Destroyed cemetery of Abdal-Gulabli: Shelled gravestone of 9-year-old girl - REPORTAGE - PHOTO

Destroyed cemetery of Abdal-Gulabli: Shelled gravestone of 9-year-old girl - REPORTAGE - PHOTO
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  • calendar-gray 25 December 2020

You can read previous articles here: https://apa.az/az/dagliq_qarabag/Azrbaycan-Ordusunun-ermni-vhsiliyin-son-qoyan-zfri-Agdamda-n-gordum-colorredREPORTAJcolor-colorredFOTOLARcolor-620996;

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Correspondents of APA have visited the liberated lands from occupation by Azerbaijani Army under the leadership of Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev. Our employees have prepared a series of reportages in the rubric “In the footsteps of victory”. We present the next reportage from these series:

Proposal for the building of the Aghdam Theater

On the way back from Gizil Kangarli, our way passes through the center of Aghdam again. To tell the truth, because we have a very short time when we arrived in the city, we saw the only surviving (if it is possible to say survived) three-story facade wall of the Aghdam State Drama Theater from afar, but we did not have the opportunity to go near it. Now our car passes right in front of the theater, this time it would be a mistake not to stop here, not to transfer a few shots to the memory of our cameras. Let me tell you about the history of Aghdam Theater.

The first theater in Aghdam was established in 1902 with the support of local educated people and our prominent writer Abdurrahim bay Hagverdiyev. The theater building was built in 1955-1956 under the leadership of the chairman of the City Council Mashadi Abbas. In those years, it functioned as a House of Culture. When the Aghdam State Drama Theater named after A. Hagverdiyev was established in 1968, the building was given to the theater. Once upon a time, there was a pool in front of the eye-catching huge building of the theater, and in the middle of the pool there was a composition from Nizami Ganjavi's poem "Khosrov and Shirin". Only this three-arched facade wall remained from the architectural example that gave the city a special beauty with its design before the occupation.

Of course, soon, all cultural institutions in Aghdam, including the building of the Aghdam State Theater will be restored. I believe it will be better than before.

 It would be good to create memorial complexes in each of the liberated regions from the destroyed buildings, especially the remains of cultural monuments. Let the Armenians know: These cities will be rebuilt and will be more beautiful than before, but we will never forget their atrocities! Our film crew also finished its work in front of the Aghdam Theater. We have a long way to go ahead. Let’s go.

Pomegranate orchards planted by Armenians in Aghdam

We leave the city and continue to go on completely destroyed asphalt road. We see a newly planted pomegranate orchard on the left. A little further on is the tobacco field, followed by a cornfield. Our guide says that we will see an even larger pomegranate garden ahead. Indeed, after a while a large pomegranate orchard appears in front of us, fenced on all sides. It seems that after the ceasefire statement signed on November 10, Armenians who had time to leave Aghdam till November 10, could not manage to finish harvest.

From time to time we see different buildings here. A tractor is parked in front of the large gate we pass by, and inside there are various agricultural machines. Probably, it was a repair shop or the garage.

The village where Hazrat Ali rested

In the distance, we see white houses sheltered between two mountains. "It is Gulabli village," says our guide, "and next is Abdal village."

We are approaching there.

- The houses have not been destroyed and why?” I asked.

- After the occupation, Armenians were living in Gulabli,” our guide said with pity.

- These are the Armenian villages at the foot of the mountains ahead. It is not well-chosen here. Look, - this time he stretches out his hand in another direction - Armenians also live in those villages behind

Our soldiers are now stationed in the four-story large school of Gulabli village. On the way, we saw our posts on the hills.  At these posts, our soldiers protect the homeland.

Now Gulabli village can be seen very closely. The roofs, windows, and courtyards of the houses are in place.

The names of Abdal-Gulabli villages are always said together. Till XIX century there were 2 Abdal villages here and to differentiate them from each other this village was called Abdal-Gulablı, in other words, Abdal village near Gulabli. Its ancients name is Abdal bulagi (spring). In the territory of the village, there are Xanim spring, Damci spring, Bay spring, and others.

Abdal Gulabli village was one of the ancient settlements. There are various stories about the establishment of the village, and one of the stories says that Hazrat Ali rested here with his army. There is Ali spring after him in the village.

Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to shoot in the village, we have to reach the cemetery before sunsets and find the grave of our late artist Sakhavat Mammadov. 

Looking for the grave of Sakhavat Mammadov

Our car was parked in the yard of a house in Gulabli. Our police station is currently located here. One of the policemen will go with us to Abdal village and help us find Sakhavat's grave.

The road to the right and left of Abdal village is covered with blackberries, Canterberry bushes and trees.

We see a mosque with a white facade and two domes on the side of the road. After visiting the grave of Sakhavat Mammadov, we will definitely pay a visit to that mosque. Once upon a time, there was a famous sanatorium of the country in Abdal-Gulabli. The road which we are using now heads even to the gates of the sanatorium. There used to small cottages along the mountains. Now we see none of them. The reason is clear.

It is the cemetery of Abdal village. Sharp white stones like a tooth from the ground have been put in some the graves instead of gravestones.

