Stepanakert and called Vararakn, is the capital and the largest city of the de facto Republic of Artsakh. The Republic has no international recognition, being deemed part of the Republic of Azerbaijan by most countries; as of 2015, the population of Stepanakert is 55,200. Stepanakert meaning the city of Stepan is named after Armenian Bolshevik revolutionary Stepan Shaumian; the name is formed of the words kert meaning town. According to medieval Armenian sources, the settlement was first mentioned as Vararakn, a name that remained in use until 1847, when it was renamed Khankendi. Azerbaijani sources say that the settlement was founded in the late eighteenth century as a private residence for khans of the Karabakh Khanate, was thus called Khankendi; the settlement was called Khanin Kendi, but was shortened to Khankendi. After the Russian Empire gained the territory of the Karabakh Khanate through the Russo-Persian War of 1804–1813, the name Khankendi was charted on Russian maps. In 1923 Khankendi was renamed Stepanakert by the Soviet government to honor Stepan Shahumyan, ethnic Armenian leader of the 26 Baku Commissars, after the Shusha pogrom had resulted in major destruction at Shusha, the former regional capital, Stepanakert was made the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast.
In time, Stepanakert grew to become the region's most important city. Its population rose from 10,459 in 1939 to 33,000 in 1978. In 1926, municipal authorities adopted a new city layout designed by the prominent Armenian architect Alexander Tamanian. Several schools and two polyclinics were established, an Armenian drama theater was founded in 1932 and named after Maxim Gorky. Stepanakert served as Nagorno-Karabakh's main economic hub, by the mid-1980s there were nineteen production facilities in the city; the political and economic reforms that General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had initiated in 1985 saw a marked decentralization of Soviet authority. Armenians, in both Armenia proper and Nagorno-Karabakh, viewed Gorbachev's reform program as an opportunity to unite the two together. On 20 February 1988, tens of thousands of Armenians gathered to demonstrate in Stepanakert's Lenin Square to demand that the region be joined to Armenia. On the same day, the Supreme Soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh voted to join the Armenian SSR, a move staunchly opposed by the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities.
Relations between Stepankert's Armenians and Azerbaijanis, who supported the Azerbaijani government's position, deteriorated in the following years and as a result, nearly all of the Azerbaijanis fled the city. After Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Stepanakert was renamed by the Azerbaijani government back to Khankendi as part of a campaign against communism and Azerification. Fighting broke out over control of Nagorno-Karabakh which resulted in Armenian control of the region and a connecting corridor to Armenia to the west. Prior to the conflict, Stepanakert was the largest city of the NKAO, with a population of 70,000 out of a total 189,000. By early 1992, that figure had dropped to 50,000. During the war, the city suffered immense damage from Azeri bombardment in early 1992 when the Azerbaijanis used the town of Shushi as an artillery firebase to rain down GRAD missiles upon it. So destructive was the damage caused by the incessant bombardment, that a journalist for Time noted in an April 1992 article that "scarcely a single building escaped damage in Stepanakert."
The Azerbaijani military staged several ground attacks against the city, which were repulsed by Armenian forces. It was not until 9 May 1992, with the capture of Shusha; the city continued to suffer aerial bombardment for the remainder of the war. There has been an unofficial cease-fire observed since 1994. Stepanakert is located on Karabakh plateau at the centre of the de facto Republic of Artsakh, at an average altitude of 813 m above sea level; the city has a humid subtropical climate according to the Köppen climate classification system and a semi-arid climate according to the Trewartha climate classification system. In the month of January, the average temperature drops to 0.5 °C. In August, it averages around 22.6 °C. During the period of USSR, Stepanakert has served as the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, between 1923 and 1991. With the independence of Artsakh in 1991, Stepanakert continued with its status as the political and cultural centre of the newly-established republic, being home to all the national institutions: the Government House, the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace, the Constitutional Court, all ministries, judicial bodies and other government organizations.
