Nakhichevan View on map
Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) is located in the southeastern part of Azerbaijan.
This is a mountainous area - over 30% of its territory is located 600-1000 m above sea level. The tallest mountains of the region are Kapudzhuk (3904 m) and Ilandag (2385 m).
The Autonomous Republic features rich deposits of marble, rock salt, limestone, plaster stone and unique mineral waters - Sirab, Badamli, Vaikhir, Nagadzhir and Gizildzhir. There are many underground waters and the region is known for the advanced craft of kagrizs construction (kagrizs - unique underground water tunnels). Kagrizs were connected to the ground by footsteps; in some, the water was simply diverted to the surface (like in modern aqueducts). Craftsmen of kagrizs construction (kan-kans) have preserved their art to the present day.
The climate in the republic is strongly continental; temperature varies from +43C in summer to -30C in winter. Humidity is low. Flora is represented by beech, oak, walnut, willow and wild pear; there are many herbal plants. Fauna includes bears, wild boars, foxes, hares, wolves, stone martens, bezoars and Asian mouflons; birds- Caspian snowcock, alpine accentor, crag martin and rock partridge.
Along the state border with Iran and Turkey flows the Araz River. Aside of it, there are about 40 other middle-to-small rivers (Ordubadchai, Alindzhachai, Gilanchai, Nakhchivanchai, Arpachai etc.). There is also an incredibly beautiful lake called Batabat with so-called "drifting islands"; there is an artificial lake used for the drainage of the Babek and Dzhulfa districts - it is located 1500 m above sea level, near the village of Gazanchi.
There are numerous ruins of ancient towns, towers, fortresses and mausoleums remained all over the region. This land has always been attractive to invaders because of both its important strategic position and natural deposits.
The city of Nakhchivan is the capital of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.
This is one of the earliest large cities of Azerbaijan and the ancient East. The history of the city dates back to the earliest ages. Archeologists have found objects of material culture dated to the 2nd-1st millennia BC.
The residents link the history of the ancient settlements in the area of Nakhchivan with the legend of the biblical patriarch Noah, who escaped the Deluge. His ark is believed to have collided three times with mountain peaks of the Lesser Caucasus before mooring at the mountain and one of the peaks even collapsed (the mountains of Agridag, Balaagri, Ilandag, Lalngez, Gapidzhik). The residents believe that after the Deluge Noah lived and died here. Not so long ago were alive the old men (agsakkals) who assured that they knew the place of his grave. The story is so popular that the renowned painter Behruz Kengerli painted a picture of the same title - "The Grave of Noah".
This ancient city features unique culture with the local cuisine being its inseparable part. For instance, this is the only place to possess the secrets of "Alana" - specially dried peaches filled with powdered nuts with sugar or "baligaynag" - special omelet with honey, and many others.
Nakhchivan is a homeland of the 12th century's great architect - Adzhemi Ibn Abubekr Nakhchivani, who built the Mausoleum of Yusuph Ibn Kuseir (Gumbez Atababa), the Mausoleum of Momine-Khatun and a portal with minarets for the Juma Mosque.
This is a homeland of the famous scientist, statesman, writer, philologist, authorof the first Farsi-Azeri dictionary (about four thousand words), Hindushakh Ibn Sanjar Ibn Abdulla Nakhchivani (13th-14th centuries). His son, Muhammed Nakhchivani was a renowned finance statesman, who wrote a book on taxation (13th-14th centuries).The list of famous figures of Azerbaijan born in Nakhchivan also includes Kelbali Khan Nakhchivani and his son Gusein Khan Nakhchivani, a renowned military commander; Dzhamshid Nakhchivani - a prominent figure of the 20th century; Dzhalil Mammadguluzade, a classic, Hussein Javid, a romanticist poet and playwright who became a victim of Stalin's repression, painter Behruz Kengerli.
Nakhchivan is a homeland of the national leader Heydar Aliev.
In present Nakhchivan, close attention is paid to the development science and education. There is a university, a branch of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, the Academtown. Schools are not set aside, too - old schools are being restored along with building of new ones - e.g. a large, finely equipped school n.a. Heydar Aliev. The city houses the Palace of Culture, Dramatic Theatre, Puppet Theater etc. The finely equipped Olympic Sport Complex has been built recently.
Museums - Carpets Museum, Literature Museum, Historical Museum. The city also houses the memorial museum and mausoleum of Husein Javid, a writer and playwright. There are also a number of historical monuments in the city - "Imamzade", an architectural complex, the Juma mosque, "Pirgamish" mosque, "Khan Evi", "Ismailkhana" bath.
The district of Ordubad is bordered by Armenia on the north and east and by the Islamic Republic of Iran on the south. It is located in the eastern part of NAR.
On the Gamigaya Mountain, 60 km to the south of Ordubad, there are unique petroglyphs dated to the 3rd-2nd millennia BC. There are thousands of drawings picturing people, domestic life, and hunt, real and fantastic animals.
The town of Ordubad is the administrative center of the district.
Its monuments include the Juma Mosque with unique arched recesses of the elevation, the Dilbar-Mosque, the Afgan Tower and an eyvan of the 18th century, numerous ancient chashme (buildings near springs), the Geysariya indoor trade complex with round domes (19th-20th centuries),an ice-house and mosques of the 18th century, two-storied madrasah and many others.
One must see Ordubad to recognize the beauty of this small town, which preserved a genuine taste of antiquity. Unbelievably big and old plane trees, nearly 8 m in circumference, make up a "roof", under which people gather for leisure conversations. Unique mosques, ovdans, kagrizs - everything here has a special touch. It is a town where modern inhabitants preserved the beauty of traditional national ways of life.
