Gyulistan fortress

Gyulistan is one of the most frequently mentioned fortresses in Armenian history, particularly because of the Treaty signed between Tsarist Russia and Iran in 1813 by which Karabakh was annexed to Russia. 

A general view of Gyulistan fortress.

Detail of a tower of the fortress.

The fortress is in the Shahumyan region (part of the historical Khachen region (gavar) of Artsakh) which together with the former NKAO declared their independence from Azerbaijan in 1991 and formed today’s Republic of Mountainous (Nagorno) Karabakh. Shahumyan is presently under Azerbaijani control.

The fortress was first mentioned in the 10th century and there is evidence that already in the 11th century it hosted the Princes’ residence. In the 12th century it was rebuilt and strengthened with a citadel, survived Mongolian hordes, was destroyed by the Persians in the 16th c. and restored by Prince Beglar in the 17th. 

The fortress is 3 kilometres to the south of the Gyulistan village, (Gyulistan was has been destroyed by Azeris, see picture on page 255) which was 10 kilometres from the regional centre on the left bank of the Inja river. Gyulistan served as the residence and stronghold for the Melik-Beglaryan family, the rulers of the Gyulistan principality. Their family still lived in the village of Gyulistan in the mid 20th century. 

The village and the fortress are unfortunately inaccessible today for tourists or researchers, and the photos were taken with the permission and under the protection of the Defence Army of Karabakh, from the trenches along the contact line.

Ruins of some of the residential quarters of the fortress.