Cultural genocide

  • by Western Armenia, November 25, 2023 in Culture

As satellite photos released by the Caucasus Heritage Watch initiative clearly show, Meghretsots Street in the town of Shushi was damaged as a result of construction work carried out in the occupied town of Shushi. Remains of the Astvatsatsin church. According to the satellite photo taken on November 3, 2023, the Azerbaijani side used heavy equipment to backfill all construction debris from the surrounding area on the foundation walls and volumes of the church opened by the 2017 excavations. As of 2021, Satellite photos documented only the area becoming neglected and grassy.

Meghretsots Street of the said church was built in 1838 at the expense of Mahtes Hakhumyants. In the 1960s, most of the volume of the church was demolished by the Baku authorities, adapted and transformed into an open-air summer cinema. It should be noted that starting from the 1960s, the Azerbaijani authorities began to actively expropriate the cultural heritage of the city of Shushi, artificially changing the cultural image of the city and transforming it into an Azerbaijani cultural center.

As a result of this policy, the Armenian quarter of the city of Shushi and its monuments were significantly damaged. In particular, the Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in the city of Shushi was placed in a state of emergency and the Green Church was transformed into a mineral water drinking room. The Kusanats monastery and the churches of Aguletsots Amenaprkich were completely demolished and destroyed. In those same years, the city's Armenian cemetery was destroyed by the Baku authorities. In the case of Meghretsots Church, Azerbaijani authorities destroyed most of the church walls by explosions and the remaining foundation walls, more than a meter high, were covered by asphalt.

According to the decision of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, on December 7, 2021, calls for the destruction of Armenian churches were banned. "Azerbaijan is obliged to take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration committed against the Armenian cultural heritage..." Let us also add that the damage caused to the cultural values of each nation constitutes a blow to the cultural heritage of all humanity, because each nation has its own contribution to global cultural diversity.