Armenians in the disputed Kalbajar district, Nagorno-Karabakh, bid farewell to Dadivank Monastery on November 13 as the area is being returned to Azerbaijan under a Russia-brokered deal.
Footage by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty shows some weeping as they said farewell to the religious complex. Some people set their homes on fire with the principal of the local school burning both the school building and his home, RFE/RL correspondent Susan Badalian said.
One local priest, Father Hovhannes, told RFL/RL that he will not leave, and that he had arranged for two 800-year-old stone crosses, or khachkars, to be relocated to Armenia.
“I hope that these cross stones [that are being relocated] will eventually return here to where they belong. I still cherish this hope,” Hovannes said.
Kalbajar is the first of several territories that are being handed back to Azerbaijan under the agreement. Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via Storyful