Chapter 14. Destruction of the cultural and historic Armenian heritage
The destruction of monuments of Armenian culture and history on the territory of Azerbaijan
fulfills an important psychological task: the obliteration of historical symbols sacred for the
enemy delivers a blow to the most vulnerable spot of the community. Arlene Audergon in
her book entitled The War Hotel: Psychological Dynamics in Violent Conflict notes that the
destruction of culture has always been and continues to be one of the main terror tactics
purporting to strip the victim of any memories linking him/her to the community.
Here, the collective spirit as a whole is at stake. One way to erase human memory and
retouch the history comes down to destroying monuments, statues and temples. The war
on the historical legacy of Armenians waged on the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan
employs precisely this approach. A renowned orientalist and academician N. Y. Marr
particularly noted with reference to Armenian khachkars: "this monument reflects each
step of development of national architecture, and often combines both currents of the
Armenian architecture: the spiritual and the secular. Khachkar truly represents the "memory
of the land of our fathers" communicating with an extraordinary force and precision the
spirit of the Armenian art".
The sad fate of the Armenian memorial cemetery of Jugha, pearl of the world culture on
the territory of the Armenian Nakhijevan, which was destroyed by order of the Azerbaijani
authorities, must be viewed in this context.
"Nakhijevan of the ancient Armenians, Naxuana of classic writers, an uyezd city of
the Erivan Governorate perched at an altitude of around 3,000 feet above sea level
on the foothills of the Karabakh upland. According to legend, it was founded by Noah
whose tomb is shown by local Armenians. Some Persian and Armenian historians
date its foundation to 1539 B.C. A well-known orientalist Heinrich Hübschmann
wrote that the toponym "Nakhijevan" originates from the Armenian prefix "nakh-"
and the root "avan" meaning "the place of the first landing".
The region was known by ancient Greek authors by its name of either "Nakhijevan"
or "Naxuana". A Jewish historian Flavius Josephus calls the place "Apobatherion"
- literal translation of the Armenian toponym. He wrote: "And then, when the ark
stopped atop a mountain in Armenia, and Noah observed this, the latter opened it
and seeing a patch of land near the ark hoped for the best and was reassured < ... >.
This place is referred by Armenians as "the site of the landing" and to this day they
show there the remains preserved from the ark".
Throughout the 20th century, especially after the transfer of Armenian Nakhijevan "under the
patronage" of the Soviet Azerbaijan, a program of de-Armenizing the region was launched,
14. Destruction of the cultural and historic Armenian heritage
including a complete obliteration of ancient Armenian material culture. Incidentally, the
Muslim population in Nakhijevan was so scant that even in the early nineteenth century
there were only six mosques in the area. Meanwhile, the region had over 200 Armenian
monasteries, churches and chapels.
The khachkars of Jugha, the well-known cross-stones[a] predominantly dating to the XIII-XVIII
centuries, are marvelous monuments and distinctive specimens of Christian memorial
The French traveler Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), who visited the area in 1648, wrote:
"Beyond the walls of that city (Julfa), which is now only desert, I saw a beautiful monument
to the ancient piety of Armenians. This is an extensive territory in which there are at least
ten thousands of marble tombstones, all amazingly well engraved. A large white marble
slab twelve feet height and eight feet wide can be seen at each grave with many beautiful
shapes engraved around a large cross. It is very pleasing to see such a large number of
In 1603, one of the first British travelers to Persia and Armenia John Newbery, left the
following entries in his memoirs:
Four days journey from Merenta [Maranda] and a day journey from Julfa, there is
a wooden pontoon bridge; there was once a stone bridge, but it disintegrated. And
Aras - this is the name the river - flows in front of the city, and the city itself lies at
the foot of mountains. This city has three thousands houses and seven churches...
It is widely known that in Middle Ages Jugha was a thriving Armenian city. However, in 1604,
the Persian shah Abbas forcibly resettled its inhabitants to Isfahan, which to this day has an
Armenian quarter known as New Jugha. Many travelers visited the ruins of the destroyed
city and its cemetery over the years.
The British orientalist Sir William Ausley, who visited the city in 1812 and found the city
fallen into a state of decay, wrote about the following: the largeness of its former population
is evidenced by a rich and full cemetery placed on a sloping riverbank and covered with
multiple rows of vertical tombstones, which, if looked not from afar, remind a gathering of
people or even a regiment set in a close formation.
