History and Geography
The Khojaly Region of the Republic of Azerbaijan measures 936 square kilometers (582 square miles) and was founded as an administrative district in 1930. The border of this mainly mountainous region stretches along the whole length of the Lesser Caucasus Mountain Range. The center of the region is the city of Khojaly. Today the region is noted for the horrible Khojaly Massacre in 1992, but its history dates back to the bronze-age as a center of ancient Khojaly-Gadabay culture.
Alif Latif oglu Haciyev (1953-1992) was the Khojaly airport commandant and a native of the region. He was a brave and determined individual who sacrificed the airport in order to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. He was killed while trying to lead the civilian population out of the burning town on the night of the tragedy. He is buried at the Avenue of Martyrs in Baku.
Tofig Mirsiyab oglu Huseynov (1954-1992) was also born in Khojaly and was a military trainer. He joined the army when the conflict broke out in 1988, established and took charge of the Khojaly defense battalion in 1991. He fought against the enemy for four years. After leading civilians to safety on the night of the Khojaly Massacre he wanted to return to the burning town. On that night Huseynov’s entire family was also killed. The commander is buried at the Avenue of Martyrs in Baku.
The Asgaran Castle (pictured, right), built by Khan Ibrahim Khalil in 1787, housed the infantry that had been called up to guard the capital of the Karabakh Khanate, Shusha, against enemy attacks. Located 24 kilometers (15 miles) from Shusha, Asgaran Castle is considered to be one of the last examples of traditional Azerbaijani defensive barriers
At the Khojaly Cemetery, which dates back to the Bronze and Iron Ages, archaeologists have excavated various Tumuli (burial mounds) of the Khojaly-Gedabey culture containing ceramic utensils, weapons, adornments, and bronze tools of the 13th – 7th centuries BCE, during the late Bronze and early Iron Ages in Azerbaijan.