New Satellite Images Confirm Complete Destruction of Djulfa Cemetery

LOS ANGELES–The world’s largest body of scientists, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, just released satellite image comparison and analysis confirming the complete destruction of the ancient Djulfa cemetery, located in an historic Armenian exclave currently occupied by Azerbaijan.

The AAAS case study, including the satellite photos, is available here.
To urge UNESCO to hold Azerbaijan accountable for Djulfa’s loss send an action alert from here.

Five years ago this month, more than 100 uniformed Azerbaijanis were caught on tape destroying the burial monuments of the medieval Djulfa cemetery, founded in the Armenian province of Nakhichevan during the 9th century and thriving as late as the early 1600s. The soldiers were smashing Armenian monuments with sledgehammers, using a crane to remove some of the largest monuments from the ground, breaking the stones into small pieces, and dumping them into the River Araxes by a large truck.

Overall, an estimated 3,000 khachkars, or intricately carved burial monuments, the craftsmanship of which is a UNESCO Intangible Heritage Tradition, were erased from the face of the earth. Azerbaijan’s president called the destruction report an “absolute lie,” and has maintained that official denial ever since.
AAAS’ release, which can be read here, conclusively confirms the destruction of a sacred place of memory.

“Azerbaijan’s war against indigenous Armenian heritage in Nakhichevan cannot be justified in any way–including by the gridlock in the negotiations over the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that fought for independence in the early 1990s from Azerbaijan precisely so that a destruction similar to Djulfa’s would not take place there,” Simon Maghakyan, the founder and project Manager at the Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum (, said today in a widely circulated email to media and advocacy groups.

“The loss of Djulfa was a blow to not just Armenian culture, but also to all world heritage,” said Maghakyan.

Maghakyan criticized UNESCO, “the organization charged with protecting our common heritage,” for its “shameful silence” on Djulfa’s destruction and urged action to tell UNESCO that “its unequivocal protest is long overdue.”

Maghakyan provides a more detailed account of the five-year rampage against Djulfa in a special blog post on the Amnesty International’s “Human Rights Now” blog. The post, titled “Cultural Oppression in Azerbaijan can be read here.


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  1. Seervart said:

    It is very sad also for myself as my own maternal grandfather’s anscestors and thus my own anscestors were Nakhichevantis. No doubt my anscestors’ burial Khatchkars were among the 3,000 Khatchkars that were destroyed in an inhumanly fashion by the 100 Azerbaijani soldiers. Mr. Simon Maghakyan must be commended for taking the video that today is our proof and also following up with UNESCO who were mummed shamefully for 5 whole years now. It is about time for UNESCO to act on it and find the guilty party, the Azerbaijanis responsible for their horribly destructive act of the cultural destruction of our 3,000 Khatchkars. UNESCO must demand that the Azeris pay to Armenia in renumeration for their destructive acts.

  2. Simon Maghakyan said:

    Dear Seervart:

    I didn’t tape the video of the vandalism – so the credit shouldn’t go to me.

  3. Hov said:

    We as Armenians must unite and use this destruction of our heritage and turn it to our advantage. As far as I’m concerned, no matter what Armenia and the NK Republic do from now on towards Azerbaijan should be game.

    We now have reason to tell the likes of Clinton, Aliyev, Erdogan, Obama, Chevron, British Petroleum, etc to just SHOVE OFF!!


  4. Vacheh said:

    My ancestors were from Nakhichevan. I wonder, how on earth any Armenian politician can reconcile with Azerbaijan and return them a single inch of Karabagh, Lachin, and Kelbajar. The picture above shows the nature of the beast. If we fall asleep, they will enter Armenia from east and west and cut our throat in no time. Wake up and be alert my dear fellow countryman.

  5. azade said:

    Ok. let’s be little more objective. Why we are not talking Azeri graveyards in Karabakh, destroyed by Armenian forces?

    • Avery said:


      Can you please offer some independent proof, other than Azeri or Turk fabrications ?
      Armenians have no history of destroying anything – Azeris and Turks do.

      Government of Artsakh is even restoring – that’s right, RESTORING – Mosques in Artsakh.


      Here is a quote from that link:
      “STEPANAKERT — A senior Karabakh Armenian official says five Azerbaijani mosques and other Islamic sites located in and around the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh have been repaired in recent years as part of a government effort to preserve the region’s Islamic heritage, RFE/RL’s Armenian Service reports.”

      Armenian troops consciously, deliberately did not touch the Mosque in Agdam, when they chased your super-troops out: it was later refurbished by Armenians

      Unlike you Azeris and Turks – who have used our Churches to keep livestock – we respect your religion and your religious objects.

      We, Armenians, build and create – Turks and Azeris destroy and plunder.

    • Vacheh said:

      Do you have any evidence or UN report?

      On the contrary to what Azerbaijan or Turkey have done to our graveyards and churches, Armenia has renovated the Blue Mosque in Yerevan and has turned it in to the Iranian government to conduct religious ceremonies and prayers in the heart of Yerevan. There are even Persian language and Koran classes conducted in the mosque.

      And what have Azeris or Turks done to us. Look at the picture of the main Cathedral in Ani. There is a limit in insulting us as Armenians. Such insults are recorded in our minds for a long time.