The first steps in the scheme for obliteration of the Armenian monuments were taken
in November 1998, when it was observed from the Iranian side of the border that some
khachkars had been taken off their bases and smashed to pieces. Shortly after, they were
all toppled. According to International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the Azerbaijani government eliminated 800 khachkars in 1998. Although the destruction was
halted after protests from UNESCO, it, nevertheless, resumed four years later. By January
2003, a "1500-year-old cemetery was completely razed to the ground". The President of
ICOMOS Michael Petzet notes: "Now that all traces of this highly important historic site
seem to have been extinguished all we can do is mourn the loss and protest against this
totally senseless destruction".
In 1999, the president Heydar Aliyev in his speech pronounced "at a grand rally to
commemorate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Soviet Autonomous
Republic of Nakhchivan" declared Nakhijevan as "one of the most ancient lands of
Azerbaijan" with its history dating back 3,500 years and urged to "analyze, explore
and write" the history of the region. It is after this statement that the final stage of
obliterating the traces of Armenian presence in Nakhijevan was officially launched.
To this end, a special archaeological expedition was mounted to compile the list of the
Armenian monuments to be obliterated. Later, Najaf Museyibli, deputy scientific director
of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of
Azerbaijan, noted: "The expedition was created at the direct behest of Heydar Aliyev and
worked until 2003". He also notes that "there is not even the slightest trace of Armenians
in the Southern Caucasus. In the Caucasus, since ancient times and to the present day, mass
graves of a different anthropological type were found representing the ancestors of the
Azerbaijani people. This land has never had any Armenian root whatsoever".
It should be specifically underscored that the operation of ultimately obliterating the traces
of the Armenian ethnic and cultural presence was carried out by the units of the Azerbaijani
In December 2005, the Azerbaijani regular troops smashed to pieces the khachkars of Jugha
and loaded what remained of them into dump trucks. The trucks drove up to the riverbank
and dumped the debris into the river. In a very short time, the medieval cemetery was
flattened, and a military firing range was constructed in its place.
In 2006, the European Parliament formally exhorted Azerbaijan to halt the destruction in
violation of the UNESCO Convention on the World Heritage; however, in the spring of
the same year Baku debarred the commission of the European parliament from inspecting
the site of the former cemetery. Charles Tannock, British spokesman in the European
parliament, gave the following commentary of the events: "This is very similar to the
Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban. They have concreted the area over and turned it
into a military camp. If they have nothing to hide then we should be allowed to inspect the
Nevertheless, the international community has long demonstrated а remarkable
indifference to the obliteration of khachkars, while Yerevan's appeal for sending a mission
of observers to the site of destruction was barred.[b]
In 2006, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) published a report Azerbaijan:
Famous Medieval Cemetery Vanishes, in which it confirmed that nothing had been left of
the famous stone-crosses of Jugha.
Already in summer 2009, the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stated: "Nakhchivan
is an ancient Azerbaijani land. For centuries, our people have lived and built on this
splendid land. The historical and architectural monuments located in Nakhchivan
show how great the talent of the Azerbaijani people is < ... >. Nakhchivan gave
Azerbaijan great personalities. Nakhchivan gave Azerbaijan the great leader Heydar
The historian Argam Ayvazyan, a specialist of Armenian monuments in Nakhijevan, notes
that Jugha was a unique monument of medieval art and the largest of the existing Armenian
cemeteries. There were unique tombstones in the form of ram heads, a church and the
ruins of a massive stone bridge. The historian notes that nowhere in the world was there
such a large concentration of thousands of khachkars in one place. "All over Nakhijevan,
there were 27,000 monasteries, churches, khachkars, tombstones and other Armenian
monuments. Today, they are all destroyed", said Ayvazyan.
Before XI century, Nakhijevan had as much as 218 Armenian Christian places of worship
(monasteries, churches, chapels), 41 fortresses, 26 bridges, 4,500 khachkars and 23
thousands tombstones. In the early 1990s, the monasteries and churches in Agoulis,
Aproukunis, Shorot, Krna and Tskhna, and in other Armenian-populated settlements of
Nakhijevan were dynamited and razed to the ground.
