Askeran Region

AskeranAvetaranotsPataraKhachenNorth-South MotorwayKhachmach


The name Askeran derives from a Persian word meaning “barracks”. It was formerly a village in the Shushi province, and became a regional centre it 1978. The town is 18 kilometres from Stepanakert, on the bank of the Karkar river, at an altitude of 600 metres above sea level. 

The blue sign on the road, partly covered by the tree in the centre of the picture, shows the entrance to Askeran, as the road passes through a part of the Berd or Mairaberd fortress  built in 1788-1789.

The “Askeran events”

After the February 20, 1988 decision by the Oblast Soviet of People’s Deputies of the NKAO, Azeri extremists decided to enter Stepanakert and “establish order”. A crowd of about 8,000 Azeris moved to the Askeran region from the Azerbaijani town of Aghdam, and ravaged several industrial plants and administrative offices, destroyed vehicles, heavy plant and other property, set fire to the flour mill and road police station. These were followed by clashes between the crowd and the Armenian population of Askeran. The Soviet army detachments had to intervene to restore order.  Twenty-five Armenians were injured, of which fifteen needed hospital care. Azerbaijan’s road police closed all roads leading to Askeran, while rallies of protest were held in Stepanakert, other towns of Karabakh and also in Yerevan. 

The Askeran region maintained its historical name of Khachen till the 1930s when it was renamed Stepanakert region. In 1978 it was called Askeran. Earlier, historically the part of the Askeran region that is on the right bank of the Karkar river was part of the Varanda region (gavar) and the portion on the left bank, part of the Khachen region. There are about one thousand monuments of history and architecture in the region.             

St. Holy Mother of God Church, Askeran

The Holy Mother of God Church of Askeran is built in the centre of the town and has functioned since 2002.

Avetaranots village

Occupied since the 2020 Azeri aggression.

The village is in the Askeran region, 38 kilometres south to Askeran, at the foot of the Kirs mountain, 1200 metres above sea level. It is one of the oldest settlements of Artsakh, has been the administrative centre of the Varanda region (gavar) and also a meliks’ seat. The name derives from the word “avetaran” which means gospel, based on the tradition that King Vachagan had brought a gospel to the village. There are many historical monuments in the village and its environs. They include the 1640 bridges pictured earlier, many tombs and cross-stones.

The St. Nshan Church of the Kusanats Anapat (Nuns’ Hermitage) Monastery

The St. Nshan Church of the Kusanats Anapat (Nuns’ Hermitage) Monastery (1616) has been the family mausoleum of the Melik Shanazaryans of Varanda.
Remnants from the walls-fortifications.

The fate of the church after occupation is unknown.

The tombstone of Gayaneh, the famous heroine and daughter of Melik Husein. 
The St. Nshan Church of the Kusanats Anapat
Remnants from the walls-fortifications,
Remnants from the walls-fortifications.
Scenery from the heights of the Avetaranots village.

The St. Holy Mother of God Church (13th century).

The fate of the church after occupation is unknown.

The St. Holy Mother of God Church is simple on the outside yet quite a spacious structure and was before occupation a top priority for repair on the list by authorities
The interior of the St Holy Mother of God Church.


 A view from the Avetaranots village.

Patara village

Patara (Badara) is 20 kilometres south-west to Askeran, 800 metres above sea level. There are several churches and a monastery in the vicinity of the village, but all are half-ruined.

St. Stepanos (St. Stephen’s) Church, 18th century, has been restored.
An idyllic twilight scenery with grazing horses on the hill slope facing the village of Patara.
A cross embedded in the wall of the St. Stepanos Church.

Khachen village

Khachen village is 18 kilometres north-west of Askeran, 720 metres above sea level. 

The St. Stepanos (St. Stephen’s) Church was built in 1901-02 and consecrated in 1902.

Views from the North-South Road


Khachmach village

Khachmach village is 40 kilometres south to Askeran, 1140-1150 metres above sea level. 

St. Stepanos (St. Stephen’s) Church, with a small belfry on top, was built by master Husep in 1651.
Above and below: richly ornamented gravestones in the St. Stepanos Church graveyard.
They probably did not wish to be photograaphed.
They did want to ‘shoot.’
The advantages of a forested country.