Shusha or Shushi is a city in Azerbaijan. This fortified city has long been a cultural center in Karabakh.
Shusha was an Azerbaijani-populated city before the 1990s when all of its original Azerbaijani population was expelled or killed following the First Nagorno-Karabakh war. However, after the war, more and more buildings are being rehabilitated, and comfortable western hotels have opened. Following the city's recapture by Azerbaijan, large scale reconstruction work is ongoing to revive the destroyed city.
It is easy enough to walk around Shushi. The streets of the lower part of the town are not yet paved. Therefore, expect a lot of mud if it is wet.
Taxis are usually available in the area near and east of Ghazanchetsots Cathedral.
- 1 Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. Armenian cathedral consisting of a church and a bell tower. It was built in the second half of the 19th century, and used to be the largest Armenian church. It was in use till the Shusha massacre in 1920, and then was used as a barn. It was restored in 1998. Interior decoration is quite modest, which is traditional for Armenian churches.
- 2 Govhar Agha Mosque. Construction of the mosque was started in 1768 by Ibrahim Khan and then was frozen for years until Gevhar-aga, the successor of Ibrahim Khan, completed it. The inner space of the mosque is not much different from other places of worship in Karabakh of that period. There is a two-story gallery, separated by high stone pillars, as well as traditional domed ceilings. The mosque was heavily damaged in 1992, but in 2007 and 2011 it was completely reconstructed. You can enjoy the building from outside, but it doesn't function as a mosque anymore.
- 3 Lower Mosque (around the corner of Govheraga Mosque). Some ruins that still have their towers partly intact and which allow for a great view of the surrounding area. However, they are ruins, so be cautious.
- 4 Shusha fortress. Fortress built in 1752 by Khan Panah Ali Bey to defend the northern part of the plateau, as it is geographically the most vulnerable part of the city. Fortress walls are 2.5 km long. There is also a secret exit from the fortress, leading to the gorge Karin-so. There were 3 gates: north, west and east.
- 5 Town Walls. This is where one of the old gates is in the town walls.
- 6 Jtrtuz (Karkar Canyon Viewpoint). The famous lookout of Shushi with spectacular views of the Karkar Canyon cliffs below. In case you are not doing the Janapar, you can still have a great view of the canyon and mountainous area from here.
- 7 Shushi History Museum, 32, M. Mashtots, ☏ . M-Sa 09:00 - 17:00. It demonstrates the rich archaeological finds of the Hellenistic period along with ethnographic items of the 19th century. Also one can find here a diorama of the Shushi battle. Free admission.
- 8 Kanach Zham church (slightly uphill from the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral). Armenian Apostolic Church whose name translates from Armenian as "Green Church", as its domes were painted green long ago. The church was built in 1818 at the place of the former Gharabaghtsots wooden one. Nowadays, the chapel features some unique interior decoration.
Outside the city
- 9 Zontik Waterfall (follow direction of Janapar Trail either from Shushi or Karintak to reach it). Beautiful huge umbrella of moss, covered with dripping water, with a space under it is appropriately named Zontik - or umbrella. Beautifully sited right above the Karkar River, under the cliffs. Only accessible by hiking in.
- Drama theater.
- Art gallery, Ghazanchetsots str., ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Exhibits works of Martiros Saryan, Pavel Kuznetsov, Minas, N. Nikoghosyan, Zhilinskiy, Safohin, Gayane Tiflisetsi, Yuri Grigoryan, Hakob Hakobyan, Galents and other prominent artists.
- 1 Cafe. Across from the Cathedral is a hole-in-the-wall cafe. If you let them know ahead of time, you can eat very good dolma for a very reasonable price.
- 2 Cafe. Large outdoor patio. Simple menu, decent food and prices.
B&B and homestays
- Armen and Christina's B&B, 9/35 Aram Manukian Street (in the house at the corner of the intercity marshrutka station, ask for Frantsatsi Armeni Tun), ☏ , , .
- Bella, ☏ , (Oxanna). 4-5 beds.
- Mkhitar and Armine, ☏ , , ✉ Michael.email@example.com. 4 beds.
- Saro (at the edge of town).
- 1 Shushi Grand Hotel, ☏ . Very comfortable western hotel with great food, totally rebuilt to purpose. A bit off center.
- 2 Avan Shushi Plaza Hotel, ☏ . Renovated high-rise Soviet hotel in the center of Shushi. Smaller rooms often with good views.
- 3 Shushi Hotel, ☏ . Small hotel right above the main cathedral.