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For other uses, see Shusha (disambiguation). Shusha_sentence_0



Şuşa Շուշի   ShushiShusha_header_cell_0_0_0

CountryShusha_header_cell_0_1_0 AzerbaijanShusha_cell_0_1_1
DistrictShusha_header_cell_0_2_0 ShushaShusha_cell_0_2_1
MayorShusha_header_cell_0_4_0 Bayram SafarovShusha_cell_0_4_1
TotalShusha_header_cell_0_6_0 5.5 km (2.1 sq mi)Shusha_cell_0_6_1
Highest elevationShusha_header_cell_0_7_0 1,800 m (5,900 ft)Shusha_cell_0_7_1
Lowest elevationShusha_header_cell_0_8_0 1,400 m (4,600 ft)Shusha_cell_0_8_1
Population (2015)Shusha_header_cell_0_9_0
TotalShusha_header_cell_0_10_0 4,064Shusha_cell_0_10_1
Demonym(s)Shusha_header_cell_0_11_0 ShushalyShusha_cell_0_11_1
Time zoneShusha_header_cell_0_12_0 UTC+4 (AZT)Shusha_cell_0_12_1
Area code(s)Shusha_header_cell_0_13_0 +994 26Shusha_cell_0_13_1
ISO 3166 codeShusha_header_cell_0_14_0 AZ-SUSShusha_cell_0_14_1
Vehicle registrationShusha_header_cell_0_15_0 58 AZShusha_cell_0_15_1
WebsiteShusha_header_cell_0_16_0 Shusha_cell_0_16_1

Shusha ((listen); Azerbaijani: Şuşa; Armenian: Շուշի, romanized: Shushi) is a city and the centre of the Shusha District of Azerbaijan. Shusha_sentence_1

Situated at an altitude of 1,400–1,800 metres (4,600–5,900 ft) in the Karabakh mountains, Shusha was a mountain recreation resort in the Soviet era. Shusha_sentence_2

According to some sources the town of Shusha was founded in 1752 by Panah Ali Khan. Shusha_sentence_3

From the mid-18th century to 1822 Shusha was the capital of the Karabakh Khanate. Shusha_sentence_4

The town became one of the cultural centers of the South Caucasus after the Russian conquest of the Caucasus region in the first half of the 19th century over Qajar Iran. Shusha_sentence_5

Over time, it became a city and a home to many Azerbaijani intellectuals, poets, writers and especially, musicians (e.g., the ashiks, mugham singers, kobuz players). Shusha_sentence_6

Other sources suggest that Shusha served as a town and an ancient fortress in the Armenian principality of Varanda during the Middle Ages and through the 18th century. Shusha_sentence_7

It was one of the two main Armenian cities of the Transcaucasus and the center of a self-governing Armenian principality from medieval times through the 1750s. Shusha_sentence_8

It also had religious and strategic importance to the Armenians, housing the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, the church of Kanach Zham, two other churches, a monastic convent, and serving (along with Lachin district to the west) as a land link to Armenia. Shusha_sentence_9

Throughout modern history, the city mainly fostered a mixed Armenian–Azerbaijani population. Shusha_sentence_10

Following the Shusha massacre in 1920 by Azerbaijani forces, the Armenian half of the population of the city was mostly killed or expelled, and the city reduced to a town with a dominant Azerbaijani population. Shusha_sentence_11

After the capture of Shusha in 1992 by Armenian forces during First Nagorno-Karabakh War, its population diminished dramatically again and became exclusively Armenian. Shusha_sentence_12

Between May 1992 and November 2020, Shusha was under the de facto control of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh and administered as part of its Shushi Province. Shusha_sentence_13

On 8 November 2020, Azerbaijani forces retook the city during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War following a three-day long battle. Shusha_sentence_14

Etymology Shusha_section_0

Shusha literally means "glass", and derives from Persian Shīsha ("glass, vessel, bottle, flask"). Shusha_sentence_15

According to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names, when Iranian ruler Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar approached the town with his army, he reportedly told to Ibrahim Khalil Khan: Shusha_sentence_16

Panahabad ("City of Panah"), Shusha's previous name, was a tribute to Panah Ali Khan, the first ruler of the Karabakh Khanate. Shusha_sentence_17

According to Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary the town's name comes from a nearby village Shushikent, which literally means "Shusha village" in Azerbaijani language. Shusha_sentence_18

