In the 19th century, Shusha was one of the largest cities in the Caucasus, surpassing even Baku in size and wealth. The city was located at the intersection of many caravan routes and was famous for its silks, cobbled streets, large stone mansions, bright patterned carpets. For every Azerbaijani, Shusha is a symbol of our culture and history.
However, in May 1992, at the peak of the Karabakh war, the Armenian occupation forces seized Shusha and subjected the city to barbaric destruction, destroying, among other things, the most valuable historical and architectural monuments. After almost 30 years, the city was liberated from the occupation, and today it is gradually beginning to come back to life.
On the instructions of the head of state, the State Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture has already started planning and design work for the reconstruction of Shusha. As part of these works, the famous inscription “Shusha” was restored, which once existed over the fortress wall, but was demolished by the armed forces of Armenia during the occupation. Today all guests of the city can again see the inscription.
The house of Khurshidbanu Natavan, the daughter of the last ruler of Karabakh, Mehtigulu Khan Javanshir, which was one of the city’s sights, was badly damaged. After the occupation of Shusha in 1992 by the Armenian armed forces, the house was systematically destroyed. Now only dilapidated walls remain of the once prosperous and beautiful palace.
Having visited Shusha, a group of foreign journalists got acquainted with the state of the house of Khurshidbanu Natavan, as well as other main sights of the city.
“I am thrilled to be here in this region. This is an opportunity and honor since not many foreigners and journalists were here. I am glad to be in Shusha … It is essential to start reconstruction activities after the victory in the war. It is also important not only to restore the infrastructure but to do so that people could return and live here as soon as possible,” Emmanuel Dupuy, President of the Institute for Prospective Analysis and Security in Europe, told Report.
The mosques of Yukhari and Ashagi Govhar-aga or Juma-mosque are among local historical and religious monuments.
There were 17 mosques in Shusha at one time, but Armenians either destroyed them or kept cattle there.
The Ashagi Govhar Agha Mosque is located in the lower quarter of the city of Shusha and has been in a dilapidated state since 1992. After the liberation from the occupation, work began on its restoration.
“It’s a great pity, and I was really horrified that the Armenians kept cattle in the mosque. I came from South America, from Brazil. In Brazil, we all live together – Christians, Muslims, Jews, and we do not encounter anything like that. And I am shocked that something like this could happen. There are mosques and churches in our country, and we respect each other. Therefore, it is regrettable for me to hear about such things. The Armenians should not have done this. Because it is a religion, we must respect each other’s faith. It should not happen again,” said Brazilian journalist Fabiana Ceyhan.
The Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque has already been repaired. This is the oldest mosque built in the central city square. After the return of Shusha in November 2020, for the first time in the past 28 years, Azerbaijani service members performed namaz there. In January 2021, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visited the mosque. The President presented the Koran brought from Mecca to the mosque.
Federico Lamont, a Mexican journalist and an anchor on the state-run Canal Once, ABC channel, who visited Shusha, was most impressed by the Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque. He performed his prayer there.
“Most of all, I liked the visit to the mosque. Because, for example, despite the fact that I am a Catholic, you are a Muslim, someone else is an agnostic, we all believe in some power. And this belief leads us in this difficult world …
During the prayer in the mosque, I talked with my God that maybe I am not a very good Christian, I made many mistakes in my life, but I asked God for his support,” said Lamont.
Foreign journalists also visited the Gazanchilar church in Shusha. Initially, it was an Orthodox church, but in the mid-90s, the Armenians who occupied the city rebuilt this church, changing its original appearance. The church was seriously damaged during the Second Karabakh War due to an artillery shell hitting it.
After the city’s liberation from occupation, the Azerbaijani authorities began to restore the destroyed objects, including this church.
Currently, work is underway to eliminate the consequences of the destruction from the shelling of the church and return it to its original appearance.
“The city of Shusha reminded me of ancient Havana. It evoked a feeling of nostalgia in me. Shusha has a charming aura, and this city is like a beautiful princess for me. And after its restoration, this city has great potential; everyone will learn about it and travel here. Azerbaijanis are a very spiritual nation that honors its traditions, and I think it is worth learning from the Azerbaijanis,” Colombian journalist Roberto Trobajo said.
The legendary Jidir Duzu, with its inimitable and unique nature, also became a favorite place of the guests coming to Shusha. Jidir Duzu is the name of the ‘racing field,’ where the famous Karabakh horses competed. Competitions in this field have been held for several centuries. Here, one could see the best Karabakh horses, which attracted local residents and foreign travelers.
And today, a view of the breathtaking nature and the Victory road under construction, which will connect Fizuli and Shusha, opens from here.
“I really liked the city of Shusha; it is a mountainous, lovely place with its special atmosphere. I am impressed. This land has been occupied for 30 years, and now we need to carry out reconstruction work to completely restore the city, but the city itself is very wonderful. I think it will become even better after the government of Azerbaijan completes the work on its restoration,” Brazilian journalist Fabiana Ceyhan has said.
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