• Azerbaijan

Karabakh and adjacent territories



Shusha

Distance to Baku: 373 km

Population: 30,300

 

Shusha city – an ancient and picturesque city of Azerbaijan, rich in unique mineral waters. Among them are Turshsu, Isa-bulag, Sakina-bulag, Isti-bulag, Soyug-bulag, Charikh-bulag, Sahsi-bulag, Girh-bulag, Yuzbulag and others.

Shusa city was built by Panakh Ali khan in 1751 as impregnable stronghold for defense of Karabakh khanate from enemies. Many times this place had to defend itself against enemies and fierce fightings often took place here. At the time of Russian – Iranian war small garrison of Shusha 40 days heroically held the line against Iranian army.

Starting approximately with the end of 18th century the city played a leading part in all spheres of the life of the country. Geographical situation and rapid development helped the city to be a center of culture and science. First theatres, print shops, libraries and schools opened exactly here, first circus show, scientific meetings and other educational programs were held here as well.

On the outskirts of the town, close to very deep gorge there was a plateau called Racings Field. Steep stairs led to Dashalti river – this very beautiful and staying in memory place was visited by everyone who came to this land.

Close to Shusha is located a small town Khankendi that was founded by Turkish tribes. It is impossible to list all monuments of architecture and art that were in Shusha – they were too many.

Shusha is a native land of many very famous cultural figures, especially musicians, composers and singers. Due to this fact the city is often called a “conservatory of Caucasus”. Here were many house-museums belonging to: poetess Hurshud Banu Natavan, composer Uzeyir Gadjibeyli, singer Bul-Bul and others.

Due to the fact that since 8th of May, 1992 this area is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Shusha and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Khankendi

Distance to Baku: 329 km

Population: 55,300

Khankendi – a city of Azerbaijan Republic that includes into its administrative territory Khankendi city and settlement Karkijakhan. Khankendi is located at the administrative territory of Askeran district of Azerbaijan.

Khankendi is one of the youngest cities of Azerbaijan Republic. There is an information in archives that the city was founded at the end of XVIII as a place for recreation of the rulers-khans of Karabakh khanate. The settlement was built in 10 km from Panakhabad (Shusha city) at the relative slope with the aim to provide Karabakh khans with the maximum comfort for their activity. While defining the place for city’s foundation its proximity to the other strategically important cities – Agdam, Khojali, Malibeyli, Karkijakhan was taken into consideration. This young settlement like many others was populated by Azerbaijanis only. During the first years after foundation only Khan with his family and escort lived there. That is the origin of the name Khankendi – “Khan’s village”. Later the settlement was officially called Khankendi.

Khankendi was a well developed industrial center of the republic. Light and food industries were well developed here. Electrical engineering, auto repair and asphalt-concrete plants, furniture fabrics, construction materials complexes, manufacturing and educational-manufacturing complexes worked here.

The district is under Armenian occupation since December 26, 1991.

Tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh through third countries. In this case they will get a refusal in Azerbaijani visa issuance. Entrance at the territory through Azerbaijan will be possible only after settlement of the conflict when authorities could guarantee the safety of the tourists.

 

 

 

Khojaly

Distance to Baku: 375 km

Population: 26,700

 

 Khojali is located in 14 km to north-east from Khankendi, on Shusha – Agdam highway at the altitude of 580 meters above sea level and has an advantageous geographic location. In this district placed at the Shusha slope and at the foot of the mountain were 57 villages. Soil is fertile here. Population of the city was 24,000 as of November 26, 1991.

This ancient settlement is located in the center of Khojali – Gedabek cultural zone related to Bronze Age. The most ancient historical monument of this area is a cemetery – Khojali burial ground that refers to the end of Bronze – beginning of Iron Age (XIII-VII cc. B.C). Funeral constructions in the forms of stone boxes and barrows from 1 to 15 meters of height are preserved here. One can also meet cromlechs, menhirs, and in some places boulder fields left from ice age.

In total there are more than 16 historical monuments and 6 sanctuaries in Khojali.

The fortress Askeran is also located here (“asker” means “warrior”). It was built in the middle of XVIII century. The walls of the fortress are two meters thick and 5-6 meters of height. For a long time it blocked the way for enemies to the center of Karabakh khanate – Shusha.

At the small place Yuhari Khanbagi on a way to Shusha some time ago was located very well known in the whole Caucasus by its traditions and hospitality caravanserai Tanriverdi-kishi, with chayhana, music salon, barber shop. Phaetons, caravans going to Barda, Gandja, Baku, Tiflis, Irevan and other cities of Caucasus always stayed here.

Khojali was the second after Shusha settlement where only Azerbaijanis lived. In 1990 the settlement got a status of city. The only airport in the region was also located in Khojali.

