Historian: Qarayazi plain where Keshikchidagh Monastery Complex stands in is native Azerbaijani land

Baku: The Keshikchidagh (David Gareji) Monastery Complex has been part of Albania, an ancient Azerbaijani state. The oldest layers of the monastery complex are in the style typical of Alban architecture,” Shamil Rahmanzadeh, PhD in historical sciences and researcher on Azerbaijan-Georgia territorial issues, told APA.

He said Borchali, Sighnaq, and Zaqatala have been historical provinces of Azerbaijan, covering Azerbaijan-Georgia borderlands as an uninterrupted strip of territory.

“As defined by Azerbaijani authors, these areas used to be part of the Albanian provinces of Kambisena, Hereti, and Shaki. This historical truth has been confirmed with both ancient and early medieval sources and materials of anthropological research,” the historian stressed.

Rahmanzadeh further noted that anthropological research has revealed that the people of the Hereti province shared the same anthropological group.

“At the same time, research on the distribution of types of blood in the South Caucasus, has made it clear that the inhabitants of the Alazan-Eyrichay valley and Shamakhi area have had a high level of homogeneousness on gene frequencies,” he said.

The Qarayazi plain where Keshikchidagh Monastery Complex stands in is a native Azerbaijani land, the historian said, noting that in 1917, 89 percent of the population living in Qarayazi were Azerbaijanis and 11 percent were the Germans and Russians who had been settled there in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Archeologists believe that one of the temples built in Keshikchidagh with large and roughly-hewn stones is apparently in the Alban style of architecture, according to the historian.

“Even the generalized works published in Georgia in the 1970-80s as well as in ‘the feature stories of the history of Georgia’ published in the Georgian language in 1979, begin to talk about the the David Gareji Complex having Georgian historical and cultural background only in the early eleventh century,” he added.

Keshikchidag complex is located nearly 40 km north-east from the Boyuk Kesik railway of Azerbaijan’s Agstafa district, in the border zone between Azerbaijan and Georgia, and includes 17 monasteries in sheer cliffs and caves and other religious buildings, he said.

Rahmanzadeh mentioned that Azerbaijan, which gained independence in 1917-20s, as well as Georgian peoples have faced similar threats.

“For this reason, establishment of close alliance has become an issue of vital importance in the agenda of both republics. However, the forcible accession of both Azerbaijan and Georgia to the Soviet Union in 1920 and 1921, respectively, hindered the development of relations between the two countries as independent entities of the world,” he noted.

The historian went on to add that the realities emerged upon the collapse of the Soviet Union faced Azerbaijan and Georgia with the necessity of responding together to geopolitical challenges and threats once again and determine their strategic development prospects.

“After Heydar Aliyev’s return to power, the two countries established strategic alliance and launched a number of projects of global importance”, he said.

Friendly relations between Azerbaijan and Georgia, the two neighboring countries, underwent tests and hard exams of hundreds of years, Rahmanzadeh said.

“I have to note with regret that sometimes some social and political circles of Georgia explicitly or implicitly make claims against the northwestern region, an integral part of Azerbaijan, as well as Keshikchidagh (David Gareji) monastery and our other lands. Those circles’ referring to concepts not reflecting the historical truth make our historians study the issue thoroughly from a scientific and theoretical point of view,” he completed.

Upon the decree of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, dated 19 December 2007, the “Keshikchidagh” State Historical and Cultural Reserve was established on those territory.


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