Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

Amaras


Amaras is an Armenian Apostolic monastery established in the 4th century which makes it one of the oldest Christian sites in the World. Amaras played a very significant role in Armenia's history and culture: according to the legend it was founded by Saint Gregory the Illuminator. The grandson of Armenia's patron saint, Saint Grigoris had been buried in Amaras. Moreover, the monastery became home for the very first school, where Mesrop Mashtots (the inventor of the Armenian alphabet) taught people his scripts. In 13th century Amaras was plundered by Mongols and seriously damaged during Tamerlane's invasion. It was left abandoned until 1858 when Armenians living in Shushi collected money for the restoration and thanks to their help the new church was built.





Askeran


Askeran is one of the eight provinces of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It is located in the very center of Karabakh, surrounding the capital Stepanakert. Askeran's history dates back to the Middle Ages, when one part of it belonged to the Principality of Khachen and the other, the independent one was called Varanda. The site of special interest in Askeran is the medieval fortress of the same name located on the banks of the Qarqar River. Askeran fortress was built in 1751. During the wars, this fortress was used as a military headquarters for Karabakh army.




Gandzasar


The word "Gandzasar" itself means "a treasure mountain" in Armenian. The monastery of the same name was founded in 1216 under the patronage of the Armenian prince of Khachen, Hasan-Jalal Dawla. In 1240, the Gandzasar was consecrated. The central object of the complex is the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, whose relics are buried there, as well as the relics of his father St. Zechariah. The bas-reliefs inside of the Cathedral are true masterpieces often compared to those at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on the Akhtamar Island.





Ghazanchetsots


Surp Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi is a large monument, the face of which is covered with local finished white lime-stone. It was built between 1868 and 1887 and is considered to be proud of Shushi. The Cathedral is situated not only on a high plateau, but over great Karkar gorge. The dome, slender drum of which makes the whole construction look glanderous and elegant, is particularly impressive. Ghazanchetsots is one of the most prominent places of worship in Armenia, which clearly reflects the genius of Armenian builder. The composition of the externally cross-domed church, based on four pillars, is similar to the Holy See of Echmiadzin. Some time the Right Hand of Saint Gregory was kept here. One of the basements is popular with mysterious phenomena. This is just a semispherical room, though it has interesting acoustic properties. When a person stands under the groove, made on the ceiling, his/her voice becomes unbelievably loud; a person standing in a meter of him/her hears ordinary sound. If two people stand on the diametrically opposite points, the one hears even whispers of the other, whereas others do not hear anything at all.




Shushi


Shushi is a town in Nagoro-Kharabakh Republic, located at the height of 1368 meters above the sea level. Though there is no certain foundation date, Shushi is often mentioned in different Armenian sources starting from 9th century. In the 19th - beginning of 20th centuries Shushi was fast growing city with a rich cultural life. It was also know as one of the major centers of Armenian rugs and carpets weaving. Though Shushi has been seriously damaged during the Karabakh war, today the town is slowly rebuilt. In 2013, a new State Museum of Arts was opened in Shushi. The impressive collection of this museum includes various works by Martiros Saryan, Minas Avetisyan, Pavel Kuznetsov and many more.




Stepanakert



Stepanakert (originally Vararakn) is the capital and largest city of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Approximate population of the city is around 53,000 people. In 1926 when Stepanakert became a part of Soviet Union the city was reconstructed; it adopted a new layout designed by the great Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian. Stepanakert was always known as a very vivid and joyful city. It remains the same today: though harshly damaged during the Kharabakh, Stepanakert is being quickly rebuilt.




Tigranakert


Tigranakert is a ruined ancient Armenian city located in the modern Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It was built in around 120-80 B.C. and named after the Armenian King Tigranes the Great. In 2005 and 2008 major excavations were made at the ruins of Tigranakert. All the artifacts unearthed from city's remains were placed in special museum dedicated to their study and preservation. Nowadays Tigranakert occupies about 50 hectares of Karabakh's Martakert province.