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‘WE ARE NOT A NATION tHAT DESTROYS MONUMENTS’
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‘WE ARE NOT A NATION tHAT DESTROYS MONUMENTS’

Nune HAYRAPETYAN

 Shushi mosque has been renovated


The opening ceremony of the Armenian-Iranian Scientific-Cultural Center was held in Shoushi on October 14, marking the restoration of the Upper Mosque, initiated by the Artsakh Government and the Revival of Oriental Historical Heritage Foundation several years ago. It was implemented within the framework of the Artsakh Development Program of the Development Initiatives of Armenia (IDeA). President of the Republic Bako Sahakyan, Primate of the Artsakh Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan, Speaker of the National Assembly Ashot Ghoulyan, State Minister Grigori Martirosyan, Minister of Education and Science of the Republic of Armenia Arayik Harutyunyan, other high-ranking officials and quests from Diaspora were present at the event. Welcoming those present, the Minister of Culture of Artsakh Lernik Hovhannisyan noted, that another monument of Shoushi's historical-cultural layer has been restored, which is important in terms of strengthening Armenian-Iranian ties. “Our monasteries and churches are being restored in the Islamic Republic of Iran. We also have taken care of the monuments of Iranian culture located in the territory of Artsakh, particularly in Shoushi, as the Armenian-Iranian friendship has deep roots,” he said. The historical and cultural monument has been completely restored, preserving its original appearance. The building of the madrasa, the spiritual school in the neighborhood, was also restored, the surrounding area was refurbished, a park was built. Suren Amirbekyan, Head of Artsakh Development Programs at IDeA Foundation in Armenia, thanked the government and the well-known businessman, author of Aurora Humanitarian Initiative Ruben Vardanyan for their participation to bring the project to life. “The restoration of the mosque is symbolic. This event marks the start of the next Aurora humanitarian program. I hope that this center will become another tourist destination on the map of Artsakh. I would like to inform you that we have many tourists who want to see the Iranian mosque very much, " said Amirbekyan. RA Minister of Education Arayik Harutyunyan described the year as an unprecedented one for Artsakh in terms of education and culture, and the opening of the center was important in several respects, stressing that it could become one of the most important centers of Islamic culture research in the region. He informed that certain steps are already being taken in their department in this direction, in particular, it is planned to organize an exhibition of Shia culture in the center in the future. “It is important that specialists tried to maintain the original look of the mosque. With such steps we once again demonstrate our peaceful nature and our free and open communication with other cultures,” he said. Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Studies of Yerevan State University, Professor Ruben Melkonyan informed that the restoration of the Iranian Shiite mosque was carried out on the basis of objective scientific research, a group of relevant specialists was created, the history and activities of the structure were studied. "Studying this legacy has once again proved that we are calm and confident looking at the past, our history," he said. "We do not need to deny or transform anything as our neighbor does." He also informed, that during the investigations the mosque's inscriptions found no Azerbaijani or Turkish letter, and the bullets found in the area adjacent to the mosque suggest that this site served as a sniper site during the war. In the 1920s, during the Armenian-Tatar clashes, the mosque was used against the Armenian population. Inscriptions from the Qur'an are preserved on the walls of the mosque, some of which are in Arabic. Ruben Vardanyan, co-founder of the Armenia Development Initiatives (IDeA) Foundation, expressed gratitude to all those who participated in the project. “The idea came when we visited Shushi with friends again. Shushi is an important cultural center of Artsakh that must be preserved and developed. We must preserve what we have and respect our history.
Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan noted in a briefing with journalists that he highly appreciates the restoration of Shushi mosque. "Still in 1992 I have said that no mosque in Shushi or Akna should be touched. This is an integral part of our history, and we are lovingly confronted with our story, unlike the two neighboring peoples who throughout history have erased traces of other cultures in their land. This mosque is a religious cultural monument built by our neighboring Persian people. They maintain and repair our monasteries, and so should we. We are not a nation that destroys monuments,” said Archbishop Pargev Martirosyan.