Mayraberd Fortress – Artsakh

Mayraberd Fortress is a fortress built on the banks of the Qarqar River by the eastern outskirts of town of Askeran in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It is sometimes referred to as Askaran, Askatran, Asketran.

The fortress is located 16-17 km northeast of Stepanakert and was built by the Karabakh khanate ruler Panah Ali Khan in the 18th century to strengthen the defenses on the approach road to Shusha. It is surrounded by 2 meters thick and 9 meters high double walls, which go through round towers-observation points built of pebbles and limestone.

On the top of the walls are narrow passageways, which connect the towers to each other. The fortress has been nearly impregnable due to its firm walls and complex terrain.

In June 1805, during the 1804-1813 Russo-Persian War and after the fortress had been seized by Abbas Mirza’s troops, Armenian voluntarily units were formed in Karabakh at the initiative of a General of the Imperial Russian Army Pavel Tsitsianov. In reply to Abbas Mirza’s advancement, the unit of Pavel Karyagin captured Shahbulag Castle in near Aghdam.

Abbas Mirza’s troops surrounded the castle and attempted to make the squad surrender, but Karyagin planned to hold Persians back. His unit has confronted the 40.000 Persian army for three weeks, and left the castle and moved in the direction of Shusha after being informed that army of Fath-Ali Shah Qajar has been heading towards them.

Abbas Mirza’s squad surrounded the unit on a hill near the village of Khramort, but they managed to break out and go towards villages of Kusapat and Mokhratakh. Inhabitants of Khramort put a memorial to Russian and Armenian soldiers who fell in battles against Persians.

The fortress was destroyed by Musavatists (members of Azerbaijani political party Musavat) during the assault on Askeran in 1920.

Today, the fortress is well preserved thanks to a 2002 restoration.

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