The heart of our motherland Baku is growing better every day gradually acquiring a new look of modern megapolis increasing in width and height. Like all other large cities, ours has also faced the problem of old cemeteries once located in the outskirts, but with the course of time ended up downtown.
The cemetery called “Montin” began to lose its original appearance as early as the end of the last century. Because of random burying that has not left even narrow paths among the graves, it has finally been deserted turning into a shelter for homeless and beggars.
The situation is not better in the Bibieybat cemetery, which is being gradually destroyed by frequent landslides caused by tectonic shifts.
In order to deal with the problem, the Baku city Mayor signed an Executive Order setting up a commission consisting of district governors, religious figures, intellectuals and representatives of public organizations of the country. Also included in the Commission were representative of the Gregorian community Nelli Petrosian as well as members of the Russian and Jewish communities.
The commission was set up to eliminate the tension existed between the public and city authorities.
The necessity to move the “Montin” and “Bibieybat” cemeteries to the more suitable places arose long ago. Transfer of cemeteries is a normal practice all over the world if they obstruct development of a city’s infrastructure, laying roads etc. Reburying the dead does not contradict religious traditions, and are not blameworthy.
The Baku Mayor Office ‘s Chief Department of Architecture and Town Planning has already been ordered to deal with allocating a land for three new cemeteries near the city.
Meanwhile, the graves from “Montin” and “Bibieybat” cemeteries will be moved to the new graveyard in Hovsany. A website and “hot line” have been opened for those interested in information about the transfer of the graves.
In this connection, one cannot but remember the article by Naira Bulgadarian, correspondent of the Armenian newspaper Civil Initiative, who bitterly wrote that the Armenian government had chosen not to allocate money for restoration of the Azerbaijani cemeteries “after deciding that the graveyards had no intrinsic cultural value.” The money allocated by Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Civil Assembly on restoration of the Azerbaijani cemeteries was wasted because, according to her, less than a year later, some men came, loaded the Azerbaijanis’ headstones into a car and drove them away for remaking and sale.
Naira Bulgadarian lets us know that Anagyz Aliyeva, who died in her 104, is buried at the abandoned cemetery in the Armenia’s Lori district’s village of Saral. “The woman is “lucky” that she had died four years before the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh sparked in the Caucasus driving all Azerbaijanis from Armenia and almost all Armenians from Azerbaijan,” she writes. At this point, however, the author is wrong. Currently, there are a lot of Armenians in Azerbaijan, particularly in Nagorno-Karabakh. Even the Gregorian community exists in the country, whose representative Nelli Petrosian is a member of the very respectable commission. The Armenian side, however, cannot boast about such sort of things because nothing but the headstones miraculously kept in the country bring to mind the Azerbaijanis who once lived here.
As to Anagyz Aliyeva, the only reason she may be called lucky is that the headstone bearing her name has survived.
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