Prior to the recent war, the cathedral had been damaged by Azerbaijani Tatars during the 1920 Shushi Massacre of Armenians, and after the formation of the Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAO) was used as a storehouse by Soviet Azerbaijan’s authorities. Only after the liberation of Shushi in 1992 and the formation of the Artsakh Republic, Ghazanchetsots Cathedral was renovated and continued being the cultural and religious centre of Artsakh.
As a result of the attacks of Azerbaijan during the autumn aggression of 2020 against Artsakh, the dome of the church and the roof were seriously damaged. It should also be noted that during the 1st attack residents of Shushi, mostly kids and women, were sheltering inside the cathedral.
Luckily, no one was injured at that time. Hours later, as journalists were inspecting the damage inside and around the Cathedral, Azerbaijani Armed Forces struck the building one more time. 2 Russian journalists were wounded and an Armenian who accompanied the reporters was injured as well. The editor-in-chief of “Segodnya” was critically wounded and underwent surgery in Stepanakert.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has confirmed that
“Azerbaijani forces attacked a church in the city of Shushi on October 8, 2020”, underlining that it was hit twice “in what appears to be a deliberate targeting in violation of the laws of war”.
Months after the war, Azerbaijan started “reconstruction” works in Ghazanchetsots, and as it was seen from the non-occupied territories in the vicinity of Shushi, the Azerbaijani side had taken down the dome of the cathedral. Azerbaijan’s propaganda machine came up with a new thesis suggesting that allegedly they’re transforming the church into its “original look”. Ironically, the dome of the cathedral had been destroyed in 1920 during the massacre of the Armenians in Shushi and was reconstructed according to the initial architectural plan only after Shushi’s liberation.
А cross-stone near the temple was destroyed
Moreover, “thanks to Azerbaijan’s reconstruction works” in Ghazanchetsots, a cross-stone located near the cathedral has gone “missing”, as seen on the screenshots below:
The more the international community shuts its eyes to the erasure of the Armenian Heritage in Artsakh, the more Azerbaijan is given the power and legitimacy to come up with new scenarios aiming at the complete elimination of the Armenian trace from Artsakh.