the Great.
In the fourteenth century is built the present church of St. Lazarus.
The drastic reduction of cases of leprosy makes the Senate to decide on a reallocation of pro-poor use of the island (half of '500), but soon is decided the transfer of any assets near St. Giovanni e Paolo in Venice (1601). The island remains deserted until 1651 when some Dominican Fathers refugees from Crete settle in St. Lazarus for about 20 years.
In 1678 it is the turn of the Jesuits, who live for a short time as the Senate decides the trasformation in a factory of arms for its war needs due to conflict of Morea in Greece. At the end of '600 San Lazzaro is inhabited by a chaplain who say mass every day and attended by gardeners of Venice.
In 1717 the Senate gives the island forever to the Fathers Armenians Mechitaristi persecuted by the Turks and the island so completes its name into the current one. Following projects by Mechitar himself are carried out renovation and construction of the church and convent. St. Lazarus becomes the seat of a printing shop for texts in oriental languages (1789) which will save it from suppression after the Napoleonic edict on religious orders (1807) as treated as a cultural center. During 800 and 900 some reclamation and maintenance of the area gives it its current appearance. A curiosity: at the beginning of 800, the islands is frequented by the poet Lord Byron that he learns the Armenian and appreciates very much the Vartanush, a special jam made of rose petals still produced by monks on the island.
On the island you can visit the tomb of Mechitar (1676-1749), the gardens, the church, the monastery, a museum of manuscripts and a library which houses about 200,000 volumes.
San Lazzaro degli Armeni is accessible from the San Zaccaria, near Piazza San Marco (line 20) in about ten minutes. For times and info, please visit his official website:
Web Site: San Lazzaro degli Armeni
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