History Shusha_section_1

Foundation Shusha_section_2

Shusha as a settlement is first mentioned as Shushi in the Middle Ages, with the 15th century illuminated Armenian Gospel kept on display at Yerevan's Matenadaran (archival number 8211) being the earliest known artifact from the town. Shusha_sentence_19

The Gospel was created in Shusha by the calligrapher Ter-Manuel in 1428. Shusha_sentence_20

According to several sources, a settlement called Shusha served as an ancient fortress in the Armenian principality of Varanda, and had traditionally belonged to the Melik-Shahnazarian princely dynasty. Shusha_sentence_21

The town and fort of Shusha was mentioned as a linchpin of one of East Armenian military districts, called "syghnakhs", which played a key role in the Armenian commander Avan Yuzbashi's campaign against Ottoman forces in the 1720s and 1730s, during the Turkish invasion of the Southern Caucasus. Shusha_sentence_22

Kehva Chelebi, an Armenian patriot who maintained correspondence between the meliks of Karabakh and the Russian authorities, in this report of 1725 mentions Shusha as a town and a fort: Shusha_sentence_23

In his letter of 1769 to the Russian diplomat Count P. Panin, the Georgian king Erekle II documented that "there was an 'ancient' fortress which was conquered, through deceit, by one man from the Muslim Jevanshir tribe." Shusha_sentence_24

The same information about the 'ancient' fortress is confirmed by the Russian Field Marshal Alexander Suvorov in his letter to Prince Grigory Potemkin. Shusha_sentence_25

Suvorov writes that the Armenian prince Melik Shahnazar of Varanda surrendered his fortress Shushikala to "certain Panah", whom he calls "chief of an unimportant part of nomadic Muslims living near the Karabakh borders." Shusha_sentence_26

When discussing Karabakh and Shusha in the 18th century, the Russian diplomat and historian S. M. Bronevskiy (Russian: С. М. Броневский (1763–1830) implied in his Historical Notes that Shusha was a possession of the Melik-Shahnazarian clan, according to Russian historian P. G. Butkov (1775–1857). Shusha_sentence_27

Joseph Wolff, during his mission in the Middle East, visited "Shushee, in the province of Carabagh, in Armenia Major". Shusha_sentence_28

Azerbaijani and some Armenian 19th-century sources, including Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi, Mirza Adigozal bey, Abbasgulu Bakikhanov, Mirza Yusuf Nersesov and Raffi, attest to the foundation of the town Shusha in 1750–1752 (according to other sources, 1756–1757) by Panah-Ali khan Javanshir (r. 1748–1763), the founder and the first ruler of the Karabakh Khanate (1748–1822), which comprised both Lowland and Highland Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_29

The mid-18th century foundation is supported by Encyclopaedia of Islam, Brockhaus and Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary and Great Soviet Encyclopedia. Shusha_sentence_30

According to Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi (1773–1853), the author of the Persian-language text History of Karabakh, one of the most significant chronicles on the history of Karabakh in 18th-19th centuries, the Karabakh nobility assembled to discuss the danger of invasion from Iran and told Panah Ali Khan, "We must build among the impassable mountains such an inviolable and inaccessible fort, so that no strong enemy could take it." Shusha_sentence_31

Melik Shahnazar of Varanda, who was the first of the Armenian meliks (dukes) to accept the suzerainty of Panah Ali Khan and who would remain his loyal supporter, suggested a location for the new fortress. Shusha_sentence_32

Thus, Panahabad-Shusha was founded. Shusha_sentence_33

According to Mirza Jamal Javanshir, before Panah Ali khan constructed the fortress there were no buildings there and it was used as cropland and pasture by the people of the nearby village of Shoshi. Shusha_sentence_34

Panah khan resettled to Shusha the population of Shahbulag and some nearby villages and built strong fortifications. Shusha_sentence_35

Another account is presented by Raffi, an Armenian novelist and historian, in his work The Princedoms of Khamsa, who asserts that the place which Shusha was built on was desolate and uninhabited before Panah-Ali Khan's arrival. Shusha_sentence_36

He states, "[Panah-Ali Khan and Melik-Shahnazar of Varanda] soon completed the construction (1762) [of the fortress] and moved the Armenian population of the nearby village of Shosh (Շոշ), called also Shoshi, or Shushi into the fortress.″ Shusha_sentence_37

