Great Armenians of the World: Alexander Mantashyan – the devotee of the Armenian nation
Alexander Mantashyan’s name has a great fame not only among Armenians, but also different nations of the world. The modest merchant, who later became one of the richest men in the world, lived a very modest life. The businessmen from Tbilisi did not get a brilliant education, but the few photos preserved speak about his aristocratic posture. A merchant without high education, not from a noble family, but very clever and a great humanist, and most importantly, an aristocrat from a common family: at first glance all this resembles a complex hank of controversies, but it is the combination of all this that has created a new human quality, which many nations of the world have dreamt of at different times. Alexander Mantashyan worked and created throughout his life, trying to contribute to the education and upbringing of the gifted sons of the nation. Alexander Mantashyan sponsored for the education of about 200 Armenian young people annually, people who helped our culture flourish in the 20th century. Few people now today that Mantashyan bought the first piano for Komitas – one of the visiting cards of the Armenian people.
He reached a giddy success only thanks to his knowledge, ingenuity and diligence. Still a young man, he established trade relations in Europe and the Caucasus. Having lived in England, he mastered the enterprising spirit of the Englishmen and served an example to Armenian merchants. Alexander Mantashyan was the founder of the largest Armenian industrial-commercial enterprise ever. His company had branches in Russia, Poland, Turkey, Romania, France, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and different cities of the world. A demonstration of the businessman’s endless love for his nation was the fact that all his companies were run by Armenians. Most of the workers at different enterprises of the world were also Armenians. Becoming the owner of most shares of the chief Caucasian Ban, Mantashyan provided loans to all Armenian merchants to contribute to the expansion of their businesses. One can speak long about Mantashyan’s activity, but the work of the greatest businessman of the 20th century can be described in a few words – an unprecedented large-scale patriotic activity.
Even those who do not now Mantashyan and are not aware of his activity, will fill the imprint of Armenian activity as they visit the Georgian capital. The buildings commissioned and built by Mantashyan comprise the most luxurious part of Georgian architecture. The house, where Mantashyan spent most of his life, has been preserved almost unchanged up until now. It serves as a cultural place. All buildings constructed by the Armenian businessman in the district of Sololak, where he was born and lived, are still standing. However, the most impressive are the commercial rows, which were renamed after Sharden a few years ago. Despite this, people know them as “Mantashyan’s rows.”