In the book entitled Architecture of ancient and early medieval Azerbaijan published in 1986,
its author Davud Akhunov declares that all khachkars of Julfa in Nakhijevan are Albanian
monuments. Nevertheless, even the declaration of these khachkars (tombstones) as
Albanian heritage did not balk the Azerbaijani authorities from obliterating the medieval
The Azerbaijani propaganda employs an identical artifice in respect of Armenian historical
monuments in Artsakh. Specifically, the Azerbaijani side steadfastly ignores the existence of
numerous Armenian records of donations on the walls of the Gandzasar monastery, to which
the renowned art and architecture historian A. Jakobson refers to as the "encyclopedia of
XIII century Armenian architecture". They equally disregard the fact that the construction
of the Gandzasar complex occurred in the XIII century, when Aghvank (Albania per the
Azerbaijani version) had already ceased to exist as a state. Meanwhile, apart from the fact
that the monastery was built in the Armenian architectural tradition, its founder Hasan Jalal was an Armenian as testified by medieval historians and evidenced by inscriptions on the
А remarkable example was recorded in 2004, when the Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise,
supported by the Norwegian ambassador in Baku Steiner Gil, decided to restore and
renovate the St. Elisæus Church built in 1823 in the village of Nij. The works had to be
carried out by local Azerbaijani authorities.
The Norwegian ambassador gave the following account of the events: By the end of 2004
or early 2005, all Armenian inscriptions on the walls of the church or on the tombstones
around it were erased with scraping equipment. The Norwegian embassy and the Norwegian
Humanitarian Enterprise issued a joint press release voicing their protest against this act
of vandalism. Restoration works were suspended for a while, but, after receiving a letter
with apologies from the Udi community, Norwegian Humanitarian Enterprise agreed to
resume the funding of the restoration works. Personally, I believe this apology is essentially
unsatisfactory also because the apology was not been made public. In addition, no one
has been held accountable for this act of vandalism. Together with the other ambassadors
in Baku I was invited to the opening ceremony. I told my colleagues that because of the
vandalism and the lack of appropriate response, no one from the Norwegian embassy would
attend the opening ceremony. None of the ambassadors was present at the ceremony[c].
The vandalism scandal was exposed on February 17, 2005 in the Worldwide Religious News
magazine under the heading "Christian minority in Azerbaijan gets rid of the Armenian eye
sore" covering the incident in detail.
"We have no God, our people lost their religion under communism and this church is our
only hope of reviving it," said Georgi Kechaari, one of the village elders who doubles as the
ethnic group's historian. "But we live in Azerbaijan, and when people came into the church
and saw Armenian letters, they automatically associated us with Armenians," he said.
"The Udi, who once used the Armenian alphabet, have struggled to separate their legacy
from that of their fellow Christians, the Armenians, who fought a war with Azerbaijan and
have been vilified here. "It was a beautiful inscription, 200 years old, it even survived the
war," told Steinar Gil, Norway's Ambassador to Azerbaijan. "This is an act of vandalism, and
Norway in no way wants to be associated with it".
"They think they have erased a reminder of being Armenian ... instead they have taken
away the chance to have a good image when the church is inaugurated," said the director
of the NHE in Azerbaijan, Alf Henry Rasmussen.
Another particularly illustrative example is the church in Dashkesan, which the authorities
preferred to destroy, at the same time putting the blame for this on... Armenians.
The Albanian church in Dashkesan fell into a deplorable state because of Armenians
who sought to armenize it. This monument dating back to the fifth century is under
threat of destruction because of its ownerless status. The reason for such condition
of the monument is that Armenians attempted to armenize the Albanian church.
Later, the local population tried to destroy the church because they considered it to
be an Armenian one. In order to create an acoustic effect, empty vessels were built
into the walls of the church at the time of its construction. Those who believed that
the vessels were filled with gold stooped to destroying the walls and dug all over the
That comes to say that as long as Armenians lived in Dashkesan, and the church was
considered (and in fact is, author's note) Armenian, it was heartlessly exposed to sack and
pillage. In line with its new Albanization policy of the Christian heritage on the territory
of Azerbaijan, the church was declared Albanian, and its destruction condemned with
perpetrators readily found: Armenians.
The importance and the role of Armenians in shaping the historical architectural look of
Baku in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - as the economic growth propelled the
city through an urban development boom - are now passed over in silence. In many ways,
the architectural look of Baku was formed thanks to the active and effective involvement
of St. Petersburg-educated Armenian architects and builders. The architects below made
an especially significant contribution into the construction of Baku: G. Ter-Mikayelyan, V.
