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Mayraberd-Askeran Fortress

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14km towards east from Stepanakert is situated Askeran's remarkable fort. It stretches along the southern part of Askeran village. The fort with high towers and thick walls is closed by Karkar river's valley from two sides. It is fastened with double-ramparts, with which it makes impregnable the canyon between the mountains. The towers are round-shape-scheme protective constructions, which are built with small river-stones and lime-stones, with lime-mortar.

The towers communicated by trench-like passages in the cogged top parts of the wall. In the walls from inside there are numerous holes and different width-passages - firing sports. From some passages through walls like air-passages stretch top special pipe-like openings. Since ancient times the fort together with the medieval Armenian village next to it has been called Mayraberd.

As an arsenal Askeran exists since the half of 18c. And for protecting from 1788-89 Persian comapaigns, it was fastened and turned into a fort ("Askeran" in Turkish means arsenal). The fort walls are 2m thick and 9m tall. The walls of this vanguard fort of Karkar valley stretch over 1.5km and many a times played the role of protecting shield during Shushi’s defense.

In historical literature there is quite enough information about the heroic events that took place by the strong walls of this fort. Last time in 1918-1920 in the fort was the garrison protecting Karkar vally with colonel Badalkokhyan at the head. On the approaches of Askeran fort was written a brightest page of limitless loyalty of Armenians to Russian nation.

In June of 1805 the over 40.000 Persian army, burning and devastating tens of Armenian settlements and monasteries, intruded Karkar vally with the purpose to seize Shushi and defeat the Russian garrison settled in there.

For marking a counter- stroke against the enemy, the commander-in-chief of Russian army in Caucasus- Tsitsianov addressed the Armenians of Gharabagh with a levy ,” Remember your former bravery, be ready for victories and show that now too you are the same brave Gharaaghian Armenians, as you had been before- a fear for the Persian cavalry”. The 400- fighter detachment of major Karyagin on the way to help Shushi, near Askeran, on the territory of village Khramat was encircled. To save the Russian detachment from inevitable death the volunteers of Gharabagh with prince of Van and Hakob Yuzbashi Atabekyan at the head, risking their own lives, brought out the Russian fighters from the encirclement. And the inhabitants of Kusapat and Mokhratagh, sharing with their provisions saved the Russian soldiers from hunger.

In present the hill on which heroically stood Russian soldiers and from where the Armenian volunteers secretly took them away, became a sacred place. The memory board put by inhabitants of Khramat immortalized the memory of Russian and Armenian fighters, who died by the brave’s death during Shushi and Askeran defense in June-July of 1805.


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