| Nestled in a bowl of mountains, Stepanakert is the capital of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. It was originally known as Vararakn ("rapid creek" in Armenian) during the medieval era and was later renamed Khankendi in 1847. Its present name was assumed in 1923 and was derived from Stepan Shahumyan, an Armenian Bolshevik. 1923 is also the year Stepanakert was made the capital of Karabakh.
Karabakh capital has an estimated 50,000 residents. Stepanakert is centrally located in the republic and makes the perfect base for day trips to any site. Stepanakert is the best base for day trips to Gandzasar and Shushi, the roads to these sights are in perfect condition.
The main tourist site in Stepanakert is in the outskirts, on the western side of the road leading northwards. It is the monument called popularly "Tatik and Papik", an old Armenian man and woman hewn from rock. They represent the highland people of Karabakh. Aside from this there is also a small Town Museum near the main Open Market.