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. There are lively local arts and music scenes, shops on the High Street do brisk business and cafés and restaurants, some surprisingly sleek, are often busy. A good range of accommodation is available. The town maintains a Soviet-era feel despite massive reconstruction since the end of the war – there are more signs in Russian than in Armenian, and much evidence of military and security forces.