Stronghold remains in ruins…
Shusha (in Azeri), Shushi (in Armenian) by the second half of the 19th century had become the the second largest town in the Caucasus after Tbilisi. Hard to believe in it. Right now it’s an empty, melancholic place.
With leaflet from Azerbaijan (about Shusha – heart of culture) in our hands, we crossed the medieval wall which is surrounding the town. Town, situated in picturesque Karabakh mountains, at the plateau, just 9 km from the capital of Nagorny Karabakh. On the leaflet two beautiful mosques with color-pained minarets. For sure must-sees in the region.
What a sad view appeared when we finally found them. Like most of the town, mosques are also remain in ruins. Small kids, with no idea what their playing ground is, are jumping on the stairs of the entrance.
Shusha/i used to be a huge, very important city with predominantly Azerbaijani population. With the start of Nagorny Karabakh War in 1988 the town became the most important Azeri stronghold in Karabakh. Not for so long. At night from 8th to 9th of May 1993 everything have changed. The crucial turning point of the conflict took place at the steep cliffs, which were natural protection of Shusha/i. Armenian army attacked from down and took over the city and that was the beginning of the end.
Since that time there is no Azeri people to be found in the region but – very sadly – also no Azeri culture visible.
In contrast, huge Ghazanchetsots Cathedral was renovated not long ago.
But in general the town is reduced to the village, very sad one, with small signs of poor life around. What a pity that conflicts are so much connected with loosing, maybe forever, the cultural heritage.