European traveler-archaeologist Robert Ker Porter, who visited Jugha in the early 19th century, noted: “I will not exaggerate if I say that thousands of tombstones of the ancient Armenian tribe stood out in this tomb. The various memories that come to mind, on this private plot of land in the East, suggest that one is walking through a huge cemetery…”
After the transfer of Jugha in 1648, traveler Alexander Rhodes, passing through Jugha, stated that there were about 10 thousand well-preserved cross-stones.
Three centuries after Shah Abbas, a new, ruthless hand comes to destroy the cemetery. In the 20th century, the region became part of Tsarist Russia, and the construction of the railroad (1903-1904) led to significant destruction. “The deafening explosions of mines made those who witnessed it think that this was the second hurricane to ravage old Dzhuga.”
In 1914, the talented painter M. Saryan, after visiting this cemetery, wrote: “In Djulfa, we marveled at the brilliant cross stones of Jugha. There was a railroad going through the wood of cross-stones… The cross stones struck me with their unique artistic value, amazing variety of motifs, and rhythm. At the same time, I was shocked when I saw that some of them had been destroyed during the building of the railroad.”
In the 1920s and 1930s, the South Caucasus was forcefully Sovietized, and Nakhijevan and Artsakh were annexed to Baku. It should be noted that towards the end of the 20th century, the Baku authorities began systematically destroying Armenian khachkars and other Armenian cultural heritage in the territory of Nakhijevan.
By the order of Azerbaijani authorities, the destruction of the Jugha cemetery began in November 1998, and on November 9, 2002, the cultural genocide resumed. Some of the cross stones and tombstones in the shape of an Aries were destroyed, while others were moved in an unknown direction. According to photos taken by eyewitnesses from the Iranian side of the Arax River in the autumn of the same year, not a single standing cross stone remained in the cemetery.