Shushi was on the front-line of the 1990’s Nagorno-Karabakh war and suffered heavy damage. It was an Azerbaijan stronghold, opposing Armenian-held Stepanakert. Over the course of the war most of the population fled, and the town still has many abandoned buildings.
I started at the Ghazanchetsots Armenian Orthodox cathedral, which is partly restored but mostly new built and looks very spiffy. The interior has some well-executed modern murals in a classic icon style. Then I strolled out to the old city walls. These also appear to have been fairly aggressively restored after the war: most of the stonework looks fairly new.
After some searching, I found my way to the remains of the old mosque. In an elegant theological touch, it’s two minaret towers have the Arabic letters for “Allah” repeated in white-on-red stripes ascending up towards heaven. The mosque interior is gutted and the courtyard is overgrown with weeds.
The center of town contains many decrepit old Soviet-style apartment blocks. But there is also some amount of new construction and renovation going on. Further out there are many derelict and abandoned buildings, some mere shells.