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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Trip to Azerbaijan: A reminder of its remarkable victory against Armenia

Nabya Shahid, a producer at a leading Pakistani channel, recounts her visit to Azerbaijan. In an eye-opening piece, she narrates the destruction Armenian troops caused in the Azerbaijani areas they illegally occupied. Had it not been for Azerbaijan's remarkable victory against Armenia, Azerbaijan's rich cultural heritage in those areas would have been lost.

I got a chance to cover the newly liberated areas by Azerbaijan from Armenia’s illegal occupation. This visit gave me the hope that one day I will see the same for the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Azerbaijan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. I visited cities such as; Shusha, Ganja, Fuzuli, and Aghdam. In contrast to the destruction that saddened me, I was able to see the picturesque beauty. I especially liked it in Shusha, a city that has taken a special place in my heart.

The liberation of the occupied territories from the Armenian illegal occupation is a stunning victory for Azerbaijan. Observing the sad picture of what the Azerbaijani land of Karabakh had turned into during the years of occupation, I realized that Armenia was trying to destroy the historical and cultural traces of Azerbaijan in these lands.

Read more: Azerbaijan reclaims disputed land in Karabakh peace deal

Let me take you around the phenomenal labor of Azerbaijani military forces in liberating illegal territories from Armenian occupation.

Shusha: A significant symbol of Azerbaijan’s history

Shusha holds immense significance while talking about the Karabakh conflict and the victory of Azerbaijan. I would start with the scenic beauty Shusa carries and I am still unable to forget its beauty. Unfortunately, Shusha, the cultural center of Azerbaijan, was destroyed the most in the Karabakh conflict.

It is located on the road to Khankendi, the region’s largest city. Besides the strategic importance of Shusha, it is also known as one of the symbols of Azerbaijan’s history and culture. Many prominent figures of Azerbaijan were born there.

Read more: Azerbaijan captures Karabakh town of Shusha

I got the chance to visit a wedding of a girl who was born in Shusha. After meeting her, one can say Shusha people are very hospitable and beautiful. It saddened me to see how Armenia tried to vandalize Azerbaijan not only through the destruction of buildings but also historically and culturally.

We also got the chance to visit the famous Shusha Fortress which was founded by Panah Ali Khan, the first ruler of Karabakh. This was built as a fortress for protection in 1756. Initially, Panah Ali Khan used to work at a different location, but because of this fortress’ heightened location, it was built for security purposes.

Armenian troops, after illegally taking over Shusha, did not destroy the fortress completely. Instead, they dismantled the roofs, hence the fortress collapsed automatically. Azerbaijan, after liberating Shusha, reconstructed the fortress within a few months.


The national flower of Karabakh

The national flower of Karabakh is “Khar-i-bulbul” which is often found in the Karabakh region – Shusha. It is a beautiful and colorful flower. Khar means “Thorn” and Bulbul means “Nightingale” in the Azerbaijani language. Interestingly, legends claim this flower is only found in Shusha during March-May. Khar-i-bulbul is called so because when looked at closely, one can see it resembles a bird.


Read more: Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict: There’s more to it than meets the eye

Jidir Plain: How Azerbaijan tricked Armenia

Jidir Plain, South of Shusha, is a magical mountainous area. It is surrounded by clouds. Jidir Plain was another illegally occupied territory by Armenia. The significance of Jidir Plain lies in the bravery and courage that Azerbaijan military forces showed while liberating the territory.

Shusha was mainly liberated by the smart move Azerbaijan soldiers showed in Jidir Plain. They bluffed the Armenian soldiers on the hills by climbing up the occupied territory from the backside. The element of surprise helped Azerbaijan defeat Armenian soldiers and liberated Shusha.


Armenia’s destruction of Aghdam

Aghdam is a comparatively less populated area of Azerbaijan. However, the Armenian troops set fire to a number of structures in Aghdam while withdrawing from the region. The troops attacked buildings, police stations, mosques, cultural heritage buildings, and checkpoints. Aghdam had been a famous cultural and business hub of Azerbaijan which was turned into ruins by the Armenian armed forces.

Thousands of cultural buildings, houses, shops, and religious centers were targeted by the Armenian armed forces. Attacking cultural and religious buildings during the illegal occupation depicted their intention of wiping out Azerbaijani inheritance from the core. Armenian troops tried their best to destroy the Azerbaijani culture and wipe off its history.

Read more: Armenia fires ballistic missiles on Azerbaijani civilians

The tomb of Panah Ali Khan

During our briefing about the reconstruction and restoration of the infrastructure of Karabakh, we were taken to the tomb of Panah Ali Khan, which was destroyed from the core and brought to ruins. As mentioned earlier, Panah Ali Khan used to carry out his day-to-day meetings in Aghdam but due to security reasons, he had to construct another palace in Shusha i.e. Shusha Fortress.

Armenian forces destroyed the tombs of Panah Ali Khan and his family members which were located in the fortress. The grave of Khurshidbanu Natavan, a poet, philanthropist, and daughter of Panah Ali Khan, was also present next to her father’s tomb. Armenian forces destroyed the grave of Khurshidbanu and set the corpse on fire. This brutal step by Armenian forces triggered Azerbaijan sentiments towards their history.


Aghdam Bread Museum 

Aghdam Bread Museum was constructed in 1983. It was an ancient wheat-producing mill turned into a museum. Bread is a symbol of love and hospitality in Azerbaijan. This is why the Bread Museum carried historical significance for the people of Azerbaijan. The walls of this museum are colorfully painted, demonstrating the rich history of Azerbaijan visually.

This building was turned to ruins leaving behind just one side of the wall standing. However, Azerbaijan decided not to reconstruct or restore the remains of the Bread Museum as a reminder of Armenia’s hatred and repugnance for Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan and Armenia

Nabya Shahid is a producer at a leading Pakistani channel. She also worked as a Copywriter at HUM Television Network. She has been published in Daily Times and Fortress Square Mall Magazine. Nabya Shahid can be followed on Twitter @nabyashahid. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.