YEREVAN (Noyan-Tapan)–The Armenian cemetery in the Jugha region of Nakhichevan that previously housed around 3000 Khachkars has been entirely destroyed. The announcement was made by the head of the ‘Research into Armenian Architecture’ organization Samuel Karapetyan during a February 13 national council meeting of Nakhichevan Armenia’s.
Karapetian said that the first wake-up call about vandalism of the cemetery and Khachkars dates back to 1998. An eyewitness to the destruction–Arpiar Petrossian–a member of the organization’s Iranian chapter even photographed Azeris destroying the cemetery by bulldozing and removing the Khachkars from the site. Those same acts of vandalism were also witnessed and photographed by Armenian Church leader Nshan Topouzian as well as Iranian soldiers.
According to the latest pictures taken of the location on November 25–2002 by the ‘Land and Culture’ Organization’s chairman Kegham Kevonian–the Armenian Cemetery of Jugha cease to exist.
Jugha’s cemetery is the largest Armenian cemetery known–unrivaled in the scope–variety and creative art of its Khachkars. It occupies a shoehorn shaped area of 1600 square meters extending from north to south to the river Arax. Estimates around the turn of the century put the number of Khachkars there near 10,000–all in good condition. Nearly half of these were destroyed in 1903-1904–when the railway construction passed through there not considering the monumen’s. In the 1970s–only 2700 had survived the years. The Armenian Cemetery of Jugha holds great historical and artistic values–a one of a kind monument of Armenian culture and holds a unique place within the treasures of the civilized world.