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Azerbaijani scientists, public reps appeal to UNESCO on Tapabashi neighborhood in Yerevan

6 July 2022 18:10 (UTC+04:00)
Azerbaijani scientists, public reps appeal to UNESCO on Tapabashi neighborhood in Yerevan

By Trend

Azerbaijani scientists and public figures made an appeal to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on the cultural genocide committed against the heritage of the Azerbaijani people in Tapabashi quarter of Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. The appeal was signed by 102 well-known scientists and public figures.

Trend presents the appeal:

“Dear Director-General,

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in various conventions adopted by UNESCO. World Heritage sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located.

Historical cities and their territories are spatial formations which describe the evolution of society and its cultural identity. They are part of a large natural or artificial environment and cannot be separated from each other. Historical cities are vivid evidence of the past that has shaped them.

The material and cultural heritage currently located in the capital of Armenia, Irevan, is less than 200 years old. Although the reasons for this are obvious in historiography, the world community is not aware of them. The question is, why does not this city hold any sample of material culture which dates back to 200 years ago? The answer to the question is rather simple. These monuments, being examples of the material cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people, were destroyed by the Armenians and have not reached our days.

Today, the last remaining samples of the material and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people are being destroyed in Irevan, the capital of Armenia. This appeal is intended to serve as a wake-up call, kindly inviting Your organization to mobilize and save the last material and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people belonging to all the peoples of the world.

The whole city of Irevan, solely excluding the fortress, was divided into a City, Demirbulag and Tapabashi. Azerbaijanis had been living in each of these parts of Irevan since the city's foundation until the beginning of the 20th century.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, the Azerbaijani people experienced a great national tragedy as a result of the targeted ethnic cleansing of Azerbaijanis on the territory of modern Armenia. This national tragedy was implemented in a staggered manner. Consequently, not a single Azerbaijani remained in the state now called Armenia. Azerbaijanis, being for millennials bound by a deep sense of attachment to their lands, were expelled from their ancestral historical and ethnic lands and subjected to mass killings; thousands of historical and cultural monuments and settlements belonging to

the Azerbaijani people were destroyed. Every now and then, the inhumane policy pursued against the Azerbaijani people was also carried out towards Azerbaijani monuments. As a result, Armenia destroyed the Irevan Fortress, Khan's Palace, Abbas Mirza Mosque, Zal Khan Mosque, Damirbulag Mosque, Sartip Khan Mosque, Haji Novruzali Bey Mosque, Haji Jafar Mosque, Qantar (bazaar) karvansaray, Haji beyim bathhouse, Haji Ali bathhouse, Akhund Sheikhulislam bathhouse and many other religious monuments of the Azerbaijani people. Armenia left two existing mosques in Irevan – the Haji Imamverdi Mosque and the Blue Mosque to their fate, naming them Persian mosques. Nowadays, the Haji Imamverdi Mosque is on the verge of annihilation.

The general plan of the city of Irevan, approved in Armenia in 2006, specifies six territories where samples of Azerbaijani architecture are located, presented as Persian architecture. The total size of these lands as of 2006 was 29 hectares. However, only a quarter of Tapabashi (16 hectares) area remains today. In just 16 years, Armenia completely destroyed 13 hectares, which can be considered a historical city in the architectural style belonging to the Azerbaijani people, various urban infrastructures have been built in their place.

The historical city of Irevan is one of the most destroyed cities of the 20th century. Its destruction in the twentieth century pursued political goals and served to create the current appearance of the modern city of Yerevan. Research suggests that information about the city of Azerbaijan is still stored in the deeper layers of this city. Nevertheless, Armenia continues degradation in these strata as it does not accept the underground cultural heritage of this historical place upon which it is currently sited. As evidence, we can refer to the excavations carried out in 2003 on the Republic Square of the city of Irevan. Thus, when samples of Azerbaijani-Muslim architecture were discovered during excavations, the Armenian leadership suddenly gave instructions to cover the monument with soil again. The Armenian Government committed this act in violation of all norms of international law.

Today, the place reflecting the history of the city of Irevan and the only remaining evidence of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijanis is Tapabashi neighbourhood.

Dear Director-General,

The Tapabashi quarter of Irevan city (Armenians call it Kond) is the only sample of the historical city of Irevan that has survived to this day. This quarter keeps in its memory the historical code of Irevan from the 17th century to the present day. The Tapabashi neighbourhood, historically inhabited by Azerbaijanis and reduced to 16 hectares, is now under threat of annihilation. Information about the material and cultural heritage created by Azerbaijanis in Armenia is hidden and partially destroyed. For some time now, the Armenian leadership has been planning to completely demolish the Tapabashi quarter and build modern residential buildings on this site. Thus, they want to destroy the last sign (the historical code) of the Azerbaijanis who once were Irevan's main inhabitants.

