A recent article by IWPR.com reveals the fate of Jugha Cemetery – one of the most famous medieval Christian cemeteries in Azerbaijan (a primarily Muslim nation between Iran and Russia which gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991).
The cemetery, which lies on Azerbaijan’s border with Iran, has been one point of contention (among many other things) between the Armenians and the Azerbaijans for years. Now, an IWPR journalist has confirmed that the cemetery is completely gone. Check out these before and after photos – the detailed engravings (dating from the 13th-16th C.) on the stones were phenomenal.
Here’s a brief overview from the article
The cemetery was regarded by Armenians as the biggest and most precious repository of medieval headstones marked with crosses – the Armenians call them “khachkars” – of which more than 2,000 were still there in the late Eighties. Each elaborately carved tombstone was a masterpiece of carving.
Armenians have said that the cemetery has been razed, comparing its destruction to the demolition of two giant Buddha figures by the Taleban in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has hit back by accusing Armenia of scaremongering, and of destroying Azerbaijani monuments on its own territory.
What exactly happened to the cemetery remains a mystery – one witness told IWPR the cemetery was destroyed in 1989. Another said there were khachkar stones on the site until 2002.