Hello and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, In this Conversations on Groong episode, we’ll be talking about the continuing degradation of Armenian heritage sites in historic Armenian lands, and the problems of preserving our monuments and cultural sites against the erosion of time, and the threat of destruction by anti-Armenian neighbors.
To discuss these issues with our guests, our host today is:
Simon Maghakyan, who is an independent researcher of cultural destruction and lecturer in International Relations at the University of Colorado Denver.
This episode was recorded on Wednesday, June 16, 2021.
“All these stones are fake. This is Armenian forgery,” proclaimed Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev on March 15, 2021, while visiting a medieval Armenian church that recently came under Azerbaijan’s control, following the latter’s Turkey-backed battlefield success. In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over the internationally unrecognized Armenian republic of Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh. Antique and medieval Armenian cultural sites, which President Aliyev considers “fake” (because he asserts, Armenians didn’t exist in the region until the 19 th century), have now come under Azerbaijan’s control on lands ethnically cleansed of Armenians. To say that these sacred heritage sites are at risk would be a monumental understatement, especially in light of the same Azerbaijani government’s erasure, in 1997-2006, of nearly 28,000 medieval Armenian monuments in another region, Nakhichevan. But what exactly is at risk of erasure? And how much do we know about Artsakh’s cultural heritage and its ongoing destruction?
To talk about these issues, we are joined by:
Christina Maranci, who is Arthur H. Dadian and Ara T. Oztemel Professor of Armenian art and architectural history and Chair of the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Tufts University.
Lori Khatchadourian, who is Associate Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Cornell University and co-director of the Caucasus Heritage Watch satellite monitoring project.
● Lori, what has come under Azerbaijan’s control?
● Christina, what is Armenian art and architecture? What are its period highlights? And where does Artsakh’s heritage fit in the larger picture of Armenian culture?
● Lori, tell us what the Caucasus Heritage Watch is doing and what you have uncovered so far?
● Lori to Simon: Tell us about your recent findings regarding Agulis
● Christina, tell us how your advocacy and research of Mren has transformed its preservation
● Lori, what can international organizations do for Artsakh?
● Christina, tell us what our listeners can do for cultural preservation
● 17th century Armenian church on preservation list demolished in western Turkey - Stockholm Center for Freedom
● KHACHKARS: Documentation, Preservation, and Continuation - NAASR event
● When an Enemy’s Cultural Heritage Becomes One’s Own - NY Times
● New Discoveries at Ani Cathedral - NAASR
● Ancient Roots of Armenia - Dr Christina Maranci - Michabo
● Christina Maranci references
● https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-06-16/pdf/2021-12646.pdf - Federal Register
● https://armenianprelacy.org/2021/05/13/save-armenian-monuments-launches-in-new-york/ - Armenian Prelacy
● https://www.theartnewspaper.com/feature/agulis - The Art Newspaper
That concludes this Conversations On Groong episode. We hope it was helpful in your understanding of some of the issues involved. We look forward to your feedback, including your suggestions for Conversation topics in the future. Contact us on our website, at groong.org, or on our Facebook Page “ANN - Groong”, or in our Facebook Group “Groong - Armenian News Network”.
Special thanks to Laura Osborn for providing the music for our podcast. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channels, Like our pages and follow us on social media. Thank you for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.
Armenia, Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh, Nakhichevan, Cultural Monuments, Heritage Sites, Preservation, Destruction, UNESCO, Azerbaijan, Khachkars, Turkey, Ani, Mren, Dadivank, Vankasar, Kashatagh, Shushi, Agulis, Ilham Aliyev