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Nagorno-Karabakh
Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ Leṙnayin Ġarabaġ (Armenian)
Dağlıq Qarabağ / Yuxarı Qarabağ (Azerbaijani)
Нагорный Карабах Nagornyj Karabax (Russian)
Location of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast
Area
 -  Total 8,223 km2 
3,175 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2006 estimate 138,000 
 -  Density 29/km2 
43/sq mi
Time zone (UTC+4)
 -  Summer (DST) +5 (UTC)
Drives on the right

Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mostly mountainous and forested and has an area of 8,223 square kilometres (3,175 sq mi).

Most of the region is governed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognized, de facto independent state established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within the Azerbaijan SSR of the Soviet Union. The territory is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, which has not exercised power over most of the region since 1991. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region's status.

Contents

Name

Mamkan, Queen of Khachen and Princess of Baghk. Bas-relief, Gandzasar monastery, 13th century

Nagorno (Нагорный) is a Russian word meaning "highland". The word is not used in Armenian or Azerbaijani, but was used in the official name of the region under the Soviet Union. Due to this, it is the most commonly known name, though many languages also use their own word for mountainous or upper or highland; for example, the official name used by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in France is Haut-Karabakh, meaning "upper Karabakh".

The word Karabakh is generally held to originate from Turkic and Persian, and literally means "black garden".[1][2] The name first appears in Georgian and Persian sources of the 13th and 14th centuries.[2] Karabagh is an acceptable alternate spelling of Karabakh, and also denotes a kind of patterned rug originally produced in the area.[3]

In an alternative theory proposed by Bagrat Ulubabyan the name Karabakh has a Turkic-Armenian origin, meaning "Greater Baghk" (Armenian: Մեծ Բաղք), a reference to Ktish-Baghk (later: Dizak), one of the principalities of Artsakh under the rule of the Aranshahik dynasty, which held the throne of the Kingdom of Syunik in the 11th–13th centuries and called itself the "Kingdom of Baghk".[4]

Likewise, the names for the region in the various local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden":

It is often referred to by the Armenians living in the area as Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախ), designating the 10th province of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia. In Urartian inscriptions (9th–7th centuries BC), the name Urtekhini is used for the region.[5] Ancient Greek sources called the area Orkhistene.[6]

History

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Early history

The Amaras Monastery in Nagorno Karabakh was founded in the 4th century by St. Gregory the Illuminator. In the 5th century, Mesrob Mashtots, inventor of the Armenian alphabet, established at Amaras the first school to use his script.[7]

Nagorno-Karabakh falls within the lands occupied by peoples known to modern archaeologists as the Kura-Araxes culture, who lived between the two rivers Kura and Araxes.

The original population of the region consisted of various autochthonous and migrant tribes.[8] According to the American scholar Robert H. Hewsen, these primordial tribes were "certainly not of Armenian origin", and "although certain Iranian peoples must have settled here during the long period of Persian and Median rule, most of the natives were not even Indo-Europeans".[8] These peoples, Hewsen contends, were conquered by the Kingdom of Armenia in the 2nd century BC.[8]

However, relying on information provided by the 5th century Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi, other Western authors argued—and Hewsen himself indicated later—that these peoples could have been conquered by the Kingdom of Armenia much earlier, in the 4th century BC.[9]

Overall, from around 180 BC and up until the 4th century AD—before becoming part of the Armenian Kingdom again, in 855—the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh remained part of the united Armenian Kingdom as the province of Artsakh.[10][11]

After the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Persia, in 387 AD, Artsakh became part of Caucasian Albania, which, in turn, came under strong Armenian religious and cultural influence.[12][13][14][15][16] Furthermore, Armenian historians Movses Khorenatsi and Movses Kaghankatvatsi both link the name for the Kingdom of Aghvank (Armenian term for Caucasian Albania - Աղվանից Թագավորություն) to the nickname given to the legendary local ruler Aran (Aghu, Աղու, Armenian for “kind” or “gentle”). In the works of Movses Kaghankatvatsi, Aran gets appointed to rule Aghvank by Vagharshak, King of Armenia.[17]

An extensive description of Artsakh and its 12 counties are part of the 7th-century Armenian geographical atlas Ashkharatsuyts (English: Geography) compiled by the scholar Anania Shirakatsi.[18]

From a 5th-century Armenian Military Register (Armenian: Զորանամակ, Zoranamak) it is known that in the early Middle Ages Artsakh was expected to supply the Armenian army with no less than one thousand soldiers.[19]

Armenians have lived in the Karabakh region since Roman times: Strabo states that, by the second or first century BC, the entire population of Greater ArmeniaArtsakh and Utik included—spoke Armenian,[20][21] though this does not mean that its population consisted exclusively of ethnic Armenians.[22] In his work, Strabo depicted Artsakh as a province of Armenia “... which furnishes the most cavalry.” [23] Tigran the Great, King of Armenia (ruled 95–55 BC) founded in Artsakh was one of four cities named “Tigranakert” after himself.[24] The ruins of the ancient Tigranakert, located 30 miles north-east of Stepanakert, are being studied by a group of international scholars.

