Kashatagh (Lachin) province
THE BASIN OF HAKARI RIVER

BERDZOR (LACHIN)

    The town of Lachin, presently renamed to Berdzor was also built in the place of a little settlement abandoned by Armenians, though the traces of Armenian: culture within the town itself are rather scarce. Particularly, visiting Lachin: in the beginning of the 80-ies the writer S. Khanzadian..: noticed: "On a stone fastened into the wall of a new house 1 read "MELIK AVR. ... 1562" and on the wholesome khachkar turned to a bench at the market place I read "MIGHTY MKHITAR... 1412" Presently no historical monuments have been preserved within the entire area of the town.
    Up to 1923 Lachin (former Ardalar) was a small insignificant village, inhabited, e. g. in 1914 by 124 Kurds, speaking Turkish1. On 6 August 1923 Lachin was turned to the administrative center of a new autonomy - "Red Kurdistan", later in 1930, when the autonomy was repealed, it became the center of the district with identical name.
    During the early years of the Soviet rule there had been some Armenian population in Lachin, which was later expelled. As witnessed by the Kurdish writer Amine Avdal: "The Kurds, Armenians and Azerbaijanians used to live in the town of Lachin, The ancestors of the Kurdish residents of Lachin came from the tribe called Tzheloya."
    Lachin, which separated mostly Armenian Artsakh from Syunik, began to develop rapidly since the fifties. It increased immensely during the past one or two decades, covering the area, ten times larger than the former settlement.17 The population was increased artificially by enforced migration of the ethnic Turks from other regions of the country.
    Since 1989 Lachin was converted to the main military standpoint, separating Artsakh from Armenia and threatening both the Armenian population of Berdadzor (Shushi district of NKR) and the villages of Goris district, bordering Lachin. The Artsakh Liberation Army took this town on 18 May 1992.
    Presently, upon almost 200 years Lachin is renamed to Berdzor and again populated by Armenians. In 1996 the town had 150 households, two active Armenian schools, a kindergarten, a music school, etc. To commemorate the 4th anniversary of the liberation a new museum of history of the region was established in 1996.
    At the same time the Armenians founded a new church. Building works lasted two years. The new domed church built of finely processed basalt was anointed on 31 May 1998. "The new Surb Hambartsum (Holy Ascension) Church built in the memory of the perished fighters opened by the anointment of the spiritual leader of Artsakh congregation bishop Pargev in the town Berdzor of Kashatagh. A day earlier the ceremony on the occasion of the anointment of the church cross was served in the presence of the President of the NKR Arkadi Ghukassian, high rank dignitaries from Armenia, Arlsakh, commanders of volunteer troops, fighters and other guests.
Berdzor. Surb Hambardzum (Holy Ascension) church seen from north-east and the sun-dial.
    The building inscription of 6 lines is fastened into the northern facade of the church:
    "TRUSTING IN GOD, THE NEW SETTLERS OF KASHATAGH BUILT THE HOLY ASCENSION CHURCH IN THE MEMORY OF OUR NUMEROUS BROTHERS FALLEN FOR THE FATHERLAND. THE HOLY ASCENSION CHURCH WAS FOUNDED IN BERDZOR IN YEAR 1996 AND ANOINTED IN YEAR 1998 DURING THE PRIORSHIP OF HIS HOLINESS GAREGIN CATHOLICOS OF ALL ARMENIANS AND BISHOP FATHER PARGUEV OF ARTSAKH CONGREGATION AND THE SPIRITUAL SHEPHERD OF THE PROVINCE FATHER ATHANAS TO THE GLORY OF OUR GRACIOUS LORD JESUS CHRIST FOREVER. AMEN."

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