Centuries-old Armenian cemetery north of Shushi partially destroyed – Caucasus Heritage Watch

The Caucasus Heritage Watch (CHW) says it has made a high-confidence assessment that a centuries-old Armenian cemetery north of Shushi has been partially destroyed. A portion of the grounds on the west side of a road leading into the city was leveled in the construction of a building complex.

The expansive cemetery, which spans both sides of the road, contained 96 tombstones dating 1834-1920 and two 12-13th century cross stones (khachkars), including the tombs of noble Armenian families (meliks).

Although the construction occurred in an area shaded by tree cover, imagery from Feb 2021 (middle image) reveals a dense array of tombstones, and documentation provided by Monument Watch, in Yerevan, details specific plots in the location.

Neither the number of damaged tombs nor the affected plots can be determined with available data, CHW says. It calls on the President of Azerbaijan and UNESCO to directly assess the extent of the damage and preserve this historic site.

CHW is a team of researchers at Cornell and Purdue Universities. Their mission is to monitor and document endangered and damaged cultural heritage using satellite imagery.

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