Sergei showing me one of the gorges outside Shushi. This area was used as a helicopter landing zone during the war. Steel cables stretch across the gorge, presumably to dissuade Azeri aircraft on reconnaissance missions. Sergei’s life follows the major events of the war: He fled Sumgait, a city in Azerbaijan, with his family after anti-Armenian riots, and then lived in Stepanakert until his home was destroyed by Azeri artillery. He spent the rest of the war as a rifleman around Shushi, where he now lives.
A few mosques were left untouched during the Armenian recapture of Shushi. They are now abandoned and overgrown with weeds. Many of Shushi’s civic buildings – movie theaters, government offices, and a technical school – are still in ruins, ten years after the end of fighting.
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi: One of the prizes in the Karabagh war, the Armenian cathedral of Ghazanchetsots is in the center of Shushi, flanked by apartment blocks. The cathedral was used for storing everything from grain to explosives during Azeri rule.
Students at a middle school in the town of Askeran, close to the cease-fire border.
Photos & text by Devin Murphy – copyright by author