Nagorno - Karabakh Republic
The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh has been declared independent since December 10, 1991, but its independence wasn’t recognized internationally. The Independence Day is celebrated on December 2. The overall territory of the country is 11,458km2, which is divided into 8 administrative areas: Stepanakert, Askeran, Hadrout, Martakert, Martouni, Shahumyan, Shushi and Kashatagh.
The flag of NKR was created like the flag of Armenia with the addition of the white triangular design (like an Armenian carpet), which symbolizes the unfair separation of Karabakh from Armenia and their rejoining by the independence declaration.
Karabakh borders with the Republic of Armenia in the west, with Iran in the south adnd with Azerbaijan in the east and north. Stepanakert is the capital of KArabakh Republic and Shushi is the historical and cultural center.
Shushi was a natural inaccessible fortress in Varanda province. There are many ancient tombs around the town; there were excavated khachkars and pottery of the 9-12th centuries. St. Ghazanchetsots church is the brilliant of Shushi built in 1868-1887. It is formed from the church and belfry. Here is situated the spiritual center and leader residence of Artsakh eparchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church. The center of the Armenian Apostolic church the Saint Cathedral of Echmiadzin and the memorial complex of the Great Genocide in Yerevan were the two sacred places in the number of the other many monuments where the visitors of Armenia used to visit up to 1990. Now the third sacred place is added to them – Shuhi.
The capital city of Stepanakert is located only 10km to the north from Shushi. The population of Stepanakert is 50.000. It is the administrative, cultural and economical center of the country. It is named in honor of Stepan Shahumyan. The project and construction plan was worked out by Alexander Tamanyan. Afterwards, there were other plans as well, but the plan of Tamanyan was preserved.
Here is the building of the National Assembly of NKR and the airport. The airport of Stepanakert will work again after 20 years of recess by receiving the most modern airplanes. It is well equipped by modern technique and now they train young specialists: regulators, specialists of aircraft transportation and other services. In order to get to Karabakh from Yerevan the tourists have to drive by a twisting highway, which becomes very dangerous in winter and sometimes impassable. The absence of the air transportation is one of the main reasons of the insufficient flow of tourists. The air communication will give a chance not only to enliven the tourism but the life of the republic as well. The two hills not far from the both ends of the running tracks are main reason of the postponing of the airport opening as they could hamper to the flights by big airplanes. But now the enlarging of the running track is going to be completed. It is considered that there will be regular flights Yerevan-Stepanakert-Yerevan and the ticket will cost 16.000AMD.
The symbol of NKR is the memorial monument “We are, and our mounts”, which is also known as “Grandfather-Grandmother”. It was settled in 1967. It is made from red tufa by the sculptor Sargis Baghdasaryan.
A world-wide exhibition was organized in the Italian city Karara more than 40 years ago. The works of the famous sculptor and Professor Sargis Baghdasaryan were introduced in that exhibition among the works of art of the well-known authors. One of his works-the sculpture “We are, and our mounts” became illustrious.
The complex near the village Vank is a touristic refuge known with its caved lion, in the cavity of which there are settled lights. They say, that the lion growls from time to time. The complex was built by one of the inhabitants of the village Vank and it provides with working places for the most part of the village inhabitation. The hotel Titanic with the restaurant Van Gouge and the zoo are located in this complex.
The monastic complex Gandzasar is situated not far from the village Vank and was built in the 13th century by the lord Hassan Jalal. It used to be the most important religious center for the eastern provinces of Armenia for many centuries. Some biblical images and bas-reliefs of the members of some lord families are preserved on the walls of St. Hovhannes Mkrtich church. On the whole, 200 old Armenian records are preserved in this monastic complex.
Dadivank is an ancient monastic complex in Artsakh. According to the legend, it was built yet in the 1st century in the place of the grave of St. Dadi. Mkhitar Gosh used to live here for some time when he worked on his “Code of Law” in the XII century.
The complex of Dadivank consists of two big groups of buildings: the churches, gavits and the chapel are in the north and the secular buildings are in the south.
On July 21, 2007, during the excavation within the scope of the reconstruction of Dadivank they found the remains of the apostle St. Dadi under the vestry of one of the churches of the monastery. He was one of the disciples of Jesus Christ who was sermonizing Christianity among the Armenians of Artsakh. Dadivank is one of the Armenian medieval best and large architectural complexes. It is valuable especially with the variety of church and secular buildings as well as with the originality of the constructions and design.
It is known from the Armenian and Greek-Romanian sources that the Armenian king Tigran II Mets (95-55 B.C.) founded 4 towns carrying his name, one of which is located in NKR.
The expedition of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the National academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia found the town Tigranakert in 2005 and did some archeological excavations in its territory during 2006-2008. It is the only habitat carrying the name of Tigran which place is correctly discovered and is being archeologically investigated. The excavations of the town are financed by the government of NKR and the union “Yerkir” – about 30 million AMD.
Near Tigranakert there is a fortress, inside of which a trade used to be organized between Armenians and Persians in the medieval period but now it is only a visiting place for tourists.
Documental data, valuable things found in Tigranakert during the excavations as well as clay pottery of the V-VIII centuries, crosses, plates, etc are introduced in the museum. The film of the TV Company “Yerkir Media” about the excavations of Tigranakert was shown by CNN on October of 2011.
According to the Armenian historians, the church of the monastery Amaras was founded by Gregory the Illuminator at the beginning of the IV century. Mesrop Mashtots opened the first school in the monastery Amaras at the beginning of the V century. Amaras monastery has become the largest religious center and episcopate of that area since the V century. The monastery was raided by the Arabs in 821. It was also destroyed in 1387 during the invasions of Lenktemur, but it remained the religious and cultural center by its always working school. Many manuscripts were written here in the XV-XVI centuries.
The monastery was abandoned and became desert after the establishing the Soviet order. It was reopened in 1992 as an active monastery of NKR.
The monastery is built in a lowland place and has a proper rectangular plan. It is surrounded by high walls inside of which there are dwelling and secondary buildings. The chapel-tomb of St. Grigoris is under the stage of the church.
Tnjri is a giant plane tree, which is the oldest and highest tree in the territory of APH. The height of the tree is more than 54m, about the height of 18 floor building. The surface of its hollow is 44m2. The diameter of the stem is 27m. This tree became an idol for the local inhabitants. The abounding in water source of Tnjri is next to the tree. The source watered the tree for centuries as well as it makes to work the nearest water-mills.
Taq Jur (Warm water)
There is also a source of warm water, which the local inhabitants call Istisu or in other words Taq Jur (warm water).
The region of Shahumyan has a big perspective for to organize a modern resort complex on the basis of the high quality mineral water as well as to build a factory of mineral water. The mineral water of this place has quality similarities with the famous mineral water “Jermuk”. But this fact hasn’t used yet. Near Taq Jur there was a sanatorium only the ruins of which are remained; the building of the mineral water factory is also destroyed. The column of the transmission line and some other metallic constructions are remained near the source and as there are no tubes now, the water gets out under the ground by spurts creating an amazing scene.
Artsakh has its specific cuisine as well as any other country, which is very like the Armenian one: traditional barbeque, harisa, dolma, etc. One of the specific dishes of the cuisine of Artsakh, which is probably the most famous and national is “jengyalov hats” (bread with jengyal or different grass) which includes around 40 types of plants. Kurkut, spas and a number of other dishes are considered to be national, as well as the traditional mulberry vodka, which already has its brand.