STEPANAKERT — Azerbaijan has defiled an Armenian church in the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Hadrut by dismantling the cross from the dome and erasing all Armenian inscriptions, Karabakh Records reports.
On April 27, pro-government news outlets in Azerbaijan published a series of articles about alleged Easter celebrations in Hadrut, also posting fresh photos of the Church of the Holy Resurrection in the city, which came under Azerbaijan’s control during the Second Karabakh war.
Analysis of the fresh photos showed that the cross has been removed from the dome. In addition, the Azerbaijanis have removed a plate at the entrance to the church, which contained information about the most recent renovation of the building.
Carpets and ritual utensils appear to have been looted, while images of saints have been removed from the walls. Besides, Azerbaijani names have been spray painted on the outer walls of the temple.
In February, Yerevan “strongly condemned” Azerbaijani Minister of Culture Anar Karimov’s decision on the establishment of a working group for the destruction and alteration of the identity of the Armenian religious and historical-cultural monuments fallen under the control of Azerbaijan.
Concerns about the preservation of cultural sites in Nagorno-Karabakh are made all the more urgent by the Azerbaijani government’s history of systemically destroying indigenous Armenian heritage—acts of both warfare and historical revisionism. The Azerbaijani government has secretly destroyed a striking number of cultural and religious artifacts in the late 20th century. Within Nakhichevan alone, a historically Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani forces destroyed at least 89 medieval churches, 5,840 khachkars (Armenian cross stones) and 22,000 historical tombstones between 1997 and 2006.