Saturday, December 17, 2005

Desecration of Nakhichevan Memorials

В посольство Армении в Иране из армянской епархии Атрпатакана поступила информация о том, что около 100 азербайджанских солдат, ворвавшись на кладбище Старой Джульфы, находящейся на берегу реки Аракс, при помощи молотов, лопат и тяжелой техники разрушают и превращают в пыль хачкары (камни-кресты), спасенные в 2002 году от осквернения со стороны азербайджанцев, сообщает посольство РА в ИРИ.
Этот инцидент является очередным шагом азербайджанского государства по искажению истории, посредством чего предпринимается попытка уничтожить в Нахичеване армянский след. В связи с этим лидеры трех армянских епархий Ирана от имени армянства выразили свое возмущение и ярость и обращаются к международному сообществу, международным организациям, в частности, к ЮНЕСКО с тем, чтобы последнее в рамках своего мандата и регламента предприняло шаги для предотвращения очередного культурного геноцида со стороны Азербайджана. Помимо этого, посольство Армении в Иране по дипломатическим каналам поставило в известность МИД РА и продолжает следить за развитием событий.

Фотографии, сделанные с иранской стороны в 2002 году

Кладбище Джуги известно своим большим числом средневековых хачкаров, число которых было около 10.000

Рассматривая некоторые из хачкаров с близкого расстояния, можно заметить, что они были разбиты молотом на куски.

Хачкары по ту сторону железнодорожного полотна. Фотография сделана с иранской стороны. Сегодня многих из этих хачкаров уже нет на прежнем месте.

Акты вандализма по отношению к памятникам армянского культурного наследия

Фотография снята после того, как некоторые хачкары были повержены. Через несколько дней из уже не было.

Desecration of Nakhichevan Memorials

by James Kirby Tomblin

A recent Azeri state-sanctioned campaign to destroy and ruin Armenian
khatchkars and graves in the Julfa region of Nakhichevan, recently
attracted international attention with Armenia's Culture Ministry and
the late Armenian Catholicos Karekin I, stepping in to end the
destruction of Armenian monuments at the hands of Azeris.

Disturbing eyewitness accounts emanated from Northern Iran, regarding
desecration of the Armenian khatchkars in the Nakhichevan region of the
former Soviet Union. This has appeals to UNESCO by Armenia foreign
ministry officials and Catholicos Karekin.

A group of visitors to the St. Stephen's Armenian Church in Tabriz
bordering the Arax River and Nakhichevan reported witnessing
desecration of Armenian graves and khatchkars in the Julfa region of
Nakhichevan. The eyewitnesses, who photographed and documented the
vandalism, said that the demolished khatchkars were carried away on a
flatbed train, while another group leveled the ground. The group was
told that this operation had been taking place for a week.

One of the eyewitnesses to the destruction, Arpiar Petrossian, a member
of the Research into Armenian Architecture organization dispatched an
appeal to the RAA chairman Armen Hakhnazarian, who alerted the monument
preservation administration at Armenia's Ministry of Culture. The
appeal included photographs and the eyewitness accounts of the

The monument preservation board chairman Gagik Gurjian told the Noyan
Tapan news agency that the ministry's office had alerted President
Robert Kocharian to take the necessary steps in halting further
desecration. The preservation board also met with Etchmiadzin
Catholicosate Vicar General Archbishop Karekin Nercissian, who pledged
that he would address the matter with Islamic religious leader of the
Central Asia and the Caucasus.

The RAA has also appealed to the UNESCO representative at Armenia's
foreign ministry, who has taken the dossier to Paris, in order to
garner international support on the matter. Hakhnazarian expressed his
anger, saying that while the government of Iran was spending national
funds to renovate Armenian monuments in that country, its neighbour was
organizing a "cultural genocide."

In his appeal to UNESCO Executive Director Federico Mayor, the
Catholicos of All Armenians has expressed his anger regarding the Azeri
authorities campaign to destroy Armenian monuments.

The Catholicos called on Mayor to do his utmost to prevent the
desecration of Armenian historical and religious monuments, while
thanking UNESCO for its efforts to preserve the Armenian monastery in
Cyprus and the Armenian Church in Baku from falling prey to Turkish and
Azeri destruction.

"On behalf of Armenians both in Armenia and the diaspora, I appeal to
you to undertake immediate measures to end the vandalism, which can be
deemed as a gross violation human rights and desecration of holy
monuments which have served as a site for prayer and pilgrimage,"
stated the Catholicos in his letter. "We are deeply angered that such
violation are taking place overtly, as the world stands idly
indifferent," stressed the Catholicos, who also dispatched an appeal to
World Council of Churches president Conrad Raiser.

Less than a week later visitors to St. Stephen's church in northern
Iran confirmed that demolition of Armenian monuments across the river
Arax in Julfa, Nakhichevan appear to have halted. Arpiar Petrossian,
who sent the first witness reports to ANN/Groong two weeks ago, was not
convinced. "The regular use of the state owned, state operated railroad
makes [this] banditry, unknown to the authorities, very improbable," he

Varujan Arakelian, who was in the area this past week, said that the
machinery and the crews which had been working at demolishing the old
Julfa cemetery two weeks ago were no longer there, and there seemed to
be no evidence that anyone had worked there for almost a week.
Arakelian also reported that the destruction he observed was more
extensive than previously believed. He observed that many displaced
stones were still on the ground, fallen. No further information could
be obtained from locals.

On 9th December, the BBC reported that the permanent representative of
the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in Baku, Hasan Zeynalov, dismissed
not only concerns over the destruction of Armenian monuments and
accused Armenians of fabricating these stories, but also claimed that
"Armenians have never lived in Nakhichevan, which has been Azerbaijani
land from time immemorial, and that's why there are no Armenian
cemeteries and monuments and have never been any."

Petrossian was nevertheless relieved at the sight of the empty
cemetery. "Although it is still too early for any conclusions, the mere
knowledge that for the moment there is no destruction there, is quite
welcome," he said. Arakelian will be traveling to the United States
soon, and is scheduled to meet with Karekin I personally. He will
present new documents and facts about both Julfa and the Red Monastery
of Astabad. A report will also be sent to His Holiness Aram I,
Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.

Julfa's cemetery is the largest Armenian cemetery known, unrivalled in
the scope, variety and creative art of its khachkars. It occupies a
shoehorn shaped area of 1600 square metres extending from north to
south to the river Arax. Estimates around the turn of the century put
the number of khachkars there near 10,000, all in good condition.

Nearly half of these were destroyed in 1903-1904, when the railway
construction passed through there without consideration to these