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a city and the administrative center of Shusha Raion, Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, Azerbaijan SSR. Situated in the foothills of the Karabakh Range, on the Evlakh-Goris-Nakhichevan highway, 11 km south of Stepanakert and 37 km southwest of the Agdam railroad station.
Shusha was founded in the mid-18th century as a defensive fortress of the Karabakh Khanate and achieved renown for its heroic defense against the Persian Army in 1795. The city became part of Russia in 1805 and played an important role in Azerbaijani trade. During the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28, the small garrison of Shusha held out heroically for some 40 days against the Persian forces of Abbas-Mirza (seeRUSSO-PERSIAN WARS OF THE 19TH CENTURY). Shusha became a district capital of Elizavet-pol’ Province in 1840 and the administrative center of a raion of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast in 1923.
Industry is represented by a production combine, a weaving shop of the Karabakh Silk Combine, and a factory that produces Oriental musical instruments; the city is also known as an ancient carpet-weaving center. An agricultural technicum and pedagogical school are located in Shusha, whose cultural institutions include a museum of the history of Shusha and a memorial house-museum devoted to the composer U. Gadzhibekov. Architecture of the 18th century is represented by two castles and the remains of fortress walls. The city has numerous stone houses of the 18th and 19th centuries that are characterized by the use of decorative painting and shebeke (ornamental window grills).
Shusha is a climatic health resort. Summers are warm, with a mean July temperature of 19°C, and winters are mild, with a mean January temperature of –2°C; the annual precipitation is 645 mm. The city has sanatoriums, houses of rest, Pioneer camps, and a tourist center.