Karabakh Overview

About Karabakh

  • The word Karabakh (also spelled Karabagh and Qarabağ) originates from the Azerbaijani Turkish language, and literally means “black garden” (“kara” means black and “bagh” means garden.) The place name is first mentioned in the Georgian Chronicles (Kartlis Tskhovreba), as well in Persian sources from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The name became common after the 1230s, when the region was conquered by the Mongols.
  • Karabakh is a geographic region in southwestern Azerbaijan, extending from the highlands of the Lesser Caucasus down to the lowlands between the rivers Kura and Aras. It includes two sub-regions, as follows: Mountainous Karabakh (better known as Nagorno-Karabakh) and Lowland Karabakh (the southern Kura plains and mountains, which includes the districts of Aghdam, Aghjabedi, Barda, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Jebrayil, Kelbajar, Lachin, Terter, and Zangilan).
  • The word Karabagh also refers to a specific rug pattern originally produced in the area. Check out the Karabagh textile featured at the Textile Museum
  • The Karabakh region is an area within Azerbaijan, constituting approximately 3,175 square miles.
  • It has a population of about 600,000, most of whom are displaced.
  • Karabakh’s traditional capital Shusha was founded between 1750-1752 by Panah-Ali khan Javanshir, an Azerbaijani general who was the first ruler of the Karabakh khanate (kingdom).
  • The Azykh Cave, located in southern Karabakh, is thought to be one of the most ancient sites of Neanderthal habitation in the world. A Neanderthal style bone was found that dated to 300,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest proto-human specimens found in the Caucuses. Stone tools have been found and evidence indicates that the site was occupied by hominids for nearly two million years.
  • Lowland and Mountainous Karabakh, dating back more than two millennia, were populated with several autochthonous Caucasian tribes that made up the Caucasian Albanian nation. The Caucasian Albanians were the ancestors of modern-day Azerbaijanis and organized as the Artsakh province of the Caucasian Albanian kingdom. Most of the population before Christianity were Fire Worshippers (Zoroastrians).
  • Karabakh is home to one of the most renowned schools of mugham, a traditional Azerbaijani style of music. Uzeyir bey Hajibeyov introduced the mugham to the Western world through his famous operas. It is also the birth place of the Azerbaijani tar, the national string instrument.