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Courtesy of Lusik Aguletsi Museum and Art Café, Yerevan

FEATUREHERITAGE

Special investigation: Declassified satellite images show erasure of Armenian churches

Covert destruction of Armenian-Christian heritage in Azerbaijan’s autonomous republic of Nakhichevan has been exposed in recently surfaced Cold War spy imagery taken by the US in the 1970s, published here for the first time
1st June 2021 10:14 BST

“O Almighty God, be so kind, tell me: did you create my Agulis or did my Agulis create you?”. Thus were Agulis and its eight majestic churches serenaded by the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Muslim Azerbaijani author Akram Aylisli, who now lives under house arrest for writing a novel on the glory and gore of that magical place.

Nestled in the far south-western foothills of the former Soviet Union, in Azerbaijan’s exclave of Nakhichevan, Agulis was already a depressed village when Aylisli was born in 1937, at the height of the Stalinist Terror. Yet centuries prior, it had been the most culturally and economically vibrant small town of that key contact region straddling Europe and Asia—the Caucasus.