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  25/02/2018   0:15

Armenia Tourist Attractions
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The ancient stronghold of Shushi was the administrative, religious, cultural and educational center of Artsakh (currently Republic of Nagorno Karabakh), one of the 15 states of the Historic Armenia. Though, Shushi has a very rich history, the main sign of it has been created not in the distant past, but in our days. After the May 9, 1992 - the heroic victory of the Armenian people in the Kharabakh war for liberation - one of the most glorious pages of the Newest History of Armenian people is associated with Shushi. And henceforth, for every Armenian the first and the main meaning of the word SHUSHI is VICTORY!

The stronghold of Shushi is located in Goris - Stepanakert highway, on the hill which is 11 km to the South from Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh. There is only one access to the town, only one way, as Shushi is surrounded by forbidding rocks on three sides. Valleys and gardens are spread on the Northern and Southern sides, and Stepanakert is situated on the North-Eastern side. On the North-Eastern side along the gorge, the Karkar River flows. The geographical disposition of the Stronghold gives a very significant strategic importance. Due to the natural inaccessibility, it has served as a defensive fortress for the Armenian inhabitants of the Varanda region of Mets Hayq's Artsakh state, and being fenced in it was turned into a fortification for them. The major part of the Fortress is still standing.

On the 19th century the Medieval Castle of Shushi was the most important industrial, commercial, cultural and educational center in Caucasus. There were schools, print houses, theaters in the town; more than 2 tenths of periodicals have been published there.

During different historical epochs Shushi has been constantly exposed to the invasions of the Turks and other foreign aggressors. As a consequence the Armenians have suffered from considerable human and material losses but they have tried to survive and preserve their land. On the Eve of the World War First the population of Shushi was about 42 thousands, from which 22 thousands were Armenians. In 1920 the Turk mussafats have organized the mass slaughter of the Armenians in the Armenian district. The Armenian part of the town was completely ruined, plundered and fired, 7 thousands of comfortable houses, numbers of historical and cultural monuments, libraries and printing houses, schools and stores have been incinerated to ashes. More than 20 thousand Armenian people have become the victims of the massacre. The slaughter of the Armenian in Shushi is the continuation of Turk mussafats' policy to annihilate the Armenian Nation on its historical motherland.

In the period of the Soviet Power, under the direct governance of Stalin by an unlawful decision of the Communist Party of Bolshevik Russia, Artsakh was forcedly annexed to Azerbaijan as an autonomous Region of Nagorno-Karabakh. During the Soviet Years the policy of getting rid of the Armenian of Artsakh and especially of Shushi was continued by the Authorities of Soviet Azerbaijan.

In the year 1988 the population of Artsakh through peaceful meetings and in lawful/constitutional form has conjointly requested to reconstitute the justice and to reunify Artsakh with Armenia. Azerbaijan responded to the peaceful meetings of the Armenian and to the legal decree of the Nagorno Karabakh autonomous region by mass murders, slaughters and tortures in Azerbajian's capital Baku and in other cities. The whole world was stressed and shocked by the Genocide organized by the Azeris against the Armenian in Sumgait, when for 5 days unstoppably all the people including women, children and the eldest were being vigorously tormented, murdered and fired before the eyes of all in the streets of modern Azerbaijan cities. The small number of Armenians remained in Shushi also had the same destiny or have been also forcedly evicted from the city. The population of Karabakh had to take a self-defense. The liberating war of Karabakh was started.

During the war, Shushi has become the main military point of Azerbajian, from where the capital of Artsakh Stepanakert and surrounding regions were severely and intensively bombed. Against the peaceful population the Azerbaijanis were using armors which were prohibited by international conventions, including "Grad" volleys. The inhabitants of Stepanakert and nearby villages had to be hidden in the basements of buildings for several months without electricity and heating. The liberation of Shushi was a matter of life and death.

On May 8-9, 1992 one of the most brilliant actions of the Armenian military art - the liberation of Shushi has been carried out. In the future, many high level military representatives and specialists have expressed their admiration and astonishment at how the Armenian performing only a two days' attack could liberate that inaccessible Stronghold, which is protected by mountains and gorges, and only self-sacrificing people could try to conquer it.

The action of Shushi's Liberation was planned, developed and managed by the Armenian talented military specialists and the heroes of liberating defense under the leadership of legendary General Arkadi Ter-Tadevosyan (Komandos). This action was initially named as "Wedding in the Mountains". The Armenian warriors, attacking simultaneously in 4 directions, have been distinguished by their discipline, exceptional bravery and decisiveness, and on May 9 they have liberated this ancient Armenian Castle.

The Azerbaijianis have turned the Armenian Christian Ghazanchetsots Surb Amenaprkich Church into their main armory being sure that the Armenians will in no case bomb the saint church. Fortunately and probably by God's will, the Azerbaijanis had no time to bomb the Church during their stampede.

Due to the Shushi liberation the bombings of Stepanakert and surrounding settlings have been stopped, the war was inclined, and Artsakh has conquered its factual independence. The Armenian Nation will always celebrate the May 9 as a double holiday - the date of Victories in the Great Patriotic War and in Shushi Struggle.

Nowadays, the population of the town is approximately 3500. Due to the patriotic initiations, Shushi gradually recovers, the productive companies are being reorganized, there are operating educative and cultural centers.

A great number of famous Armenians have been born in Shushi. Among those are writers Muratsan, Leo, politician and famous national and cultural figure of the First Republic of Armenia Aram Manukyan, double hero of the Soviet Union Nelson Stepanyan, actors Vagharsh Vagharshyan, Gourgen Gabrielyan and others.

There is an operating geological museum and a gallery in Shushi, the tank ("Tank-Monument") participated in the the Shushi liberation, the monument of Sparapet Vazgen Sargsyan, Armenia's and Artsakh's hero, as well as the memorial khachkar of the liberating soldiers (azatamartiks) can be seen in Shushi.

The pride and sign of Shushi is the Armenian Christian Ghazanchetsots Surb Amenaprkich Church. Among the monuments of the town the Surb Hovhannes Mkrtich Church built in 1847 has its own place. It is known also as a Green Church, because of its dome painted into green.

The sightseeing of Shushi include also the ruins of Meghretsots Church, the remnants and towers of the castle, two Muslim Mosques, the Upper and the Lower and other places.

Shushi is also the religious center of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Artsakh.

Before the 1990s for the diaspora visiting Armenia, as well as for all the Armenian, there were two major holy places among the thousands of monuments and memorials, where they traditionally and spiritually visit. Those holy places are the Mayr Ator Surb Echmiadzin which is the religious center of Armenian Apostolic Church and the Memorial of the Armenian Genocide. Now, the third holy place Shushi is added to the list.


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