The town was initially named Panahabad, after its founder. Shusha_sentence_38

During the rule of Ibrahim-Khalil khan (r. 1763–1806), the son of Panah Ali khan, the town received its present name from a nearby village called Shushikent (literally translating to "village of Shushi" from Azerbaijani) or Shosh. Shusha_sentence_39

Conflict with the Qajars Shusha_section_3

See also: Battle of Krtsanisi Shusha_sentence_40

Although Panah Ali khan has been in conflict with Nader Shah, but the new ruler of Persia, Adil Shah, issued a firman (decree) recognizing Panah Ali as the Khan of Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_41

Less than a year after Shusha was founded, the Karabakh Khanate was attacked by Mohammad Hassan Khan Qajar, one of the major claimants to the Iranian throne. Shusha_sentence_42

During the Safavid Empire Karabakh was for almost two centuries ruled by Ziyad-oglu family of the clan of Qajars (of Turkic origin), and therefore, Muhammed Hassan khan considered Karabakh his hereditary estate. Shusha_sentence_43

Muhammed Hassan khan besieged Shusha (Panahabad at that time) but soon had to retreat, because of the attack on his territory by his major opponent to the Iranian throne, Karim Khan Zand. Shusha_sentence_44

His retreat was so hasty that he even left his cannons under the walls of Shusha fortress. Shusha_sentence_45

Panah Ali khan counterattacked the retreating troops of Mohammad Hassan khan and even briefly took Ardabil across the Aras River. Shusha_sentence_46

In 1756 (or 1759), Shusha and the Karabakh Khanate underwent a new attack from Fath-Ali Khan Afshar, ruler of Urmia. Shusha_sentence_47

With his 30,000 strong army, Fatali khan also managed to gain support from the meliks (feudal vassals) of Jraberd and Talish (Gulistan), however, melik Shahnazar of Varanda continued to support Panah Ali khan. Shusha_sentence_48

Siege of Shusha lasted for six months and Fatali khan eventually had to retreat. Shusha_sentence_49

When Karīm Khan Zand took control of much of Iran, he forced Panāh Khan to come to Shiraz (Capital), where he died as a hostage. Shusha_sentence_50

Panah-Ali Khan's son Ibrahim-Khalil Khan was sent back to Karabakh as governor. Shusha_sentence_51

Under him Karabakh khanate became one of the strongest state formations and Shusha grew. Shusha_sentence_52

According to travellers who visited Shusha at the end of 18th-early 19th centuries the town had about 2,000 houses and approximately 10,000 population. Shusha_sentence_53

In summer 1795, Shusha was subjected to a major attack by Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, son of Mohammad Hassan khan who attacked Shusha in 1752. Shusha_sentence_54

Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar's goal was to end with the feudal fragmentation and to restore the old Safavid State in Iran. Shusha_sentence_55

By early 1795, he had already secured mainland Iran and was directly afterwards poised to bring the entire Caucasus region back within the Iranian domains. Shusha_sentence_56

For this purpose he also wanted to proclaim himself Shah (king) of Iran. Shusha_sentence_57

However, according to the Safavid tradition, the shah had to take control over the whole of South Caucasus and Dagestan before his coronation. Shusha_sentence_58

Therefore, Karabakh Khanate and its fortified capital Shusha, were the first and major obstacle to achieve these ends. Shusha_sentence_59

Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar besieged Shusha with the centre part of a 70,000-strong army, after having crossed the Aras River. Shusha_sentence_60

The right and left wings were sent to resubjugate Shirvan-Dagestan and Erivan respectively. Shusha_sentence_61

Agha Mohammad Khan himself led the centre part of the main army, besieging Shusha between 8 July and 9 August 1795. Shusha_sentence_62

Ibrahim Khalil khan mobilized the population for a long-term defense. Shusha_sentence_63

The number of militia in Shusha reached 15,000. Shusha_sentence_64

Women fought together with men. Shusha_sentence_65

The Armenian population of Karabakh also actively participated in this struggle against the Iranians and fought side by side with the Muslim population, jointly organizing ambushes in the mountains and forests. Shusha_sentence_66

The siege lasted for 33 days. Shusha_sentence_67

Not being able to capture Shusha, Agha Mohammad Khan, for now, ceased the siege, and advanced to Tiflis (present-day Tbilisi), which despite desperate resistance was occupied and exposed to unprecedented destruction. Shusha_sentence_68

The Khan of Karabakh, Ibrahim Khan, eventually surrendered to Mohammad Khan after discussions, including the paying of regular tribute and to surrender hostages, though the Qajar forces were still denied entrance to Shusha. Shusha_sentence_69

