Azerbaijan is destroying Christian monuments in Artsakh

We talked about the city of Shushi at the very beginning: after the massacre in 1920, almost all Armenian churches were destroyed. In the 60s the ruins of most of the churches were demolished. However, 2 famous Armenian churches in Shushi have remained.
Ghazanchetsots (Cathedral of St. Christ the Redeemer)

The complex consists of a church and a bell tower. The bell tower was built in 1858. The construction of the temple went on from 1868 to 1887.

During the Shushi massacre the cathedral was damaged and lost its dome.

In 1930 it was finally closed, used as a barn, and then a garage. Bas-reliefs and engravings were erased. During the First Karabakh war it served as an Azerbaijani storage facility for Grad missiles. Then it was reconstructed by the Armenian side.

On October 8, 2020, the Cathedral of Ghazanchetsots was shelled twice in one day. Families with children were hiding inside. No one was killed.
The interior of the cathedral after shelling

Azerbaijani military sprayed graffiti on the walls of the cathedral. Azerbaijani representatives said they could be easily washed off, and Togrul Juvarly, a member of the Azerbaijani National Public Committee on European Integration, compared the graffiti to the 1945 Reichstag inscriptions.

In the course of the works, which Azerbaijan is positioning as restoration, the pointed dome was removed. The cathedral is going to be restored with a round dome, as the pointed one, according to the managers of the works, is a "foreign element".

Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich (Saint Hovhannes Mkrtich Church)

The church is commonly called Kanach Jam (Green Church) because its dome used to be green. The church has a cruciform shape and is distinguished by its unique interior decoration.

According to Shagen Mkrtchyan's book "Historical and Architectural Monuments of Nagorno-Karabakh," Kanach Jam was turned into a pavilion for storing mineral water during the Soviet era. A cistern with it was located on the altar. The leaking water damaged the wall and foundation of the church.

After Shushi came under Azeri control, the dome and bell tower of the church were destroyed.


It was first mentioned in the 9th century. The monastery was an important cultural center where manuscripts were copied and consecrated. With the establishment of Soviet regime the monastery became depopulated.

In 1994 Dadivank was consecrated again. At the end of 2020 the Azerbaijani authorities talked about an initiative to officially rename the temple Khudaveng and hand it over to the Udins. Eventually the Armenians were allowed to stay in the monastery. Often they share it with the Albanian-Udin Christian community, which conducts services there.

Surb Zoravor Astvatsatsin Church

The church was built in 2017 in the village of Mekhakavan. First, during the Second Artsakh War, the cross was removed from the dome. Then, already in 2021, the Azerbaijani authorities demolished the church.

Representatives of Artsakh and the General Prosecutor's Office of Armenia are taking measures to draw the attention of the UN, UNESCO and other international organizations engaged in the protection and preservation of cultural values to these facts.

Scholars from Russia, Armenia and other countries urge the world community to pay attention to the monuments under threat. French cultural figures are drafting appeals to the UN. The European Parliament and U.S. senators strongly condemn the desecration and destruction of Armenian Christian monuments.

At the same time, Azerbaijan is denying the intentional damage to Armenian cultural monuments.
Ilham Aliyev's words accurately convey Baku's official stance:

"We are not sure what happened. There are suspicions that it was the work of Armenians, who want to blame us. If it was done by the Azerbaijani military formations, there was a mistake here. There are no historical or religious targets among our targets".