The Ancient City-Fortress of Karkar – Artsakh

The Ancient City-Fortress of Karkar – Artsakh In 2011, the Karkar ancient city-fortress was discovered on the left bank of the Karkar River near the village of Shosh, 2 kilometers east of Shusha, between Shusha and Stepanakert on the slope of a rocky mountain called “The Place of Kings”.

Sargsyan specified that during the excavations in 2012, 6th-7th-century structures with cyclopean masonry of the late Iron Age, namely, the era of the Kingdom of Van, were unearthed at the site. Initially, the researchers considered the city to be much younger.

“And along the northern 1100-meter fortress wall, an about 2-kilometers long aquifer with artificial sluices to maintain the water level in different areas was found.

Such a water ditch is a phenomenon inherent to the Urartu era only. The country was rich in irrigation channels. Only a centralized strong state could manage such costly construction,” Sargsyan said.

The archaeologist also noted that similar wall structures with several corner towers stretching for more than a kilometer are exceptionally rare on the territory of historical Armenia.

According to Sargsyan, the approximate area of the fortified city of Karkar is about 60 hectares.

Members of the archaeological group find the process of excavation very difficult because in Soviet times, the territory of the city was heavily plowed, the stones of old buildings were carried away, and the Baku-Nakhichevan gas pipeline’s sector leading to Shusha was constructed. It even seems that the Karkar city-fortress was being purposefully destroyed.

“Today, we are working in the central quarter, where only two walls are still standing, and that’s thanks to the earth covering them. Other walls were completely destroyed. The entire territory of the central quarter is trenched,” Sargsyan said.

Slava Sargsyan, the head of the Department for the Protection and Study of Historical and Cultural Monuments in the Department of Tourism of the Republic of Artsakh, said that a scientific report about 20 fortresses in the territory of Artsakh mentioned in the ancient annals will be published soon.

• A clear view of the Stepanakert city from the Karkar city-fortress.


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