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Day 7: Shushi -> Stepanakert
Marked section, 14km, moderate difficultly
Overview: Hike down from Shushi along a back country road to the capital city of Stepanakert.
The Shushi - Stepanakert trail is a 14 km hike. Rather than taking a car or walking on the main highway, this is a very beautiful hike, with a lot of forest, nice views, an old bridge, old church, and great flora and fauna.
The trail out of Shushi begins near the town square. Facing the town square with the tall hotel directly behind you, you see a statue of a man sitting on a bench. To the left of that man you see a road heading down, lined with trees. Follow those trees and you'll find the trail start marking.
Following the road straight down, you see a marking to go left. You go through a little turnstile into what looks like a restaurant courtyard of some sort. Keep to your right and duck through a passage to exit one of the main old gates of Shushi's fortified walls.
Go straight out of the gate and down to the main road, and continue downhill on the main road until you see the big Shushi sign at the junction with the main Yerevan-Stepanakert highway. Look both ways before crossing the quiet highway, and cross it. You'll notice a dirt road right where you cross. Take that heading downward, following the Janapar marks. You will follow this road the entire time, until you reach Stepanakert. Staying on this dirt road is quite easy, and there are very few intersections of any sort.
The first section of trail mostly descends until you reach an old bridge crossing a river. Very shortly after that the road ends at an intersection of sorts. Take the rightmost, which is marked, and continue again virtually uninterrupted as you mostly ascend to a tiny little village of a few houses. There is a small ordinary old village church, and a harder to notice cemetery above the village. After this the road will have some descents and ascents, before eventually hitting the edge of Stepanakert. After a few houses, you go left to stay on the more heavily traveled road, and in a short block you reach the paved road. This spot is known as Gərgəjhan. From here you can continue on foot into the center of Stepanakert, or wait a few minutes for the route 19 marshutni to take you to the city center for 70 drams (at the time of writing in 2012).
Info on Shushi services: http://www.janapar.org/wiki/Shushi
Info on Stepanakert services: http://www.janapar.org/wiki/Stepanakert