The director of the Foundation for Research of Armenian Architecture Samvel Karapetyan has recently published a book named “Azerbaijan beyond civilization”. The book tells about the historical monuments in Azerbaijan destroyed by the country’s government.
“The book features the stories of approximately 120 Armenian Christian historical monuments that had been located in the territory of modern Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan and were destroyed by the Azerbaijani. It also covers Artsakh monuments that have been under the control of Azerbaijan during the Nagorno-Karabakh War,” said Karapetyan.
“Azerbaijan beyond civilization” features photos of historical monuments prior to and after demolition. The images are supplemented by the descriptions of the monuments in 3 languages.
“Since the 1960s, Azerbaijan presented all Christian monuments in its territory as Albanian and introduced Caucasian Albanians as the ancestors of the Azerbaijani. But even those monuments haven’t been spared. In the territory of Azerbaijan, every Armenian monument starting from the renowned cemetery in Julfa [previously known as Jugha] and ending with small temples has been destroyed.”
But if those monuments are Albanian and the Albanians are the ancestors of the Azerbaijanis, why are the latter destroying those monuments instead of presenting them as testimonies to their alleged indigenousness to the territory of their country?
Vandalism against civilization
On May 4, 2017, the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia held a discussion on the topic “Armenian cultural-historical monuments of the Near Spyurk (diaspora).” Samvel Karapetyan presented his report.
Since the 1990s, Karapetyan has been systematically investigating the Armenian historical-cultural monuments in the territories of Azerbaijan, Turkey, Georgia, Iran, published a number of remarkable books and albums telling about the condition of the Armenian cultural heritage in those countries as well as about the barbaric extermination of Armenian architecture in Turkey and Azerbaijan and the contrasting saving attitude of the Iranians towards the Armenian monuments.
Karapetyan told about the activity of the Foundation for Research of Armenian Architecture and shared their plans for the future. Speaking of the condition of monuments in Azerbaijan, Karapetyan remarked that their elimination has been a regular thing in Azerbaijan over the decades as they are viewing the Armenian cultural heritage as evidence of the reality, in which Azerbaijan doesn’t have any local ancestry.
That’s why since the times of USSR, Azerbaijan pursued to wipe out traces of Armenian presence at all costs. In the first place, their policy has been directed towards Christian monuments, cemeteries, khachkars, tombstones with Armenian inscriptions. Cases of the barbaric approach of Azerbaijanis towards Armenian monuments have been recorded in Nakhichevan, northern Artsakh, and territories on the left bank of Kur River.
As for Armenian structures of practical purpose such as bridges, Azerbaijanis simply remove Armenian inscriptions from them. An example of this approach is the Lazarus Bridge in the Kashatagh Region of Artsakh.
But after all, Azerbaijanis didn’t realize that the traces of history don’t disappear even after the destruction of historical-cultural monuments. In their attempts to prove to the world their indigenousness to their territory, Azerbaijanis have ended up in a ridiculous situation, as the example with the “Albanian” monuments has demonstrated. Khachkars in Julfa have attracted diplomats, travelers, and art critics from all over the world. But this didn’t prevent these pieces of art from being eliminated by the Azerbaijani military.
Karapetyan is assured that the government of Azerbaijan follow the example of the “elder brother” Turkey, which has been acting in the exact same way in the territory of Western Armenia. They not only strip Western Armenia of Armenian cultural heritage but also hurt the whole world culture.
Karapetyan continued, “Only 2-3% of the Armenian monuments in Western Armenia stand now. The rest is destroyed. And today, to show their ‘tolerance towards the cultural heritage of other peoples’, they loudly declare the reconstruction of world-renowned monuments in Ani and Aghtamar.
At the same time, during the restoration of the Surb Khach Church in Aghtamar, a 10th-century Armenian monastery located 5-6 kilometers from the church was wiped from the face of the earth. Apart from that, the facing of Armenian churches and monasteries in Turkey is being removed, which could result in the complete breakdown of ancient monuments.
In such conditions now stand the 7th-century Mren Temple, the majority of the churches of the 10th-13th-century St. Oromos Monastery, the 9th-century St. Khtskonk Monastery. Such facts clearly demonstrate that both Turkey and Azerbaijan intend to destroy the Armenian cultural heritage and falsify history.”
At the end of his report, Karapetyan demonstrated a film about the condition of the monuments in nearby Spyurk.
Julfa – History of Armenian khachkars destruction by Azerbaijan