Etymology of the word Nakhchivan
The city of Nakhchivan was mentioned firstly in Ptolemaios's "Geography" as Naksuana and said to be established
in 4400 A.D.
Being involved in empires, sultanate, and khanate the name of Nakhchivan was altered many times. Some of these names are:
Nakshi jahan, Nuh chikhan (the place where Noah landed), and etc.
The word Nakhchivan was differently presented in early sources.
Naksuana in Greek
Nakhch in Pehlevi
Nakhchuan in Arabic
In some Turkish sources Nakhchivan was presented as Nagshijahan. The city name was presented as Nakhch in the Pehlevi
language on the coins minted in the name of Sasany emperor on VI century.
In the Persian sources the city name was given as Nakhjir. Nashawa, Naqshi-Jahan.
Some state that he word Nakhchivan is of Turkish origin meaning the motherland of Akhchivan-Nakhchivan Oghuz braves. Some
researchers associate the name Nakhchivan with Big Flooding -Noah legend.
The recent researches try to prove that the word Nakhchivan is an ethno toponims relating with the name of the ancient
local kin (nakh, nakhch).
According to Z.Yampolskiy who was dealing with the tribes lived in the Caucasus, the word van is in the Midian language,
and it means settlement places of the ancient Azerbaijani tribes. Thats the word Nakhchivan means the settlement of nakhch
(nakhche) tribes. Before Milad (Christ) actually in the VII century in the territory of Iran on other side of the Mountain
Zagros existed Midia.
Despite of so many ideas were put forward by different researchers about relation of legend about Noah and Word Flooding
the truth is that Nakhchivan the name of area is closely associated with Prophet Noah and Legend of World Flooding otherwise
the name of Nakhchivan could be something different.
Let us see what is said about the world typhoon by the world scientists. The world scientists have for a long time been
thinking whether the legend about the world typhoon was true and is there a relation between the Noah and the name of area
called Nakhchivan. At last the excavations carried out in Mesopotamia gave answer to this question. During excavation it became
clear that on the IV era before our age there had really been a big flooding in Mesopotamia.
As we reminded there are different opinions about relation between Big Flood, Prophet Noah and its association with the
name of Nakhchivan city. Some researchers think that the emergence of human beings and their activity is much older than this
legend. (it is true) the flooding that happened in Mesopotamia during V-IV eras before our age (B. D.) did not cover Azerbaijan
and the history of this legend goes to some 7-6 thousand years back. The human society was originated 2.5 3 million years
ago (it is true).
But they forget that:
Noah's legend does not mean that before big Flood there did not exist any civilization in the world. This legend only
describe that the beginning of new civilization after big flood started from this area.
2. It is true that Excavation made in Mesopotomia but not in Nakhchivan.
3. But In Mesopotomia there is not a place called Noah Jahan.
4. What made our ancestors to giving the name of prophet Noah to Nakhchivan- Noah Jahan
Also the world archeological updates indicate that. The archeological excavations performed in our country Azerbaijan
had proved that the first human settlements had been in Azerbaijan 1.5 million years ago and since that time Azerbaijan had
been included into anthropogenic zone. The stoned jaw bones belonging to the primeval humans found in Azikh cave is considered
the oldest finding in the world.
The existence of the legend of Noah in Koran and Bible the epics Gilgamush and Gamigaya rock writings at the nearby of
worship places which is located on the highest peak of the Small Caucasus, Gapijig peak, 3907 meter from the sea level (in
Nakhchivan AR and in the territory of Ordubad district) is quiet relevant to reality. Despite of these existing arguments
there still exists a legend that Noah is a historical personality and his grave is in Nakhchivan. K. A. Nikitins article Nakhchivan
province and Nakhchivan city somehow caused the spread out of the likely ideas among the researchers. Later, B. Kangarlis
painting work Noahs grave had also reinforced these ideas. Gamigaya traceries are one of the valuable archeological monuments.
Gamigaya rock drawings reflect religion of primitive people , their religion, ideology, a myth and way of living Let us look
at some other sources as we mentioned about Holly books KORAN and BIBLE and epics of Gilgamush.
HISTORY OF NAKHCHIVAN
Nakhchivan is the most ancient part of Azerbaijan with its centuries old history and rich material cultural monuments.
The neolith periods local sedentary population lived there, and was occupied with different household and art.
