Steven Sim is a Scot who visited Nakhichevan (currently part of Azerbaijan) in 2005 to check the situation of the Armenian monuments there, since he was continuously told by his Armenian friends the horrible situation of the Armenian monuments there. He was skeptical. He thought Armenians were exaggerating the situation. But after visiting Nakhichevan, Sim was shocked. The Armenians had not exaggerated the situation while speaking of the cultural destruction of their heritage in Nakhichevan. Not at all…

Attached Image
Photo: The ground has been leveled where an Armenian church used to stand in Nakhijevan (from

Sim’s report on his trip (published in January of 2006) is available in a PDF file at…an%20report.pdf. I uploaded the same document to for easy access.

I am heading to a leadership conference right now, which will continue until tomorrow night. Thus, I may not be able to update the blog in the next 1-2 days.

Below is the concluding part of Sim's report:

…Everything in my bag was taken out and carefully looked at, and the bag itself was examined for any
secret compartments. This lasted for about 15 minutes, without a word being spoken. Then the younger
man spoke to me in English, mostly translating questions given by the older man (whom I took to be
some sort of security chief – he never gave me his name or position).
To start with I was asked “What was my job, how much did I earn, who paid me to come to Nakhchivan,
why would I use my own money to come here?”

He examined carefully a notebook I had with me. One of the things that I had written in it was the title
of a book about Ottoman Armenians I had seen in a bookshop in Turkey. Seeing the word “Ermeni” in
the title he asked me about it. When I told him what it was, there was incredulity in his voice – he was
clearly astonished that a book about Armenians, written by a Turkish Armenian, could be published in
Turkey, in Turkish, and that Turks would wish to buy it!

They checked through all the photographs stored in my digital camera. Fortunately I had left those of
the Yernjak valley in my hotel room. They showed most interest in a photograph I had taken in
Naxçivan city. It was of a stone slab that I had seen in the gardens opposite the Momina Hatun mausoleum,
surrounded by a large collection of ram-shaped gravestones. On this stone was carved a cross
rising from a rectangular base. The arms of this cross ended in a two-pronged fork, and the head ended
in a semicircle. When I had seen it I thought that it resembled a very simplified khatchkar. “What do
you think this is”, he asked.
“It looks like a cross”, I replied.
“No it isn’t. It cannot be. Only Muslims have ever lived in Naxçivan!” he replied.
“Well, what do you think it is?” I asked him.
They had a discussion amongst themselves for a while, before pronouncing that “the curved top is a
crescent moon – that is a Muslim symbol, so it is really an Islamic carving”.
They seemed pleased with themselves for concocting this explanation – so I was surprised to discover,
when checking over my pictures later, that they had deleted the two photographs that showed this

They asked me why I thought that there was a church in Shorut.
“Because a book had told me”, I said.
“It is wrong, it is lying to you. It is an Armenian book, yes?”
“Yes” I replied.
“You see, Armenians are always lying – they are lying to everyone”.
I couldn’t resist pointing out to them that there were photographs of the Shurut church in the book. To
this they responded by saying “Armenians, they came here and took photographs of Shurut village and
then they went back to Armenia and put into them photographs of a church in Armenia.”
“It is all just Armenian lies. They are lying to you! There never were any Armenian churches anywhere
in Naxçivan. There were no Armenians ever living here – so how could there have been churches here?
There never was a church in Abrakunis, there never was a church in Shurut, there never was a church
in Julfa!”

My interview culminated with them having a discussion amongst themselves, at the end of which they
said, “we think that you are not here with good intentions towards the Azerbaijan republic”. I was told
that I had to be out of Nakhchivan by midnight. It was agreed that for an additional 50 dollars on top of
the agreed fare to Shurut, my taxi driver would take me back to Naxçivan city and then on to the Turkish
border. I crossed the border with about 45 minutes to spare…[highlights by Blogian]