Artsakh is a presidential democracy since the 2017 constitutional referendum. The Prime Minister's post was abolished and the executive power is now residing with the President, both the head of state and head of government; the president is directly elected for a maximum of two-consecutive five-year terms. The current President is Bako Sahakyan. On 19 July 2012, Sahakyan was re-elected for a second term, he was again re-elected
Hadrut is de facto the administrative center of Hadrut Province, Artsakh and de jure a town in the Khojavend Rayon of Azerbaijan. The town has been de facto part of the Republic of Artsakh since the end of the 1991-94 Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to NKR statistics, the town has a population of 4,100 as of 2015. From 10 September 1939, Hadrut was the capital of the Hadrut rayon within the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic until the abolishment of the Autonomous Oblast on 26 November 1991. During the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the town was occupied by the Nagorno-Karabakh Defense Army on 2 October 1992; the town is home to the "Mika-Hadrut Winery" for brandy and wine. Hadrut is twinned with: Vagarshapat, Armenia Burbank, United States
Shushi Province is a province of the de facto Republic of Artsakh. The Republic has limited international recognition, it is de jure part of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The province has 7 communities. Shushi, its largest community. "The rock" of Shushi, below, the village of Karin Tak. "The rock" is historic in Armenian history as it was from there that Armenian fighters ambushed the Azeri military who were held in Shushi during the Nagorno-Karabakh War Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, 1868–1887 The Shushi Tank Memorial The church of Kanatch Zham, 1847 Battle of Shushi History of Shushi
Zangilan is a town, de jure located in the Zangilan Rayon of Azerbaijan. Since the Nagorno-Karabakh War it has been administered as part of Kashatagh Region by the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh. Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, a growing number of Armenian refugees from Syria have chosen to settle in this town, many of them farmers. Zəngilan at GEOnet Names Server World Gazetteer: Azerbaijan – World-Gazetteer.com
Azerbaijan the Republic of Azerbaijan, is a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south; the exclave of Nakhchivan is bounded by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, has an 11 km long border with Turkey in the northwest. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic proclaimed its independence in 1918 and became the first democratic Muslim state. In 1920 the country was incorporated into the Soviet Union as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic; the modern Republic of Azerbaijan proclaimed its independence on 30 August 1991, shortly before the dissolution of the USSR in the same year. In September 1991, the Armenian majority of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region seceded to form the Republic of Artsakh; the region and seven adjacent districts outside it became de facto independent with the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994.
These regions are internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan pending a solution to the status of the Nagorno-Karabakh through negotiations facilitated by the OSCE. Azerbaijan is a unitary semi-presidential republic, it is one of six independent Turkic states and an active member of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. Azerbaijan has diplomatic relations with 158 countries and holds membership in 38 international organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the Non-Aligned Movement, the OSCE, the NATO Partnership for Peace program, it is one of the founding members of GUAM, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Azerbaijan holds observer status in the World Trade Organization. While more than 89% of the population is Shia Muslim, the Constitution of Azerbaijan does not declare an official religion and all major political forces in the country are secularist. Azerbaijan has a high level of human development that ranks on par with most Eastern European countries.
It has a high rate of economic literacy, as well as a low rate of unemployment. However, the ruling party, the New Azerbaijan Party, has been accused of authoritarianism and human rights abuses. According to a modern etymology, the term Azerbaijan derives from that of Atropates, a Persian satrap under the Achaemenid Empire, reinstated as the satrap of Media under Alexander the Great; the original etymology of this name is thought to have its roots in the once-dominant Zoroastrianism. In the Avesta's Frawardin Yasht, there is a mention of âterepâtahe ashaonô fravashîm ýazamaide, which translates from Avestan as "we worship the fravashi of the holy Atropatene." The name "Atropates" itself is the Greek transliteration of an Old Iranian Median, compounded name with the meaning "Protected by the Fire" or "The Land of the Fire". The Greek name was mentioned by Diodorus Strabo. Over the span of millennia, the name evolved to Āturpātākān to Ādharbādhagān, Ādharbāyagān, Āzarbāydjān and present-day Azerbaijan.
