Silly speculation (with obvious answers added)July 13 2012 at 3:24 PM
Response to Khtzkonk
This text for example, unworthy of the best of the Virtual Ani site:
''Some western academics, not wanting to upset Turkey and thus damage their career advancement, try to wriggle out of explaining Khtzkonk's destruction by inventing alternative reasons for the damage.''
Who knows what their motivation is?
This is purest speculation, unless precise references can be supplied for evidence that ''some (unnamed) western academics'' have given explanations thus elucidating their reasons.
Who can read minds here?
Then the text continues:
''For example, T. A. Sinclair in his 1987 book "Eastern Turkey, an Architectural and Archaeological Survey" wrote that the churches were destroyed by falling rocks. From where did these rocks fall? To where did these rocks disappear? And how did they manage to defy the laws of gravity by jumping over the Saint Sargis church in order to destroy its neighbours?''
Quite evidently for anyone visiting the site nowadays, rocks contiunally fall from ABOVE the site - incredible though that may seem to some. The gorge is narrow and precipitous, with the monastery on a ledge of rocks, and with cliffs both towering above, close by, and falling away below to the river. Any Google Earth view will show exactly what this location involves!
Whether some rock falls were created by explosives is of course, another matter, though (surprisingly? thoughtlessly?) this has not been claimed here.
It is very likely indeed however, that many large falls, some of enormous boulders weighing many tons, have been caused by weather conditions and frequent earthquakes. The force with which such boulders must strike the rock below could also produce earthquake-like vibration, perhaps sufficient to destroy structures, the more so were these structures already in a weakened state, (through neglect, lack of maintenance or other reasons).
Some of these rocks have NOT ''disappeared''.
They are still very much there and impressive through being frighteningly large.
All very intimidating.
Others most probably have ended up in the clefts of rock below or on the floor of the gorge.
The effect is due to Newtonian gravity, is my best guess.
I also guess that they didn't defy Newton's laws by bouncing (or flying) ''over the Saint Sargis church''.
The chapel's neighbours seem more evidently to have been weakened and probably to have collapsed (mainly into the spur and gorge below) due to the subsidence of the rock face underlying them and on which they were partly founded.
Whether the collapse of the rock face was due to explosives, earthquake or simple weathering remains unexplained, though the present aspect does not suggest violence other than than of nature at work. The cleft does not look like a quarry face, but more as a naturally formed cliff in an unstable area, covered with lichens and other small plants no different from the rock faces all surrounding, in extent or age.
Most of all for conspiracy theorists and cultural genocidists, a coherent, credible explanation should be given as to why the most impressive of the original buildings, the chapel of St. Sargis, still survives, very largely intact, if rather perilously so.
Just why has this dramatic monument NOT been destroyed?
I'd like to add a request for potential readers nonetheless.
The site is amazing and the condition of St. Sarkis, damaged areas apart, quite astounding for appearing 'as new', with virtually no evident weathering of fine carving, including long inscriptions in Armenian.
How much of this is original from the pre-Mongol period?
How much is due to reconstruction in the Russian period post 1878?
The site would seem to me even more dramatic, and so spectacularly incredible were this largely a survival after five and a half centuries of possibly complete abandonment.
Does anyone know?