Shushi Museum of Geology

State Museum of Geology, Shushi

Occupied and looted.

On September 1, 2014, the State Geological Museum was opened in Shushi, in a restored old building on Mesrop Mashtots Street, 32. The museum was founded by Gregory Gabrielyants, who donated his personal geological collection to the museum. Gregory Gabrielyants was a major Soviet statesman, the last Minister of Geology of the USSR.

The museum’s collection included more than 700 exhibits of various rocks and minerals from 48 countries around the world. Interesting samples from 20 regions of the Russian Federation, mainly from the personal collection of Gregory Gabrielyants, were also exhibited.

There were also curious exhibits from Karabakh. A large colorful map and other visual aids told about the country’s mineral resources. The museum exhibited rare geological findings, the oldest of which was 1 billion 200 million years old. Other minerals, hundreds of millions to billions of years-old and of geological interest worldwide, have also been exhibited.

Geological findings from all over Karabakh were widely presented in the museum, mainly minerals and various fossils, the oldest of which was 146 million years old. In the Geological museum of Shushi visitors could also see star-shaped fossilized cuttings of lilies from the village of Astghashen. These had not yet been thoroughly studied. 

One of the most interesting exhibits of the museum were fossilized sea stars and other samples of marine fauna found in ancient, deep soil. Scientists believe that at one time, before the final formation of the mainland, the territory of Karabakh was part of the World Ocean, which explains the origin of such findings.

In the museum, visitors also could see the fossilized ammonite shell, an ancient marine animal that had died out 67 million years ago along with dinosaurs. This shell was found in the Karabakh village of Syuznek and proves that the territory of Karabakh was covered by the ocean about 200 million years ago. 

One of the most interesting exhibits of the museum was a stone on which the traces of two fishes were preserved with a difference of several thousand years. In addition, visitors to the museum were given the opportunity to enjoy a collection of minerals glowing in ultraviolet light, as well as to pass a psychological test and try to see the images in scolecite stone.