By Vafa Ismayilova
A senior Azerbaijani official has said that Armenia completely changed Yerevan’s architecture, razing to the ground the Yerevan (Iravan) fortress.
The head of department at the Azerbaijani Presidential Administration, Fuad Akhundov, made the remarks at the Baku-based conference "Great Return: Revival of Culture".
"The Armenians proclaim to the whole world that Yerevan is an ancient city, but they destroyed its history, completely changed 2,000 toponyms," Akhundov said.
He added that 850 buildings had been destroyed in Armenia.
The head of department stressed that the Armenians wanted to erase all traces of Azerbaijani culture and that they tried to misappropriate the Albanian churches.
"As Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stressed, the Armenians wanted to erase our historical roots. Even during World War II, there was no such destruction. We attract the international community's attention to this issue," he said.
The official stressed the brutal destruction of Azerbaijani territories during the 30-year occupation.
According to Akhundov, it’s necessary to intensify activities to expose the fake news spread by the Armenians.
“We prove with facts that the history which was propagandized among the Armenian people for years has nothing in common with reality. When people see old photos of the Iravan fortress, they say that no city is shown in these photos, because Armenia wanted to erase all traces of Azerbaijan in it. In Yerevan, there is nothing that belongs to Armenia. The buildings erected there by Armenia date back to the 1960s," he said.
He noted that in those times modern technologies were absent, so those who were in power in Armenia could easily deceive the Armenian people, and convince ordinary citizens by imposing falsified history on them.
History of Iravan fortress
The Iravan fortress was built in 1504 under order of Safavid ruler Shah Ismail I, by his vizier Ravangulu khan on the bank of the Zangi River, on the site of present-day Iravan (Yerevan) city. The fortress was named Ravan in honor of Ravangulu khan. It was later called as Iravan due to the local dialect.
During their visit to the region, French travelers Jean Tavernier (1655) and Jean Chardin (1673) described the Iravan fortress and the city’s plan, noting that the inhabitants of the fortress exceptionally consisted of Muslims. They wrote that the fortress hosted 800 houses and there was a gate to the north of the fortress, built on a hill near the banks of the Zangi River, with five towers and strong defensive walls.
On October 1, 1827, following 23 years of intermittent wars, the impregnable Iravan fortress was occupied by the Russian troops.
Armenian betrayal and treachery again played an important role in the capture of the Iravan fortress. Aware of the region’s landscape, the Armenians guided the Russian military, pointed out the weakly defended areas of the fortress, and carried out espionage activities.
Immediately after the capture of the fortress, historical and cultural buildings were subjected to vandalism. The Sardar mosque in the fortress was turned into an arsenal of Russian troops and a hospital was established in the khan's harem. After the fall of the Iravan Khanate, the Khan's palace housed the administrative building of the newly-created "Armenian Province".
In the early 19th century, various state institutions and organizations were based in over 120 buildings in the Iravan fortress. On March 12, 1864, after its abolishment as a military fortress, the city walls and towers were demolished by the surrounding residents and from the 1880s onwards, the buildings inside the fortress disappeared one after another.
In 1865, Armenian merchant Nerses Tahirian bought a part of the fortress and built a winery (now a cognac factory) there. In the 1930s, the castle walls were completely destroyed by Armenians.
The process of demolition of the Iravan fortress and its historical and architectural monuments accelerated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries after the suppression of the Armenian uprisings in Turkey and the settlement of a large number of Armenian refugees in the South Caucasus. After the establishment of the Soviet authority in Armenia, the city's master plan was approved in 1924.
According to most researchers, the main purpose of the master plan, prepared under the leadership of architect Alexander Tamanian, was to wipe out the historical and architectural monuments belonging to Azerbaijanis.
In 1936, a new master plan of Yerevan was prepared and as a result of its implementation, modern high-rise buildings were built inside the fortress. Pictures from the Second World War show that some of the walls of the Iravan fortress still existed. However, later the city walls were completely demolished and now there are no traces of it.
As a result of the destruction of historical and architectural monuments belonging to Azerbaijanis, not a single historical monument over 200 years old has remained in the city of Yerevan.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz