Cultural Genocide in Julfa

Stones evidenced about nation that lived there before azeries, and they decide destroy everything that can remind about armenian culture.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Armenian cross-stones art. Symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars

Inscribed in 2010 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country: Armenia


Armenian cross-stones art. Symbolism and craftsmanship of Khachkars

Khachkars are outdoor steles carved from stone by craftspeople in Armenia and communities in the Armenian diaspora. They act as a focal point for worship, as memorial stones and as relics facilitating communication between the secular and divine. Khachkars reach 1.5 metres in height, and have an ornamentally carved cross in the middle, resting on the symbol of a sun or wheel of eternity, accompanied by vegetative-geometric motifs, carvings of saints and animals. Khachkars are created usually using local stone and carved using chisel, die, sharp pens and hammers. The carvings are then ground using fine sand. Small breaks and rough surfaces are eliminated by plaster of clay or lime, and then painted. Once finished, the Khachkar is erected during a small religious ceremony. After being blessed and anointed, the Khachkar is believed to possess holy powers and can provide help, protection, victory, long life, remembrance and mediation towards salvation of the soul. Among more than 50,000 Khachkars in Armenia, each has its own pattern, and no two are alike. Khachkar craftsmanship is transmitted through families or from master to apprentice, teaching the traditional methods and patterns, while encouraging regional distinctiveness and individual improvisation.

Decision 5.COM 6.1

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

  • R1: The symbolism and craftmanship of Khachkars, Armenian cross-stones, are transmitted from generation to generation and continuously recreated to satisfy the artist’s creativity, constituting a distinctive symbol of the identity of Armenian communities at home and abroad;
  • R2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List could raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage and encourage dialogue with other communities with similar crafts and practices;
  • R3: Safeguarding measures are proposed focusing particularly on strengthening transmission, encouraging research and documentation, and providing public recognition, with the participation and support of Khachkar makers, institutions and authorities;
  • R4: Master craftspeople of the Khachkar tradition participated in elaborating the nomination and provided their free, prior and informed consent for possible inscription, which also enjoys wide support of Armenian communities worldwide;
  • R5: The symbolism and craftmanship of Khachkars are inscribed in the State inventory of intangible cultural heritage established by the Ministry of Culture.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Old Jugha cemetery destroyed by Azerbaijani Turks.

Photo from Argam Ayvazyan's book - "Jugha"

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is cultural genocide?

Cultural genocide is the complete destruction of a culture for political, racial, or military reasons. That includes language, art, music, traditions, religions and anything else unique to that specific culture. While it can include the murder of people of a certain ethnicity, the phrases is usually used to describe when a group of people is forced or coerced to change who they are and so they lose their original culture. It often includes the destruction of religious or traditional objects or buildings.
This type of genocide is the one most overlooked or ignored. The destruction of a culture however is the same as the destruction of a people, a civilization, a way of life. Our world is full of differences, ones that we may not see every day but ones that we should embrace rather than fear.
Cultural genocides can take place in a variety of ways. They range from material destruction, such as religious buildings or artifacts, to attacks on ideas and customs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The destruction of Armenian Historical Monuments

Genocide is the physical annihilation of not only an ethnic or religious group but also its national and spiritual culture.

During it's centuries-old history the Armenian people has erected numerous and diverse cultural monuments. Most of them are currently located on the territory of Armenia - the historical cradle of Armenians. About 1/10th of the territory of the ancient Armenia is involved in the present territory of the Republic of Armenia due to historical events, while the rest is part of the territories of neighbouring countries.

That's why the majority of Armenian historical monuments are located outside the borders of the present Republic of Armenia.

The destruction of the Armenian stone crosses (khachkars) by the Azerbaijani government is ignored. In December 16 2005, a group of 200 Azerbaijani soldiers began destroying the surviving architectural treasures of Old Jougha (Julfa), a centuries-old Armenian cemetery located in Nakhichevan (now, a part of Azerbaijan). Back in 1648, some 10,000 khachkars at the 1,600 square meter site of the Old Jugha cemetery were recorded, many as old as the 8th century. Thousands of the Armenian graves were destroyed here in 2002 by the Azerbaijani government. The vandalism was ignored by the world.

In the recent decades, Armenian culture has faced so much vandalism that the world has developed immunity against it. Almost every other day an act of cultural genocide against the Armenian civilization happens in the neighbouring countries of Armenia, excluding Iran. Armenian churches and stone crosses suddenly "become" Georgian in Georgia; in Turkey, there is not much left to destroy (over 2000 churches and cathedrals were ruined during the Armenian genocide in 1915), but a few surviving monuments are still being converted to Mosques or to secular buildings; in Azerbaijan, the Armenian monuments are either being wiped out or "becoming" Albanian. Let alone Russia, where Armenian cemeteries are being desecrated almost every other day.

Many acts of cultural genocide against the Armenian culture have been documented, but now the world has a video to look at; a "hot action" that shows Azerbaijani soldiers erasing the last memories of the Armenian past in Nakhichevan.

To view this video, go to!.htm

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cultural genocide is the systematic destruction of traditions, values, language, and other elements which make a one group of people distinct from other groups.

As late as the mid-twentieth century our planet was blessed with great cultural diversity with thousands of distinct languages, hundreds of unique religions, and thousands of variations in traditions and ways of life.

Of course not all traditions were worthy of admiration and respect. Cannibalism, infanticide, female circumcision, slavery, suppression of women, exploitation of children, ritual slaughter, and tribal warfare were among the cultural traditions practiced by some groups, the loss of which would not be mourned.

Tragically however we have tended to destroy the beautiful traditions which made the world a bright, colorful and cheerful place to live in and explore.