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Azerbaijan Destroys Stepanakert Cross, Europe's Second Tallest Structure

Azerbaijan Destroys Stepanakert Cross, Europe's Second Tallest Structure

Azerbaijan's actions have led to the toppling of the monumental Stepanakert cross, marking another grievous loss to the cultural heritage of Artsakh. This revelation comes from, a vigilant organization dedicated to safeguarding the cultural legacies of the region.

Azerbaijan Destroys Stepanakert Cross, Europe's Second Tallest Structure

Following the intense Azerbaijani military aggression followed by occupation in September 2023 and the subsequent exodus that left Artsakh desolate, Azerbaijan persists in obliterating Armenian cultural symbols based on ethnic grounds. The stark evidence emerged with the collapse of the towering 50-meter illuminated cross situated near Dashushen village, a monumental loss not only to cultural significance but also a blow to the entire Christian Armenian community. The distressing footage of the fallen cross surfaced first on the Telegram channel of the Ukrainian publication on September 29, 2023, revealing the once-standing symbol now lying prone on the ground.

This grandiose cross, erected on May 9, 2017, in commemoration of the fallen servicemen who valiantly fought for the liberation and defense of Artsakh, held the distinction of being the second tallest structure in the European region. Its towering presence was visible from all corners of the Artsakh capital, Stepanakert, illuminated by special lights that made it an emblem even in the darkness of night.

Responding to this wanton act of destruction, it is imperative to recall that any harm inflicted upon the cultural assets of a nation reverberates as an assault on the cultural heritage of humanity as a whole. The Hague Convention of 1954 highlights this principle, defining cultural values as treasures significant to all people, irrespective of their origins or ownership. It explicitly denounces any acts of vandalism, theft, or hostility against cultural heritage, a sentiment echoed in Article 4 of the same convention specifically prohibiting the destruction of cultural or spiritual artifacts in occupied territories.

The deliberate policy of erasing cultural heritage evokes condemnation, finding itself in stark violation of the 2003 UNESCO Declaration on the Deliberate Destruction of Cultural Heritage. Such actions undermine the rich tapestry of global cultural diversity and stand in stark contrast to the principles safeguarding cultural treasures in times of conflict.

As the Stepanakert cross joins the tragic list of casualties in this destructive Azerbaijani crime, the outcry against such flagrant disregard for cultural heritage grows louder, calling for resolute international condemnation and action to protect the cultural riches that bind humanity together.


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