The name Azerbaijan was first adopted for the area of the present-day Republic of Azerbaijan by the government of Musavat in 1918, after the collapse of the Russian Empire, when the independent Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established. Until the designation had been used to identify the adjacent region of contemporary northwestern Iran, while the area of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was referred to as Arran and Shirvan. On that basis Iran protested the newly adopted country name. During the Soviet rule, the country was spelled in English from the Russian transliteration as Azerbaydzhan; the earliest evidence of human settlement in the territory of Azerbaijan dates back to the late Stone Age and is related to the Guruchay culture of Azokh Cave. The Upper Paleolithic and late Bronze Age cultures are attested in the caves of Tağılar, Damcılı, Yataq-yeri and in the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe. Early settlements included the Scythians in the 9th century BC. Following the Scythians, Iranian Medes came to dominate the area to the south of the Aras.
The Medes forged a vast empire between 900–700 BC, integrated into the Achaemenid Empire around 550 BC. The area was conquered by the Achaemenids leading to the spread of Zoroastrianism, it became part of Alexander the Great's Empire and its successor, the Seleucid Empire. During this period, Zoroastrianism spread in the Atropatene. Caucasian Albanians, the original inhabitants of northeastern Azerbaijan, ruled that area from around the 4th century BC, established an independent kingdom; the Sasanian Empire turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state in 252, while King Urnayr adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century. Despite Sassanid rule, Albania remained an entity in the region until the 9th century, while subordinate to Sassanid Iran, retained its monarchy. Despite being one of the chief vassals of the Sasanian emperor, the Albanian king had only a semblance of authority, the Sasanian marzban held most civil and military authority. In the first half of the 7th century, Caucasian Albania, as a vassal of the Sasanians, came under nominal Muslim rule due to the Muslim conquest of Persia.
The Umayyad Caliphate repulsed both the Sasanians and Byzantines from Transcaucasia and turned Caucasian Albania into a vassal state after Christian resistance led by Kin
Martakert or Aghdara is a town, de facto in the Republic of Artsakh, a state with limited recognition established in the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan SSR. The town is internationally recognized as being de jure in Azerbaijan; the area around the town has been controlled by Artsakh forces since the end of the 1991–94 Nagorno-Karabakh War. Martakert was the administrative center of the Mardakert District of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast during the Soviet era, is now the administrative center of the Martakert Region of Artsakh. Azerbaijan considers the town to be part of its Tartar District. During the Nagorno-Karabakh War the area of Martakert saw heavy fighting, including the Azerbaijani Mardakert and Martuni Offensives. In 2016, some clashes along the ceasefire lines took place near Martakert; the climate in Aghdara is classified as Cfa by the Köppen-Geiger system. Vagarshapat, Armenia. Sarcelles, France. Partnership agreement: Bourj Hammoud, Lebanon. In May 2018, representatives of the Artsakh city of Martakert and the Lebanese town of Bourj Hammoud signed a Memorandum of Cooperation.
The memorandum states that aiming at the establishment of social, economic and cultural relations between the two towns as well as realizing that cooperation between the towns can contribute to the strengthening of regional stability and peace. World Gazetteer: Azerbaijan – World-Gazetteer.com Martakert at GEOnet Names Server
"Martuni" redirects here. For other uses see Martuni. Khojavend, or Martuni is a town and the provincial capital of Martuni Region of the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh. However, it is a de jure part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the status of an administrative center of the surrounding Khojavend District, it is located 41 kilometers east of the Republic's capital Stepanakert. It has a population of 5,700 as of 2015. Excavations in Khojavand have uncovered a number of tombs dating to the Bronze Ages. Martuni is home to several ruined medieval churches and remains of settlements, khachkars have been preserved. During Soviet times, Khojavand was the capital of the eponymous district located in the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast; the population of the town, grouped into kolkhozes occupied itself with raising livestock, grape growing, wheat cultivation, gardening. Martuni, the district itself, became a frontline city during the latter stages of the Nagorno-Karabakh War. In early February 1992, Vazgen Sargsyan, the Defence Minister of Armenia, appointed Monte Melkonian as Chief of Headquarters and assigned him to lead the defense of Martuni and the surrounding regions.
On October 2, 1992, Armenian armed forces occupied Khojavend region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. As a result, 1,723 houses were burnt down in 10 villages settled by Azerbaijanis, 47 industrial and 144 agricultural facilities were devastated. Melkonian remained as regional commander until he was killed in combat in June 1993. Martuni is twinned with: Les Pennes-Mirabeau, France: Les Pennes-Mirabeau and Martuni became sister cities on 11 June 2013