Historian: Yerevan's Tepebashi quarter - part of Azerbaijani national cultural and historical heritage

    CULTURE  07 July 2022 - 09:54

    Tepebashi quarter remains the only proof of the cultural heritage of Azerbaijanis reflecting the history of the city of Irevan and the cultural heritage of Azerbaijanis.

    The State Prize laureate, Ph.D. in History, Associate Professor Guntekin Najafli made the remark in an interview with APA.

    Najafli noted that the main quarters of the historic city of Irevan were the Old City (Shahri), Demirbulag, and Tepebashi, these quarters were populated by Azerbaijanis until the 20th century. According to her, the Tepebashi quarter was located on the hill between the Zangi River and the Shahri quarter, so it was called the Tepebashi quarter: "Tepebashi quarter was in the western part of the city. Many gardens shared Tepebashi with the Shahri quarter. In general, in the 18th century and in the first half of the 19th century - during the khanates - Yerevan was a city buried in verdure. Also here, in the area of Tepebashi, there was a Khan's garden, which belonged to the Khan of Irevan Huseyngulu Khan".

    The historian noted that on October 1, 1827, tsarist Russia occupied the Irevan Khanate: "In March 1828, by decree of Nicholas I (1825-1855), an "Armenian region" was artificially created on the territory of the former Irevan, Nakhichevan khanates, and Ordubad Uyezd. Ivan Chopin, who at that time was a relative of the composer Chopin, was sent by tsarist Russia to the newly formed province to conduct a cameral census of the population. He is provided with a phaeton, in a word, with all the necessary means.

    The main source for determining the number and ethnicity of the population of the Irevan Khanate in the late 18th-early 19th centuries is the cameral census compiled by Chopin in 1829-1832. Ivan Chopin, who had been in military service in the Caucasus for a long time, compiled a census of the region on behalf of the military judge of the Caucasus Ivan Paskevich, and published it in 1852 under the title "Historical monument about the state of the Armenian region during its annexation to the Russian Empire" [Chopin I. Historical monument about the state of the Armenian region in the era of annexation to the Russian Empire. St. Petersburg, "In the printing house of the Imperial Academy of Sciences", 1852. - p.1231].

    Ivan Chopin began a tour of the city of Irevan and conducted a census of the population living there. Therefore, Ivan Chopin's large-scale work reflects the number and ethnic composition of the population of all quarters of the city. At that time, tsarist Russia had already started to move Armenians from neighboring states - Iran and the Ottoman Empire to these territories. For this reason, the book reflects who lives in these quarters, including immigrants. The cameral census describes the neighborhoods and monuments".

    Guntekin Najafli noted that the most famous mosque in Irevan, Huseynali Khan (or Blue Mosque), is located in the Tepebashi neighborhood: "Huseynali Khan is the Khan of Irevan, who was poisoned by Heraclius in 1783. Haji Imamverdi Mosque was also located in Tepebashi. Nowadays the fate of this mosque is unknown, but information about it is given in Chopin's book. There were caravanserais, bathhouses, and stores in Tepebashi; it was also rich in architectural monuments. The houses of the influential people of Irevan were also located in Tepebashi, so there were many gardens in Tepebashi. In all this, Tepebashi differs from other neighborhoods in Irevan. Out of the 1736 houses registered by Chopin, 792 were in the Old City (Shahri), 622 were in Tepebashi and 322 were in the Demirbulag quarter. It is interesting that at that time the house of Sheikhulislam Akhund, Mullah Mohammed Akhund, and Mullah Mohammedhuseyn oglu (60 years old) were registered in the Tepebashi part of the city".

    Guntekin Najafli stressed that all the sources of that period, including Armenian sources, reflect the fact that there were no Armenians living in the historic part of Irevan. There were only a few shops of Armenian merchants. Historical sources note that these Armenians opened their stores during the day and made purchases and sales, while in the evenings they closed their stores and went home outside the city: "The remains of monuments in Tepebashi, which now covers 16 hectares, also testify that this place is part of the historical and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijani people. Ivan Chopin's book also proves that the population here were Azerbaijanis. At that time they were not called Azerbaijanis, but Muslims or Tatars. The census in Ivan Chopin's book shows the number of Muslims, Christians living in the former period, and recently resettled Armenians. Other sources of the time reflect that the caravanserais, bathhouses, and stores in Tepebashi belonged to Muslim Turks, and Tatars. Ivan Chopin's cameral descriptions are very accurate in this regard. These monuments can be restored and reconstructed on the basis of existing historical documents. All these monuments were related to Azerbaijanis".

    The historian said that together with more than 100 prominent figures of science and society, they appealed to UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay in connection with the cultural genocide in the Tapabashi region of Irevan.

    "UNESCO strives to promote the identification, preservation, and protection of cultural and natural heritage, which is of exceptional value to humanity throughout the world. World heritage sites belong to all peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory in which they are located. We ask UNESCO to assist in preventing the destruction of the system of mahallas, historically owned by Azerbaijanis, and the monuments located in these mahallas, in Tepebashi part of Irevan city and their special protection."




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