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Home :: Attractions :: Djulfa Cemetery
Djulfa Cemetery
The site of the main Djulfa cemetery was located on the western side of the settlement site of old Djulfa, and was spread out over three hills separated by small ravines; it occupied an area of about 1600 square meters, and once extended all the way to the Araxes River. Walls had been built above the cemetery as barriers to protect the tombstones from floods and avalanches from the nearby mountains.

More than 350 years ago, a foreign traveller to Djulfa estimated 10,000 khachkars in the cemetery. By 1998, less than eight decades after a Soviet agreement with Turkey placed Nakhichevan under Azerbaijan, there were only 2,000 remaining. Still, the surviving stones were stunning and irreplaceable, and a screaming statement to the aged presence of the Armenian people in Nakhichevan who were forced to leave their ancestral homes as Azerbaijan took over. Archaeology Magazine writes, ‘The oldest burials in the Djulfa cemetery … date to the sixth century AD, but most of the famed khachkars are from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.’ According to the International Council on Monuments and Sites, the Azeri authorities destroyed much of the cemetery in 1998 and in 2002 followed by limited international protest. But as late as August 2005, as Sim witnessed, Djulfa was not entirely wiped out. He says that ‘most of the stones were still there and had only been toppled’. 
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