Shusha (ŞUŞA in Azeri), situated in Nagorno Karabakh, is the cultural capital of Azerbaijan and is considered a cradle of its renaissance in the 19th century. Shusha, the “heart of Karabakh”, has been occupied by Armenian forces since 1992.
Many famous poets, writers and musicians were born in Shusha. It is the birthplace of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, father of Azerbaijani classical music and opera; Bulbul, a famous opera tenor and Khurshud Banu Natavan, a 19th century Azeri poetess. Molla Panah Vagif is an 18th century poet from Shusha, who founded the realism genre in the Azerbaijani poetry and served as the vizier of Ibrahim Khan. Seyid and Khan Shushinski – famous “khanande” (traditional folk singers) both originate from Shusha city.
Shusha is a place of unique cultural heritage. Alexandre Dumas visited Shusha during his trip to the Caucasus, which he later reflected in his series “Adventures in the Caucasus”. Khari-Bulbul is a flower endemic to Nagorno Karabakh of Azerbaijan and grows only in the mountainous Shusha region. It has become a symbol of longing for thousands of Azerbaijani refugees forced out of their homes by Armenian occupation. Shusha is also famous for its carpets, unique in terms of small geometric patterns and bright cheerful colors, and horses raised and raced in the famous “Jidir Duzu” (racing field located on top of the mountain overlooking the Dashalti river).
Shusha has been a symbol of Azerbaijani resilience for centuries – it has been under many stages, but emerged from its ashes even stronger each time. It will do so again, when we return there.
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