Since the main objective was Georgia, Mohammad Khan was willing to have Karabakh secured by this agreement for now, for he and his army subsequently moved further. Shusha_sentence_70

In 1797, Agha Mohammad Shah Qajar, having successfully re-subjugated Georgia and the wider Caucasus, and had by that time already managed to declare himself shah conform the same traditions Nader Shah had done as well in the nearby Mughan plain, (nowadays shared between the Republic of Azerbaijan and Iran) decided to carry out a second attack on Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_71

Trying to avenge the previous humiliating defeat Qajar devastated the surrounding villages near Shusha. Shusha_sentence_72

The population could not recover from the previous 1795 attack and also suffered from serious drought which lasted for three years. Shusha_sentence_73

The artillery of the enemy also caused serious losses amongst the city defenders. Shusha_sentence_74

Thus, in 1797 Agha Mohammad Shah succeeded in seizing Shusha and Ibrahim Khalil khan had to flee to Dagestan. Shusha_sentence_75

However, several days after the seizure of Shusha, Agha Mohammad Khan was killed in mysterious circumstances by his bodyguards in the town. Shusha_sentence_76

Ibrahim Khalil khan returned to Shusha and ordered that the shah's body be honourably buried until further instructions from the nephew and heir of Agha Mohammad Shah, Baba Khan, who soon assumed the title of Fath-Alī Shah. Shusha_sentence_77

Ibrahim khan, in order to maintain peaceful relations with Tehran and retain his position as the khan of Karabakh, gave his daughter Agha Begom, known as Aghabaji, as one of the wives of the new shah. Shusha_sentence_78

Shusha within the Russian Empire Shusha_section_4

From the early 19th century, Russian ambitions in the Caucasus to increase its territories at the expense of neighbouring Qajar Iran and Ottoman Turkey began to rise. Shusha_sentence_79

Following the annexation of Georgia in 1801, some of the khanates accepted Russian protectorate in the immediate years afterwards. Shusha_sentence_80

In 1804, the Russian general Pavel Tsitsianov directly invaded Qajar Iran initiating the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813. Shusha_sentence_81

Amidst the war, in 1805, an agreement was made between the Karabakh Khanate and the Russian Empire on the transfer of the Karabakh Khanate to Russia amidst the war, but had close to no usage, as both parties were still at war and the Russians were unable to consolidate any effective possession over Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_82

The Russian Empire consolidated its power in the Karabakh khanate following the Treaty of Gulistan in 1813, when Iran was forced to recognize the belonging of the Karabakh khanate, along most of the other khanates they possessed in the Caucasus, to Russia, comprising present-day Dagestan and most of the Azerbaijan Republic, while officially ceding Georgia as well, thus irrevocably losing the greater part of its Caucasian territories. Shusha_sentence_83

Absolute consolidation of Russian power over Karabakh and the recently conquered parts of the Caucasus from Iran were confirmed with the outcome of the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828 and the ensuing Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828. Shusha_sentence_84

During the Russo-Persian War of 1826–1828, the citadel at Shusha held out for several months and never fell. Shusha_sentence_85

After this Shusha ceased to be a capital of a khanate, which was dissolved in 1822, and instead became an administrative capital of first the Karabakh province (1822–1840), following Persia's ceding to Russia, and then of the Shusha district (uyezd) of the Elisabethpol Governorate (1840–1923). Shusha_sentence_86

Shusha grew and developed, with successive waves of migrants moving to the city, particularly Armenians. Shusha_sentence_87

A survey prepared by the Russian imperial authorities in 1823, several years before the 1828 Armenian migration from Persia to the newly established Armenian Province, shows that all Armenians of Karabakh compactly resided in its highland portion, i.e., on the territory of the five traditional Armenian principalities, and constituted an absolute demographic majority on those lands. Shusha_sentence_88

The survey's more than 260 pages recorded that the district of Khachen had twelve Armenian villages and no Tatar (Muslim) villages; Jalapert (Jraberd) had eight Armenian villages and no Tatar villages; Dizak had fourteen Armenian villages and one Tatar village; Gulistan had twelve Armenian and five Tatar villages, and Varanda had twenty-three Armenian villages and one Tatar village. Shusha_sentence_89