The monastery at Gandzasar was commissioned by the House of Khachen and completed in 1238

By the early Middle Ages, the non-Armenian elements of Albanian population of upper Karabakh had completed their merger into the Armenian population, and forever disappeared as identifiable groups.[25][26]

Armenian culture and civilization flourished in the early medieval Nagorno Karabakh— in Artsakh and Utik. In the 5th century, the first-ever Armenian school was opened on the territory of modern Nagorno-Karabakh—at the Amaras Monastery—by the efforts of St. Mesrob Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian Alphabet.[27] St. Mesrob was very active in preaching Gospel in Artsakh and Utik. Four chapters of Movses Kaghankatvatsi’s “History...” amply describe St. Mesrob’s mission, referring to him as “enlightener,” “evangelizer” and “saint.” [28] Overall, Mesrob Mashtots made three trips to Artsakh and Utik, ultimately reaching pagan territories at the foothills of the Greater Caucasus.[29]

It was at that time when the foremost Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi confirmed that the Kura River formed "the boundary of Armenian speech."[30] The 7th-century Armenian linguist and grammarian Stephanos Syunetsi stated in his work that Armenians of Artsakh had their own dialect, and encouraged his readers to learn it.[31] In the same 7th century, Armenian poet Davtak Kertogh writes his Elegy on the Death of Grand Prince Juansher, where each passage begins with a letter of Armenian script in alphabetical order.[32][33] The only comprehensive history of the Kingdom of Aghvank was written in Armenian, by the historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi.[33][34]

In the 7th and 8th centuries, the region was ruled by Caliphate-appointed local governors. In 821 the Armenian prince Sahl Smbatian revolted in Artsakh and established the House of Khachen, which ruled Artsakh as a principality until the early 19th century.[35] The name “Khachen” originated from Armenian word “khach,” which means “cross” [36]. By 1000 the House of Khachen proclaimed the Kingdom of Artsakh with John Senecherib as its first ruler.[37] Initially Dizak, in southern Artsakh, formed also a kingdom ruled by the ancient House of Aranshahik, descended of the earliest Kings of Caucasian Albania. In 1261, after the daughter of the last king of Dizak married to the king of Artsakh, the two states merged into one.[35] Subsequently Artsakh continued to exist as a principality.

In the 15th century, the territory of Karabakh was part of the states ruled by Kara Koyunlu and Ak Koyunlu tribal confederations. The Turkoman lord Jahan Shah (1437–67) assigned the governship of upper Karabakh to local Armenian princes, allowing a native Armenian leadership to emerge consisting of five noble families led by princes who held the titles of meliks.[35] These dynasties represented the branches of the earlier House of Khachen and were the descendants of the medieval kings of Artsakh. Their lands were often referred to as the Country of Khamsa (five in Arabic). The Russian Empire recognized the sovereign status of the five princes in their domains by a charter of the Emperor Paul I dated 2 June 1799.[38]

The Principalities of Karabakh (orange), in the 15th and 16th centuries

In the early 16th century, after the fall of the Ak Koyunlu state, control of the region passed to the Safavid dynasty, which created the Karabakh Beylerbeylik. Despite these conquests, the population of Upper Karabakh remained largely Armenian.[39] Initially under the control of the Ganja Khanate of the Persian Empire, the local Armenian princes were granted a wide degree of autonomy by the Safavid Empire over the modern territory of Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent lands.

The Armenian meliks maintained full control over the region until the mid-18th century.[39] In the early 18th century, Persia's Nader Shah took Karabakh out of control of the Ganja khans in punishment for their support of the Safavids, and placed it under his own control[40][41] At the same time, the Armenian meliks were granted supreme command over neighboring Armenian principalities and Muslim khans in the Caucasus, in return for the meliks' victories over the invading Ottoman Turks in the 1720s.[42] In the mid-18th century, as internal conflicts between the meliks led to their weakening,[39] the Karabakh khanate was formed.[43]

Karabakh became a protectorate of the Imperial Russia by the Kurekchay Treaty, signed between Ibrahim Khalil Khan of Karabakh and general Pavel Tsitsianov on behalf of Tsar Alexander I in 1805, according to which the Russian monarch recognized Ibrahim Khalil Khan and his descendants as the sole hereditary rulers of the region.[44][45][46] Its new status was confirmed under the terms of the Treaty of Gulistan (1823), when Persia formally ceded Karabakh to the Russian Empire,[47][48][49][50] before the rest of Transcaucasia was incorporated into the Empire in 1828 by the Treaty of Turkmenchay.

In 1822, the Karabakh khanate was dissolved, and the area became part of the Elisabethpol Governorate within the Russian Empire. After the transfer of the Karabakh khanate to Russia, many Muslim families emigrated to Persia, while many Armenians were induced by the Russian government to emigrate from Persia to Karabakh.[51]

Soviet era

Town of Stepanakert. Soviet building.

The present-day conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has its roots in the decisions made by Joseph Stalin and the Caucasian Bureau (Kavburo) during the Sovietization of Transcaucasia. Stalin was the acting Commissar of Nationalities for the Soviet Union during the early 1920s, the branch of the government under which the Kavburo was created. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, Karabakh became part of the Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic, but this soon dissolved into separate Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian states. Over the next two years (1918–20), there were a series of short wars between Armenia and Azerbaijan over several regions, including Karabakh. In July 1918, the First Armenian Assembly of Nagorno-Karabakh declared the region self-governing and created a National Council and government.[52] Later, Ottoman troops entered Karabakh, meeting armed resistance by Armenians.

