Tigranakert in Artsakh

Major Museums Ask for Protection of Artsakh Cultural Sites


NEW YORK — This past week, two major cultural institutions in the US, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the J. Paul Getty Trust, issued statements urging the protection of cultural sites in Artsakh.

Dan Weiss, President and CEO, and Max Hollein, Director of the Metropolitan museum, in a statement wrote:

“The recent bloodshed and destruction in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is a global tragedy of grave concern to us all. In addition to our plea and hope for the violence to stop, as museum leaders we urge that cultural heritage sites be protected.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is dedicated to preserving and exhibiting human creativity of over 5,000 years from across the globe. As the organizer and host of the Armenia! exhibition in 2018—which was the first major exhibition to explore the remarkable artistic and cultural achievements of the Armenian people in a global context over fourteen centuries—we have watched in horror and sadness at the recent violence and bloodshed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

We implore all those involved to respect these international cultural heritage sites, which enrich our world and have survived for thousands of years. The loss of cultural heritage sites is permanent, and is a grievous theft from future generations.”

In addition, the J. Paul Getty Trust in a statement put the preservation in a historic context, noting:

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“Deliberate physical attacks on cultural heritage are often figurative assaults on the people who identify with that heritage. This was true in Syria, Bamiyan, Bosnia, and Timbuktu. And it is true in Armenia, where Azerbaijani forces recently attacked the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, the cultural capital of Artsakh, Armenia,” the statement reads.

Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi before and after Azeri attacks

“Ancient cultural heritage is common to us all and must be protected. We call upon the international community to support the work of UNESCO, Blue Shield, the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, and all international organizations in the safe-keeping of cultural heritage as vital to the well-being of populations at risk.”

According to the Getty Trust, which through its Getty Conservation Institute has long advanced the conservation of cultural heritage, the organization draws attention to such issues in a series of Occasional Papers in Cultural Heritage Policy, written by authors long involved in the formulation and implementation of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect.

The ancient Armenian monastery of Dadivank, the ruins and the archeological site of Tigranakert, Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi and hundreds of other historic monuments will be left to Azerbaijan, under a statement on the cessation of hostilities in Karabakh.

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