Beginning from the 1830s the town was divided into two parts: Turkic-speaking Muslims lived in the eastern lower quarters, while Armenian Christians settled in the relatively new western upper quarters of the town. Shusha_sentence_90

The Muslim part of the town was divided into seventeen quarters. Shusha_sentence_91

Each quarter had its own mosque, Turkish bath, water-spring and also a quarter representative, who would be elected among the elderlies (aksakals), and who would function as a sort of head of the present-day municipality. Shusha_sentence_92

The Armenian part of the town consisted of 12 quarters, five churches, town and district school and girls' seminary. Shusha_sentence_93

The population of the town primarily dealt with trade, horse-breeding, carpet-weaving and wine and vodka production. Shusha_sentence_94

Shusha was also the biggest centre of silk production in the Caucasus. Shusha_sentence_95

Most of the Muslim population of the town and of Karabakh, in general, was engaged in sheep and horse-breeding and therefore, had a semi-nomadic lifestyle, spending wintertime in lowland Karabakh in wintering pastures and spring and summer in summering pastures in Shusha and other mountainous parts. Shusha_sentence_96

In the 19th century, Shusha was one of the great cities of the Caucasus, larger and more prosperous than either Baku or Yerevan. Shusha_sentence_97

Standing in the middle of a net of caravan routes, it had ten Caravanserais. Shusha_sentence_98

It was well known for its silk trade, its paved roads, brightly coloured carpets, big stone houses, and fine-bred horses. Shusha_sentence_99

In 1824, George Keppel, the Earl of Albemarle, passed through the city. Shusha_sentence_100

He found two thousand houses in the town, with three-quarters of the inhabitants Azerbaijanis and one-quarter Armenian. Shusha_sentence_101

He furthermore noted regarding the town; Shusha_sentence_102

Early 20th century Shusha_section_5

Main articles: Shusha massacre and Armenian–Azerbaijani War Shusha_sentence_103

The beginning of the 20th century marked the first Armenian-Tartar clashes throughout Azerbaijan. Shusha_sentence_104

This new phenomenon had two reasons. Shusha_sentence_105

First, it was the result of increased tensions between the local Muslim population and Armenians, whose numbers increased throughout the 19th century as a result of Russian resettlement policies. Shusha_sentence_106

Second, by the beginning of the 20th-century peoples of the Caucasus, similar to other non-Russian peoples in the periphery of the Russian Empire began to seek cultural and territorial autonomy. Shusha_sentence_107

That is why, at the beginning of the 20th century in Russia itself was a period of bourgeois and Bolshevik revolutions, in the peripheries these movements have acquired a character of the national liberation movement. Shusha_sentence_108

The initial clashes between ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis took place in Baku in February 1905. Shusha_sentence_109

Soon, the conflict spilled over to other parts of the Caucasus, and on August 5, 1905, first conflict between the Armenian and Azerbaijani inhabitants of Shusha took place. Shusha_sentence_110

As a result of the mutual pogroms and killings, hundreds of people died and more than 200 houses were burned. Shusha_sentence_111

After World War I and subsequent collapse of the Russian Empire, Karabakh was claimed by Azerbaijan to be part of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, a decision hotly disputed by neighbouring Armenia and by Karabakh's Armenian population, which claimed Karabakh as part of the First Republic of Armenia. Shusha_sentence_112

After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in the World War I, Armenian forces under Andranik Ozanian defeated Azerbaijani forces under Khosrov bey Sultanov in Abdallyar, and began heading down the Lachin corridor towards Shusha. Shusha_sentence_113

Shortly before Andranik could arrive, British troops under General W. Shusha_sentence_114 M. Thomson encouraged him to retreat, as Armenian military activity may have an adverse effect on the region's status to be decided at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. Shusha_sentence_115

Trusting Thomson, Andranik left, and the British troops occupied Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_116

The British command provisionally affirmed Sultanov (appointed by the Azerbaijani government) as the governor-general of Karabakh and Zangezur, pending final decision by the Paris Peace Conference. Shusha_sentence_117

To make the local Armenians surrender to the Azerbaijani rule Sultanov employed most severe measures against them such as terror, blockade and famine. Shusha_sentence_118

In August 1919, the Karabakh National Council was forced to enter into a provisional treaty agreement with the Azerbaijani government, recognizing the authority of the Azerbaijan government until the issue of the mountainous part of Karabakh would be settled at the Paris Peace Conference. Shusha_sentence_119

Despite signing the Agreement, the Azerbaijani government continuously violated the terms of the treaty, employing even more severe measures against the Armenian population. Shusha_sentence_120

Ethnic conflict began to erupt in the region. Shusha_sentence_121

According to Michael P. Croissant on 5 June 1919, 600 Armenian inhabitants of the villages surrounding Shusha were killed by Azerbaijani and Kurdish irregulars. Shusha_sentence_122

Sultanov claimed that those irregulars were not under his control. Shusha_sentence_123

The strife culminated with an Armenian uprising, which was suppressed by the Azerbaijani army. Shusha_sentence_124

In late March 1920, the Armenian half of the police forces was reported by a British journalist to have murdered the Azerbaijani half during the latter's traditional Novruz Bayram holiday celebrations. Shusha_sentence_125

The Armenian surprise attack was organised and coordinated by the forces of the Armenian Republic. Shusha_sentence_126

Azerbaijani outrage for this surprise attack ultimately led to the pogrom of March 1920, in which between 500 and 20,000 of the Armenian population of Shusha was killed, and many forced to flee. Shusha_sentence_127

According to the description of an Azerbaijani communist Ojahkuli Musaev: Shusha_sentence_128

Nadezhda Mandelstam wrote about Shusha in the 1920s, "in this town, which formerly of course was healthy and with every amenity, the picture of catastrophe and massacres was terribly visual. Shusha_sentence_129

... Shusha_sentence_130

They say after the massacres all the wells were full of dead bodies. Shusha_sentence_131

... We didn't see anyone in the streets on the mountain. Shusha_sentence_132

Only in downtown—in the market-square, there were a lot of people, but there wasn't any Armenian among them; all were Muslims". Shusha_sentence_133

Soviet era Shusha_section_6

In 1920, the Bolshevik 11th Red Army invaded Azerbaijan and then Armenia and put an end to the national de facto governments that existed in those two countries. Shusha_sentence_134

Beginning from this period, conflict over control of Karabakh and its central town of Shusha, moved from the battlefield to the diplomatic sphere. Shusha_sentence_135

In order to attract Armenian public support, the Bolsheviks promised to resolve the issue of the disputed territories, including Karabakh, in favour of Armenia. Shusha_sentence_136

However, on July 5, 1921, the Caucasus Bureau (Kavburo) of the Communist Party adopted the following decision regarding the future status of Karabakh: "Proceeding from the necessity of national peace among Muslims and Armenians and of the economic ties between upper (mountainous) and lower Karabakh, of its permanent ties with Azerbaijan, mountainous Karabakh is to remain within AzSSR, receiving wide regional autonomy with the administrative centre in Shusha, which is to be included in the autonomous region." Shusha_sentence_137

As a result, the Mountainous Karabakh Autonomous Region was established within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923. Shusha_sentence_138

The decision favoring Azerbaijan was due to Stalin, who knew that by including the disputed and by then majority Armenian-populated region within the boundaries of Azerbaijan, it would ensure Moscow's position as power broker. Shusha_sentence_139

Khankendi (renamed Stepanakert after the Armenian communist leader Stepan Shaumyan), a small village that was previously known with its Armenian name of Vararakn, became the new regional capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and soon became its largest town. Shusha_sentence_140

The town remained half-ruined until the 1960s when the town began to gradually revive due to its recreational potential. Shusha_sentence_141

In 1977 the Shusha State Historical and Architectural Reserve was established and the town became one of the major resort-towns in the former USSR. Shusha_sentence_142

The Armenian quarter continued to lie in ruins until the beginning of the 1960s. Shusha_sentence_143

In 1961, Baku's communist leadership finally passed a decision to clear away much of the ruins, even though many old buildings still could have been renovated. Shusha_sentence_144

Three Armenian and one Russian church were demolished and the Armenian part of the town was built up with plain buildings typical of the Khrushchev era. Shusha_sentence_145

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Shusha_section_7

1988–1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War Shusha_section_8

Main article: Battle of Shusha (1992) Shusha_sentence_146

With the start of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1988 Shusha became the most important Azerbaijani stronghold in Karabakh, from where Azerbaijani forces constantly shelled the capital Stepanakert. Shusha_sentence_147

On May 9, 1992, the town was captured by Armenian forces and the Azerbaijani population fled. Shusha_sentence_148

The city was looted and burnt by Armenians. Shusha_sentence_149

As of 2002, ten years later after the city's capture by the Armenian forces, some 80% of the town was in ruins. Shusha_sentence_150

