Stepanakert, Karabakh’s capital, stands above the Karkar River, surrounded by a typical landscape of forest, pasture and fields backed by craggy mountains. The city is not much different from a typical Armenian town, though it does have a bit more vibrancy.
Shushi (Şuşa) stands on a plateau 9km south from Stepanakert, with high walls and views over a wide swathe of central Karabakh. The city was once a centre of Armenian and Azeri art and culture, and during the 19th century it was one of the largest towns in the Caucasus. The city suffered badly during the war and most people left, but recovery is under way.