About 80 000 years ago, in the Stone Age, the initial period of the humankind, the favorable geographical situation of
Nakhchivan allowed the primitive people - our great-grandfathers - to settle in these territories.
In the Stone Age, the primitive human beings - our great-grandfathers - laid settlements in the charmingly beautiful and
naturally wealthy river valleys, mountains slopes, Junnut foothills, Kilid, Dashgala, Armammad, Gazma and other carse caves
The traces of the Stone Age culture in Nakhchivan were found out in Batabat pasture in Shahbuz region, on the environs
of the old settlement of Ikinji Kultepe (Second Kultepe) in Nakhchivan River valley, in the environ rocky shelters of the
sacred place of Armammad in Alinja River valley, and in the Gazma cave near Tananam village in Sharur.
The ancient Nakhchivan Kins Union established wide economic and cultural relationships with Near Eastern countries. The
lion typed paste beads and colored dishes patterns of Urmia, Mesopotamia, Egypt and other origins found in Gizilburun settlement
and necropolis, Ikinci Kultepe (Second Kultepe) and other monuments are the main evidences.
As a result of maintaining the economic-cultural relationship, the population of the Nakhchivan district got closely acquainted
with the early urban culture of the shumers. Nakhchivan had a specific role in foundation and development of early urban culture
in Near East. Nakhchivan city, one of the cultural centers of the East, was founded at the first half of the second century
on the basis of such strong local economic and cultural grounds. The first written information about Nakhchivan was given
in Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemys scientific work Geography. Informing that Nakhchivan existed as a city before Christ,
he wrote: Naksuana is the center of large Vaspuragan. Naksuana is a part of the country comprising of 37 different parts.
The researches prove that Nakhchivan was included into the above-mentioned province only during the Arabic invasion, and the
city had nothing to do with Vaspuragan.
Nakhchivan in the Seljugs period
In the first half of the VII century, Nakhchivan was exposed to the Byzantine emperor Iraklis attack. In 654 the Arabic
ameer Habib Ibn Maslama occupied Nakhchivan. The city was included into the third emirate of the caliphate because of its
administrative features. In this period, some revolutions took place against the feudal violence and the enslavement by the
In early IX century, the Khurremiler movement started against the Arabs. And Nakhchivan was one of the supporting points
and military camps of the Kurramiler. In IX-X centuries, Nakhchivan entered the Sajiler and Salariler governments.
In the middle XI c, the Seljug sultans (emperors) governed in Nakhchivan. In 1064, during the reign of the Seljug sultan
Toghruls heir Alp Arslan, other states in the Azerbaijani territory were made safe, and therefore he was given the name Abulfath.
Alp Arslan left Nakhchivan leaving his son Malikshah and vizier Nizam ul-Mulku in his place. In 1092, after Malikshahs death,
the Seljug Empire was divided into several independent states. Despite the fact, Nakhchivan city depended on the Seljug sultanate
for some time.
ATABEYLER and ELKHANILER Authorities
In 1136, Atabeyler, actually Eldenizler period took start with the governance of Shemseddin Eldeniz, an heir of Seljug
states in Ganja. In the middle XII c, Nakhchivan entered the territory of Eldenizler state. At that time Nakhchivan became
the leading trade and art center of Atabeyler state. From late 1300s to 1175 Nakhchivan was the capital of the country. Nakhchivan
was the city of economic and military importance. Nakhchivan, the first and leading residence of Eldenizler state, was sufficiently
developed at that time. The worthy monuments castles, palaces, mosques, tombs and so on were built in Nakhchivan. During the
reign of Muhammed Jahan Pahlavan, his wife Zahide was the head of the government. The state treasure was kept in Alinja castle.
The French traveler Wilhelm De Rubric, who visited Nakhchivan, stated that Nakhchivan was the capital of a huge country before
the Mongolian invasion, and was big and beautiful city.
In 1221, the troops of Chingiz khan attacked the city and most part of the city was destroyed. In 1225, after the Mongolian
invasion Nakhchivan became the dominion of Jalaleddin Mangiburi son of the Kharezmshah Muhammed. But the city exposed to more
danger during the Mongolian invasion. During the reign of Hulaku khan, the Turkmen who came Nakhchivan merged with the Turks
who lived there from the old times.
In the second half of XIV, after Elkhanilers invasion, Chobaniler, Jujiler, Jelariler and Muzefferiler invaded Nakhchivan.