After the defeat of Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Karabakh.[39] The British command provisionally affirmed Khosrov bey Sultanov (appointed by the Azerbaijani government) as the governor-general of Karabakh and Zangezur, pending final decision by the Paris Peace Conference.[53] The decision was opposed by Karabakh Armenians. In February 1920, the Karabakh National Council preliminarily agreed to Azerbaijani jurisdiction, while Armenians elsewhere in Karabakh continued guerrilla fighting, never accepting the agreement.[39][52] The agreement itself was soon annulled by the Ninth Karabagh Assembly, which declared union with Armenia in April.[39][52][54]

In April 1920, while the Azerbaijani army was locked in Karabakh fighting local Armenian forces, Azerbaijan was taken over by Bolsheviks.[39] Subsequently, the disputed areas of Karabakh, Zangezur, and Nakhchivan came under the control of Armenia.[citation needed] During July and August, however, the Red Army occupied Karabakh, Zangezur, and part of Nakhchivan.[citation needed] On August 10, 1920, Armenia signed a preliminary agreement with the Bolsheviks, agreeing to a temporary Bolshevik occupation of these areas until final settlement would be reached.[55] In 1921, Armenia and Georgia were also taken over by the Bolsheviks who, in order to attract public support, promised they would allot Karabakh to Armenia, along with Nakhchivan and Zangezur (the strip of land separating Nakhchivan from Azerbaijan proper). However, the Soviet Union also had far-reaching plans concerning Turkey, hoping that it would, with a little help from them, develop along Communist lines. Needing to placate Turkey, the Soviet Union agreed to a division under which Zangezur would fall under the control of Armenia, while Karabakh and Nakhchivan would be under the control of Azerbaijan. Had Turkey not been an issue, Stalin would likely have left Karabakh under Armenian control.[56] As a result, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast was established within the Azerbaijan SSR on July 7, 1923.

With the Soviet Union firmly in control of the region, the conflict over the region died down for several decades. With the beginning of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the question of Nagorno-Karabakh re-emerged. Accusing the Azerbaijani SSR government of conducting forced azerification of the region, the majority Armenian population, with ideological and material support from the Armenian SSR, started a movement to have the autonomous oblast transferred to the Armenian SSR.

War and independence

A restored Armenian T-72, knocked out of commission while attacking Azeri positions in Askeran, serves as a war memorial on the outskirts of Stepanakert.

On February 22, 1988, the first direct confrontation of the conflict occurred as a large group of Azeris marched from Agdam against the Armenian populated town of Askeran, "wreaking destruction en route." The confrontation between the Azeris and the police near Askeran degenerated into the Askeran clash, which left two Azeris dead, one of them reportedly killed by an Azeri police officer, as well as 50 Armenian villagers, and an unknown number of Azerbaijanis and police, injured.[57][58] Large numbers of refugees left Armenia and Azerbaijan as violence began against the minority populations of the respective countries.[59] In the fall of 1989, intensified inter-ethnic conflict in and around Nagorno-Karabakh led the Soviet Union to grant Azerbaijani authorities greater leeway in controlling the region.[citation needed] On November 29, 1989 direct rule in Nagorno-Karabakh was ended and the region was returned to Azerbaijani administration.[60] The Soviet policy backfired, however, when a joint session of the Armenian Supreme Soviet and the National Council, the legislative body of Nagorno-Karabakh, proclaimed the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.[citation needed]

A sign reading Free Artsakh Welcomes You on the main road leading to Stepanakert

On December 10, 1991 in a referendum boycotted by local Azerbaijanis,[58] Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh approved the creation of an independent state. A Soviet proposal for enhanced autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan satisfied neither side, and a full-scale war subsequently erupted between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, the latter receiving support from Armenia.[61][62][63][64]

The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. In the post-Soviet power vacuum, military action between Azerbaijan and Armenia was heavily influenced by the Russian military. Furthermore, both the Armenian and Azerbajani military employed a large number of mercenaries from Ukraine and Russia.[65] As many as one thousand Afghan mujahideen participated in the fighting on Azerbaijan's side.[58] There were also fighters from Chechnya fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.[58] Many survivors from Azerbaijani side found shelters in 12 emergency camps set up in other parts of Azerbaijan to cope with the growing number of internally displaced people due to Nagorno-Karabakh war.[66]

The final borders of the conflict after the 1994 ceasefire was signed. Armenian forces of Nagorno-Karabakh currently control almost 9% of Azerbaijan's territory outside the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.[58] And Azerbaijani forces control Shahumian and the eastern parts of Martakert and Martuni.

By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides.[citation needed] By May 1994, the Armenians were in control of 14% of the territory of Azerbaijan. At that stage, the Azerbaijani government for the first time during the conflict recognised Nagorno-Karabakh as a third party in the war, and started direct negotiations with the Karabakh authorities.[39] As a result, a cease fire was reached on May 12, 1994 through Russian negotiation.

