Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh – On January 1, 2024, the so-called Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) dissolved. This marked the end of the 1600-year Christian history of this region. Almost all of the Christian Armenian inhabitants fled before the Azerbaijani military invasion in September 2023. 

Since then, the NGO “Caucasus Heritage Watch” (CHW) has been trying to document the destruction of thousands of years of Christian heritage in violation of international law. As Azerbaijan had closed the area to foreign observers, CHW uses satellite images and open source information on the internet for its monitoring. These sources and images now show that, in addition to churches, Armenian monuments and political sites such as the parliament building have been demolished. 

At the same time, Azerbaijan is now resettling its own population in the area of the displaced Armenians and building mosques at lightning speed. 

In early 2024, the Church of St. John the Baptist (the so-called “Green Church”), a 177-year-old landmark in Shushi, was destroyed. In doing so, Azerbaijan violated a ruling by the International Court of Justice from December 2021, according to CHW.

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CHW also reports on the destruction of other churches and the leveling of cemeteries. It can be assumed that the destruction evidenced by satellite images is only the tip of the iceberg.  

Many more destructions are likely to have taken place in recent months far away from the observers. 

Apparently, any memory of the Christian heritage is now to be wiped out. 

This systematic destruction of Christian culture must be firmly condemned.

Nevertheless, it must also be borne in mind that, conversely (although not systematically), Armenian soldiers also desecrated a small 18th century mosque as a pigsty during the 2020 war. 

So much hatred was sown, so much injustice was done. However, nothing justifies the destruction of the entire Christian heritage of this region.

As always, it is the innocent civilian population that suffers.  

CiN helps these displaced people!