Multicultural heritage of Artsakh
For centuries, under the rule of Iran, Artsakh became the residence of the Iranian rulers and their families, as well as at the end of the 19th century gradually became the seat of the nomadic tribes professing Islam. After joining of Artsakh to Russia, its capital city of Shoushi was at the crossroads of trade routes linking Iran with Russia. The rapid development of trade between Iran and Russia resulted in the formation of the Shiite Muslim community in the city.
One of the most famous monuments of Islamic Persian culture is the mosque of Shoushi. It was built in 1883, designed by the Iranian architect Kerbala Sefi Khan in the centre of the Muslim part of the city. The main facade of the mosque with three arched entrances emphasizes two tall minarets. Both minarets are elaborately decorated with colorful geometric patterns. In front of the mosque was built an octagonal pool with a fountain. In Soviet times, the mosque was transformed into a historical museum. In May 1992, during the war for the liberation of Shoushi, the mosque was badly damaged. Currently are held restoration works.
Inner Mosque, or Mosque of Gezhara Aga, was built in 1875, designed by the same architect Kerbala Sefi Khan. Basically, it repeats the architectural solutions of the Uptown Mosque. The area in front of the mosque is surrounded by buildings, which housed a religious school-madrasah. A mosque with minaret in quarter of Saatli, restored in 2005, also prayer houses in different parts of Shoushi are preserved.
Built in 1889 by the project of already known to us the architect Kerbala. Almost repeats the shape of Agdam mosque.
It was built in 1870 by the architect Kerbalay Sefi Khan. According to the project, it is a copy of the Uptown Mosque of Shoushi. The horrors of war did not pass it. Somehow damaged during the hostilities, it is nonetheless in satisfactory condition. The two minarets of the mosque on the two sides of worship house, are built of brick and decorated with geometric patterns.
Beautiful building of the 19th century in the centre Akna quarter of the town of Askeran, close to the stadium, consists of residential buildings and reception, built of local limestone. The exterior walls are beautifully decorated with cornices and stone carvings. Near are the mausoleum-burials of the Panah Khan’s clan. The complex is preserved to this day unchanged.
Once in 1805 as a result of Russian-Persian war, Persia gave up some areas of Armenia in favor of Russia, and Artsakh became a part of the latter, there appear first Russian settlements. Russian ethnic element further enhanced when, as here, particularly in Hadrout, Shoushi and Stepanakert also accommodated frontier Cossack regiments of the Imperial Army. In the places of concentration of Russian population Orthodox churches, engineering constructions and others are built. All these buildings were built according to age-old canons of Russian architecture, with use of some elements of local traditional architecture.
Perhaps the most remarkable structure of that time were the barracks of the 1st Sunzha-Vladikavkaz Regiment of the Tersk Cossack Army, with luxurious Orthodox Church in the town of Khankendi (now Stepanakert).
The church was founded by 16th Grenadier Mingrelian Regiment during its parking here in 1864 and lit in honor of the Transfiguration of the Lord on February 9th 1868. Holds up to 1,000 people cross-domed church with a bell tower is built from the local white limestone. During the years of Soviet power it was rebuilt and served as a clubhouse for the military unit deployed there. The church, like the surrounding imperial barracks, survived, due to considerable reconstruction. Nearby are also the beautiful two-storey building of the regimental headquarter, the so-called "Government House", where in 1861 stopped the Emperor Alexander II, who arrived in Artsakh for "perpetrated inspection of troops the troops." Now the building is reconstructed to the tourist centre with a hotel.
One of the squares of Shoushi, near the central market in 1840 was built Russian Orthodox Church of St. George. The parishioners were living in Shoushi family of imperial officials and soldiers of the imperial army, a regiment of which was stationed in the city. The impressive building for its architecture played a large city-forming role and was the centre of Russian culture in Shoushi. After the collapse of the Russian Empire and the massacre of Armenians in Shoushi in March 1920, the church lost its parishioners and in Soviet times served as a warehouse, then as cinema. In 1960, by the order of the leadership of Azerbaijan, Russian church, as well as remaining ruins of the Armenian part of the city, was demolished.
The only completely preserved to this day Russian Church in Artsakh is the Blessed Virgin church in the place of Gevorgavan, near the town of Martouni. Built in the early 20th century in the traditional style of Orthodoxy, the church was intended to serve the religious needs of Russian settlements, located here in the old before. In the church acts a small school. In 1989, started the restoration works of the church, interrupted by military fighting. During the short-term occupation by Azerbaijani army, the church was again partially destroyed.