Continued violence, 1994–present

Dmitry Medvedev with Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian in Moscow on 2 November 2008

Despite the ceasefire, fatalities due to armed conflicts between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers continued.[67] As of August, 2008, the United States, France, and Russia (the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group) are mediating efforts to negotiate a full settlement of the conflict, proposing a "a referendum or a plebiscite, at a time to be determined later," to determine the final status of the area, return of some territories under Karabakh's control, and security guarantees.[68] Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sarkisian traveled to Moscow for talks with Dmitry Medvedev on 2 November 2008. The talks ended in the three Presidents signing a declaration confirming their commitment to continue talks.[69] The two presidents have met again since then, most recently in Saint Petersburg.[70]

Geography

A view of the forested mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Nagorno-Karabakh has a total area of 4,400 square kilometers (1,699 sq mi) and is an enclave surrounded entirely by Azerbaijan; its nearest point to Armenia is across the Lachin corridor, roughly 4 kilometers across.[71] In 1989, it had a population of 192,000.[72] The population at that time was 76% Armenian and 23% Azerbaijanis, with Russian and Kurdish minorities.[72] The capital is Stepanakert (known in Azerbaijan as Xankəndi, Khankendi). Its other major city, today lying partially in ruins, is Shushi (known in Azerbaijan as Shusha).

The village of Vank as seen from the Gandzasar monastery.

The borders of Nagorno-Karabakh resemble a kidney bean with the indentation on the east side. It has tall mountain ridges along the northern edge and along the west and a mountainous south. The part near the indentation of the kidney bean itself is a relatively flat valley, with the two edges of the bean, the provinces of Martakert and Martuni, having flat lands as well. Other flatter valleys exist around the Sarsang reservoir, Hadrut, and the south. Much of Nagorno-Karabakh is forested, especially the mountains.[73]

The territory of modern Nagorno-Karabakh forms a portion of the historic region of Karabakh, which lies between the rivers Kura and Araxes, and the modern Armenia-Azerbaijan border. In the ancient and medieval times, this larger region consisted of the historic provinces of Artsakh and Utik, which at various times alternated between the kingdoms of Armenia and Caucasian Albania. Beginning with the 13th and 14th centuries, the Artsakh-Utik area received the name Karabakh. The eastern portion of Karabakh (roughly corresponding to Utik) lies on a lower and flatter surface, and has traditionally been called Lower Karabakh, while the western, mountainous portion (roughly corresponding to Artsakh) has been referred to as Mountainous, Upper, or High Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh in its modern borders is part of the larger region of Upper Karabakh.

Demographics

Concrete numbers about the demographic situation in Nagorno Karabakh appear since the 18th century. Archimandrite Minas Tigranian, after completing his secret mission to Persian Armenia ordered by the Russian Tsar Peter the Great stated in a report dated March 14, 1717 that the patriarch of the Gandzasar Monastery, in Nagorno Karabakh, had under his authority 900 Armenian villages.[74]

When discussing Karabakh and Shusha in the 18th century, the Russian diplomat and historian S. M. Bronevskiy (Russian: С. М. Броневский) indicated in his Historical Notes that Karabakh, which he said "is located in Greater Armenia" had as many as 30–40,000 armed Armenian men in 1796.[75]

A survey prepared by the Russian imperial authorities in 1823, several years before the 1828 Armenian migration from Persia to the newly established Armenian Province, shows that all Armenians of Karabakh compactly resided in its highland portion, i.e. on the territory of the five traditional Armenian principalities in Nagorno Karabakh, and constituted an absolute demographic majority on those lands. The survey's more than 260 pages recorded that the district of Khachen had twelve Armenian villages and no Tatar (Muslim) villages; Jalapert (Jraberd) had eight Armenian villages and no Tatar villages; Dizak had fourteen Armenian villages and one Tatar village; Gulistan had twelve Armenian and five Tatar villages; and Varanda had twenty-three Armenian villages and one Tatar village.[76][77]

Nearing the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast boasted a population of 145,593 Armenians (76.4%), 42,871 Azerbaijanis (22.4%),[65] and several thousand Kurds, Russians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Most of the Azerbaijani and Kurdish populations fled the region during the heaviest years of fighting in the war from 1992 to 1993. The main language spoken in Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenian; however, Karabakh Armenians speak a dialect of Armenian which is considerably different from that which is spoken in Armenia as it is layered with Russian, Turkish and Persian words.[58]

In 2001, the NKR's reported population was 95% Armenian, with the remaining total including Assyrians, Greeks, and Kurds.[78] In March 2007, the local government announced that its population had grown to 138,000. The annual birth rate was recorded at 2,200-2,300 per year, an increase from nearly 1,500 in 1999. Until 2000, the country's net migration was at a negative.[79] For the first half of 2007, 1,010 births and 659 deaths were reported, with a net emigration of 27.[80]

Most of the Armenian population is Christian and belongs to the Armenian Apostolic Church. Certain Orthodox Christian and Evangelical Christian denominations also exist; other religions include Judaism.[78]

