Shusha: Azerbaijan’s resilience and progress in cultural capital
As a seasoned traveler, my recent voyage through over 50 countries led me to the privilege of exploring Shusha, Azerbaijan. This remarkable city, nestled amidst majestic mountains, left an indelible mark on my wanderlust-infused soul. Known as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, Shusha stands as a testament to resilience, rebirth, and the unyielding spirit of a nation that has emerged from the shadows of an illegal Armenian occupation. Under the visionary leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, Shusha has undergone a metamorphosis that can only be described as awe-inspiring. The city’s reconstruction and revitalization exemplify a remarkable commitment to progress, paving the way for a future brimming with promise and prosperity.
My memorable trip to Shusha this year in early May was more than just an ordinary journey; it turned out to be an enchanting experience filled with the beauty of its unpredictable weather. The city welcomed me with an array of delightful surprises, from sudden rain showers and glorious bursts of sunshine to the gentle caress of a cool breeze accompanied by mesmerizing clouds dancing in the sky. Amidst this breathtaking symphony of nature, Shusha’s landscape revealed its enchanting transformation, akin to an artist’s canvas undergoing a magnificent reconstruction.
The winding highways that now elegantly embraced the mountainous terrain were a testament to human ingenuity and progress, their sounds of construction echoing like a tangible crescendo of growth. Among the architectural wonders, the standout was the impressive Secondary School No. 1, a nurturing hub of knowledge equipped with cutting-edge facilities, preparing students for the challenges of an ever-evolving world. This immersion into the heart of history in the making left an indelible mark on my soul, forever cherishing the lovely harmony of Shusha’s natural wonders and the city’s warm and hospitable charm, symbolized by the ever-welcoming and vibrant rainbow that seemed to grace the city with its magical presence.
Shusha’s heartbeat is underscored by its healthcare infrastructure, embodied by the 90-bed Shusha City Hospital. This facility, with comprehensive medical services, promises to be a sanctuary of healing, providing holistic care to the citizens of Shusha and beyond. The hospital’s design, conceived to serve a dual purpose as an in-patient medical service and a potential military hospital, is a testament to Azerbaijan’s commitment to safeguarding its people’s health.
The village of Dashalti, nestled in Shusha’s lush landscape, exemplifies the government’s focus on community development. Planned construction of housing units, along with cultural and recreational amenities, paints a picture of a thriving community poised to blossom into a haven of vibrancy and diversity. Azerbaijan’s emphasis on sustainable growth is evident in the involvement of private investment, underscoring the nation’s resilience and resourcefulness.
Undoubtedly, a linchpin in Shusha’s resurgence is its connectivity, manifested in the Ahmadbeyli-Fuzuli-Shusha highway and the Fuzuli International Airport. These projects epitomize a commitment to facilitating not only domestic mobility but also international access. The meticulously planned network of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts speaks to Azerbaijan’s foresight, creating a web of connectivity that interlaces past and future.
Amidst the symphony of progress, Shusha’s historical and cultural landmarks have been meticulously restored, bestowing upon the city a unique essence. The Saatli Mosque, with its storied history dating back to the late 19th century, stands as a testament to the resilience of Azerbaijani heritage. The meticulous restoration carried out by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation exemplifies a commitment to preserving the nation’s cultural legacy. This sentiment is mirrored in the revival of the Yukhari Govhar Agha Mosque, a poignant reminder of the nation’s reverence for its architectural heritage.
The Creative Center, a repository of national heritage, has been rejuvenated to its original splendor through the efforts of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. This architectural marvel not only stands as a beacon of creativity but also serves as a tribute to the esteemed legacy of National Leader Heydar Aliyev. The center’s resurrection, coupled with the inauguration of an exhibition dedicated to Heydar Aliyev, pays homage to a leader whose influence has been instrumental in shaping Azerbaijan’s present and future.
At the heart of Azerbaijan’s extraordinary resurgence lies the dynamic and visionary leadership of President Ilham Aliyev. His unwavering commitment to the progress and prosperity of his nation has been the driving force behind the remarkable reconstruction of Shusha and the entire country. A dynamic personality with a steadfast vision, President Aliyev’s dedication to his people and his homeland has transformed Azerbaijan into an exemplar of resilience and development.
President Aliyev’s visionary outlook has manifested in the numerous ambitious projects that are reshaping Shusha’s destiny. From the construction of the Fuzuli International Airport to the revitalization of historical landmarks and the development of modern infrastructure, his strategic vision extends far beyond the borders of Shusha, encompassing the entire nation.
Under his astute leadership, Azerbaijan has witnessed tremendous progress across multiple sectors, creating a solid foundation for a prosperous future. The reconstruction of the secondary school No. 1 and the 90-bed Shusha City Hospital bear testament to his dedication to education and healthcare. These projects exemplify his understanding that investing in human capital and well-being is essential for sustainable development.
The president’s dynamic personality is reflected in his tireless efforts to personally inspect the progress of various projects. His hands-on approach, visiting construction sites and interacting with workers, demonstrates not only his commitment to excellence but also his deep concern for the welfare of the people. This approach has galvanized the nation, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose in realizing a collective vision.
As the curtains draw on Shusha’s journey of resilience and progress, with the city standing as Azerbaijan’s cultural capital, President Ilham Aliyev’s dynamic personality and visionary leadership have played a pivotal role in the nation’s remarkable resurgence. The reconstruction and transformation of Shusha serve as a testament to his unwavering commitment to the well-being of his people and the nation’s future. His dedication to progress, combined with a deep appreciation for heritage, has woven a narrative of resilience and renewal. Under President Aliyev’s dynamic stewardship, Azerbaijan continues to flourish, and Shusha emerges as a radiant symbol of a nation driven by the visionary spirit of its dynamic leader. The world watches in awe as President Aliyev’s vision and tireless efforts shape a nation poised to leave an indelible mark on history. As the esteemed cultural capital of Azerbaijan, Shusha stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration, inviting the global community to witness a nation rewriting its history and crafting a future destined to inspire generations to come.
Mr. Qaiser Nawab is a distinguished international expert specializing in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) Eurasia, with a particular focus on Azerbaijan. He is the Founder President of Pakistan-Azerbaijan Alumni Association (PAAA) and the Founder of the Belt and Road Initiative for Sustainable Development (BRISD), a newly established global think-tank headquartered in Islamabad, coinciding with the one-decade celebration of BRI.
This article was originally published on AzerTac on August 5, 2023.