In 1386, Teymurlang brought its troops to Nakhchivan. This invasion imposed great damages to economy and culture of Nakhchivan.
In XY century, during the reign of Garaqoyunlular, Nakhchivan became more developed.
Nakhchivan in Sefevi period
In XII century the spontaneous sufi-derwish sect was founded in the territories occupied by Mongols. Late this century
one of such kind of orders was in Ardabil city of Azerbaijan. The name of the order and sheikh dynasty is connected with the
name of saint Sheikh Sefieddin Ardabili (1252-1334). The importance of Ardabil feudal governance increased. The Sefeviler
controlled all laic and religious issues. The Sefevi sect was of completely politicl sence during the reign of Sheikh Juneyd
(1447-1460). In 1501 the Sefevi got more political power after Sheikh Ismayil defeated the Aghgoyunlu troops in Nakhchivan.
After the gizilbashlar get victory over Aghgoyunlular, Nakhchivan entered the governance of Sefevi. The main reason for Sefevi
sheikh Shah Ismayil s getting more powerful is his rely on Turkish kin of Gizilbash. Unfortunately, there are plenty of events
reflecting the conflicts between two Turkish states: Sefevi and Osmanli in our history. As an example we can cite the Chaldiran
Struggle (1514). The situation went on until the foundation of Afshar dynasty.
AFSHAR and GAJAR Period
As obvious from its name, Nadir shah Afshar belongs to Kirlu branch of Afshar Turks. Having enthroned Tahmasib II in 1729,
Nadir shah then got him away, and established the Afshar dynasty. In 1736, putting an end to Sefevi dynasty representatives
formal administration method, declared himself as a shah (governor) of Iran. Nadir abolished all the former administrative
divisions beylik (nobility). Chuxursad beylik was also taken away and included into a unit administrative division under the
name Azerbaijan. During the reigns of Ahmed III and Mahmud I the consolidation of Azerbaijan territories with Osmanli territories
was the leading policy of the government, however Russias claim on these territories and Nadir shahs successful activity prevented
the Osmanli government to realize it. Then Gajars - another branch of Turkmen took the governance in Azerbaijan (1779).
After assassination of Nadir Afshar in 1747, about 20 independent feudal states - khanates emerged in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijani khanates were divided into two - northern and southern groups:
Shaki, Guba, Ganja, Darband, Nakhchivan, Talish, Shirvan, Irevan, Salyan, Garabagh and Javad khanates
Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil, Khoy, Serab, Maku and Maraga.
In the middle XVIII century, Heydargulu khan, the head of the Kangarli kin, declared himself the khan of Nakhchivan. The
khanate covered the territory from Zangazur Mountains to valleys of the Araks River. Nakhchivan khanate comprised of Nakhchivan,
Sharur, Ordubad, Mehri, Gafan and other provinces. In 1787, Kalbali khan became the khan of Nakhchivan. During the khanate
period, Nakhchivan revived a little bit more.
During the first Russia-Iran war (1805-1813), Nakhchivan khanate was under the dominion of Iran, according to Gulustan
In 1827, during the second Russia-Iran war (1826-1828), Russian troops occupied Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan khanates joining
Russia by force ended with Turkmenchay treaties between Russia and Iran in 1828. In 1841, Nakhchivan became the gaza (another
type of administration) center. Its territory joined Georgia-Imeretiya province in 1841, and then Irevan province that was
under governance of Azerbaijanis in 1850.
The settlement of Armenians in Nakhchivan took start after the Russian governance in the territory, as it was in other
parts of Azerbaijan as well. According the policy pursued by Tsar Russia, in 1828, the Armenians transferred from South Azerbaijan,
Tabriz and environs, and in 1829-1830 forms Arzurum and environs and settled in Nakhchivan and Irevan districts of Azerbaijan.
Since 1905, the Armenians had exposed the Azerbaijani people to massacre in Nakhchivan, as they did in many other parts of
Azerbaijan. Since 1917, the Armenians laid claims to Nakhchivan territories.
NAKHCHIVAN DURING THE AZERBAIJAN PEOPLE (DEMOCRATIC) REPUBLIC (1918-1920)
After the February bourgeois revolution in 1917, the Baku Caucasian Muslims Congress was held on April 15, and after the
hard discussions, the decision on foundation of local Federation was made. On May 28, 1918 the Azerbaijani People Republic
was declared and Turkey immediately recognized the government.
