Of the 6 Armenian villages that formed around Musaler in Western Armenia and fought one of the most memorable self-defense battles of the 20th century, Vaqef is the only one still inhabited by Christian Armenians. There are many misconceptions about the village of Vaqef. First of all, this beautiful village is not the only one inhabited by ethnic Armenians in occupied Western Armenia. Finally, let us not forget the many villages in Mush, Sasun, Hamshen and various other provinces, where ethnic Armenians continue to live with various identity manifestations. All Armenians living in Vaqef are Christians and have a unique opportunity to have an active Armenian church in the village itself. Or rather, they had. The earthquake that shook Vaqef on February 21 also left the local church of the Holy Virgin Mary half destroyed.
Remembered each year by the clinking of jars filled with harissa, joyful singing, and homemade local wine during the blessing of the grapes festival, everyone’s favorite village of Vaqef now lives in a chilling silence in the air. The earthquakes that hit Western Armenia were devastating for the people of Musaler. Unfortunately, many Vaqef Armenians are still unable to return home, and there is an urgent need for tents in the village to provide temporary shelter for those who remain outside. According to community leader Perch Karatun, the village’s St. Mary the Virgin Church was also damaged and many homes, including historic ones, were destroyed.