Shushi – The Largest Center of Enlightenment in Eastern Armenia

In the 19th century, the city of Shushi was the largest center of enlightenment in Eastern Armenia.

The city had 17 Armenian educational institutions, 6 Armenian libraries, 16 Armenian reading rooms, and 20 Armenian printing houses. Among the educational institutions, there were 15 schools, 1 gymnasium, and 1 higher Armenian educational institution. Here is their list:

  1. Arakelyan Real School.
  2. Paronyan school.
  3. V. Shahunts school.
  4. A. Ter-Ovanisyan school.
  5. A. Ter-Grigoryan school.
  6. Baghdasaryan school.
  7. Megretzotz school.
  8. Tiratsu Gayane school.
  9. Tadevosyan school.
  10. Aguletsoz school.
  11. Mariam Gukasyan school.
  12. Surb Ripsime school.
  13. Girls’ Monastery school.
  14. Armenian Evangelists school.
  15. Saint Mary’s gymnasium.
  16. Yeghishe school.
  17. Armenian-Protestant school.

The Arakelyan Real School in the center of Shushi was the largest educational institution not only in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), but also in the whole of Eastern Armenia.

Ilham Aliyev, posing against the walls of the ancient Armenian school of Arakelyan, built in 1880, deceiving his people, cynically stated: “Before you is the cultural heritage of the Azerbaijanis, which has been under Armenian occupation for 30 years”.

PS: In addition to educational institutions, in the 19th century Shushi had a huge number of other centers of Armenian enlightenment, including:

  1. Shkheyants and Bakaduryants library.
  2. Hasan-Jalalyan library.
  3. Dadyan library.
  4. Armenian charitable fund library.
  5. Winter club library.
  6. City Armenian library.

In addition, Shushi had 16 Armenian reading rooms and 20 Armenian printing houses, among which: Nazaryan publishing house, Bagrat Ter-Saakyan and Melkon Babajanyan printing house, Mirzadzhan Mehtesi Akopyants printing house, Armenian spiritual inspection printing house, Yesai Hasan-Jalalyan printing house, Shushi life printing house, Karabakh courier printing house, Artsiv Artsakhi printing house, and others.

The Armenian city of Shushi after it was looted by the Turks, 1920 (Photo)

This is not Stalingrad, destroyed by the Germans during the Great Patriotic War. It’s not Danzig after the bombings. Nor is it Guernica, as depicted by Pablo Picasso.

This is the Armenian city of Shushi – the former capital of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) – in March 1920, after it was looted, burned and destroyed by Turkish troops with the help of Azerbaijani gangs.

These ruins lay like this until 1961, and were then demolished by the authorities of the Azerbaijan SSR, so that no historical memory would remain. Thousands of historical architectural monuments were destroyed.

Ilham Aliyev recently stated at a CIS Presidents’ meeting that Shusha is an ancient Azerbaijani city and that he will populate it with Azerbaijanis, include it in UNESCO, and make it the cultural capital of Azerbaijan.

And not a single CIS president: neither Putin, nor Lukashenko, nor the President of Kazakhstan Kassym Tokayev, nor the President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, nor the President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, nor the President of Moldova Igor Dodon, who listened silently to Ilham Aliyev, responded a word.

Neither does the leadership of the UN nor UNESCO say anything to Ilham Aliyev. Remember, UNESCO was created to protect cultural monuments, and Ilham Aliyev’s wife is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador.

Just like that… he blew up 800 medieval churches, destroyed 12,000 ancient khachkars in Nakhichevan, erased the history of one of the region’s ancient peoples, and now, his wife is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. It’s all very simple.

We should have long realized that there is no justice in this world. The one who is strong is right. The power of weapons. The power of diplomacy. The power of unity. The power of money.

And for culture, history, honesty, justice – everyone doesn’t care. And Shushi is a vivid proof of that.

Vigen Avetisyan

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