Sargsyan (Sarkisov), N. Bayev, H. Ter-Hovhannisyan (Qajaznuni), F. Aghalyan, A. Kandinyan, M
Ter-Grigoryants. The Armenian architects gave an overhaul to the new style stemming from
Russia and created in Baku some distinctive specimens of architecture and construction.
One of the founders of Baku architectural style is Gabriel Ter-Mikayelyan, who was the
author of public buildings erected in the early twentieth century. Ter-Mikayelyan drafted the
facade of the main building of the city magistrate. He designed (1910-1912) the building of
the Center for Public Gatherings (now the Philharmonic Hall of Azerbaijan), the maternity
hospital (1899), the building of the Baku branch of the Commercial Bank of Tiflis (1902-
1903) which presently houses the shop "Detskiy Mir" and the College of Commerce (1905-
1910). An important aspect of Ter-Mikayelyan's work was the construction of churches.
Another major contribution to the architecture and urban development of Baku in the early
twentieth century was made by N. Bayev. In 1911-1918, he was the chief architect of Baku.
In 1913, he designed the building of Mailyan Brothers Theater (now the State Academic
Opera and Ballet Theater), a hospital complex (19 infirmaries and 24 buildings), several
schools, a grammar school, residential buildings of Salimanov, Sheremetyev and others,
Sabunchi railway station (1927), surgical hospital after Semashko, the Armenikend district
The Armenian architect V. Sargsyan designed over 10 buildings in the oil industry city of
Baku. F. Agalyan designed the buildings of the grammar school, the maternity hospital, the
treasury, the Workers House and many others. A number of buildings were also designed
by H. Qajaznuni, M. Ter-Grigoryants and many others. The buildings designed by Armenian
architects, still beautify Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.
Incomplete list of destroyed Armenian historical monuments on the territory of the
Republic of Azerbaijan:
The Church of St. John of the 17th century (or St. Holy Mother, Surb Astvatsatsin) in the
village of Azat (Suluk), Khanlar region of Northern Karabakh, was dynamited, but withstood
due to its solid structure.
The Church of the Holy Savior of the 17th century in the village of Kamo, Khanlar region
of Northern Karabakh, desperately needed restoration as its roof had almost completely
sloped down, and only the altar stayed intact under the roof. After occupying the church
in 1989 and banishing the last Armenian residents in 1990, the Azerbaijanis blew up the
church, and now only a few stones indicate the place, where once was the altar.
Chapel and church on the nearby hill in the village of Metsshen, not far from Berdzor
(Lachin), Shushi region. After the withdrawal of the Azerbaijani forces from Shushi during
the Karabakh war, the chapel was revealed to be blown up, and its territory to be partially
cleared up, with only a few stones indicating the place where once the chapel stood. As for
the church, it withstood due to its solid structure and quality building mortar, despite the
attempts to destroy it.
Armenian church of St. John (Hovhannes) in the city of Ganja (Gandzak). The church dates
back to 1633. It was renovated in 1860 evidenced by a memorial plaque above the entrance.
While the church operated up to the 1990s, after the end of hostilities, the Azerbaijani
authorities decided to transform the church into a concert hall. To hide the Armenian origin
of the building, all Armenian inscriptions on the walls and inside and outside the church
were erased or shaded.
Amaras Monastery, Martuni Region of Artsakh. Under Azerbaijan's control, this monastery
dating back to the 4th century and located near the village of Machkalashen was neglected
and doomed to slow disintegration. It was restored only after the local Armenians established
control over the territory. The withdrawing Azerbaijani troops desecrated and broke to
pieces the most significant tombstone in the monastery - the tombstone of St. Grigoris,
the founder and the first Catholicos (patriarch) of the Church of Caucasian Albania. Some
original pieces have been lost, but the headstone was beyond restoration and, therefore,
was replaced by a copy. This is yet another illustrative example of how the people who
consider themselves descendants and successors of Albanians destroy the heritage of
Caucasian Albania of which they claim ownership.
