The village of Aghavno is a victim of Azerbaijani vandalism
A satellite image published on April 5, 2023 on Twitter of the Center for Truth and Justice shows that Azerbaijanis have destroyed to the ground most of the houses in the residential area of Aghavno village in Kashatagh region (https://twitter.com/CFTJust.com/status/1643689331461353474/photo/1 , Fig.1).
After the signing of the tripartite declaration on November 9, the village continued to remain under the control of Armenia. It was an important junction of the Berdzor (Lachin) corridor between Goris and Stepanakert, which was controlled by the Russian peacekeeping forces stationed in the Republic of Artsakh. Only on August 25, 2022, the village of Aghavno, together with the village of Nerkin Sus and the city of Berdzor, came under the control of Azerbaijan.
According to the data of 2015, the population of the community was 175 people (Ghahramanyan 2015, 331). The community had a village administration, a school and a medical center (Fig. 2). Among the historical and cultural monuments, the most important is the Church of Srbots Nahatakats (“Holy Martyrs”) (Fig. 3), consecrated in 2002 (see: https://hetq.am/hy/article/64015).
A fragment of a khachkar of the 11th century, one modern khachkar and a complex of monuments consisting of four stone slabs dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Liberation War were installed in the vicinity of the church (Balayan 2020, 615-616). One khachkar-spring, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the four-day war, was installed in the school yard, and another one - on the left bank of the Aghavno River, near the bridge leading to Berdzor.
It should be noted that, being well aware of the barbaric attitude of Azerbaijanis towards monuments built in other occupied Armenian territories, especially during the period of independence, and foreseeing the impending danger, the authorities of Artsakh in July-August 2022 initiated and moved all the possible monuments in surroundings to a safe place. The current situation confirms that they were right and thus saved these monuments from cultural vandalism. However, the fate of the Church of Srbots Nahatakats is still unknown.
Aghavno is one of the ancient settlements of the Republic of Artsakh. Some researchers identify it with the historical village of Shabaki in Aghahetch province, which, according to Stepanos Orbelyan, paid 7 drams to Tatev Monastery as a tribute (Stepanos Orbelyan 1986, 399).
- Balayan 2020 - Balayan V., Outlines of the History of Settlements of the Republic of Artsakh, Yerevan (in Armenian).
- Ghahramanyan 2015 – Ghahramanyan H., Directory of socio-economic characteristics of administrative territorial units of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Yerevan (in Armenian).
- Stepanos Orbelyan 1986 - Stepanos Orbelyan, History of Syunik, Yerevan (in Armenian).