The town houses the Museum of Regional History with splendid collections, a theatre, the memorial museum of Ordubadi, a writer and the founder of the historical-romantic genre in Azerbaijani literature. Under restoration is the house of Yusuf Mammadaliev, an academician, one of the first presidents of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences, the founder of Azerbaijani oil chemistry, a bright, creative person whose part in the Azerbaijan's great contribution to the final destroy of Nazi invaders during the WWII is exceptional.
Lodging in Ordubad can be provided by local residents.
The district of Dzhulfa is located to the east of Nakhchivan city.
The mountains of Dzhulfa are forested, with beech, hornbeam, oak; fauna includes wolves, foxes and hares.
On the bank of the Araz River, there are remainders of ancient structures. These are a caravanserai (13th century) - one of the largest on the territory of Azerbaijan, and the remainders of a bridge dated to the beginning of the 14th century, built by decree of Nakchivan Khan Khakim Ziya Ad-Din. There is the small Gulistan mausoleum (13th century), near the village of Dzhuga and more mausoleums near the village of Der (particularly well preserved is the Tower Mausoleum (15th century). There is also the fortress of Alindzha (12th-13th centuries) and a number of other monuments and ancient ruins.
There are many springs in the area (about 40). One of them, located on the slopes of the Daridag Mountain, produces about 500000 liters of strongly mineralized water annually.
The town of Dzhulfa is located on the bank of the Araz River, on the border with Iran. Located on the opposite bank of the Araz River, almost symmetrical to the Azerbaijani Dzhulfa, is its Iranian namesake. In the past, there was an ancient caravan route connecting Persia with Shirvan, Georgia and Dagestan. Now here is located a border checkpoint.
The district of Babek is bordered by Armenia on the north and by Iran on the south.
The district is rich in mineral springs (Sirab, Gakhab, Vaikhir) and deposits of rock salt. It is traversed by the Nakhchivanchai River and its branch called Dzhakhrichai; there are reservoirs - Araz, Nekhra, Uzunoba and Sirab.
There are no forests. Native industries include wine, grain and melon growing as well as cattle breeding.
Located on the area of the district are such famous archeological monuments as Kultepe and Kultepe-2 along with the ancient ruins of Abasabad, Vaikhirand Aznabyurt.
The town of Babek is the administrative center of the district. Until 1978,the town was called Tezekend.
The district of Shakhbuz is located in the northern part of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
The town of Shakhbuz is the administrative center of the district. An interesting monument sometimes called "The House of Farhad" (on behalf of the Nezami's "Farhad and Shirin"poem's key character) has been found on the outskirts of the town. In fact, thisis an ancient "house" of rather unusual shape - four rooms with "verandah" carved out in the mountain walls. Archeologists have also found the ruins of the Shakhpur fortress, bearing the name of an ancient ruler. The name is believed to have transformed to "Shakhbuz" later.
The village of Garabaglar houses a famous mausoleum called "Garabaglar". The village is covered in gardens with ancient but still operational kagrizs located in the foothills of the Zangezur Range.There is also a system of fortifications with towers and water supply systems evidencing an ancient origin of this settlement site. According to one of versions, the mention of "Garabaglar town with 10000 houses, 70 mosques among which 40 are with minarets" regards the present village.
The district of Sharur is located in the western part of the republic.
Local rivers are branches of the Araz River (Arpachai etc,). The waters of Arpachai are used for drainage, facilitated after the construction of the "Arpachai" reservoir. Local fauna includes mouflons, wolves, bezoars, foxes, wild boars and hares.
The district's numerous historical monuments include ancient settlement sites dated to the Bronze Age on the banks of the Araz and Arpachai Rivers. Found in the cave of Gazma were stone and obsidian instruments dated to the Middle Paleolithic Age; examples of skillfully made decorated ceramic ware have been found in the village of Shahtakhty.
Archeological excavations near the villages of Arbatan, Vermaziyar, Garagasanli, Babeki and Kosadzhan revealed the settlement sites of Kelukler, Kehne, Arbatan, Kehnekend and Kultepe, the memories of which had been living in minds for ages.
The town of Sharur is the administrative center of the district. The town is new - it was founded during the building of the railway. There are two parks, a museum, a stadium, a cinema, a mosque and the memorial museum dedicated to shahids.
On the other side of the railway, there is an old town with baths, bazaar and mosques.
Lodging can be provided by local residents.
The district of Kengerli is located between the districts of Babek and Sharur.
The climate, like in the rest of the autonomous republic, is strongly continental; it is very hot in summer and chilling in winter. On the territory of the district runs the Araz River that flows along the border between Azerbaijan and Iran.
Mountainous landscape, climatic conditions and lack of small rivers underlay the features of the indigenous fauna, which is represented largely by semi desert and mountainous species (bushes, herbage and scarce trees).
This is an agricultural district with advanced tobacco, cine, grain, vegetable and melon growing.
Like the rest of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, there are many ancient monuments, evidencing that the land was inhabited in earliest times: the Chilkhangala mounds, the Gazma Cave and the ancient settlements of Galadzhig, Govurgala, Damlama, Gulamtepeand Balatepe.
There are also newer monuments - the Jami Mosque (18th century) in the village of Khok, a mosque of the 18th century and a bath of the 19th century in the village of Shahtakhty.
Another memorial: Sanctuary Asni
The village of Givrag is the administrative center of the district. It was founded only in 2004. Givrag is located on the Nakhchivan-Sharur highway, 30 km from the capital (Nakhchivan) and 6 km from the Araz River.
As the administrative center status has been gained not too long ago, Givrag has not yet developed the infrastructure for tourists' accommodation. However, lodging can be provided by local residents that can rent out an apartment or a house for reasonable price.