After the end of the war, the town was repopulated by Armenians, mostly refugees from Azerbaijan and other parts of Karabakh, as well as members of the Armenian diaspora. Shusha_sentence_151

While the population of the town is barely half of the pre-war number, and the demographic of the town has changed from mostly Azerbaijani to completely Armenian, a slow recovery can be seen. Shusha_sentence_152

The Goris-Stepanakert Highway passes through the town and is a transit and tourist destination for many. Shusha_sentence_153

There are some hotels in the city, and reconstruction work continues, in particular, the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral recently finished going through the restoration process. Shusha_sentence_154

After the war, a T-72 tank commanded by the Karabakhi Armenian Gagik Avsharian was placed as a memorial. Shusha_sentence_155

The tank had been hit during the town's capture, killing the driver and gun operator, but Avsharian jumped free from the hatch. Shusha_sentence_156

The tank was restored and its number, 442, repainted in white on the side. Shusha_sentence_157

2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War Shusha_section_9

Main article: Battle of Shusha (2020) Shusha_sentence_158

During the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, Armenia accused the Azerbaijani army of shelling civilian areas and the city's Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. Shusha_sentence_159

Three journalists were wounded while they were inside the cathedral to film the destruction of a previous shelling on the same day. Shusha_sentence_160

Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence has denied the shelling of the cathedral by stating that "destruction of the church in Shusha has nothing to do with the activities of the Army of Azerbaijan" The House of Culture was also badly damaged in the fighting. Shusha_sentence_161

On November 8, 2020, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that the Azerbaijani army took control of the city of Shusha. Shusha_sentence_162

The next day, the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence released a video from the city, confirming full Azerbaijani control. Shusha_sentence_163

On the same day, Artsakh authorities confirmed that they had lost control of Shusha. Shusha_sentence_164

A ceasefire signed two days later reaffirmed Azerbaijan's gains, resulting in the city staying under its control. Shusha_sentence_165

The Armenian government and the Armenian Apostolic Church subsequently claimed that Azerbaijani soldiers had vandalised Armenian churches and cultural landmarks, including Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. Shusha_sentence_166

Culture Shusha_section_10

Because of historical specifics, Shusha contains both Armenian and Azerbaijani cultural monuments, while the surrounding territories include also many ancient Armenian villages. Shusha_sentence_167

Shusha is one of the Armenian religious and cultural centers and predominately Armenian cities of Caucasus. Shusha_sentence_168

The Eastern Armenian version of four Gospels (Holy Bible) was completed in 1830 in Shusha, and then was published in Moscow for the first time. Shusha_sentence_169

The city was also one of the leading centres of Azerbaijani culture. Shusha_sentence_170

The town of Shusha is associated with the musical traditions of Azerbaijani people. Shusha_sentence_171

Shusha is home to one of the leading schools of mugham, traditional Azerbaijani genre of vocal and instrumental arts. Shusha_sentence_172

Shusha is particularly renowned for this art. Shusha_sentence_173

Shusha is also well known for sileh rugs, floor coverings from the South Caucasus. Shusha_sentence_174

Those from the Caucasus may have been woven in the vicinity of Shusha. Shusha_sentence_175

A similar Eastern Anatolian type usually shows a different range of colours. Shusha_sentence_176

History Museum of Shusha Shusha_section_11

Located in the detached house of the mid-19th century, in the centre of the historical quarter, the museum to the history of Shusha is the collection of artefacts illustrating the centuries-old past of the ancient city-fortress, including the rich archaeological material of Hellenistic period that has changed the former ideas that Shusha was founded in the 18th century. Shusha_sentence_177

The collection of the museum contains many ethnographic materials, including the goods of local masters. Shusha_sentence_178

Household articles of the 19th century illustrate the life of Shusha inhabitants. Shusha_sentence_179

The collection of photos and reproductions, arranged on the stands of the museum halls, make the cultural life of the city of that period very tangible. Shusha_sentence_180

Other materials illustrate the desolation of Shusha in 1920. Shusha_sentence_181

A special stand is devoted to the military operation on the takeover of Shusha on 9 May 1992. Shusha_sentence_182

Here, the diorama of the battle is located, which creates the history of fights in the smallest details. Shusha_sentence_183

G. A. Gabrielyants State Geological Museum Shusha_section_12

The Gabrielyants State Geological Museum in the city of Shusha officially opened in 2014. Shusha_sentence_184

