The walls of Askeran Fortress in Nagorno Karabakh.
Here’s an overview on visiting Askeran Fortress in Nagorno Karabakh. When backpacking in Nagorno Karabakh, nothing will be normal or even remotely straight forward. My journey to Askeran could have been made easier by getting a direct Marshrutky from Stepanakert out to the site. However I decided to head to the destroyed city of Agdam first (against the conditions of my visa) and down to Askeran from there.
Remains of Askeran Fortress, Nagorno Karabakh
Most people reading this will be heading there from Stepanakert, with this in mind and unless you have a rented car, leaves you with two main options:
1. Hire a driver to take you there (and to other places)
2. Get a Marshrutky to the destination
Plaque near the entrance to Askeran Fortress.
Hiring a driver is easy to organize – try and tie in a visit to Askeran Fortress with Agdam, Tigranakert and Vankasar. Getting a Marshrutky out to Askeran is simple. Just go to the main bus station in Stepanakert (you won’t get lost – there’s only one – on Azatamartikneri Poghota) and ask for Askeran. For sure the bus number 202 goes there as I got this one to Agdam and it passed Askeran Fortress.
Modern road from Stepanakert to Tigranakert on the left, old fortress on the right.
The fortress is northeast of Stepanakert in Nagorno Karabakh. It slices the road in two and stretches out into the green hills and countryside. This land may be claimed by Azerbaijan, but it’s Armenians living here. Vicinity wise, it’s about 14 kilometres outside of Stepanakert.
The inner part on the other side of the road at Askeran Fortress.
The Askeran Fortress an 18th century walled fortress which is still standing, despite a war in the region. The fortress is sometimes referred to as Mayraberd (also the name of the international airport in Nagorno Karabakh). It was built by Panah Khan and was once over a kilometre long. These days you can walk along the walls and enjoy some cracking views.