Vartan Gregorian was born in the ancient city of Tabriz in northern Iran. In his lovely autobiography, The Road to Home, Vartan notes that some archeologists believe that the historical location of the Garden of Eden was in Tabriz. But it was a dusty and unlovely place when Vartan was a boy. He was the oldest child of a modest Armenian family which put him in the minority in a polyglot region that was dominated by Shia Muslims. His mother died when he was six. His father was distant and chilly, and then later, there was the evil stepmother. But at the age of 12, Vartan volunteered to be a book shelver in the Armenian Church’s library, and there—amidst the leather-bound volumes in many languages, the bearded scholars in black gowns, the centuries of accumulated knowledge, and the sun-dappled quiet—Vartan found his Eden, and he never left it.

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