By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Armenia is falsifying and destroying the Azerbaijani heritage in occupied territories to reinforce its land claims against Azerbaijan, Chairman of the Azerbaijani Center of Analysis of International Relations Farid Shafiyev has said.
“For the past 30 years, Armenia has not only continued to illegally occupy Azerbaijani lands but also has been promoting violent and aggressive policy regarding the historical, cultural and musical heritage of our people by all possible means,” Shafiyev said.
The chairman was commenting on the reconstruction of the Shusha fortress by Armenian puppet regime in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Shafiyev reminded that the historical monument, called the Shusha fortress by Azerbaijanis, was built in 1751 by the Karabakh khan Panahali and under personal control of great vizier, poet Molla Panah Vagif. "The origin of the true inhabitants and owners of historical monuments in the occupied territories does not raise any doubts among serious and objective observers," he said.
In 2019, Armenians presented the Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque, located in Shusha city and owned by Azerbaijanis, as a religious and historical example of Persian culture.
Earlier, the occupant regime completely destroyed seven of the eight mosques in Yerevan, which were historical examples of Azerbaijani architecture, left from the times of Iravan khanate. The remaining famous Blue Mosque, built by order of Huseyn Ali Khan from Iravan city in 1766, was reconstructed (three of the four minarets of the mosque were demolished) into “one of Iran’s historical monuments” and became the “center of Iranian culture in Armenia".
Shafiyev in his statement called on the international community to consider such steps by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan as a consistent and targeted attack on Azerbaijan’s heritage.
He expressed desire to convey to the international community that these actions of the Armenian authorities are contrary to all international legislative and humanitarian standards, and called for pressure on the Armenian authorities, as well as for ensuring the inviolability of all historical monuments in the occupied territories until the conflict is resolved.
"Recent actions in relation to the Shusha fortress once again prove Armenia's unwillingness to resolve the conflict peacefully and provoke Azerbaijan to resort to other ways to resolve this territorial problem. Therefore, in the future, all responsibility for the torpedoing of peace talks will rest entirely with the Armenian authorities," Shafiyev concluded.
Archive document dated 1949 kept in the State Archives of Azerbaijan informs about 15 architectural buildings recorded in the territory of Armenia SSR. The list stated the dates of construction, their assignment and existence of four mosques in Irevan city. The document noted that Zal khan mosque was built in 1649-1685, Blue mosque in 1776, Sardar mosque - 1807-1817, Haji Jafar bey mosque in the XVIII century. The works of all travelers and researchers describing Irevan city, first of all mentioned Blue mosque as the most grandiose architectural monument due to its scale and magnificence. Construction of Blue mosque which is considered one of the unique models of oriental architecture started in 1760 and completed in Hussainali khan’s reign in 1765.
Armenian historian Tadevos Hakopyan in his book “The History of Irevan (1500-1800)” writes referring to the bishop of Echmiadzin church Hovhanes Shahkhatunyans: “A part of the minaret and dome of the mosque is coated with blue faience”. The main buildings were to the south and north of the mosque. The ancillary buildings and cells were on the sidelines. A small pool was built in the courtyard of the mosque paved with raft stones and planted trees around.
Well-known British traveler and geographer Henry Lynch who traveled to Irevan in 1893-1894 and 1898, mentioned Blue mosque, Haji Nasrullah bey mosque (other sources show this mosque as Haji Novruzali bey mosque) and Sheher mosque situated in Tatar (Azerbaijani) quarter in his book about his journey published in 1901 in London. Giving detailed information about Blue mosque, Lynch included the photos of its minarets, a pool in its courtyard and facade in his book.
According to Armenian authors, though it was decided to pull down all the mosques in Irevan in 1930s, due to serious efforts of popular Armenian poet Yegishe Charents, Blue mosque which he called “Blue Diamond” was saved from being erased by turning it into a museum. Irevan city history museum was placed in Blue Mosque from 1936. After WW II, Blue mosque was concurrently used as an arsenal for a while. It was used as the Nature museum after the war and planetarium from 1952 in its small prayer room for astronomy fans. After Armenia gained independence in 1991 and established diplomatic relations with Muslim countries, necessity arose for functioning of Blue mosque as a shrine again. First, Nature museum in 1991 and History museum in 1994 were moved out of the mosque-complex. According to the agreement signed between Iran and Armenia in 1995, Iranian government undertook financing reconstruction expenses of Blue mosque. Nowadays the Armenian officials present Blue mosque to foreign guests as “Persian”.
Thomas de Waal argues in his 2003 book Black Garden that "when the Armenians refer to the 'Persian mosque' in Yerevan, that name obscures the fact that most of the worshippers there, when it was built in the 1760s, would have been, in effect, Azerbaijanis.
Anthropologist and ethnographer Tsypylma Darieva considers that mosques served as a Friday mosque for "Yerevan’s Muslim (mostly Azeri-speaking) population, until the middle of the 1920s.
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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