YEREVAN — Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference in Yerevan, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) Minister of Education, Science and Culture Lusine Karakhanyan said thousands of Armenian historical and cultural monuments in the territories that came under the control of Azerbaijan after the war in autumn 2020 are under threat of destruction.
Karakhanyan stressed that today Azerbaijan is pursuing an institutional policy of destruction, falsification, and substitution of the Armenian cultural heritage.
“At the moment, the fate of about 2,000 monuments and reserves located in the territories controlled by Azerbaijan is under threat. I am talking about 2,000 architectural and historical monuments, 13 monastic complexes, 122 churches, 52 fortresses, 523 khachkars (cross-stones) and 4 chapels,” she specified.
Also, 127 school libraries with 617,000 books, 3 regional libraries with about 68,400 books, 10 state and 2 private museums with about 20,000 exhibits are now in the occupied territories.
“During the war, we managed to evacuate some collections and valuables, but, for example, an art gallery, a historical museum, a storehouse of the carpet museum remained in Shushi (some of the museum’s exhibits were evacuated, but another 860 remained),” she said.
“The Tigranakert State Archaeological State Museum is again under enemy control. Unfortunately, Hunot Gorge remains in the neutral zone. We still do not know whether Hunot Gorge will be considered ours or not. “International research expeditions were carried out in Azokh. All the exhibits were found, there is video evidence, and were taken to Azerbaijan,” Karakhanyan said.
Weeks ago, the Azerbaijanis destroyed another Armenian monument in Shushi, the monument to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, the Great Patriotic War and the victims of the first Artsakh liberation war. According to the circulated photos, the Azeris had destroyed the Green Hour church in Shushi earlier , during the war they had hit it twice with special aim Ghazanchetsots Church .
According to her, at the moment Azerbaijan’s propaganda is based on the destruction of Armenian heritage or presenting it as Albanian.
“But I believe that we have good scientific and historical basis that need to be properly promoted using all information platforms in order to be able to save our historical and cultural monuments,” she said.
Karakhanyan recalled that on December 21 a visit of the UNESCO mission to Artsakh was planned to conduct monitoring, but Azerbaijan hindered its implementation.