Satellite Images Show Erasure of Armenian Churches in Azerbaijan

Covert destruction of Armenian-Christian heritage in Azerbaijan’s autonomous republic of Nakhichevan has been exposed in recently surfaced Cold War spy imagery taken by the United States in the 1970s.Researcher Simon Maghakian, who is a visiting scholar at Tufts University, Massachusetts, and a lecturer at the University of Colorado Denver, has analyzed the newly-available information and images and published a comprehensive investigation for the first time.”As the post-Soviet flattening of Armenian heritage in the Nakhichevan region comes into view through declassified Cold War satellite imagery—affirming Aylisli’s eyewitness account—new threats seem to loom.While magical Agulis is forever gone, recently declassified materials offer help in reconstructing its erased historical landscape. A rare positive side-effect of the Cold War was the mutual clandestine map-making and satellite imagery collection activities by the US and the USSR. Thanks to these, the precise locations as well as discernible images of the major churches of Agulis have been preserved. All are from the 1970s, including two maps produced by the USSR General Staff’s Office that list all the major churches, and geospatial imagery produced by the US’s declassified spy satellite programmes.To read the full story, check out the article on the Pan


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