the fortress was trying to survive and exist in different periods
Shoushi is situated on the Eastern plateu of the Artsakh mountain
chain, surrounded with deep gorges on three sides. It is the second
important city in the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh.
The first records about Shoushi belong to the Arab geographer
Citing the famous Arab historiographer Ibn al-Asir(1660-1730),
he writes in his “geographical dictionary”, “Karkar
is a city in Aran, near Bailakan founded by Anushirvan”,
Bailakan is an ancient city in Aran and is situated in the Mukhank
region of Artsakh. Strabo too, has mentioned this city. It was
said that the Persian King Khosrov Anushirvan(4th century), whose
domain encluded the Eastern half of the Grater Armenia, reconstructed
a number of fortresses to strangthen the Northern part of his
empire. He was said to have rebuilt Derbent (Chora Pahak) and
installed iron gates. As to Karkar-Shoushi the Arab geographer
means the restoration of the ancient 2,5 km wall on the Northern
side of the mountain. Khosrov Anushirvan was considered to be
the author of a number of works which have been done not only
by himself. The Arab authors Ibn al-Asiri and Yahud al-Hamavi
insist that the fortress was reconstructed in the 6th century.
The armenian name Karkar(great stone) says that it has been a
fortress even before the reign of the great iranian king. Later
parallel to the fall of Grater Armenia the city was weahened.
The name of the river Karkar also is a proof of the existance
of a stronghold. The name of the river comes from that of the
Another record belongs to the Armenian historiographer Movses
Kaghankatvatsi. He writes, “It was the Armenian year of
270(821) when arab celebrities came secretly from Partav, plandered
the region Amaras and captivated about 1000 people settled somewhere
in Metsirank which was called Shikakar. Meanwhile the handsome
and brave Prince Sahl Smbatian Aranshahik and his brothers attacked
them with an army in the morning, slaughtered and scattered them
all and took the captives back.” Later Sahl Smbatian was
appointed as the agoverner by the Arab Khalif because Smbatian
had arrasted the Turkish leader Babek and Sahl Smbatian got Shaki
region as a remark.
It attracts attention with its megalitian monuments which haven’t
been studied yet. The remains of different statues from this place
are known to science and testify of a developed culture and the
fact that Armenia was not apart of Etiunian civilization. The
13th century historiographer Kirakos Gandzaketsi in his “History
of Armenia” evidence of the visit of the Great Prince Hasan
Jalalian to Batu Khan to the capital of Monghol State Karahorum
to ask for the fortress Karkar, Jraberd and Akanaberd. Another
record of Shushi-Karkar belongs to the Shushi scribe Ter –
Manuel who created his handwritten Bible in 1428 in the Shushi
St. Astvatsatsin Church. This manuscript is in the Repository
of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenadaran) now. The cross – stones
dating back to the 8th century also testify of the Shushi Fortress,
its culture and active life. The preserved Kromlekh graveyards
of Shushi if studied could throw light to the past of the 3000
year old Shushi.
During the 1st quarter of the 18th century the officer Avan from
Shirvan restored the fortress and founded a “sghnakh”
which was one of the strongholds of the Armenian military state
(Armenian Sghnakhner) in Artsakh. In 1726 a decisive battle took
place in Shushi with the Turkish army of 4000 soliders. The Turks
This state later turned to a semi – independent Khamsa state
The Russians settled in Shushi in early 19th century. The population
enjoyed the peace for nearly 100 years. The fortress flourished
and became one of the most important cultural centres in Caucasus.
In 1920, March 23 the Shushi Armenian District was set to fire
, the population massacred . The initiator was the Baku Government.
Shushi was liberated on May 9th,1992. Since then the churches
Ghazanchetsots and Kanach have been reconstructed, and the theatre,
and a cultural centere two schools and choir are functioning now.