The Republic of Mountainous Gharabagh became independent on September 2-nd 1991. The territory of Mountainous Gharabagh mostly covers Artsakh Ashkharh of Great Armenia.
After the first division of Armenia (in 387) Artsakh passed to Persia. In the structure of Persia, Artsakh with Utik and Aghvank was included in a single province under the general name "Aghvank".
During Arabian domination, Artsakh was a part of Arminia governor but later it became the part of Armenian kingdom of Bagratuni.
After the fall of the Armenian statehood, when Armenia was invaded by foreign conquerors, the Principality of Artsakh retained their independence. Being a part of Persia, Artsakh Principality enjoyed special privileges and were semi-status. They were merged into one Khamsa Principality (Khachen, Jraberd, Dizak, Varanda, Gyulistan).
Since 15th century, the eastern Turkish-speaking wild tribes penetrated into the Caucasus, have called the territory of Artsakh - Gharabagh.
Today Artsakh is the second Armenian state, thus nowadays Armenia consists of The Republic of Armenia and The Republic of Mountainous Gharabagh.
Natural conditions and resources
Artsakh is divided into 7 administrative districts: Shahumyan, Kashatagh, Martakert, Askeran, Shushi, Martuni and Hadrut. Administrative centers are underlined on the map.
Artsakh has a difficult mountainous relief. The differences of absolute altitudes of the surface reach 3700m (Kur-Araks valley - 100m, Gomshasar Mountain - 3724m). In the northern part of Artsakh from west to east, Mrovasar ridge stretches with its highest summit - Gomshasar.
Relatively the largest river of Artsakh is Tartar (also known as Terter, Trtu) on which Sarsang reservoir was built. Rivers Khachenaget, Ishkhanaget, Hakari are also known. Almost, all the rivers’ valleys of Artsakh are covered by dense forests. There are also many mineral springs.
How beautiful is Artsakh...
According to the ancient Greek and Roman sources long before our era the people of Artsakh, Utik and all other regions of Great Armenia were Armenians and have been talking in one single language - Armenian. The fact that for thousands of years Armenians have lived in Artsakh confirmed not only Armenian but also Arabic, Persian, Georgian and Turkish authors.
There are many other evidences that Armenians originally inhabited in Artsakh. In the territory of Artsakh there were found more than thousand of Armenian rock carvings, over 1600 historical, architectural and religious monuments: the monasteries, churches, castles, ancient cemeteries, cross stones and not any foreign monument built before 18-19th centuries.
In the 18-19th centuries, Turkish-speaking nomadic tribes penetrated into Artsakh and until 1926 were officially known as Caucasian Tatars. Later they were called Azerbaijanian.
Today only Armenians live in Artsakh.
Stepanakert is the capital of Artsakh built on the left bank of River Karkar. It is old Armenian settlement, formerly known as Vararakn.
In recent years, in Stepanakert was marked relatively rapid population and economic growth. The 1/3 part of republic population live in Stepenakert.
Stepanakert is not only the administrative and political but also cultural, industrial center of Artsakh. The Administration of President of the Republic, the National Assembly, Government, State University, many colleges and schools, major cultural and health institutions are located here.
From the industrial enterprises silk factory, building materials plant, carpet, electrical and wine factories are known. There are also footwear, furniture and other enterprises.
The author of the first plan of the city (1926) is a famous architect Alexander Tamanyan.
The second city of Artsakh is Shushi. The town is located 10km south from Stepanakert, on the high plateau, near the Stepanakert-Goris highway.
In historical sources, Shushi is known as an impregnable fortress, where the population of the province was defended against the attacks of enemies. In the XIX century, Shushi became one of the biggest trade, craft and cultural centers of the Caucasus, yielding by population (more than 40 thousand) only Tbilisi and Baku. Besides that, most elite of Tbilisi and Baku consisted of Armenians.
In early Middle Ages Shushi was called Shikaqar, later - Karaglukh, Kar.
The city was rebuilt according to the general plan. Here were built 2-3 storey apartment houses, schools, hotels, shops and churches. Especially Church of St. Amenaprkich Ghazanchetsots and Khandamiryan’s theater building are attractive.