See also

References

  1. ^ The BBC World News. Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh, BBC News Online. Last updated October 3, 2007. Retrieved November 21, 2007.
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  27. ^ Viviano, Frank. “The Rebirth of Armenia,” National Geographic Magazine, March 2004, p. 18,
  28. ^ Movses Kalankatuatsi. History of the Land of Aluank, Book I, chapters 27, 28 and 29; Book II, chapter 3.
  29. ^ Ibid
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  34. ^ Movses Kalankatuatsi. History of the Land of Aluank, translated from Old Armenian by Sh. V. Smbatian. Yerevan: Matenadaran (Institute of Ancient Manuscripts), 1984
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  36. ^ Christopher Walker. The Armenian presence in Mountainous Karabakh, in John F. R. Wright et al.: Transcaucasian Boundaries (SOAS/GRC Geopolitics). 1995, p. 93
  37. ^ Hewsen, Robert H. "The Kingdom of Artsakh", in T. Samuelian & M. Stone, eds. Medieval Armenian Culture. Chico, CA, 1983
  38. ^ Robert H. Hewsen. Russian–Armenian relations, 1700–1828. Society of Armenian Studies, N4, Cambridege, Massachusetts, 1984, p 37.
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  48. ^ Leonidas Themistocles Chrysanthopoulos. Caucasus Chronicles: Nation-building and Diplomacy in Armenia, 1993–1994. Gomidas Institute, 2002, p. 8. ISBN 1-884630-05-7.
  49. ^ The British and Foreign Review. J. Ridgeway and sons, 1838, p. 422.
  50. ^ Taru Bahl, M.H. Syed. Encyclopaedia of the Muslim World. Anmol Publications PVT, 2003 p. 34. ISBN 81-261-1419-3.
  51. ^ The penny cyclopædia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 1833, Georgia.
  52. ^ a b c The Nagorno-Karabagh Crisis: A Blueprint for ResolutionPDF, New England Center for International Law & Policy
  53. ^ Circular by colonel D. I. Shuttleworth of the British Command
  54. ^ Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia: A Legal Appraisal by Tim Potier. ISBN 90-411-1477-7
  55. ^ Walker. The Survival of a Nation. pp. 285–90
  56. ^ Service, Robert. Stalin: A Biography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006 p. 204 ISBN 0-674-02258-0
  57. ^ Elizabeth Fuller, Nagorno-Karabakh: The Death and Casualty Toll to Date, RL 531/88, Dec. 14, 1988, pp. 1–2
  58. ^ a b c d e f de Waal, Thomas (2003). Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War. New York: New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-1945-7. 
  59. ^ Lieberman, Benjamin (2006). Terrible Fate: Ethnic Cleansing in the Making of Modern Europe. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. pp. 284–92. ISBN 1-5666-3646-9. 
  60. ^ The Encyclopedia of World History. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2001. p. 906. 
  61. ^ Human Rights Watch. Playing the "Communal Card". Communal Violence and Human Rights: "By early 1992 full-scale fighting broke out between Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians and Azerbaijani authorities." / "...Karabakh Armenian forces—often with the support of forces from the Republic of Armenia—conducted large-scale operations..." / "Because 1993 witnessed unrelenting Karabakh Armenian offensives against the Azerbaijani provinces surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh..." / "Since late 1993, the conflict has also clearly become internationalized: in addition to Azerbaijani and Karabakh Armenian forces, troops from the Republic of Armenia participate on the Karabakh side in fighting inside Azerbaijan and in Nagorno-Karabakh."
  62. ^ Human Rights Watch. The former Soviet Union. Human Rights Developments: "In 1992 the conflict grew far more lethal as both sides—the Azerbaijani National Army and free-lance militias fighting along with it, and ethnic Armenians and mercenaries fighting in the Popular Liberation Army of Artsakh—began."
  63. ^ United States Institute of Peace. Nagorno-Karabakh Searching for a Solution. Foreword: "Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed forces have not only fortified their region, but have also occupied a large swath of surrounding Azeri territory in the hopes of linking the enclave to Armenia."
  64. ^ United States Institute of Peace. Sovereignty after Empire. Self-Determination Movements in the Former Soviet Union. Hopes and Disappointments: Case Studies "Meanwhile, the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was gradually transforming into a full-scale war between Azeri and Karabakh irregulars, the latter receiving support from Armenia." / "Azerbaijan's objective advantage in terms of human and economic potential has so far been offset by the superior fighting skills and discipline of Nagorno-Karabakh's forces. After a series of offensives, retreats, and counteroffensives, Nagorno-Karabakh now controls a sizable portion of Azerbaijan proper ... including the Lachin corridor."
  65. ^ a b Human Rights Watch. Seven Years of Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. December 1994, p. xiii, ISBN 1-56432-142-8, citing: Natsional'nyi Sostav Naseleniya SSSR, po dannym Vsesoyuznyi Perepisi Naseleniya 1989 g., Moskva, "Finansy i Statistika"
  66. ^ Azerbaijan closes last of emergency camps, UNHCR
  67. ^ No End in Sight to Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh by Ivan Watson/National Public Radio. Weekend Edition Sunday, April 23, 2006.
  68. ^ Hakobyan, Tatul (2008-11-21). "Mediators play down prospects of early Karabakh settlement". Armenian Reporter. http://www.reporter.am/go/article/2008-11-21-mediators-play-down-prospects-of-early-karabakh-settlement. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  69. ^ "Document: Full text of the declaration adopted by presidents of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Russia at Meiendorf Castle near Moscow on November 2, 2008". Armenian Reporter. 2008-11-02. http://www.reporter.am/go/article/2008-11-02-document-full-text-of-the-declaration-adopted-by-presidents-of-azerbaijan-armenia-and-russia-at-meiendorf-castle-near-moscow-on-november-2-2008. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  70. ^ "Armenia, Azerbaijan Satisfied With Fresh Summit". RFE/RL. 2008-06-04. http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1747096.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  71. ^ Country Overview
  72. ^ a b Miller, Donald E. and Lorna Touryan Miller. Armenia: Portraits of Survival and Hope. Berkley: University of California Press, 2003 p. 7 ISBN 0-520-23492-8
  73. ^ Searle-White, Joshua. The Psychology of Nationalism. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2001 p. 33 ISBN 0-312-23369-8
  74. ^ Bournoutian, George A. Armenians and Russia, 1626-1796: A Documentary Record. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2001, p. 120–21
  75. ^ S.M.Bronesvskiy. Historical Notes... St. Petersburg. 1996. Исторические выписки о сношениях России с Персиею, Грузиею и вообще с горскими народами, в Кавказе обитающими, со времён Ивана Васильевича доныне». СПб. 1996, секция "Карабаг"
  76. ^ Description of the Karabakh province prepared in 1823 according to the order of the governor in Georgia Yermolov by state advisor Mogilevsky and colonel Yermolov 2nd (Russian: Opisaniye Karabakhskoy provincii sostavlennoye v 1823 g po rasporyazheniyu glavnoupravlyayushego v Gruzii Yermolova deystvitelnim statskim sovetnikom Mogilevskim i polkovnikom Yermolovim 2-m), Tbilisi, 1866.
  77. ^ Bournoutian, George A. A History of Qarabagh: An Annotated Translation of Mirza Jamal Javanshir Qarabaghi's Tarikh-E Qarabagh. Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 1994, page 18
  78. ^ a b Ethnic composition of the region as provided by the government
  79. ^ Regnum News Agency. Nagorno Karabakh prime minister: We need to have at least 300,000 population. Regnum. March 9, 2007. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
  80. ^ Евразийская панорама

