A Forensic Study Tracks Azerbaijan’s Destruction of Armenian Culture in Nakhichevan

Armenian Khatchkars destroyed in Djulfa
Armenian Khatchkars destroyed in Djulfa

Armenian Khatchkars destroyed in Djulfa

Last week, Hyperallergic.com published a groundbreaking forensic report trackingAzerbaijan’s recent destruction of Armenian cultural structures—89 medieval churches, 5,840 intricate cross-stones, and 22,000 tombstones—largely in Djulfa in Nakhichevan.

The report’s authors, Simon Maghakyan and Sarah Pickman, meticulously track the Azerbaijani government’s systematic campaign from 1997 to 2006 to rid the area of any Armenian structure or artifact in an effort to erase the area’s Armenian origin.

The report titled, “A Regime Conceals Its Erasure of Indigenous Armenian Culture,” introduces the reader to Armenia-based researcher, Argam Ayvazyan, who anticipated the destruction decades before it occurred.

“In 1965, after being taken to a police station for photographing a church near his birthplace, Ayvazyan received a warning from a visiting KGB chief, who treated the teenage offender to tea. In a recent interview with the authors, Ayvazyan recalled that Comrade Heydar Aliyev told him in Russian, ‘Never again do such things, there are no Armenian-Shmarmenian things here!’ Four years later, Comrade Aliyev would become Soviet Azerbaijan’s leader and then, in 1993, president of independent Azerbaijan,” write the authors of the Hyperallergic piece.

The article also delves into the 2005 march of the Azerbaijani army to Djulfa, where they destroyed Armenian cross-stones—Khatchcars—and were recorded by the then Prelate of Northern Iran, who was tipped off by the Iranian border guards who observed the military build-up from the border.

The authors also decry and discuss the lack of international reaction to the mass destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage sites, including UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, whose former leaders became allied with Azerbaijani government-run non-governmental organizations and groups.

Maghakyan is the founder of Djulfa.com, which chronicles the destruction of Armenian monuments in Nakhichevan. Founded in 2009, Hyperallergic, in an online “forum for playful, serious, and radical perspectives on art and culture in the world today,” as described on its website.

Read the entire Hyperallergic article. 


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  1. State of Emergency said:

    And yet Putin just watches without even raising a finger. It’s becoming all too obvious that since the beginning of the last century there has been a worldwide conspiracy against the Armenian nation. Beginning with genocide and ending with resettlements in foreign lands. It is no accident that in the aftermath of the genocide there were no Armenians anywhere in the world with refugee immigrant status. Every single Armenian, wherever they may have landed, received full rights citizenship in their new adoptive countries. This was not accidental but rather by design. A well thought out plan to integrate and assimilate the Armenian people and make it difficult for them to return to their ancestral lands. By receiving full rights, Armenians were able to purchase land and property and thus making it economically impossible for them to relocate voluntarily. Even today, as war waged in Syria Armenians were slow or even reluctant to leave behind their possessions and property. Some even talked about the desire to return to Syria at the end of the war. It seems the conspirator’s plans were successful. They fundamentally changed the course and direction of Armenian history. People have adapted to new traditions and identities in the course of the last hundred years. For the conspirator’s there is no reason to change the status quo. It is already altered to their desired plans.

    • Raffi said:

      @State of Emergency: Putting the blame on Putin is a cheap shot, Why don’t you blame President Trump too? all US Presidents have been silent and til now they haven’t recognize the Armenian Genocide.

  2. john abajian said:

    someone should send the Hyperallergic article to the NYTIMES and the WASHINGTON POST

  3. ars said:

    their day will come when they are all gone and we take back our lands and country they butchered- karam- they are doomed- they are dirt

  4. Ari said:

    It’s time for Russia to stop their pro-Turkish policy of past 100 years that has cost the Armenian nation the gifting of Nakhichevan and Western Armenia to the Turks. Russia has an obligation to the Armenian nation in restoring a well past-due justice. Wilsonian ArmenIa boundaries must be restored in accordance with international law.