IWPR: Famous Medieval Cemetery Vanishes
Artist Lusik Aguletsi, a Nakhichevan-born Armenian, also last visited the cemetery in 1987, although she was under escort.
“There is nothing like it in Armenia,” she said. “It was a thrilling sight. Two hills completely covered in khachkars. We weren’t allowed to draw or photograph them.”
Armenian experts now accuse Azerbaijan of a deliberate act of cultural vandalism.
“The destruction of the khachkars of Old Jugha means the destruction of an entire phenomenon in the history of humanity, because they are not only proof of the culture of the people who created them, they are also symbols that tell us about a particular cultural epoch,” said Hranush Kharatian, head of the Armenian government’s department for national and religious minorities.
“On the entire territory of Nakhichevan there existed 27,000 monasteries, churches, khachkars, tombstones and other Armenian monuments,” said Aivazian. “Today they have all been destroyed.”
Although the historical provenance of the cemetery is disputed in Azerbaijan, its cultural importance is confirmed by the 1986 Azerbaijani book “The Architecture of Ancient and Early Medieval Azerbaijan” by Davud Akhundov, which contains several photographs of the cross-stones of Jugha.