The St. Gevorg Church in the village of Dashbulag formerly populated by Armenians (until
1918) was turned into a cattle-shed and presented as an "Albanian" church. The church was
built in 1828, and a record on its construction work survived. The work Land of Aluank and
the Neighbors published in 1893 by Bishop Makar Barkhudaryants also contains a reference
to this church. "Those misled into thinking that this is an Albanian church must understand
that it simply could not be Albanian as Albanians had disappeared from the international
arena 1000 years ago and therefore, could not by any means build a church 1000 years later",
writes Samvel Karapetyan, the head of the Research on Armenian Architecture NGO.
Saint Gregory the Illuminator (Lusavorich) Armenian Cathedral in Baku was built in the
Parapet Square in 1869-1871. In 1873, a parish school, library and housing for the Diocesan
church superiors were built on the premises of the cathedral. In 1888, bells were hoisted on
the cathedral. Later, the building for the Armenian Humanitarian Society was constructed
nearby to include the library. Up to 1989, the St. Gregory the Illuminator was the only
Armenian church to function in Baku. Today, the cross is removed, and the building of the
church is used as a book depository.
Virgin Mary Church of late 19th century in the Icheri Sheher district in Baku. The church
was located to the left of the Maiden Tower. It was demolished in the 1990s. According to
various sources, the church was built in 1797-1799 after Russian troops captured the city
(and was renovated later). Some data also suggest that the church was founded on the
place of an ancient pagan temple of Zoroastrians. This territory was a cult destination, and
therefore, representatives of all religions sought to found their holy places there. In 1984,
the foundation of the church developed cracks and an emergency condition. The church
was pulled down during the Karabakh conflict.
The Church of Holy Apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew in Baku was built in 1911 by
donations from E. Budagov and was designed by architect H. O. Qajaznuni (subsequently
the first prime minister of the First Armenian Republic). In the 1930s, the Cathedral was
pulled down and its foundation used for building the State Conservatory.
The Holy Resurrection Chapel was built in 1894 on the territory of the Armenian cemetery
in Baku. The Chapel was demolished in the 1930s for construction of the Upland Park.
The Armenian Evangelical Lutheran prayer house was founded in 1912 on rented land
owned by Our Savior's Evangelical Lutheran Church of the German-Swedish parish.
Nowadays, the building of Kirkha (church) hosts the Organ Concert Hall.
The Khunisavank Armenian monastery dating back to the 9th century was located in the
village of Komintern, Kedabek region, on the left bank of Getabek river. In 1895, Bishop M.
Barkhudaryants wrote in his book Artsakh: "The monastery stands east from Nor Getabek,
on the left river bank neighboring a Tatar-populated village of Mollalu. The small monastery has a splendid structure, but today it is desolate". the monastery is virtually
The St. Stepanos Church was founded in the village of Pip, Dashkasan region in 1849, mostly by donations from Stepan Mirimanyants, a resident of Tiflis and local residents.
The western wall of the church bears an inscription in memory of its founder. The latest
reconstruction of the church dates back to 1862. In 1928, it was closed down. Today, the
church is almost ruined.
The Holy Translators' Monastery of the 4th century, south from the city of Dashkasan was
founded by Saints Mesrop Mashtots and Sahak Partev. The monastery was reconstructed
first in 989 and then in 1845. It is known that bishop Eprem was the prior of the monastery in
1772. The monastery reached the peak of its prosperity under Bishop Gabriel Harutyunyan
Teryants. The next flourishing period covered the time under Archimandrite Stepanos
Balyants in the 1830s. As of today, the monastery has been demolished.
Numerous churches and Armenian cemeteries were destroyed in various regions.
In 1987, a church 8 km south from the village Banants (9-11th centuries) was bulldozed and
dumped into the gorge; the bridge Nerki Andi (12th century) was blown up "for construction
of a railway"; a church and cemetery in the village of Khachbulag (17-18th centuries) was
completely destroyed in 1970; the church in the village of Kirants (12th century) was pulled
down under the pretext of setting power-line supports; in 1970, all the tombstones -
khachkars and tapanakars - of the cemetery near the village of Amrvar (13-15th centuries)
were bulldozed and dumped into the river.
Dasno Karmir Yeghtsi Monastery in the village of Gyulambar (7th century) was pulled down
in 1937; a monastery near the village of Barsum (10th century) was demolished in 1982;
the Hreshtakapetats Church near the village of Garnaker (1816) was partially destroyed in
1986; the church of the village of Patishen (Badakend) (19th century) was dismantled for
The Mrtsunis church of the Getashen village (17th century) is partially destroyed; the church
and cemetery near the village of Murut (17th century) were completely demolished in the
1960s; the walls of the Yeghnasar monastery near the village of Ghetashen (17th century)
were deliberately damaged.
