Armenian Monuemen’s Being Destroyed by Neighboring Countries

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The destruction and misappropriation of Armenian monumen’s in the countries bordering Armenia has become a public policy–Samvel Karapetian–the author of a number of works dedicated to Armenian historical monumen’s–told Noyan Tapan. But–"through the destruction and misappropriation of its neighbor’s civilization–no people will obliterate its neighbor’s history nor will create its own."

Karapetian’s work entitled "Georgia’s Public Policy And Cultural Monumen’s" includes the materials about the destruction and misappropriation of cultural monumen’s in Georgia–substantiated by the evidence of 115 eyewitnesses and by the photos of those monumen’s taken by the author in different years. According to him–about 300 inscriptions in the Armenian language disappeared or were blotted out from the walls of about thirty Georgianized churches and other buildings as well as from gravestones in Georgia. Karapetian said that in Tbilisi alone dozens of Armenian churches were destroyed and thousands of graves were defiled. In particular–during the construction of a Georgian church (whose ceremonial foundation was attended by Georgian Patriarch Iliya II and President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze)–at the place of the ancient Armenian cemetery Khojavank–hundreds of graves including those of renowned Armenian figures–were destroyed. Karapetian pointed that the registration of Armenian monumen’s are being continued in Georgia: 308 monumen’s have been registered in the Marneuli region and 204 in Tetri-Tskharo. About 500 monumen’s–including the basilica-churches of the fifth century and khach-kars (cross-stones) of the ninth century–have already been registered in Javakhk.

According to Karapetian–in Iran the Armenian historical and cultural monumen’s are protected by the government.

He said that many years ago–an organization engaged in studying Armenian architecture numbered the stones of Church Tsortsor in Iran and transported them to another place. The church was actually erected again at another place. The work was carried out at the Iranian government’s request–as the construction of a new water conduit could result in the church being submerged.

It is to be noted–that Karapetian’s first monograph entitled "Stone inscriptions of the primordial Aghvank" presents the inscriptions that were preserved in the left-bank regions of the River Kura-historical Aghvank–Shaki–Vardashen–Shamakhi–Agsu and Yevlakh–the regions of the present-day Azerbaijan.

1,300 Armenian monumen’s–including stone inscriptions dated the sixth century–were registered as a result of the studies conducted in that territory.

Recently published–"The Armenian cultural monumen’s in the regions forcibly annexed to Soviet Azerbaijan" deals with the historical monumen’s discovered during research works in the territory bordering on Nagorno Karabakh – Kashatag–Zangelan–Jabrail–Fizuli–and other regions. Karapatian said that the studies were conducted in the territory which–according to the world community–was occupied by Armenia’s–"but it is a territory where we come across Armenian khach-kars everywhere." As a result of the research works–which have been carried out since 1979–numerous ancient Armenian settlemen’s were discovered and are now presented in the book. About 600 photos with necessary information are provided on 1,700 Armenian cultural monumen’s. But the territory of Nagorno Karabakh has not been studied so far.

The aforementioned monographs–which were published by the "Gitutyun" publishing house underwent serious scientific expert examination–and are the first three volumes of the series of books published by the Research of Armenian Architecture (RAA) organization. RAA launched its activities in Germany in the late 1960s–but it was not until 1982 that it was officially registered. The organization’s branch in Armenia was established in 1998.

The founder of the organization is a citizen of Germany–Doctor of Architecture Armen Akhnazarian. The goal of the organization is conducting a thorough study of Armenian historical monumen’s outside Armenia – in the territory of historical Armenia and in the Diaspora.

The organization so far has sent 40 scientific expeditions to Western Armenia – present-day Turkey – and to Cilicia. Another scientific expedition to Akn-Arabkir–the right bank of the Euphrates–will be launched in 20 days.

In the future–on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the proclamation of Christianity in Armenia–a number of works authored by the members of the organization will be published.

Among them are "The Cloisters of the Basin of Lake Van"–"Architecture of Nor Julfa,"Armenia’s in Kakhetia" and others.

It is to be noted that the books published by the RAA–including the book "The Armenian Cultural Monumen’s in the regions forcibly annexed to Soviet Azerbaijan"–which was published in Russian–will soon be translated into English and sent to the libraries of universities of Armenia and other countries.

Karapetian said that RAA members are also engaged in restoring ancient monumen’s. The small church of Dadivank is currently under restoration and will be completed in autumn.

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