When the new stage of Armenian separatism started in 1988 Khojali has become a fortress fighting against Armenian occupation.

Due to the fact that since February 26, 1992 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Khojali and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Lachin

Distance to Baku: 414 km

Population: 71,200

 

 Lachin district is located to the west of Shusha district and bounds Armenia. This is one of the mountainous regions of the republic. The highest peak – mountain Gizilbogaz which is located at the altitude of 3594 above sea level. The center of the district is located at the foot of mountain chain Garadag.

By legend the place for the city and its name were selected by Taghi Shakhbaz Simurg. This is a perverted Turkish word “yalchin” that means “steep, vertical”. There is an opinion that this toponym was formed from bird’s name “lachin”.

Local steep and barely passable rocks are rich in minerals and precious metals: gold, granite, deposits of mercury, cobalt, uranium, iron, lime stone, pumice, travertine, marble of different colors.

The total area of mountain forests where oak, beech and vulnerary plants grow is 34,800 hectares. One of the rare trees – argan tree also grows here.

Tens of rapid mountain rivers are full of trout. Almost at the every rock there are springs with sweet (drinkable), sour, hot or icy water of Narzan kind.

The territory of the district looks like historical reserve. There are 24 historical monuments and 24 sanctuaries – mainly from pre-Christian epoch.

There are: a cave-temple (V century) and mausoleum (XIII century) in Khochaz village of Lachin district, vault of Malikadjar (XIV century) in Djimjdimli village, fortress Kafir (XIV) in Zeyva village, palace of Khamazasultan and bridge over Khanari river in Hunsu village.

The palace Agoglan of IX century is located in Kesalar village, formerly called Agoglan. The palace is placed at the bank of the river with the same name. By legend Agoglan was killed in the battle with foreign aggressors and was buried in Albanian church located not far from here.

Lachin people have a special language. Keeping a close way of live favoured the preservation of the ancient traditions and customs.

Due to the fact that since May 17, 1992 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Lachin and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Kalbajar

Distance to Baku: 445 km

Population: 83,900

 

 This most alpine district of Azerbaijan is located in 139 km from the railway station Barda aside from highway Barda – Istisu in the gorge of Terter river at the altitude of 1500 – 1800 meters above sea level in the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus. The highest peak here is Djamishdag. Mountains Murov, Shakhdag, Shergi Bayazit, Basarkecher, Mikhteken, part of the Karabakh mountains chain and Karabakh plateau also belong to this region.

Winter season at the most part of the territory is dry with cold mountainous climate. The biggest river is Terter. There are two lakes at the territory of the district: Alageller and Zalha. Some time ago this district was famous by its long-lived persons because here lived a lot of persons crossed their 100 year border-line and this is not surprising: Kelbadjar mountains where more than 200 medicinal herbs are growing could be called a green pharmacy for sure. The recreational area Istisu located at the altitude of 2200 meters above sea level by its beauty and characteristics is not worse than world known Karlovy Vary.

This land rich in minerals where are more that 30000 springs, hundreds of hot and mineral springs, where more that 4 000 kinds of plants are growing and 280 hectars are occupied by forests is called a natural museum.

The gold was mined here since ancient times. The gold mine Seyudlu-Zod is known for centuries. Geological prospecting survey worked in Seyudlu in 1970-80ies found an ancient mines, caves, wells and grains of the mined in the old times gold as well as instruments of goldminers, like small scales that is a proof of the fact that gold was mined here 4-5 thousands years ago. Zar village in historical documents is called “ Shakhrezar” that means gold city.

The history of Kelbadjar that is well known as a land of ashugs as well is traced back to the old times. Petroglyphs, settlements dated by III c. BC, hundreds of ancient caves, pottery found here and other material evidences are significant indicators of the culture flourishing here.

There are 24 prominent historical monuments and 5 religious sanctuaries out of which the Khotavend sanctuary of XIII-XVIII cc. could be mentioned. A cave of 1000 meters deep was found here in 1980 by archeologists. The witnesses of the old history are also sanctuaries and fortresses Lokk, Chomerd, Ulukhan, Galaboynu, Khotavend.

Due to the fact that this district is under Armenian occupation since April 2, 1992 tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Kelbadjar and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Aghdam

Distance to Baku: 358 км

Population: 182,000

 

 Agdam is located in the valley of rivers Kura and Araz, at the Karabakh plateau close to mountains of Lesser Caucasus at the altitude of 410-1365 meters above sea level. Relief here is mostly flat with not high mountains. Rivers Khachin and Gardag flow through the territory of the district. More that 1700 hectares are occupied by forests. In the district limestone, gravel and sand are extracted.

First time Agdam was mentioned in historical documents in 1357. There is a stone plate preserved at the ancient cemetery dated 1174 that informs that here was an ancient fortress located. This information is confirmed by ancient stone quarry in Shakhbulag settlement near Agdam where limestone was extracted. Exactly this stone was used for construction of the fortress called Agdam (white roof).