- Where is the grave? – I ask from the guard, who newly joined us.

He goes forward and walks among the graves. 

- It must be hereabouts, they came and shot last time.

- Don’t you know its place exactly? – I ask.

- No.

- Then, our work will be difficult. Sakhavat’s grave does not have a gravestone. The village was occupied at those times, they could not bring and put his gravestone, it remained in Baku. 

- Let’s have a look again.

Our guard goes forward and walks into the cemetery, we follow him. We look for a sign, a military among the grass, which grew up to a knee as if they hide graves from the enemy. If anyone came here before us, a sign should be put on the grave exactly.

We put our feet on the ground softly, we try to repeat one another's footprints. We face two dangers this time – both mine and old graves, of which woods have rotten. If you put your foot in the wrong place, the grave may collapse, you can end up someone’s grave untimely.

We are looking for... There is not any result yet. Then our operator Faig, shooting graves, calls me. He shows me a gravestone of a nine-year-old girl, which overturned into the bottom of a hip bush. There are also bullet signs in her picture on black marble: “Aynura Karimova Valeh, 1981-1990”.  Anger is knotting in my throat. Certainly, there are many graves of nine-year-old girls in the world. But it is ten times, a hundred times more painful meeting a gravestone of a little girl, like an angel, while looking for the grave of Sakhavat Mammadov, in this time. She died in 1990. 30 years passed. Her absence is at the same age as the absence of our Karabakh. If she lived… My God, I wonder if Aynura's mother and father are alive? Or they could not stand remain of the gravestone of their daughter in enemy hostage? I wonder what they feel while reading this article, looking at the scenes, we took? I wonder if they will not disappoint once more? I wonder if they will not feel as if they lose their daughter for the second time? I wonder if they will not cry for their child?

Although we looked for very much, we can not find the grave of Sakhavat Mammadov. We lose hope due to a shortage of time.

Like Sakhavat: As if, his grave also became a bird and flew.

Unfortunately.

In fact, we are afraid of going into depth about the cemetery. You should come here with those persons, who participated in the funeral of the artist, saw his grave at those times, you can not find a grave here with persons, like us who are unfamiliar with the territory, especially in such a hurry.

I console myself: Never mind. The main point is that we came until here, the memory of the artist, whom we could not visit for 30 years, on whose grave we cannot put flowers, and pray “Fatiha”, has always been alive in our hearts. I promise myself. Let all fall in order, I will come to Abdal and pay my debt of gratitude to the artist in a comfortable time.

But now, it is time to go, the weather is getting darker. Where are our guards? They moved away from us while looking for the grave. We call them. They do not respond. Silence appears. We hear some strange voice this time.

 - It comes from Armenian villages, - our visit friend Shamil Pashayev clarifies.

- Are they so close?

- It is the opposite side of the mountain, it echoes. 

- Silence.

- What do you think? Will Armenian diversions come to these territories?

I do not know if Shamil wants to scare us or he jokes:

- They can ambush everywhere.

Fortunately, our guides save us from an imaginary ambush.

“We could not find,” – both of them said at the same time.

“Never mind, let it remain for the next time, let’s go,” I said.

Abdal Mosque, covered with grass

Abdal mosques were built on the hill, situated in the upper part of the village, on the road to the cemetery. The village is seen well from here. In contrary to Gulabli, Armenians destroyed and pillaged all houses in Abdal village. There is a valley downside. I do not know which river is running through the valley. Houses in the valley were also completely destructed. Armenians eliminated this ancient, amazing village from the Earth brutally. Like other places, they used partly destroyed mosques as a stock, barn.

Worker of the History of Science Institute of the ANAS, doctor of philosophy in history Bayram Guliyev said that the mosque was built on the basis of Karabakh architectural traditions of the XVII:

“The presence of a large, wide triangular arch in the center is also observed in the Govhar Agha Mosque in Shusha and the Aghdam City Mosque. It can be explained with the application of the same architectural style. The mosque was exactly built during the period of Karabakh khanate. But it is difficult to say it was built during the ruling period of which Karabakh khan. But historical sources show that most towers and mosques were built during the ruling period of Panahali Khan. Probably, the mosque also has two minarets, belonging to the Karabakh architecture of the XVIII.”

“Allah” has been written on the door of the mosque with Latin graphics. Probably, it is a “stamp” our militaries, passing through here. Grass have covered the dome. In fact, we avoid entering the mosque and investigate in detail, we just look from the door. Again damned “danger”.

The mosque reminds me of Aghdam mosque, with high, stone columns, arches, and domes, built with brick over columns. There is a dried spring in front of the mosque, where religious performers took ablution.

The weather has gotten dark. Stay here is dangerous for civilian people. We should leave without a loss of time. Leaving our guide, accompanied us in Abdal, to God, we returned.

A more adventurous day is waiting for us in Fuzuli tomorrow.

(To be continued)

You can read the next: Current condition of command points of Armenians in Fuzuli. Azerbaijani Flag in “Dədəlinin kruqu”. In the search of Fuzuli’s monument. Why we did not visit Gochahmadli village?

Photo - Ilkin Nabiyev © APA GROUP 

Mirmehdi Aghaoghlu

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