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Caucasus : Nagorno-Karabakh
A Memorial in Stepanakert
A Memorial in Stepanakert
A Memorial in Shushi
A Memorial in Shushi

Nagorno-Karabakh is a unrecognized republic in the Caucasus, officially a part of Azerbaijan, but under Armenian control.

Regions

Name - Population - Sq.km

  • Stepanakert - 50,400 - 25.66
  • Askeran - 17,000 - 1221.92
  • Hadrut - 12,400 - 1876.80
  • Mardakert - 18,900 - 1795.10
  • Martuni - 23,100 - 951.20
  • Shahumyan - 2,800 - 1829.80
  • Shushi - 4,500 - 381.30
  • Qashatagh - 8,600 - 3376.60
  • Stepanakert/Khankendi — the capital is a very small city and your likely base for exploring the region
  • Hadrut/ — a small town near several 14th and 13th century monasteries
  • Mardakert/Tartar (Agdere) — a town near the Sarsang Reservoir and Gandzasar Monastery
  • Martuni/Khojavend — a small town near two old fortresses and the exceptionally important Amaras Monastery
  • Shushi/Shusha — the historic capital of Karabakh and formerly one of the cultural capitals of the Caucasus; has lots to see, although the town is largely in ruins from the war and is a shell of its former self
  • Agdam - a ghost town.

Understand

Nagorno-Karabakh is a de facto independent republic located in the Artsakh region of the South Caucasus, bordering south east Armenia

The predominantly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh became disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan when both countries gained independence from the Russian Empire in 1918. After the Soviet Union established control over the area, in 1923 it formed the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR. In the final years of the Soviet Union, the region re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, culminating in the Nagorno-Karabakh War fought from 1988 to 1994.

On December 10, 1991, as the Soviet Union was collapsing, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region where overwhelming majority of residents voted for independence from Azerbaijan and the estabilishment of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The country remains unrecognized.

Since the ceasefire in 1994, most of Nagorno-Karabakh and several regions of Azerbaijan around it remain under the joint Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh military control. Representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have since been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group.

Travel Warning
Visa Restrictions:

Azerbaijan will block passports containing stamps or visas from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Note that if your passport shows any evidence of travel to the separatist republic of Nagorno Karabakh, such as a Karabakh visa and entry stamps and with any other evidence of visiting Nagorno Karabakh, Azerbaijani consulates will deny you a visa. Even if you already have an Azerbaijan visa, you will be turned away and deported, or possibly arrested, and the visa will be revoked, if you attempt to enter the country with a Karabakh visa and entry stamp in your passport. If you do intend to visit Karabakh, the authorities there can issue the visa on a separate piece of paper at your request, although sometimes they forget to do this even if instructed to do so. Otherwise a permanent travel ban to Azerbaijan may be the consequence.

The only country you can currently arrive in Karabakh from is Armenia (which is illegal to do if you intend to visit Azerbaijan). The vast majority arrive by automobile via the Berdzor (Lachin) Corridor, though driving through the Karvajar (Kelbajar) pass or helicopter are alternatives.

To enter the self-declared republic of Nagorno Karabakh, you have to obtain a visa from the authorities at the Embassy of N.K in Yerevan, Armenia. Visas cost 11,000AMD (roughly $35). Here is the visa application in English (don't forget to add a 3x4cm picture): [1]. The embassy is located at 17-A Zarian St and is open for visa applications Mon-Sat 9a-2p. While the visa allows you to enter the region, you will be required to register at the Foreign Ministry in Stepanakert immediately upon arrival-this isn't just to register your visit, but the staff is very friendly and this visit is more to introduce you to what NKR has to offer and tell you about the plight of the people of NKR. You will likely be greeted by the Foreign Minister and some tourists are even greeted by the president during their visit to the Foreign Ministry.