    • Dzo said:

      ok, objective right. Armenians (understandably and naturally) might have destroyed Azeri graveyards, just like the other way around (which again understandably and naturally). But in the context of being objective, lets remember that Armenia this year rebuilt all of the Azeri mosques (and other symbolic institutions) in Karabagh. I haven’t seen the same done from Azerbaijan.

      • Avery said:

        I don’t understand the urge of some Armenians to appear – presumably – ‘fair’ or ‘evenhanded’. Where do you get the idea that Armenians might have done it ?

        What does “…Armenians (understandably and naturally) might have destroyed Azeri graveyards,…” mean ?

        First of all, there is nothing understandable or natural in destroying anyone’s graveyard: Azeri, Turk, or Armenian – it is barbaric, it’s sacrilege and definitely un-Armenian. We defend ourselves, but we don’t go on a rampage like they do destroying everything in sight.

        And I am not aware of any instance of Armenians destroying any Islamic religious objects: if you have any proof, let’s see it.

        Martians might have visited the Earth also, but since there is no hard evidence … we will have to assume they didn’t.

        • Dzo said:

          I am not trying to be fair or evenhanded. but i would understand if they did because of the ethnic conflict and the association a mosque/church would hold to that opposing ethnic group. Remember, back in 1918, Yerevan was a majority-muslim. There were more mosques there than churches…how come today only one mosque stand? Azeris also destroyed our churches/cemeteries…now the difference is we have renovated the mosques in Karabagh, they have done nothing but keep on destroying.
          ”but we don’t go on a rampage like they do destroying everything in sight.” to reply to your quote, just go to Shushi. My friend, when Armenians took over some towns, they lit fire to the whole damn place so when IF they had to give back an inch, people couldn’t live there. Azeris did the same also.

          • Avery said:

            Mosques in 1918 Yerevan: Again, there is no record that any Mosques were deliberately destroyed by Armenians. You are right, at the time Yerevan was majority non-Armenian, however it was also a very, very small city. Population was about 30,000: about 2% Russian, 48% Armenian, 49% Azeris, 1% other. There were a total of 8 functioning mosques in Yerevan at the time. The Blue Mosque which has been preserved and restored was the main, and largest congregational mosque. No record of the size of the others. What happened to the other mosques ? No idea. Lots of old neighborhoods and structures in Yerevan crumbled and disappeared – due to old age, neglect, poor construction, etc. Or quite possibly, Bolsheviks dismantled them, together with many Churches and other religious objects they despised and were so hostile to.

            As to the word ‘rampage’ I previously used: I can tell you are familiar with the Artsakh war. And you are right that Armenian troops destroyed many Azeri buildings and structures that were of dual use, i.e. could be used for military purposes as well. Agdam was a huge military base, and was used by Azeris to bombard Stepanakert with Grads – and terrorize its civilian population. Agdam was flattened, yet the Mosque was left untouched – on purpose. Why ?

            Azeris deliberately destroyed 1,000s of Khatchkars – centuries old, each probably took years to carve: no military significance whatsoever.

            That’s the difference between us and them; that’s the difference between destroying dual use structures during war, and destroying completely harmless, religious, cultural structures or objects – out of malice.

  6. andrew said:

    it is our fault we allowed it to happen if we knew they were we should have kicked or bomb them out of nakhitchevan all together however that time is coming nakhitchevan must come home and we can bring it home we will no longer be scared of fact next time round we should go and get aliyev from baku and put him up in an armenian court to face justice just like saddam hussein

  7. facts said:

    Turks deported and systematically killed Armenians and other ethnic folk groups in front of eyes of world community. Turkish ally and “enemy” were witness to Turkish lead genocide of Armenian people and many other crimes, but they did nothing to stop the genocide and annihilation of old civilization in current Turkish territory … Now, some naïve people are expecting that the world start punishing criminal and fascist officials in Baku (of Turkish blood of wolves origin ) for destroying some “cross stones” ?

  8. eddy said:

    Better to try to understand the enemy the way the enemy likes to be understand ! Since Turks and Turkish fascist regards themselves consanguineous with wolves, nothing should become as surprise. In many case Turkish actions is based on characteristic of wolves. Turks like wolves go in groups to search for food and wolves can wait in groups for a long time close to the isolated prey till the prey gives itself up, if the animal/prey e.g. has brought itself in water or in a river in safety. Therefore Armenians should study the behaviour of wild wolves more carefully – Armenia to the east and west has to deal with two legged wolves, try to bring a peace of meat form the mouth of a wolf in safety!

  9. judyavelsor said:

    these are really sick people you can NOT erase what is in the heart. . . and mind. . . they are vermin ‘n vipers. The Lord will get you. until your dying day pig.

  10. KHACHadoor KARapedian said:

    Unfortunately, this is a world of money and power – not justice. The right can be bought by money more easily than earned by justice.

    But this WILL ALSO END – (Jivani).

  11. Satenik said:

    Would UNESCO keep a blind eye if these were not Armenian monuments in the hands of the barbarians?
    Someone in that organisation should be answering to some very serious questions. Why is the world silent when it is our heritage and beautiful culture that is being destroyed. Everyone is so ready to criticise Armenia for the slightest “misdeed” but why have they all lost their tongues? Oh….I see…..some peoplel don’t want to upset their bed fellows……

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