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Azerbaijan Plans to Turn Armenian Church in Artsakh’s Hadrut as 'Caucasus Albanian' Religious Site

Azerbaijan Plans to Turn Armenian Church in Artsakh’s Hadrut as 'Caucasus Albanian' Religious Site

Azerbaijan has revealed intentions to restore the St. Harutyun (Resurrection) Armenian church in Hadrut city, located in the occupied region of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), marking it as a "Caucasus Albanian" house of worship. The announcement came through the Artsakh State Public Council for Protection of Cultural Heritage.

As per the council's report, the church's restoration is part of the Azerbaijani newly devised master plan for Hadrut city. The process will commence following thorough archaeological excavations aimed at preserving historical significance. Additionally, plans are underway to establish a museum within the church premises, dedicated to showcasing the cultural heritage of the ‘[Caucasus] Albanian’ community.

This initiative emerges against the backdrop of heightened Azeri aggression and historical desecration over the occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which saw a prolonged war waged by Azerbaijan. The St. Harutyun Armenian church, a testament to the region's diverse Armenian history, suffered damages during the conflict.

The decision to restore the church while framing it within the context of ‘[Caucasus] Albanian’ culture signifies a strategic move by Azerbaijan. It aims to reinterpret the religious and cultural narrative of the region, potentially altering the perception of historical sites within the context of a broader cultural heritage.

The announcement has drawn attention and sparked discussions among experts and historians, with some expressing concerns about the potential reinterpretation of the church's historical identity. The term ‘[Caucasus] Albanian’ refers to an ancient Christian community indigenous to the Caucasus region, but its historical connection to the church in Hadrut remains a subject of scholarly debate.


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