Armenia goes on destroying Azerbaijan’s heritage in occupied territories

By: Sara Rajabova

Armenia’s ethnic hatred against Azerbaijan is not limited to the occupation of 20 percent of its internationally recognized territories; Yerevan has pursued an active and aggressive campaign against Azerbaijanis and Azerbaijani culture — ethnic cleansing, pillaging of its historical, religious and cultural monuments.

Armenia’s aggression against Azerbaijan resulted not only in the annihilation of tens of thousands of Azerbaijanis, but also led to the destruction of numerous precious artifacts and monuments of great historical and spiritual value in an attempt to grab Azerbaijan’s glorious history, culture, cuisine and traditions.

The most vicious side of this vandalistic campaign is that Armenia started the looting, stealing, falsification and dispersing of Azerbaijan’s historical and cultural heritage a long time ago.

As the Armenian population grew on the historical lands of Azerbaijan – primarily on the territory of the former Iravan Khanate, the destruction of Azerbaijan cultural heritage has grown exponentially.

Thousands monuments of art and gravestones in Western Azerbaijan were all subjected to violent desecration by Armenians since the beginning of the 19th century.

The Iravan fortress, which was erected in 1504 by military leader Shah Ismail Sefevi Ravanqulu Khan, Irevan’s famous Juma mosque (built in 1606 on the orders of Shah Abbas Sefevi), Rejep Pasha mosque (1725), Abbas Mirza mosque (beginning of 18th century), Novruz Ali Khan mosque, Haggi Jafar Bey mosque, Mahammad Sertib-khan mosque – all these and many other Muslim shrines were destroyed by the Armenian vandals over the last two centuries.

But, unfortunately, Armenia’s expansionist policy against Azerbaijan’s historical and cultural heritage has not limited itself to this.

Armenians have pursued their raiding campaign unabated since the early 1990s when this country attacked Azerbaijan with illegitimate territorial claims. Since then Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions have been under military occupation.

Over the last twenty years of occupation, Armenians have rewritten history and manipulated facts about monuments, especially those belonging to ancient Albans.

The Armenians are fabricating facts about monuments of the ancient Caucasus Albania. A variety of ancient Albanian scripts, wall designs and crosses have been replaced by Armenian attributes.

Through this process of falsification and annihilation Armenia is destroying Azerbaijan heritage. Armenians attempted to convince others that the lands belonging to Azerbaijan were actually Armenian lands, which is of course an unfounded fallacy.

For over two long decades, Armenia has pillaged Azerbaijan’s occupied territories – 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s historical land – it burned, looted and destroyed Azerbaijani monuments, manuscripts and other pieces of its heritage in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh and all seven adjacent regions.

The first human dwellings like the well-known Azykh and Taghlar caves, the Garakopak and Uzarliktapa burial mounds, located in the occupied territories, are being used for military purposes. Most of them have been destroyed. Cemeteries, mausoleums, monuments, mosques, temples and monuments that once belonged to Caucasus Albania and other cultural heritage sites in the occupied regions of Shusha, Lachin, Kalbajar, Gubadli, Zangilan, and Fuzuli have been destroyed along with burial mounds in Khojaly, Aghdam, Aghdara, Fuzuli and Jabrayil.

Azerbaijan’s culture and history suffered a huge blow with Shusha’s occupation in 1992. A total of 279 religious and 104 historical and cultural monuments were destroyed in Shusha during and after the occupation.

The Gala walls, Ganja gates, the Castle of Panahkhan, the Library of Panahkhan, Govharaga mosque, Saatly mosque, the Castle of Agabeyim Aga, Caravanserai, the Khan Palace, as well as the Khan Cave, the Gakhal Cave, and Shusha Castle were looted recklessly by Armenian troops.

Armenia’s cultural vandalism led to the destruction of the monuments of Hajibeyli, Bulbul, as well as the famous poetess of Shusha, Khurshudbanu Natavan, when Armenia opened fire on such cultural relics.

In Agdam, the residence of the founder of the Karabakh Khanate, Panah-khan, and the Juma Mosque, the palaces of Hamza Sultan and Sultan Ahmad, mosques, churches and shrines, ancient stone monuments, graves and burial mounds have been destroyed.

Armenian historians have also attempted to appropriate the ancient Gavur-Gala church in the occupied part of Aghdam region. They have conducted archaeological excavations in the territory of the region, trying to open the main entrance of the Gavur fortress.

Armenian archeologists have called the ancient Gavur-Gala monument – “Tigranakert Castle”, although the monuments found in 1971 in an area called Gavur-Gala in Azerbaijan’s Agdam has nothing to do with the Armenian culture or history.

Azerbaijan has so far suffered huge damages in its economy, tourism, culture and many other fields in the wake of Armenia’s violent and aggressive policy in the region.

Baku’s latest calculations showed that the damages caused by Armenia during the years of occupation stand at an estimated $700 billion.

The destruction and damaging of historical and cultural monuments by the Armenian invaders in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan contradict the 1954 Hague convention on preservation of cultural values during armed conflicts, the 1992 European convention on preservation of archeological heritage, and the 1972 UNESCO convention on preservation of world cultural and natural heritage.

Several international organizations including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have repeatedly slammed Armenia most severely for the destruction of Islamic artifacts in the invaded lands.

In 2005 and 2010, the OSCE fact-finding missions confirmed Armenia’s vandalism against Azerbaijan Islamic heritage in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Since, the inhuman treatment of a nation’s cultural heritage has been seen as a war crime – Armenia should therefore stand trial for its war crimes and crimes against humanity.

SOURCE: Azer News