I took a marshrutka out from Stepanakert to the old scenic town of Shushi.

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.

The Old.
The New.
The Abandoned.