The stone crosses of Armenia: a symbol of heroism

The cultural genocide against Christians, including Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks, by Turkey during the Ottoman genocide and by Azerbaijan during the three Artsakh wars is a component of the physical genocide of the Armenian people. The persecution of the Armenian Christian community intends to erase any vestige of its existence on its ancestral lands, which it has inhabited for centuries. These two aggressor countries – Turkey and Azerbaijan – not only carry out the two worst crimes of the last centuries against the Armenians but are also responsible for the cultural genocide of this people.

Armenians faced deportation during the two, marching on roads carrying heavy, sacred khachqars in their new places to avoid leaving them to a Muslim enemy to destroy. The ceasefire agreement that ended the Artsakh 2020 war handed jurisdiction over 75 percent of Armenian territory to Azerbaijan. This territory contains at least 1,456 Armenian historical and cultural sites, including 161 churches and thousands of khachqars.

The village of Chaylu in the Martakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh was a fairly large village of almost 3,000 people until the first Artsakh war in the 1990s. After the hard fight with Azerbaijan, the village, unfortunately , was completely left to the enemy. In the mid-1990s, the survivors of the village moved to another location in Artsakh and founded a new village renaming it Nor Aygestan. Shortly after the move, the khachqars with the names of the fallen soldiers were placed in the village in memory of the martyrs.

During the 44 days of the Artsakh war in 2020, the village’s male population was mostly made up of children from the generation killed in the previous war. The generation of the first war took up arms for their land and sacrificed their lives in the struggle for the homeland against the Turkish-Azerbaijani aggressors. Once again, the Armenian people fought for their land. Although military actions did not reach the border of Nor Aygestan village, the village was emptied of Armenians and handed over to Azerbaijanis on November 9.e agreement. The villagers only had 24 hours to leave their homes and travel to the territory of the Republic of Armenia. The village decided to take with them not their personal belongings but the most precious artefact – the khachqars dedicated to the name and blood of the heroic sons of the first Artsakh war. Today these three khachqars are placed in the military pantheon of Yerablur as a memorial to the story of the sacrifice of an Armenian village of Artsakh and its heroic inhabitants.

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