Professor Grigori Gabrielyants, the creator of the museum, is an Armenian geologist who, during 1989–91, was a minister of the geology of the USSR. Shusha_sentence_185

The museum has at its disposal about 40 videos on various natural phenomena that are teaching material during conferences for children of school age. Shusha_sentence_186

Of particular interest is the fluorescence room, which we call the "magical world". Shusha_sentence_187

Demographics Shusha_section_13

According to first Russian-held census of 1823 conducted by Russian officials Yermolov and Mogilevsky, in Shusha were 1,111 (72.5%) Muslim families and 421 (27.5%) Armenian families. Shusha_sentence_188

Seven years later, according to 1830 data, the number of Muslim families in Shusha decreased to 963 (55.8%) and the number of Armenian families increased to 762 (44.2%). Shusha_sentence_189

George Keppel, the Earl of Albemarle, who wrote on his way back to England from India arrived in Karabakh from Persia in 1824, wrote that “Sheesha contains two thousand houses: three parts of the inhabitants are Tartars, and the remainder Armenians”. Shusha_sentence_190

A survey prepared by the Russian imperial authorities in 1823 shows that all Armenians of Karabakh compactly resided in its highland portion, i.e. on the territory of the five traditional Armenian principalities, and constituted an absolute demographic majority on those lands. Shusha_sentence_191

The survey's more than 260 pages recorded that the five districts had 57 Armenian villages and seven Tatar villages. Shusha_sentence_192

The 19th century also brought some alterations to the ethnic demographics of the region. Shusha_sentence_193

Following the invasions from Iran (Persia), Russo-Persian wars and subjection of Karabakh khanate to Russia, many Muslim families emigrated to Iran while many Armenians moved to Shusha. Shusha_sentence_194

In 1851, the population of Shusha was 15,194 people, in 1886 – 30,000, in 1910 – 39,413 and in 1916 – 43,869, of which 23,396 (53%) were Armenians, and 19,121 (44%) were Tatars (Azerbaijanis). Shusha_sentence_195

By the end of the 1880s, the percentage of Muslim population living in the Shusha district (part of earlier Karabakh province) decreased even further and constituted only 41.5%, while the percentage of the Armenian population living in the same district increased to 58.2% in 1886. Shusha_sentence_196

By the second half of the 19th century, Shusha had become the largest town in the Karabakh region and the second largest town in the Caucasus after Tbilisi. Shusha_sentence_197

However, after the pogrom against the Armenian population in 1920 and the burning of the town, Shusha was reduced to a small provincial town of some 10,000 people. Shusha_sentence_198

Armenians did not begin to return until after World War II. Shusha_sentence_199

It was not until the 1960s that the Armenian quarter began to be rebuilt. Shusha_sentence_200

According to the last population census in 1989, the town of Shusha had a population of 17,000 and Shusha district had a population of 23,000. Shusha_sentence_201

91.7% of the population of Shusha district and 98% of Shusha town were Azerbaijani. Shusha_sentence_202

The highland portion of Karabakh, where Shusha was built, traditionally had an Armenian majority of the population. Shusha_sentence_203

When discussing Karabakh and Shusha in the 18th century, the Russian diplomat and historian S. M. Bronevskiy indicated in his “Historical Notes” that Karabakh, which he said "is located in Greater Armenia" had as many as 30-40 thousand armed Armenian men in 1796. Shusha_sentence_204

Following the capture of Shusha by the Armenian forces in 1992, the Azerbaijani population of the town fled and the present population consists of over 4,000 Armenians, mainly refugees from Baku, and other parts of Karabakh and Azerbaijan. Shusha_sentence_205

As a result of the war, no Azerbaijanis live in Shusha today. Shusha_sentence_206

Economy and tourism Shusha_section_14

There have been efforts to revive the city's post-war economy by the Shushi Revival Fund, the ArmeniaFund, and by the local government. Shusha_sentence_207

Investment in tourism has led to the opening of the Shoushi Hotel, the Avan Shushi Plaza Hotel and the Shushi Grand Hotel. Shusha_sentence_208

A tourist information office has also opened, the first in the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh. Shusha_sentence_209

The two remaining Armenian churches have been renovated, and schools, museums and the Naregatsi Arts Institute have opened. Shusha_sentence_210

Twin towns – sister cities Shusha_section_15


Notable natives Shusha_section_16

See also Shusha_section_17


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