Tapabashi is of great importance for Azerbaijani culture, as well as the culture of humanity. This quarter, being considered the core of the historical city of Irevan, reflects a unified historical and urban environment.

The resettlement of Armenians to Tapabashi began with the policy of Tsarist Russia on the mass resettlement of Armenians from neighbouring countries to the South Caucasus after 1828. However, as a result of this resettlement, only 374 Armenians from Iran and 18 from Turkiye were temporarily placed in the homes of Azerbaijani families in the Tapabashi neighbourhood of Irevan. The relocated Armenians settled on the lands known to them as the Khan's Garden in the Tapabashi quarter. This first ethnic contact, which took place 190 years ago, did not change the ethnic composition of the Tapabashi unit, and the Azerbaijanis living there had always been permanent residents.

In the first half of the 19th century, names of streets and neighbourhoods in Tapabashi were in Azerbaijani language. Darakand, Akhund, Khan’s gardens, Asad bey, Adalyar, Tapabashi, Imarat and Dashli streets are some examples in this regard. Cameral descriptions, which are currently kept in the National Archives of Armenia, are the evidence showing inventory process and ethnic composition of those streets and neighbourhoods 190 years ago. Tapabashi with its own architecture and history constituted a part of the history of Azerbaijan.

This can be seen in later period plans of Irevan city as well. Cameral descriptions of 1831-1832 reveal that the streets and neighbourhoods located in Tapabashi quarter of the city retained the same name and ethnic composition in the later periods as well. Both the city plan of 1880, and B.Mehrabov’s Irevan city plan of 1906-1911 validate the accuracy of the above-mentioned facts once again. In the early 20th century, names of the streets located in Tapabashi quarter were also in Azerbaijani. All these are confirmed by the archival documents of the time as well. Despite the relocation of Armenians to historical Azerbaijani lands during the 19th century, it can be clearly seen that Azerbaijanis still dominated the ethnic composition of Irevan city population.

Ethnic composition of this neighbourhood, once consisted of Azerbaijanis, was artificially altered in 3 different stages of history (1918-1920, 1948-1953, 1988), and today, it has turned into a monoethnic neighbourhood of Armenians. While people living here call themselves natives of Irevan, only a few of them can bring evidence that they lived in this area before. Yet a significant part of the people living here is comprised of Armenians, who relocated from neighbouring states to the city still called Irevan in 1920s. Thousands of archival documents confirming this are kept in the archives of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Although the state of Armenia officially registered Haji Imamverdi (Tapabashi) Mosque located in Tapabashi as a Persian mosque, thus falsifying its history, no action is taken to preserve the monument, on the contrary destructive conditions are enhanced to speed up its collapse.

Talks between Armenian community and the state of Armenia on the fate of Tapabashi quarter are under way for years. However, in all these talks the tangible cultural heritage of Azerbaijani people is being doomed to destruction.

On February 4, 2022, as a result of the video conference held among the leaders of Azerbaijan, France, Armenia and the President of the European Council, enforcement of the UNESCO missions to Armenia and Azerbaijan was agreed upon. The Azerbaijani community has long waited for this news. We hereby appeal to and kindly ask UNESCO to make the historical Tapabashi quarter, as one of the destinations of its mission during the visit to Armenia – the country that has also taken the abovementioned commitment. We hope that Armenia will not hinder activities of the UNESCO mission in this direction.

Thus, there is an urgent need for collaboration with Armenian and Azerbaijan authorities to record the current state of historical and cultural monuments in Tapabashi – the only remaining architectural complex of Azerbaijani people in Irevan, ensure future monitoring and publication of the corresponding results. We believe that with Your influence and efforts You will contribute to Armenia’s fulfillment of its commitment to intact and secure protection, restoration, conservation, etc. of Azerbaijani monuments in Irevan in accordance with the principles enshrined in the international conventions. In this case, historical Tapabashi quarter of Irevan city, which is an integral component of world tangible heritage, will be saved from yet another act of vandalism.

We, the petitioners named below, hereby kindly ask You to help prevent the collapse of the neighbourhood system and the monuments in these neighbourhoods, which have historically belonged to Azerbaijanis, and establish special protection thereof in Tapabashi quarter of Irevan city.”

