YEREVAN (ArmenPress–Noyan Tapan)–The Shushi Fund has initiated efforts for the study of the historical and cultural heritage of Shushi–the reconstruction of the old fortress–and the transformation of the city to a center of tourism–announced Fund spokespersons yesterday.
The city must reclaim its significance while being rebuilt in a contemporary style–said Bakur Karapetian–co-chair of the Shushi Fund–speaking in the press hall of the ArmenPress news agency during a news conference by the fund co-chairs.
"Shushi belongs not merely to the people of Artsakh [Karabagh]–but to each Armenian–and all of us have a responsibility to revive the city," said Karapetian.
He said that non-Armenian literary sources speak of Shushi’s existence as far back as the 8th century BC–but those records must be supported by archeological digs. He reported that initial efforts have begun–and 324 finds have been recorded in the fortress section of the city.
In the area surrounding the fortress–some 200 tombs from the early Bronze Age and fortifications have been found–Karapetian said. More than 500 monumen’s/finds have been mapped–photographed–and cataloged–he said–and the measurement and recording of 19th century structures has begun.
Co-chair Gregoire Kaloust–a representative of the Armenian Catholic Patriarchate of Lebanon–reported that a meeting had taken place the previous day with the President of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) and the Primate of the Artsakh Diocese.
Kaloust said the participants had discussed concerns regarding the future of Shushi–in particular road construction. During those discussions–the initial estimates for the revitalization of Shushi were placed at $100 million–he reported.
The Executive Director of the Fund–Sevag Ardzruni–noted that the revitalization of Shushi is beyond the capabilities of Armenia and Artsakh and must therefore become a pan-Armenian effort–else it would not succeed.
The topic of repopulating Shushi was also discussed–noting statistics that show a decline in population of some 3,000 in the past 10 years. Ardzruni is also the chairperson of the Yerkir organization–which seeks to populate the border regions of Armenia.
The Shushi Fund was founded in fall 2001. Its honorary chairperson is MKR President Arkadi Ghoukasian–and the honorary co-chairpersons include Primate of Artsakh Archbishop Martirosian and MKR Minister of Culture and Education Armen Sargsian.