The opening of the winery in Muradbeyli village by brothers Sogomonov in 1853 was the beginning of the wine-making. In 1890 special equipment was delivered from abroad and a plant for production of brandy was opened. Another winery in Agdam was opened by Khublarov brothers. A winery opened by Alexander Zildhiyev worked in Boyahmedli village.

Agdam was the first district in Azerbaijan that started to grow cotton.

At the territory of Agdam district among architectural monuments one can mention a mausoleum Khanoglan (XVII c.), mosque of XVII century, palace and mausoleum of Panakhali-khan, mausoleum “Gutlu-son of Musa” of XIV century in Khachinturbetli village, mausoleum (XIV c.) in Kengerli village, two mausoleums and mosque in Papravend village, caravanserai of XVII century in Shakhbulag village. The Monument of history is also a cave cut in the rock at the northern slope of Bozdag at the altitude of 300 m. This is a cave temple of XIII century related to Сhristian architecture of the State of Albania.

The only in its kind a Museum of Bread is located in Agdam. Unique exhibits of an ancient world and middle ages are collected in the museum. There are an ancient petrified examples of seeds, unique sorts of grains, a lot of valuable books, manuscripts, materials about husbandry, an ancient tools for farming: a plow, sickle simple and toothed, threshing board, hand mill and others.

Due to the fact that since July 23, 1992 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Agdam and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Djabrayıl

Distance to Baku: 338 km

Population: 73,300

 

 This mountainous district is located at the south of the country, at the south-east of Lesser Caucasian mountains, at the left bank of Araz river and borders Iran.

By legend the village was founded by Father Jabrayil who lived in VIII-IX centuries and who was a person in attendance of the ruler sultan Ahmed. Territory from the local sanctuary to the river belonged to descendants of Jabrayil.

This is a native land of Dirili Dede Gurbani (who is considered to be a founder of ashug poetry) and such famous ashugs as Ashug Peri and other masters of fthis olklore art. The land of emerald forests and icy springs – this is how ashugs depict their native land in their poems.

There are in total 90 villages, 30 historical, 35 religious buildings and sanctuaries in the district.

There is a cave “Divler sarayi” not far from Dagtumash village at the place called Nefesli dere where were found tracks of the sites.

The highest alpine village of the district Shirik is considered as a gates of Jabrayil.

But the symbol of Jabrayil are the famous Khudaferin bridges across Araz river between Kumlakh and Khudaferin villages. They are an outstanding monuments of architecture of the XII century and valuable witnesses of historical past of the country. The solution of the problem of construction of big bridges at the large and rapid rivers besides construction skills and special engineer knowledge is required a special competence in selection of natural outcrops in rocks for bearing of the openings and for the purpose of link of architectural composition of the bridge to the natural landscape. Longevity of the preserved up to the current time bridges is an evidence of high professionalism of Azerbaijani architects.

Do to the fact that since August 23, 1993 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Jabrayil and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

Fuzuli

Distance to Baku: 310 km

Population: 119,500

 

 Fizuli district has an advantageous location from geographical and economical point of view and is placed at the south-west of the country at the border with Iran, not far from highway and railway Baku – Nakhichevan, at the altitude 300 – 800 meters above sea level and covers south-eastern foothills of Karabakh mountain chain, valley and low mountain range. The bridge built across Araz river connects the district with Iran. Rivers Kendelenchay, Guruchay, Gozluchay, Chereken flow through this district.

Fizuli district – this is a clean air, generous sun, fertile soil, open hearted and cheerful people. Here is a real concentration of the ancient monuments. There are caravanserai (1684) and mosque of Gadji Giyasetdin (1682) in Gargabazar village. Three mausoleums (Ahmedalilar, mausoleum of Mirali and babids) are standing alone among the monuments of the region. An orderly silhouette of the mausoleum Mirali in Ashagi Veyseli village (XIII-XIV) is located near the old road from Beylagan to Barda. There is an Azikh cave in Fizuli that is considered as one of the first sites and refers to Guruchay culture.

An ancient settlement existed also near the Garakepektepe hill at the sleepy bank of Gendelenchay river. Here were found stone tools, weapon, decorations and a big number of ceramic and metal items and remains of ancient constructions.

Due to the fact that since August 23, 1993 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Fizuli and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

Gubadli

Distance to Baku: 403 km

Population: 37,000

 

Gubadli is located at the south-east of Karabakh plateau on the bank of Bazarchay river. Tributaries of Araz – rivers Bargushad and Khakari flow through the territory of the district.

The main plant cover consists of bushes and sparse woods. Woods occupy 13,2 hectares of mountains.