PETITIONERS:

1. Arif Hashimov

Doctor of Technical Science, Full member of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Vice-President of ANAS, acting President of ANAS

2. Govhar Bakhshaliyeva

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor, Full member of ANAS, Vice-President of ANAS

3. Isa Habibbayli

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor, Full member of ANAS, Vice-President of ANAS

4. Yagub Mahmudov

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Full member of ANAS

5. Shahin Mustafayev

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Full member of ANAS, Institute of Oriental Studies of ANAS

6. Nargiz Akhundova

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Full member of ANAS, Institute of History of ANAS

7. Naila Valikhanli

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Full member of ANAS, Museum of National History of Azerbaijan of ANAS

8. Anar Isgandarov

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Member of Parliament

9. Aziz Alakbarli

PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Member of Parliament

10. Karim Shukurov

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, General Director, Institute of History of ANAS

11. Jabi Bahramov

PhD in History, Executive Director,Institute of History of ANAS

12. Ilgar Niftaliyev

PhD in History, Head of Department, Institute of History of ANAS

13. Tofig Najafli

Doctor of Science in History, Associate Professor, Institute of History of ANAS

14. Rashad Mustafa

Doctor of Science in History, Institute of History of ANAS

15. Irada Baghirova

Doctor of Science in History, Institute of History of ANAS

16. Gultakin Najafli

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

17. Allahverdi Alimirzayev

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

18. Irada Mammadova

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

19. Haji Hasanov

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

20. Kamran Ismayilov

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

21. Elchin Garayev

PhD in History, Institute of History of ANAS

22. Vasif Gafarov

PhD in History, Leading research fellow, Institute of History of ANAS

23. Ramin Alizada

Senior research fellow,Institute of History of ANAS

24. Abbas Seyidov

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, General director, Institute of Archeology, Ethnography and Anthropology

25. Musa Gasimli

Doctor of Science in History, Professor, Corresponding member of ANAS, General Director, Institute of Caucasus Studies of ANAS

26. Elnur Kalbizada

PhD in History, Associate Professor, Employee of the Institute of Caucasus Studies of ANAS

27. Ramila Dadashova

Doctor of Political Science, Institute of History of the Caucasus of ANAS

28. Gasim Hajiyev

Doctor of Science in History, Associate Professor, Institute of History of the Caucasus of ANAS

29. Zakir Eminov

Doctor of Science in Geography, Associate Professor, General Director, Institute of Geography named after Heydar Aliyev under ANAS

30. Ismayil Kazimov

Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor, Senior research fellow, Institute of Linguistics of ANAS

31. Kifayat Imamguliyeva

PhD in Philology, Head of Department, Institute of Linguistics of ANAS

32. Maryam Seyidbayli

Doctor of Science in History, Institute of History of Science of ANAS

33. Zaur Aliyev

PhD in Political Science, Associate Professor, Institute of History of Science of ANAS

34. Ziyad Amrahov

PhD in History, Associate Professor, Institute of History of Science of ANAS

35. Jafar Giyasi

Doctor of Science in Architecture, Professor, Corresponding member of ANAS, Scientific Research Institute of Restoration of Monuments

36. Artigin Salamzada

Doctor of Science in Study of Art, Professor, Corresponding member of ANAS, Institute of Architecture and Art of ANAS

37. Irada Kocharli

Doctor of Science in Study of Art, Professor, Head of Department, Institute of Architecture and Art of ANAS

38. Rizvan Garabagli

PhD in Architecture, Associate Professor, Leading research fellow of the Institute of Architecture and Art of ANAS

39. Rahiba Zeynalova

PhD in Architecture, Institute of Architecture and Art of ANAS

40. Khazar Zeynalov

Institute of Architecture and Art of ANAS

41. Farhad Jabbarov

PhD in History, Museum of National History of Azerbaijan of ANAS

42. Ibrahim Kazimbayli

Doctor of Science in History, Associate Professor, Dean of the Faculty of International Relations, Azerbaijan University of Languages

43. Firdovsiya Ahmadova

Doctor of Science in History, Associate Professor, Chair of History department, Academy of Public Administration

44. Gulchohra Mammadova

Doctor of Science in Architecture, Professor, Rector, Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction

45. Elbay Gasimzada

Doctor of Science in Architecture, Professor, Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction

46. Sabina Hajiyeva

Doctor of Science in Architecture, Professor, Azerbaijan University of Architecture and Construction

47. Elshan Aslanov

PhD in History, Faculty of History, Baku State University

48. Nazim Mustafa

PhD in History, Head of Department, Presidential Library

49. Nazir Ahmadli

Doctor of Science in Chemistry, Ataturk Center in Azerbaijan

50. Tahir Amiraslanov

PhD in History, an Honored Worker of Culture, Editor-in-chief of “Kulina” magazine

