Paradise Lost


Paradise Lost

Sixteen days ago a ceasefire was established in Artsakh following the announcement of Armenia, Russia, and Azerbaijan stating that Aghdam, Lachin, and Karvajar will be transferred under the control of Azerbaijan, as well as the areas that the enemy managed to acquire as the result of the war during the past two months. Russian peacekeepers will be ensuring the further security of  Artsakh. Along with these territories, several cultural monuments fell under the control of Azerbaijan. Below are several key monuments and sites that fell under the control of the Azerbaijani forces as the result of the joint announcement of the sides. The list is still being finalized. 

Text: Margarit Mirzoyan


Tigranakert fortress and the ancient city 
This is one of the four self titled fortress towns, built by Tigran the Great himself in the first century BC. It was discovered back in 2005 and from the year after, the excavation works had begun. Later on, a museum was established in the fortress of a later period located in the area of the former city, exhibiting all the findings of these excavations. The excavations didn’t stop and one could always see specialists working at the sight when visiting Tigranakert. The Azerbaijani side also received the part of the antique city discovered by Armenian scientists along with the fortress. 


Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, Shushi
Cathedral was one of the symbols of Artsakh and its liberation in 1992. Built in 1868-1887, Ghazanchetsots was the center of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church. It was closed during the Soviet period but restored and became active after the first Artsakh war. During the past months, the church was shelled twice by the Azerbaijani forces. Now it’s once again under the Azerbaijani reign, with the whole town of Shushi. 


The Green Chapel, Shushi
The so-called Green Chapel (Saint Hovhannes church) of Shushi was also handed to Azerbaijan and, as we’ve mentioned above, the dome of the chapel is already destroyed in an attempt to bring psychological misery to the people of Artsakh and Armenia. One could see the formerly green dome of the church from all parts of the city. 


Karvachar Hot Waters or Jermajur 
The healing waters of Karvajar, otherwise called Jermajur are mineral spring basins, located in the upper reaches of the Tartar river basin, at an altitude of 2200-2400 m. During the summer, people from all over Armenia and Artsakh would come to experience the beauty and power of the hot waters of Karvajar. 


Hunot Gorge
The famous Hunot gorge which is a highly important tourism destination in Artsakh is currently under the control of Azerbaijan. This natural reserve is located in the Shushi region. There are also a number of beautiful historical, natural, and architectural sites. One of the most famous is Mamrot Kar waterfall, better known as "Zontikner" (umbrellas). It starts from the inside of the gorge, the water falls on the mossy rocks and forms an umbrella-like waterfall. Avana Karan and Alexana Ghuze caves, Jdrduz field with its mesmerizing views, walls of Shushi, Hunot mill, and Hunot village are also located at the gorge. 


Gtchavank monastery complex is in the Hadrut region, which also fell under the control of Azerbaijani forces. The church was mentioned in early medieval sources. Gtchavank was not only a great heritage site but also a cultural center. Many historical and ethnographic works were written there between the 15th-18th centuries. The inscriptions of the 13th-14th centuries convey important information on the walls of the monastery complex. In addition to all the peculiarities of the monastery complex, the architecture as well is fascinating. There are a lot of  khachkars in the area of Gtchavank.


Status: unknown
The destiny of several other monuments and sites still requires clarifications. For example, Dadivanq monastery in Karvajar is de facto within the territory that was handed over to Azerbaijan, however Russian peacekeepers currently protect the complex and some say that it would be possible for the residents of Armenia and Artsakh to visit Dadivanq in the future. 


Amaras monastery in Martuni region is kept by the Russian peacekeepers and the Defense Army soldiers, however, the troops of Azerbaijani armed forces are not far from the walls of the monument and no one knows if it will be possible for the locals to visit the site. The faith of Tsitsernavanq in Qashatagh region and of many other similar monasteries, sites and monuments is still unknown. Finally, there are many khachkars all across the territory of Artsakh, including in the areas handed to the Azerbaijan, which automatically puts them into enormous danger, having in mind the previous pages of history.