Stepanakert is the capital and the largest city Republic of Artsakh. The Republic has limited international recognition. As of 2015, the population of Stepanakert is 55,200.

Stepanakert meaning the city of Stepan is named after Armenian Stepan Shaumian. The name is formed of the words Stepan and kert meaning town.

1923 was named Stepanakert in honor of Stepan Shahumyan. In the course of time, Stepanakert became the most important city in the region (the status, which was received in 1940). Its population increased from 1939 to 10459 and reached 33,000 in 1978. In 1926, municipal authorities adopted a new city layout designed by the prominent Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian; two additional designs for expansion were approved later on in the 1930s and 1960s, both of which retained Tamanian’s initial plan. Several schools and two polyclinics were established, and an Armenian drama theater was founded in 1932 and named after Maxim Gorky. Stepanakert served as Nagorno-Karabakh’s main economic hub, and by the mid-1980s there were nineteen production facilities in the city.