Highly in mountains as an eyrie is stretching the city-fortress of Shoushi with its history of two hundred years, which became the symbol of tireless belief of Armenian people in future. Crystal-clear mountain air, soft climate, woody vicinities, sources of medical mineral water make Shoushi one of favorite vacation spots in Artsakh. One of the most beautiful corners of Artsakh (Kharanakh) – Shoushi plateau is populated by our ancestors since the most ancient times. Archeological excavations here show subjects of material culture of an epoch of Hellenism and the early Middle Ages. In the end of the first millennium of our era here already were erected protective constructions.
Spiritual needs of the population were satisfied in 7 Armenian temples, 2 mosques and one Orthodox Church.
Shoushi became a symbol of revival of the nation and a place of pilgrimage for tourists. Now two hotels, the Center of tourism and crafts, Cultural Center of Narekatsi are operating here.
The medieval fortress
One of the basic sights of the city is Shoushi fortress. The walls of a citadel which have almost completely kept up to now from the beginning of XVIII century were erected by the meliks (princes) of Varanda and subsequently the leaders of nomadic tribes invited here. After connection of Karabakh to Russia it has been reconstructed by Russian military engineers before heroic defense of Shoushi in the Russian-Persian war of 1826.
Fortifications of 2,5 kilometers long begin with the high rocky mass hanging above a precipice in the southwest part of a plateau, go down the scarp into the canyon and merge again with the cliffs in the east. Impregnable walls with the towers of 7-8 meters high reared of the local hard rock as if grow out of the cliffs and merge with it in an extremely picturesque way. Elizabethpole gates - is the only of the four gates which are preserved till our days practically in their original condition.
Basic architectural dominant of Shoushi is one of the largest Armenian temples in the world - Church of Sacred Jesus Christ, called also Ghazanchetsots, with height about 40 meters. Built in 1888 from white limestone on the wide area in city center, it is skillfully decorated by the thinnest expressive groove. Especially strong effective impression leaves a dome which gives to all construction grandeur, elegance and spirituality. Near to a cathedral the bell tower rises, in top corners of a ground floor four sculptures of angels, with a terrible kind blowing in horns - rare phenomenon in national cultural construction are established.
Under an altar of church the special premise inspiring trembling with unique acoustic feature in which the voice of the person unrecognizably varies from his own and is heard as another's is located.
Church Ghazanchetsots is one of the most impressive cult constructions of Armenia, is a fine embodiment of architectural talent of Armenian people.