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18th-19th centuries


In the 18th-19th centuries, Karabakh architecture developed in two directions – on the basis of principles of building compositions which take an important place in the architectural and planning structure of residential settlements and traditions of European architecture. Traditional architectural forms form the basis of the compositional structure of buildings built by Karabakh masters. 

During Karabagh khanate of XVIII century the architecture developed on new stage. Under Panah Khan and his son Ibrahim Khan, large-scale renovation and construction work was carried out in Karabakh. In order to repel constant foreign attacks, Panah Khan built great defense castles with the help of local architects and builders.
Mirza Jamal Javanshir, who worked as a vizier for the Karabakh khans at the time, gives interesting and detailed information about the construction of these castles in his work "The History of Karabakh". Bayat Castle was built in Karabakh's Kabirli area in 1747-48. The famous Shahbulaq Castle was built in 1751-52 in a style that was typical of Tarnakuasr castles. Asgaran Castle, which had two fortifications, was built on the right and left banks of the Qarqarchay River. This castle known as Asgaran castle among the people was built in XVII century by Panahali Khan in the eastern boundaries of the khanate. If Derbent fortification was Shirvan’s northern gate, the Asgaran castle was the eastern gates of Karabagh. In the face of the growing threat of foreign military aggression, Panah Khan wanted to build an insurmountable castle city in an impassable place on a mountain height so that even the strongest enemy could not encircle and take it. Finally, Shusha Castle was founded on a high mountain peak in 1756-57. Shusha Castle was one of the largest defence buildings of the time. Shusha was the capital of the Karabakh Khanate from 1757 to 1822.
Architecture of Karabakh of the XIX century was represented more by the religious and cultural-domestic buildings. During this period, with the exception of residential buildings, commercial buildings were the most common type of building. Such buildings were used as workshops and as commercial enterprises. The lines of stores in Shusha are the most complete buildings of its kind.
In Karabakh, large and monumental religious buildings were constructed in the first half of the XIX century. During this period the local architecture schools continued to some extent the old traditions were established here. The specific features of mosque buildings are the features that distinguished the architectural school of Ganja-Karabakh zone from other parts of Azerbaijan. In the Karabakh zone rich with national architectural monuments and constant architectural tradition the European architecture could not get deep roots and lost among local styles.
Karbalayi Safikhan Qarabagi plays a special role in 19th century Karabakh architecture. Being loyal to local traditions and principles Karbalayi Safikhan is also the author of the four-minaret Imamzada Mosque in Barda (1868), Mosque in Agdam (1986-70), Asaghy Mosque in Shusha (1874-75) Yukhary or Friday Mosque in Agdam (1883), local mosques, and Haji Alakbar Mosque in Fizuli District (1890) Horadiz (1891-1908), Gochahmedli Mosques of the same region (1906). Apart from that, the architect built Tatarlar Mosque in Odessa (1870) and Qarabaglar Mosque in Ashgabat (1880-es).
The construction of factories, plants, warehouses, ports, bridges, train stations and so on led to the creation of industrial-transport architecture which was new to Karabakh.
Architectural monuments of different periods of our history in Karabakh region of Azerbaijan are the treasure and pearls of world architecture.

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