The city of Stepanakert is the capital of Nagorno Karabakh or Artsakh, as well as the cultural, administrative, and economic centre of Karabakh. It is located on Artsakh plateau, right at the centre of the Republic of Artsakh, and at an average height of 813 meters above sea level. The population of Stepanakert is 54,000.

In 1992 the city was renamed in honour of politician Stepan Shahumian (a Russian Bolshevik revolutionary). Earlier it was named after the river Vararakn at the bank of which it is located. The residence was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. The first plan of the city was designed by the famous Armenian architect Aleksandr Tamanyan.

Sights of Stepanakert

One of the most recognizable symbols of Artsakh and Stepanakert is the memorial-monument called “Tatik and Papik” (Grandmother and Grandfather in Armenian) or “We are our mountains” (1967). It is a large and unique monument symbolizing the vigour and willingness of the locals, comparing them with the mountains of Artsakh. 

Among the interesting places in Stepanakert to visit is The Artsakh State Museum which has an important collection of ancient artefacts and Christian manuscripts. 

You can also visit the Stepanakert National Gallery, the Artsakh History Museum, the Mesrop Mashtots Republican Library of Stepanakert (1924) and the Memorial Museum of the Martyred Liberators opened in 2002․

You can as well go to the Vahram Papazyan Drama Theater of Stepanakert which was founded in 1932 in the area of a destroyed church of Saint Gevorg. 

Many cultural and youth centres were reopened in the capital of Artsakh after the independence of Armenia. The cultural palace of the city was named after Charles Aznavour, a worldwide famous Armenian singer. 

Until 2019 the only church in the area of Stepanakert has been St Hakob church which is located in the Hekimian district of the city. It was founded in 2005 and already in 2007, the construction of the church was finished. The founder of Saint Hakob was American-Armenian Nerses Yepremian. The church was named after the memory of Nerses’s son - Hakob Yepremian.

In 2019 the construction of the Church of the Intercession in Stepanakert (also known as Astvatcamor Surb Hovani Mayr Tachar) was finished and it was officially consecrated. The construction of the church lasted 12 years. The architecture of the church is very impressive indeed. In many ways, it resembles the ancient cathedral of Zvartnots.  


Gandzasar Monastery

Gandzasar monastery complex is located in Vank town, the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh. The monastery was built in the 10th-13th centuries.

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