We’ll continue exploring Askeran after the breakfast. We’ll visit the preserved Ethnographic District of the XIX century, which demonstrates how the people of Artsakh lived in those days. In the territory if the district the house museum of the Armenian fedayee Nikol Duman is situated. One of the halls of the museum is dedicated to his life and activity. We continue our journey.
Gandzasar Monastic Complex
The pearl of Artsakh stands proudly on a high hill on the left bank of the river Khachen. The external structure of the church is focused on the dome. The architecture and the decorations inside and out of the church form an organic whole, which makes the church one of the brilliant achievements of the Armenian culture. The Gandzasar Complex bas built in 1238 and is famous with a legend, telling, that the head of John the Baptist is buried here. The complex is located near the village Vank. According to the popular legend the monastery was given this name in honor of a mountain, which is called Gandzasar by the locals due to the silver mines inside of it (arm. “gandz” – treasure, “sar” – mountain). Gandzasar is a treasure for the courageous people of Artsakh.
We’ll have dinner at “Tsovin Qar” (Sea Stone) hotel surrounded by densely blossoming forests, which is located on the right bank of the river Khachen. Raising enough power, we’ll continue the trip.
We’ll explore the hero city of Shushi. A very interesting day is waiting for us. At 10 kilometers from Stepanakert is situated the soul of Artsakh, the historical town of Shushi. The city – fortress surrounded by stone walls is the pride of the country. First thing we’ll see in this city is the St. Ghazanchecoc Cathedral of Christ the Holy Savor, a white church decorated with bas – relief images of angels. The church was built in the second half of the XIX century. During the Nagorno – Karabakh war, when the Azerbaijani forces captured the church, it was badly damaged. After its liberation by the Armenian army the cathedral has been repaired and renovated. The cathedral has become the symbol of the rebirth of independent Artsakh.
Then we’re heading to a reserve – the Hunot Gorge. The view of the cave gorge, with the lenght of 3 km and the depth of about 750 meters, is indescribably beautiful. The slopes are covered by dense forests, the mountains and the hills are stretching to the skies. For the easy transportation, an arched bridge was built here in 1720, which is used by the locals even nowadays. Once in the reserve, looking around, it seems you’re in a green, clean and untouched little world.
The next stop is the fortress of Shushi.
One of the sights of the city, the walls of the citadel built in the XVIII century, has preserved to our days almost completely. The walls of the fortress with 2.5 km length are starting from the high rock massif and down to the steep slopes of the gorge. The walls, as well as the towers with 8 meters length, are built from the rock: they seem to grow out of the rocks and merge them. The Gates of Gandzasar are one of the 4 fortress gates, which have survived almost intact.
Then we’re heading to the Geological Museum, which houses the most unique natural and artificial stones of Armenia and Artsakh.
Following the route we’re going to the Museum of the History of Shushi, where you can see and learn a lot. The museum is located in a beautiful detached house of mid – XIX century. It houses very important artifacts, which tell us about the century – old history of the city – fortress of Shushi. Here household and handicraft items of the local masters are collected. Special attention should be payed to the diorama devoted to the military operation of liberation of Shushi, which reminds us of the story of the battle in details.
Finally we’ll see the “Winner Tank” memorial. The 9th of May is a double celebration for Armenia. On this day we celebrate both the victory in the Great Patriotic War and the Day of Liberation of Shushi. The operation of liberation of Shushi was named “Wedding in the Mountains”: when Vazgen Sargsyan (at that time the Military Minister of Armenia) saw the plan of capture of Shushi, he said it’s impossible. Furthermore, he promised to get married after the capture of the city. On 9th of May at dawn Shushi was liberated.
After having such an interesting day, we’re going to the hotel in Stepanakert, where you can relax.