By plane

The airport in Stepanakert (the capital) has not functioned since 1990. In April 2009, a conference was held to select the best preliminary bids for a new airport, with the NKR president selecting the four best and expressing hope a new airport will be completed 'soon'.

By train

Currently there is no working train line between Yerevan & Stepanakert

By car

If lucky, you may be able to convince a Taxi Driver to drive you to Stepanakert, otherwise many taxi drivers in Stepanakert might be willing to drive you back to Yerevan, if you're with a few friends for something like $80-$100 U.S you can organise the travel. The embassy in Yerevan offers Drivers to take you and drive you there and back and take you to the biggest attractions it’s about $100 -$150 doll for person

By bus

There is one daily bus from Yerevan to Stepanakert, which is relatively cheap, but takes forever.

There are also many Tour Companies or agencies, which provide guided tours to Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh in Armenian), you may also hire our a Mini-van which will take you and your friends to the capital Stepanakert.

Get around

One way to see much of Karabakh is simply to walk from one end to the other on the Janapar [2]. There is a marked trail which is broken up into day hikes which extend for 2 weeks of hiking. There are side trails and alternative routes as well. Trails take you to ancient monasteries and fortresses, through forests and valleys, to hot springs and villages. Each night you can either stay with a village family or camp out.

All cities are small and fairly safe, so it is best to walk around the few cities in NKR. Not only will you save a little money, but you will get a good sense of the region and its people.

Taxis are available in most cities, with a new North-South road across the NKR making for a smooth and quicker (than you'd expect) ride across the region. A handful of marshrutkas are available, but they are not as common as in Armenia and many other parts of the former Soviet Union. Aside from these, there are not public transport systems, no car rentals available, and no functioning airports in the region (which is probably too small for air travel anyways). If your Armenian or Russian is good, you may be able to hitch a ride for less than a taxi (although don't pay too much less, as these are certainly not affluent people), and you could very easily be invited for dinner with them (in which you should have some gift, especially wine, coffee, or chocolates, and do NOT offer money) as the people of NKR are as hospitable as Armenians and Georgians.

Talk

Armenian and Russian are both widely used. Karabakh Armenians speak a dialect of Eastern Armenian that differs slightly from Armenian mainly because of the inclusion of many Russian words. A good amount of the Population speaks Azeri but it is never heard and becoming forgotten. Very little of the population speaks English so it is wise to travel to Karabakh with a guide or translator from Armenia.

  • Gandzasar Monastery
  • Dadivank Monastery
  • Gtichavank Monastery
  • Amaras Monastery
  • Shushi City Walls
  • Askeran Fortress

Buy

There are several Tourist/Souvenir Stores within Stepanakert. A great idea is to buy a Rug made in Karabakh, they are known for their Ancient rugs, it is said that many people in the region and bordering countries learnt rug making from the Ancient Armenian of Karakagh.

  • Jingalov Hats — a bread that has greens baked into it, a local specialty.
  • Tutti Chamich — mulberry raisins, available at the market (shuka)

Many Mulberry trees are to be found, but ensure you are eating only ripe fruit (dark red) and not unripe fruit (whitish), as unripe fruit as well as the green portions of the tree contain a white sap which is intoxicating and mildly hallucinogenic.

Drink

Tutti Oghi — Mulberry Vodka, which Karabakh is famous for, often reaching 80% alcohol, and with a distinct taste.

  • Hotel Nairi [3] in Stepanakert — a western hotel. There is hot water and a television in all the rooms. You can negotiate the room rates. It is important to remember that they charge by person and not by room. The Hotel is owned by an Australian of Armenian descent.
  • Shushi Hotel — [4]
  • Lotus Hotel

Work

Limitless volunteer work for the willing. Incredibly low cost of living. The government will gladly give most people land as long as they are willing to farm and tend to it.

Stay safe

Don't venture east of the Mardakert-Martuni highway, where the ceasefire line is located. Otherwise, it is very safe to travel around and interact with people. When you first arrive in Karabakh, you must go to what is called the "MIT", the Stepanakert foreign affairs office, to get your travel papers. This will prevent any confusion if one gets pulled over or stopped by local authorities.

If you are planning to hike, be in rural areas, or stay on the outskirts of cities note that the area is inhabited by bears and wolves. While they will not attack if unprovoked, practice bear safety and walk away slowly if unexpectedly approached. If you are planning to hike, the Janapar trail has been broken into day-long hikes and it is best to take advantage of the homestays offered rather than to camp alongside the trails. If you do camp, make sure to keep your food high in a tree and a few dozen meters (a hundred feet or so) from your tent and do not simply sleep on the ground or in a sleeping bag...sleep inside a tent.

While the region is fairly safe in terms of crime, you must not lose your passport. There are no foreign embassies in the NKR, and you may have a hard time entering Armenia without a passport or visa. The US embassy in Baku says that "because of the existing state of hostilities, consular services are not available to Americans in Nagorno-Karabakh." It would be safe to assume that this applies to all other nationalities and their embassies in Baku.

