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Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum

The Armenian Genocide 1915-1923

The Plan 

The German Vice Consul at Erzerum, Count Max Erwin von Scheubner- Richter, summarizes the Armenian Genocide quite succintly in a report to his superiors:

“I have conducted a series of conversations with competent and influential Turkish personages, and these are my impressions: A large segment of the Ittahadist [Young Turk] party maintains the viewpoint that the Turkish empire should be based only on the principle of Islam and Pan-Turkism. Its non-Muslim and non-Turkish inhabitants should either be forcibly islamized, or otherwise they ought to be destroyed. These gentlemen believe that the time is propitious for the realization of this plan. The first item on this agenda concerns the liquidation of the Armenians. Ittihad will dangle before the eyes of the allies the specter of an alleged revolution prepared by the Armenian Dashnak party. Moreover local incidents of social unrest and acts of Armenian self-defense will deliberately be provoked and inflated and will be used as pretexts to effect the deportations. Once en route however, the convoys will be attacked and exterminated by Kurdish and Turkish brigands, and in part by gendarmes, who will be instigated for that purpose by Ittihad.”

Djulfa

Armenian Cemetery in Jugha

A khachkar, also known as Armenian cross-stones (Armenian: խաչքար, խաչ xačʿ “cross” + քար kʿar “stone”) is a carved, memorial stele bearing a cross, and often with additional motifs such as rosettes, interlaces, and botanical motifs. Khachkars are characteristic of Medieval Christian Armenian art. Since 2010, khachkars, their symbolism and craftsmanship are inscribed in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A large portion of khachkars, which were created in historic Armenia and surrounding regions, in modern times have become the possession of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and partly Georgia and Iran. As a result of systematic eradication of khachkars in Turkey, today only a few examples survive. Unfortunately these few survivors are not cataloged and properly photographed. Thus, it is difficult to follow up with the current situation.

Khachkar

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The Cemetery Before Its Destruction

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The Final Annihilation: December 2005

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Surviving Khachkars from Djulfa


The New Tears of Araxes

Featuring a never-seen-before satellite image of the Djulfa cemetery before its final destruction, “The New Tears of Araxes” is an independent film that documents the vital loss of Azerbaijan’s indigenous Armenian cultural heritage.

The title of the film is a reference to a famous Armenian poem by Raphael Patkanian, “The Tears of Araxes,” in which the River Araxes laments the disappearance of Armenians from its banks:

Still, while my sons are exiled, Shall I be sad, as now. This is my heart’s deep utterance, My true and holy vow.

Written by Sarah Pickman. Narrated and Produced by Simon Maghakyan. Music by Djivan Gasparian (Gladiator, The Passion of the Christ, Munich, Syriana). Digital sound track production by Transtar Entertainment Group. Photographs by Research on Armenian Architecture, Hrair “Hawk” Khacherian, and Argam Ayvazian. Footage of 2005 destruction by Armenian Prelacy of Tabriz, Iran. Satellite image by Digital Globe.

The Story

“There are thousands of khatchkars (cross-stones) here. Each khatchkar could very easily become a rare exhibit in any of the most famous European museums… If all of Europe’s millionaires were to enter the old Djulfa forest of khatchkars and come out bankrupt, the forest would not be endangered in any way.”

A European scholar on the Djulfa cemetery before the destruction

“A medieval cemetery regarded as one of the wonders of the Caucasus has been erased from the Earth in an act of cultural vandalism likened to the Taleban blowing up the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001.”

– The Times, London

“In [a 2009 satellite image of the Djulfa cemetery], the entire area has been graded flat, possibly by earth moving equipment as evidenced by the dirt roads that traverse the area.”

– American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum

The Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum – Djulfa.com – was established in late 2007 to document and rais awareness about the intentional destruction of the largest medieval Armenian cemetery at Djulfa (Old Jugha, Julfa, Culfa) in the exclave of Nakhichevan (Naxçıvan), Republic of Azerbaijan.

Its content has been used by rights organizations (American Association for the Advancement of Science; Global Heritage Fund), concerned governments (Republic of Armenia Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and media outlets (France 2 Television).

Djulfa Virtual Memorial and Museum

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