Stone that conquers time

Stone that conquers time

Armenian tuff as key national building material

Armenia possesses about 90% of the world’s tuff resources. Besides, there are some deposits in Italy (near Rome and Naples), Turkey and Iran.

PanARMENIAN.Net - In the soviet era, Armenian tuff was used not only in the territory of the USSR but abroad as well, for example during the construction of the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1951. To build the complex, architects, designers and engineers from the Soviet Union, United States, Brazil, France, Canada, Sweden, Australia and China, as well as consultants from Greece, Poland and Yugoslavia were invited.

Tuff (from the Italian tufo) is a type of rock made of volcanic ash ejected from a vent during a volcanic eruption. Following ejection and deposition, the ash is compacted into a solid rock in a process called consolidation. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered tuffaceous.

Armenian tuff belongs to a group of rocks that emerged from volcanic ash billions of years ago, its main feature being porosity.

Tuff is a relatively soft rock, so it has been used for construction since ancient times. The Romans used it for many buildings and bridges. For example, the whole port of the island of Ventotene (still in use), was carved out from tuff. The Servian Wall, built to defend the city of Rome in the 4th century BC, is also built almost entirely from tuff. The Romans also cut tuff into small rectangular stones that they used to create walls in a pattern known as opus reticulatum.

Perceived as a symbol of eternity, houses built with tuff embodied durability, security, wealth and beauty.

Tuff has over 40 colors, varying from black to white. However, the pink tuff is mostly used for construction in Armenia. The monuments and buildings that stood through centuries despite significant temperature fluctuations prove its endurance.

The relative softness of the stone allows to treat it without using special tools, just with a saw and axe. Nevertheless, tuff is no less reliable than granite.

PanARMENIAN.Net / Tsets
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