51. Telman Gasimov

Head of the "Scientific Research" Public Union

52. Faig Ismayilov

Head of the "Organization for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan" Public Union

53. Fariz Khalili

Head of the “Miras” Support to Studying Cultural Heritage Public Union

54. Rauf Zeyni

President of the National NGO Forum of Azerbaijan

55. Azar Aliyev

Head of the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan

56. Samad Hatamov

Head of the “Return to the Native Lands” Public Union

57. Bayimkhanim Verdiyeva

President of the Foundation “The Khan Shushinski”

58. Gunel Safarova

Head of the Citizen Research and Development Public Union

59. Umud Rahimoglu

President of the International Eurasia Press Fund

60. Fazil Abbasov

Head of the Journalists' Association of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation

61. Shalala Hasanova

Head of the Public Union “Support to the Development of Public Relations”

62. Ilgar Orujov

Head of the “Azerbaijan Society of Young Scientists, Postgraduates and Masters” Public Union

63. Shahla Naghiyeva

Head of the “Unquenchable Flame” Cultural Relations Public Union

64. Shamistan Alizamanli

Head of the “Support for the Promotion of Patriotism” Public Union

65. Nuraddin Mehdiyev

Head of the “Our Generation" Youth Regional Development Public Union

66. Bahar Gasimova

Head of the “Azerbaijan Women’s Republican Society” Public Union

67. Davud Rahimli

President of the Union of Disabled Persons Organizations

68. Fakhraddin Hasanzade

Head of the “Youth Education Center” Public Union

69. Fuad Mammadov

Head of the “Simurg” Azerbaijan Cultural Association Public Union

70. Mehri Khanbabayev

a Head of the “Azerbaijan Historians” Public Union

71. Haji Abdulla

Head of the “Zangazur” Societies Public Union

72. Nasiman Yagublu

Head of the Support for History and Press Studies Public Union

73. Rena Mirzazade

Head of the Gender and Human Rights Research Public Union

74. Mehriban Zeynalova

Head of the “Clean World” Aid to Women Public Union

75. Novella Jafarova

Head of the “Association for the Protection of Women's Rights named after Dilara Aliyeva” Public Union

76. Saadat Bananyarli

Head of the “Azerbaijan National Section of International Society for Human Rights” Public Union

77. Saltanat Gojamanli

Head of the “Protection of Human Rights and Law Order” Public Union

78. Yusif Aghayev

Head of the “Friendship" Youth Coordination Center Public Union

79. Khatira Valiyeva

Head of the “Khankandi” Support to IDP’s Public Union

80. Sabuhi Abdullayev

Head of the “ELM” Support for Social and Intellectual Development of Youth Public Union

81. Bullur Mammadova

Head of the “Promotion of Culture and National Traditions” Public Union

82. Israyıl Isgandarov

“Hope” Support for Social Development Public Union

83. Zaur İbrahimli

Head of the “Priority” Socio-Economic Research Center

84. Ayshan Huseynova

Deputy Chairman of the "Revealing the Realities of the Genocide" Public Union

85. Azar Allahveranov

Head of the “Eurasian Migration Initiatives Platform” Public Union

86. Araz Shamilov

Head of the Public Union for Historical Research and Enlightenment "Let's own our history"

87. Shamil Alakbarli

Head of the Public Union for the Promotion of the Khojaly Genocide

88. Akram Baydamirli

Head of the Social Welfare and Research Public Union

89. Irada Rizazade

Head of the “Social Welfare for the Citizens” Public Union

90. Tahmasib Novruzov

Head of the “Movement Participants for Freedom” Public Union

91. Chingiz Bayramov

Head of the “For Dialogue and Development” Public Union

92. Rufat Asadzade

Head of the “Azerbaijan Young Teachers Association” Public Union

93. Shahin Gadirov

Head of the “Zirve” Public Union of Culture and Art

94. Gafar Chakhmakhli

Head of the “League of Independent Investigative Journalists” Public Union

95. Dayanat Bayramov

Head of the “Turkic World Info” Public Union

96. Intigam Yashar

Head of the “World Young Turkish Writers” Public Union

97. Elvin Talishinski

Head of the Public Union “Elin Sesi” Protection of National and Spiritual Values

98. Nigar Alasgarova

Head of the “Land of Fire” Youth Public Union

99. Elchin Mirzebeyli

Head of the “Baku Oratory School” Public Union

100. Akif Naghi

Head of the “Karabakh Liberation Organization” Public Union

101. Vugar Ahmadov

Head of the “Azerbaijani-American Youth” Public Union

102. Sabuhi Huseynov

Senior specialist, Institute of History of ANAS

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