Azerbaijani President Aliyev visits Shusha (Karabakh) for 1st time in 39 years
Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev visited the city of Shusha (Nagorno-Karabakh) on January 14 through a new road that was built two months after the end of the second Karabakh war.
He visited the Yukhari Gövkhar-aga mosque and the Kazanchetsots cathedral. Before that, he lay the symbolic foundation for a new international airport in Fizuli.
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President Aliyev arrived in Karabakh with his wife, first vice president of the country, Mehriban Aliyeva, and daughter, vice president of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Leyla Aliyeva.
On his way to the city of Shusha, Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation for an international airport in the city of Fizuli, which also came under the control of Azerbaijan as a result of the recent fighting.
“Already in 2021, the runway of this airport should be commissioned. I declare Shusha the cultural capital of Azerbaijan,” Aliyev said.
Another international airport will be built on the territory of either Lachin or Kelbajar regions, transferred to Azerbaijan by the Armenian side in accordance with a trilateral agreement dated November 10, 2020. The agreement was signed by the Presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and the Prime Minister of Armenia.
Why is Shusha so important for Azerbaijanis?
“Foreigners sometimes ask with surprise: ‘What does Shusha mean for Azerbaijanis, why do you focus on it, and not on, say, the regional center of Stepanakert?’
Shusha has a symbolic and spiritual importance; like Mtskheta for Georgia or Kyoto for Japan.
Shusha, along with Tabriz, was until the middle of the 19th century both the cultural and political center of the Shiite Turks – a people who would later be called Azerbaijanis.
Some people call Shusha ‘the cradle of Azerbaijani culture’. One can, of course, argue whether it is a ‘cradle’, I would rather call it a ‘university'”, writes JAMnews political columnist Shahin Rzayev.
Arriving in Shusha, the President of Azerbaijan raised the national flag and then talked with the servicemen stationed in this city.
“The last time I was in Shusha was 39 years ago. Then I came here twice, and for the first time I came here on January 14. And after 39 years I am here again, on the same day,” Aliyev said.
In Shusha, Ilham Aliyev visited the mosques of Saatli, Ashagi Govkhar-aga and Yukhari Govkhar-aga. Two of them are in a dilapidated state.
Ilham Aliyev also visited the Kazanchetsots Cathedral, which suffered during the second Karabakh war and took part in the unveiling of busts of Azerbaijani cultural figures who were born and worked in this city – Khurshudbanu Natavan, Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Bulbul.