Stay healthy

Drink bottled water if you are not accustomed to the local water. However if you are hiking, drinking water in mountain streams and ponds in reasonably safe, as long as you are sure it is not downstream from a large town (in which case it is likely contaminated with chemicals, street runoff, and/or waste.

Remember that this is a rural region, and in the event of a medical emergency the hospitals in NKR are no more than a modest clinic. The nearest major hospital is in Yerevan, a long distance in the event of a heart attack or complications with any medical problems you may have. It is best to have with you a small first aid kit with bandaids, bandages, anti-biotic cream, ibuprofen, and any other medicine you may need.

Respect

The people of NKR are very friendly and inviting, and if your Armenian or Russian is good enough, you will easily meet people who will invite you to their house for dinner (and some will even harass you until you accept). Unlike many parts of the world, you should not worry about your safety, no matter how much they harass you, and accept their invitation. Even though these people do not have much and, like many persons in the third world, view westerners as rich, they will vehemently refuse any type of money given to them (although you may find luck saying it is "for the children"). However, do not show up empty-handed! You will be expected to bring some sort of gift, with food (wine, chocolates, coffee, etc) being best. You should also bring something to show/give them from your home country (postcard, book, photos, etc) to have a conversation or at least get their interest. You never know, they may likely have family in another place and what you thought was just dinner could turn into inviting you to other family's businesses (discounts), homes (to stay the night), or another meal.

The wiki on the Janapar trail recommends no trace camping and if you bathe, make sure no locals are around (it may be offensive). Just as stated above, you will receive offers of food and rest. Have gifts for such people, but do not offer money.

This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Location of Nagorno-Karabakh (NKR).

Etymology

From Russian нагорный (nagórnyj), highland, mountainous) + Карабах (Karabáx), Karabakh).

Pronunciation

  • (UK) IPA: /nəˈgɔːnəu kɑːrəˈbɑːk/

Proper noun

Singular
Nagorno-Karabakh

Plural
-

Nagorno-Karabakh

  1. A landlocked region in South Caucasus. De facto governed by Armenian populated independent Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, with capital city Stepanakert. De jure a breakaway region of Azerbaijan.

Synonyms

  • Artsakh

Derived terms

Related terms

Translations


Simple English


Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) is an autonomous region of Azerbaijan. Armenia wants it to be part of itself. Most of the people in Nagorno-Karabakh are Armenians. The names for the region in the different local languages all translate to "mountainous Karabakh", or "mountainous black garden". In fact "Karabakh" is an Azeri word meaning literally "black garden":

  • Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ, transliterated Lernayin Gharabagh
  • Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ, or Yuxarı Qarabağ (meaning "upper Karabakh" or "mountainous Karabakh")
  • Russian: Нагорный Карабах, transliterated Nagornyj Karabakh

History

Although some Azeris believe in fantasy that Armenian populations were imported to the region in the Middle Ages, historical texts and archaeology have it otherwise. There are in existence over twenty churches with Armenian inscriptions dating to the early Middle Ages. Historical records in Persian, Arabic, Armenian, Russian, and even Turkish record the presence of thousands of Armenians in the Karabakh region even as early as 500 AD. The Armenian identity, moreover, was established (as a religious, linguistic, and ethinc entity) in the region long before the Middle Ages. The Azeri identity, on the other hand, was not born until 1917, when a loosely-confederated bunch of ethnic groups (given the name Tatars by the Russians) came together under one banner to form a Muslim nation, at the behest of (and with military help from) Ottoman Turks, who dreamed of an empire reaching from the Bosphorous to China.

Nagorno-Karabakh became a subject of the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1918 when both countries declared independence from Russia. Territorial dispute has not been resolved until 1920, when both young states became part of the Soviet Union, and actually lost their independence due to the actions of Russian communists (Bolsheviks). During this time many Azeris were killed by Armenian terrorists.

Supporters for the Armenian position frequently emphasize, that resolution of the Caucasian Bureau from July, 5, 1921, was obviously accepted under the Bolsheviks pressure, and, in any case, this resolution contradicts with the principle of self-determination and cannot be considered as valid: the problem should be solved by the countries, which it directly involves, and not by the Committee created specially for this case and inside the ruling party of the third country.

When Mikhail Gorbachev has come to power in Moscow and has started the campaigns of publicity and democratic reforms in the end of 80th, Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh have decided to address the problems to the international and Soviet heads. Complaining about "forced Azerification" of the region, the majority Armenian population started a movement for independence.

In November 1991, seeking to stop this movement, the Parliament of Azerbaijan abolished the autonomous status of the region. In response the Nagorno-Karabakh Armenians held a December 10, 1991 referendum in which the overwhelming majority of the population voted for outright independence. The Azeri community of Nagorno-Karabakh boycotted this referendum.

These events and especially removal of approx. 200 000 Azeris from Armenia led to violent actions against Armenians living in Baku and massive anti-Armenian pogroms elsewhere in Azerbaijan.

The war for Nagorno Karabakh became the longest and one of the bloodiest conflicts in states-successors of Soviet Union. According to last estimations, it has killed 15000 people, and the number of refugees has exceeded one million.

Today Nagorno-Karabakh is a de-facto state calling itself the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

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