The Tsitsernavank St. George Armenian Cathedral last appeared in the lens of photographer Zohrab Irkoyan one day before the 44-day war.
“The war started, and I have not been there since, and I took these pictures in that area, that’s why the Aghavno River basin is written,” photographer, journalist Zohrab Irkoyan says.
The basin of the Aghavno River, which is the Armenian Kashatagh, the photographer has been taking photos for years, reading in parallel, studying. There is only an Armenian trace on monasteries, castles, khachkars (cross-stones).
Azerbaijan declares at the state level that these monuments are Albanian. Have you encountered such a thing?
“Look, this is an Armenian tombstone from the 1600s, it is written in Armenian, it is not in Albanian, there are more than 25 Armenian inscriptions on Tsitsernavank alone, they are crosses, ornaments are painted, which have nothing to do with Albanian. In general, there were no Albanians in this area. This is just the Kashatagh region of Syunik province of Kingdom of Armenia (Mets Hayk), located on the right bank of the Aghavno River, not the left,” Zohrab Irkoyan says.
After the liberation of Kashatagh, Armenian specialists found Tsitsernavank in a dilapidated, inconsolable condition. They cleaned and excavated it. On October 7, 2001, the Holy Cross was consecrated and restored. A year later, the Tsitsernavank Museum was opened.
“One of the unique materials was the grave of the martyr, an honorable burial with a crown of thorns. We found out that the martyr was Astvatsatur, a Persian by nationality and converted to Christianity, his relics were brought to Tsitsernavank,” Caucasian expert Aleksan Hakobyan says.
After November 9, when most of Kashatagh remained only in photos, the Caucasian expert says we should never leave it. The exhibition-lectures dedicated to Kashatagh have been taking place in Tumanyan House-Museum since May 18, dedicated to the day of Kashatagh liberation, and will continue until May 28.