The evacuation of monuments of the period of independence from Berdzor, Aghavno and Nerkin Sus has been completed

According to the statement of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan at a press conference on June 27, 2022, after changing the route of the Goris-Stepanakert highway passing the village of Aghavno, Berdzor town and the adjacent villages of Aghavno and Nerkin Sus will come under the control of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, and the Armenian population will be evacuated. In early August, the authorities of Artsakh began the evacuation of cultural monuments from these settlements.

As of August 25, 47 cultural monuments were evacuated, including khachkars (Figs. 1-4), memorial stones (Figs. 5-7), busts (Fig. 8), memorial springs (Figs. 9-10). Unfortunately, in such a short time it was impossible to implement the evacuation of  Surb Hambardzum (Holy Ascension) Church in Berdzor (Fig. 11), Surb Nahatakyats (Holy Martyrs) Church in Aghavno (Fig. 12) and the memorial complex dedicated to the Artsakh Liberation War in Berdzor (Fig. 13). However, it was possible to evacuate some specific elements of the Church of the Holy Ascension: the tympanum above the entrance (Fig. 14), the eagle sculpture of the eastern facade (Fig. 15), the holy altar, the baptistery, and the crosses of the main church and a rotunda.

The evacuation of these monuments is being actively discussed in the Azerbaijani media space, accusations are being made about the “plundering” of the Church of the Ascension (Telegram Contact @KarabakhBulletin). If the enemy threatens to destroy, modify, wipe out and desecrate the monuments of the “occupiers”, if we have repeatedly witnessed the manifestations of Azerbaijan’s special barbaric policy towards new monuments (we would mention some of those: the chapel and khachkars of Mataghis village, the khachkar, dedicated to the First Artsakh liberation war in Vorotan, the memorial with a composition in the form of crosses in Shukurbeyli village in the region of Jrakan (Jabrayil), the khachkar in Arakel village of the region of Hadrut, the "Revived Talish"  monument in Talish village of the region of Martakert, the church of Mekhakavan (Jabrayil)) therefore, unfortunately, evacuation is the only way to save these monuments from desecration and destruction.

It should be noted that since 2021, the project of the Azerbaijani “Public Organization for Monuments Protection” has been spread on the social platforms of Azerbaijan, which intends to turn Surb Hambardzum Church into mosque.

We express our special gratitude to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, the staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia, the Deputy Minister Lernik Hovhannisyan for their assistance in the evacuation and organizational work. Our special gratitude to Aleksan Hakobyan, the former head of Berdzor administration.