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Azerbaijan’s Karabakh Region Welcomes First Globetrotters

By Gunay Hajiyeva September 28, 2021

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On September 27, the passenger plane took off from Baku with more than 30 guests on board and landed in Fuzuli - an Azerbaijani city liberated last year during the 44-day war. / Azerbaijan Airlines

Azerbaijan’s Karabakh (Garabagh) region welcomed the first overseas globetrotters, who arrived at the newly built Fuzuli International Airport on Monday.

On September 27, Azerbaijan’s budget air carrier Buta Airways operated the first commercial test flight with more than thirty voyagers on board. The passenger plane took off from Baku and landed in Fuzuli - an Azerbaijani city liberated last year during the 44-day war. 

The world-renowned travelers, including American globetrotter Don Parrish, who has been to 852 spots in 193 countries, will reportedly leave Fuzuli for Aghdam. There, tourists will observe remnants of a once prosperous Azerbaijani city destroyed by the Armenian occupiers during three decades.

“We want to learn about the history of the conflict, as well as its consequences,” one of the voyagers, Kolja Speri, told local media.

“We hope that Karabakh will become a region of prosperity and development for all. We are a group of the most traveled people in the world. We are really interested in studying the history of the region and the conflict,” he added.

Armenian forces occupied a significant part of the Aghdam district, including the city of Aghdam, and 89 villages, which comprised about 73 percent of the district’s territory, during the First Karabakh War in the early 1990s. 

Aghdam has been referred to as a “ghost town” and “Hiroshima of Caucasus” due to the scale of destructions caused by Armenians. Except for the Juma Mosque, no single building survived the Armenian vandalism in the occupied parts of the district. International analysts labeled Aghdam as the planet’s “largest home depot” as Armenians plundered and ransacked the district’s properties to use as building supplies.  

The occupation of Aghdam ended after 27 years as a result of the six-week-long war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s cultural capital Shusha will become the next stop for the foreign guests. The visitors will have the chance to see both the results of the Armenian vandalism and the post-war restoration campaign launched by the Azerbaijani government. As part of the campaign, significant buildings and sites, including the Vagif Mausoleum, Natavan and Isa springs, Home Museum of singer Bulbul and others, have been completely restored in Shusha.

The Karabakh tour of the globetrotters will end up with a flight onboard the same plane to Baku. In addition to the liberated territories, the tourists will visit other touristic regions of Azerbaijan.

The visit of foreign guests to the Karabakh region comes exactly one year after the decades-old conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan ultimately spiraled following artillery shelling of Azerbaijan’s military positions and civilian settlements by Armenian troops illegally deployed in the occupied territories. 

As a result of the 44-day-long counter-offensive operations from September 27 through November 9, 2020, the Azerbaijani army liberated more than 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, from nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war ended in a tripartite statement signed on November 10 by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia. Armenia also returned the occupied Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin districts to Azerbaijan as part of its obligations it took under the tripartite statement.

On September 27, 2021, Azerbaijan marked a nationwide commemoration of the start of the war. President Ilham Aliyev and other high-ranking officials attended the march to honor the memories of the fallen heroes who liberated Azerbaijan’s lands.