The Mandur church and cemetery near the village of Kharkhaput (1252) were completely
demolished; the church near the village Russkie Borisi (12-13th centuries) was razed to the ground; the church in the village of Verinshen (12th century) was razed to the ground, too as
it "stood on the way where a railroad was intended to be laid".
St. Sargis Monastery 4 km west from the village of Dash Salakhli in the Qazakh region. The monastery rose on the top of the mountain Surb Sargis and used to count among
pilgrimage sites of the region. It was visited at Easter and on Sundays. According to archived
documents and inscriptions on the wall of the monastery, its previous restoration was
completed in 1851 by Yesai Nurinyants, an Armenian from Tiflis. Interestingly, some sources
suggest that 736 believers made donations for the restoration totaling 2210 roubles and
23 copecks. As for the last restoration, it was carried out by Arzuman Khachaturovich Ter-
Sarkisyants, a resident of the village Kot, Qazakh region. Today, the church is in ruins.
The St. Vardan Church in the city of Qazakh was consecrated in 1901. According to some
sources, today, the church is used as a coffee shop. The other church in the city, a Russian
church, is used as a sports facility. The church was looted during the Armenians pogroms of
1905-1906. It is known that in 1907-1912, the Armenians of Qazakh expressed their desire
to restore the fence of the church. Later, the church was raided by Tatars in 1918.
The church Surb Astvatsatsin (The Holy Mother of God) dating to the 18th century was turned
into a club; the church Surb Astvatsatsin Cholaga (The Holy Mother of God) dated 8-10th
centuries was pulled down; the church Surb Gevorg of the 19th century was demolished;
the church Surb Grigor Lusavorish (Zham) dating to 1869 was pulled down; the church Surb
Kirakos dating to 1913 was pulled down; the church Surb Sargis (17-18th centuries) was
turned into a museum.
In Azerbaijan, all the restoration works of Armenian monuments sought to completely erase
any Armenian inscriptions and any traces of the Armenian architecture. Under the Soviet
regime, no Armenian architectural monuments were restored (or at least categorized)
in either Nagorno-Karabakh, or on the entire territory of Azerbaijan. This fact may by no
means purport to reflect the religious intolerance and oppression of the communists, since
all sparse monuments of Islamic culture (incidentally, all of them dated back to no earlier
than the 18th century) on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh were fully restored.
The period of the Azerbaijani administration of Nagorno-Karabakh and the years of
Azerbaijan's armed aggression against the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh saw the
destruction, blasting and complete demolition of 167 churches, 8 monastery complexes,
123 Armenian historical cemeteries and 47 settlements. Over 2,500 khachkars (crossstone
memorials) of high artistic merit and over 10,000 tombstones with epigraphs were
dismantled for building material. 13 historical and archaeological sites were bulldozed to
the ground. Monuments in the caves of Tsakhach, Mets Taghlar and Azokh were blown up.
The khachkars, tombstones, churches and fortress walls (5-8th centuries) in the settlements
of Mokhrablur, Sarashen, Aknaberd and Manadzor were ruined. Most of the wall of the unique fortress Mayraberd (16-17th centuries) was pulled down.
The above examples are, regrettably, incomplete, but are illustrative of the terror tactics
employed against the Armenian cultural heritage in the region aiming to completely erase
any vestiges of their historical presence on the territory of today's Azerbaijan.
previous _____________________________________________________ next
[a] In the nineteenth century, foreign historians named monuments of this distinctive group "cross-stone" as translated from the Armenian word "khachkar".
Researchers highlight khachkars as "architectural endemics of Armenia" with a distinct national identity. Hundreds of thousands of such monuments mark
the former vital space of the Armenian people and outline the borders of its historical homeland.
Today, from thousands of memorial khachkars survived only those which were moved from Jugha in the nineteenth century by a Russian geographer and naturalist, a corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences Gustav Radde for the Caucasian Museum of Nature and History in Tiflis (at
present, the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia) established in 1867 and several other khachkars were moved to the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin in the
A personal message from Steiner Gil to R. Galechyan. August, 2008.