Distortion of history has become a traditional process in Azerbaijan։ below are some “innocent lies”, which we found in the 8th grade textbook of the history of Azerbaijan. There are quotes from two French medieval travelers, which are taken out of context; instead of reflecting the reality; they simply falsify it.
Not surprisingly, these falsifications have a tendency to justify the anti-Armenian dispositions and war crimes of Azerbaijan to some extent and to bring up a generation that hates Armenians. The latter try to present Armeniaor its separate regions as “historical Azerbaijani” regions. To justify this falsification, they quote short sentences from international sources taken out of context.
Let՛s now turn to the quotations from the writings of two French travelers and compare these short sentences with the thoughts mentioned in the original sources.
Here is a quote from the book “The Voyage du Chevalier Chardin en Perse et autres lieux de l’Orient” by the French traveler Jean Chardin:
“Only Azerbaijani Turks live in Yerevan Fortress“․(1)
This sentence, taken out of context, tends to show that no Armenians lived in Yerevan, that Yerevan is a “historic” Azerbaijani territory. Now let’s go into a little more detail and take a look at the entire quote and not only a part.First of all, Chardin represents Eastern Armenia exclusively under the name of Armenia. It represents Yerevan as the capital. And he writes:
“Only native Persians live in Yerevan Fortress, and Armenians have shops here where they work.”(2)
This idea is more than logical, as Eastern Armenia was under Persian rule at that time. Chardin speaks with great reverence about the Armenian Christian culture; in particular, he writes about Yerevan:
“There are many churches in the city (Yerevan). These churches were built during the reign of the kings of Armenia ”.(3)
As we can see, a sentence without this context could give a wrong idea and be misleading, just as in the case of Azerbaijani textbooks.
The other author is Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (the work is called “Six Voyages of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier”). Again, a sentence with the same meaning is quoted, as if only Muslims, that is, Azerbaijani Turks, lived in the city castles. This is also a sentence out of context that does not represent the reality as it is. Citing international sources, they try to prove that Yerevan is not Armenian, but Azerbaijani which is ridiculous, at least only because Yerevan is known to the world as an ancient Armenian capital. So let’s quote more eloquent passages from Tavernier. Here are some illustrations from the original text.
Point B of this picture reads: “A suburb inhabited by Christian Armenians “.(4)
In the upper left area of the map there are two Armenian churches. These are the oldest churches in Yerevan – Katoghike Surb Astvatsatsin and the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.(5)
Both Tavernier and Chardin paid great attention to the Armenian culture, to the Armenians as natives, as Christians, as brilliant merchants.(6) Both of them were very impressed with the city of Echmiadzin(7), the spiritual center of Armenia, which is located very close to the capital Yerevan.
Below we present some illustrations from Tavernier which refer to Armenians.(8)
1. History of Azerbaijan: 8th class
2. Janeen Richards, Sir John Chardin’s Travels in Persia, https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/chardin/chardin.htm
3. Chardin Jean․ Travels of the cavalry Shardena in the Caucasus in 1672-1678, https://vstrokax.net/avtorskaya-kolonka/yurodivost-azerbaydzhanskih-psevdo-istorikov/
4. Plan d’Erivan, Tavernier, Jean-Baptiste, https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8593062t
5. Ruben Shukhyan, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier’s Journey to Yerevan, https://allinnet.info/culture/jean-baptiste-taverniers-journey-to-yerevan/,
6. Sir John Chardin’s Travels in Persia։ Trade, https://depts.washington.edu/silkroad/texts/chardin/chardin.htm
7. Sir Jean Chardin’s travel through Persia (translated by G. Poghosyan), http://echmiadzin.asj-oa.am/2760/1/108-115.pdf
8. Illustrations from Armenia by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier (1605 – 1689), https://www.peopleofar.com/2016/01/29/illustrations-from-armenia-by-jean-baptiste-tavernier-1605-1689/,