Gubadli State preserve was organized there in 1969.

By some information this toponym is connected with the name of Sasanid’s ruler of V-VI centuries Gubad the 1st. This is the most underpopulated district of Azerbaijan.

Gubadli is a motherland of the national hero Gachag Nabi.

Here is a Bargushad city located. There are also mountain chain and river of the same name. The city is located at the border of Gubadli and Zangelan districts.

Some explorers connect the first part of the toponym “bargu” with an ancient Turkish tribe “barg”. It is known from the history that tribe bargu took part in military campaigns of the sun of Mongolian ruler Chingiz-khan Chuchin. Toponym has a meaning of “mountain of bargu tribe”, “river of bargu tribe”.

There are number of monuments preserved at this territory: a cave-sanctuary in Gavur gorge (IV c.), “Galali” in Muradkhanli village (V c.), fortress Gey gala (V c.), monuments in villages Aliguluushagi and Khojamusahli, bridge Lalezer (1837), fortress Javanshir at the Yazi valley, vaults in Demircheler village (XIV c.), Imamzade in Gurchuler village (XVII c), monument “Anatabat” in Seytas village, bridge “Haji Badal” in Dondarli village (XIX c.), mosque etc.

Due to the fact that this district is under Armenian occupation since August 31, 1993 tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Gubadli and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Zangelan

Distance to Baku: 385 km

Population: 40,600

 

Zangelan district is located at the South-West of Azerbaijan and stretches along Araz river. The district borders Iran in the South. The administrative center of the district – Zangelan city. There is an important railway station Mindjivan at the territory of Zangelan district.

This picturesque district abounds in number of low and medium mountains, neighboring to the valleys and is surrounded by such a mountain peaks of Lesser Caucasus as: Bartaz (2270), Susan (1304), Sigirt, Talid, Topdag and Agbiz. Through the district the following rivers flow: Hakari, Ohchuchay, Besitchay, Kinav. Valleys of the rivers are rich in deposits of molybdenum, gold, granite and other minerals.

The largest and rare on its structure forest in Europe is located in Zangelan. The State reserve Bestichay was created here in the Araz river basin at the area of 117 hectare in 1974.

The forest where eastern plane trees grow was included into “Red Book”. The age of plant trees comes to 500 years and they extend along the stream channel over 12 km. Territory of this district is one of ancient places of people’s habitation. Tracks of sites of primitive men were found in caves located in Esgulum and Susan mountains. There is a vault of XIII century preserved in Sherifan village, in Gadjalli village one can see a round tower, there is an octagonal vault (1304) in Mamedbeyli village, another vault of XVI century is located in Yenikend village. Other places of interest are upland Oyug, Ohchuchay pir, Khanazir pir in Shukurataz and others.

Due to the fact that since October 30, 1993 this district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Zangelan and Nagorno-Karabakh.


Khojavend

Distance to Baku: 334 km

Population: 42,200

 

 The district that is located aside from highway Agdam – Fizuly and is placed in the valley at the foot of the mountains at the altitude from 500 to 2725 meters (Big Kirs) above sea level.

Khojavend is famous by its grapes and green marble and is rich of historical and architectural monuments.

At the territory of the district are preserved: cave Taglar, fortress “Ritis”, “Girmizi mebed” (Red sanctuary) in Turg village (X c.), fortress Argunesh at the slope of steep rock, vault of Rzagulu-bek in Dudukchu village (XIII c.), Albanian temple in Taglar village (1241) and other monuments.

One of the interesting constructions in Khojavend is an Amarass monastery in Sos village built in the beginning of IV century. It was a cathedral of Caucasian Albania for many centuries. A school was opened in the monastery in V century.

Due to the fact that since October 2, 1992 the district is under Armenian occupation tourists are not recommended to enter the territory of Khojavend and Nagorno-Karabakh.

 

 

 

Terter

Distance to Baku: 324 km

Population: 99,500

By road: regular buses Terter – Gandja, Baku – Terter – 7 hours

By railway: Baku – Terter

 

 Terter district occupies the lower reaches of Terter river and at the north bounds Indja river. Climate in the district varies from temperate to hot semidesert and desert.

Temperature in January is +2 C, in June +25 C. Rivers Terter and Khachin-chay flow through the territory of the district.

The center of the Terter district is located on the right and left banks of Terter river just on the ancient caravan track. The historical name of this area was Chaparhana. There were caravanserai and fortress located in 17 km from the ancient capital of Alban state – Barda.

The district that in ancient times was called Chaparhana in Soviet time was called Mirbashir.

There are 24 historical and architectural monuments preserved at the territory of the district. One of them has worldwide importance, fifteen – state importance, others have local importance. All monuments are located in different villages.

Among trades there are carpet weaving, embroidery and knitting well developed in the district.