Stone inscriptions of Khudavang Monastery Complex bear evidence of tolerant environment in Azerbaijan

Baku, December 7, AZERTAC

Members of the Azerbaijani Albanian-Udi Christian religious community have recently visited Khudavang Monastery Complex located in Kalbajar district liberated from the Armenian occupation after almost 30 years.

AZERTAC correspondents also joined the historic visit to the complex. Thirty years later, the photos depicting the magnificent images of the Khudavang Monastery Complex were first posted on the website of AZERTAC.

During the visit, Chairman of the Albanian-Udi Christian religious community of Azerbaijan Robert Mobili said that the Khudavang Monastery Complex entirely belonged to the Albanian Apostolic Church, both historically and architecturally. “The Armenians’ falsifications here are clearly visible from the Armenian crosses and many modern elements of the cross installed at the entrance of the monastery and inside the complex,” he noted. “As our President said, all our religious sites destroyed by Armenian vandals will be restored in our liberated lands,” Mobili added.

Professor Gulchohra Mammadova, who studied the architectural features of Khudavang, said that the complex was the largest monastery complex in Azerbaijan. “The complex includes more than a dozen religious and secular buildings of various sizes and designs. An exciting feature of the basilica – one of the oldest buildings of this complex, is the additional building located next to the main altar. These buildings embody unique traditions of temple construction in architecture of Caucasian Albania,” she added.

Historian and scientist, Professor Ibrahim Zeynalov, in his interview to AZERTAC, said that the Arzu Khatun Church, which occupied a central place in the monastery complex, was one of the most valuable examples of Albanian architecture. “There is an inscription on the wall of another building - the temple of Hasan, which is also included in the complex, confirming that it was built in 1182. Family members of the nobility were buried in a large building adjoined to the complex in 1224,” Zeynalov mentioned.

The complex of Khudavang located in the Vang village of Kalbajar district, on the Tartarchay river’s left bank, is one of the largest and most beautiful examples of Azerbaijan’s Christian architecture.

Many construction inscriptions have survived in the Khudavang complex. A number of names indicated therein such as Arzu, Tursun, Hasan, Shams, Altun, Garagoz, etc. should be considered of exact providing the builders’ Turkic identity.

Armenians, who were resettled in Azerbaijan 200 years ago, have resorted to all kinds of falsification of religious, historical and cultural monuments, which belonged to Azerbaijani people, and have made continues efforts towards this throughout history. After the occupation of the Kalbajar district by the Armenian armed forces in 1993, Khudavang Monastery Complex was presented to the world as an Armenian monument.

After the occupation of the Kalbajar district by Armenia in 1993, the early Christian ethnic communities living in Azerbaijan were deprived of the opportunity to visit the monastery for worshiping. The Armenians, on the other hand, presented the Khudavang Monastery Complex to the world as their own, trying to justify this with the elements of the cross they later installed on the building.

We would like to conclude by highlighting the following remarks by President Ilham Aliyev on Albanian churches during his address to the nation on the occasion of liberation of Kalbajar district from occupation: “Suffice it to look at history and anyone can see that in the 1830s, Tsarist Russia abolished the Albanian Church, gave all the property of the Albanian Church to the Armenian Gregorian Church, and Armenian priests and their patrons began to appropriate these churches. Their main task was to erase the history of Caucasian Albania. But we did not allow that to happen. Azerbaijan has a broad scientific base on this issue. There are research works available. These works are and should be shared not only with the scientific community, but also with the world community as a whole. Caucasian Albania was a great state. Gabala was its capital. Historical sites and churches belonging to Caucasian Albania are our historical and cultural heritage. We are protecting these churches. I have visited these churches many times – in the city of Shaki, in Gabala district, the Udi church. As you know, during the war, on the initiative of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, the repairs of the ancient Udi Caucasian Albanian Church in Nij settlement was completed and this church was opened. We

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