In summer, 1917, the local authorities of the provisional government were established in Nakhchivan province. In early
1918, the armed forces of the Armenian dashnags committed massacres in Nakhchivan. While Baku was under control of dashnags
and esers, Nakhchivan National Committee may ask for real help only from Turkey. The Turkish troops under the leadership of
Khalil bey came to Nakhchivans help. In November 1918, the Araks-Turkish Republic was established. The territory of the republic
was 16 000 km2, with a million population, and Nakhchivan was the capital of the republic. Its territory included Nakhchivan,
Sharur-Daralayaz, Ordubad gazas, and also Sardarabad (Irevan), Ulukhanli, Vedibasar, Gaamarli, Mehri and other regions. After
the defeat of Turkey in the First World War, according to Mudros treaties, the Turkish troops had to leave Azerbaijan, as
well as Nakhchivan. Because of the instable situation in Turkey, the Russians attempts to invade Baku, the oil and industrial
center of the country, and the European states inability to see the Russian menace, the Russians occupied Azerbaijan on April
NAKHCHIVAN ISSUE IN INTERNATIONAL MOSCOW AND GARS TREATIESS
The territory of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was defined within the territory of Azerbaijan Republic according to Moscow
treaties of March 16, 1921 and Gars treaties of October 13, 1921. According to Article 3 of the Treaty on friendship and fraternity
between Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and Turkey signed in Moscow, Nakhchivan is an autonomous part under the
patronage of Azerbaijan and within the borders indicated in the Appendix 1 of the treaty, providing not to give it to the
Source: Treaty on friendship and fraternity between Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and Turkey.
MARCH 16, 1921, MOSCOW
The agreed parts affirm the autonomy of Nakhchivan province under the patronage of Azerbaijan, within the borders indicated
in Appendix 1 (B) of the existing treaty, providing that Azerbaijan will never compromise its patronage right to a third state.
Appendix 1 (B)
Ararat station Saraybulag Mountain (8017 Gomrulu Mountain (8839) (8930) (3080) Sayat Mountain (7868) Gurd gulag (Kurt
kulak) village - Hamasur Mountain (8160) 8022 in height Kuku Mountain (10282) and eastern administrative borders of former
According to Article 5 of the Treaty signed with the participation of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic
on October 13, 1921, Gars city, between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as the first part and Turkish Republic as the second
part, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan governments made agreements on establishment of Nakhchivan Autonomous territory under
the patronage of Azerbaijan and within the borders indicated in Article 3 of the treaty.
Source: Treaty signed with the participation of Russia, on friendship between Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic, Azerbaijan
Soviet Socialist Republic and Georgia Soviet Socialist Republic as the first part and Turkish Supreme National Assembly government
as the second part.
October 13, 1921, Gars
Turkish government, Armenia and Azerbaijan Soviet governments made agreements on establishment of Nakhchivan Autonomous
territory under the patronage of Azerbaijan, within the borders indicated in Article 3 of the treaty.
Urmia village, from there as a straight line to Arazdeyen station (is in Armenia Soviet Socialist Republic), then straightly
to Western Dashburun Mountain (3142) then Eastern Dashburun Mountain (4108) southern area of the spring (Rovne) through Jehennem
valley River, Baghirsag (Yaghirsag0 Mountain (6607), or along the watershed at the height of 6587 to administrative borders
of Irevan gaza, then to Sharur-Daralayaz borders, Gomurlu Mountain (6839, or 6930) at the height of 6629, and then to 3080
height. Sayat Mountain (7868) Gurd gukag (Kurt kulak) village hamasur Mountain (8160) at the height of 8022 Kuku Mountain
(10282) and former eastern administrative borders of Nakhchivan gaza.
While the territory of Nakhchivan was 6988 km2 when Gars Treaty was signed, it decreased to 5365 km2 (the figures are
cited from N.A.Sokolskis book of Materials on studying Nakhchivan SSR, page 7, published in Tbilisi, 1933) as a result of
illegal transfer of the areas of the autonomous republic to Armenia under the patronage of Moscow.
Afterwards, the International treaties were roughly and unilaterally violated, so as the borders of the Nakhchivan Autonomous
Soviet Socialist Republic was restudied, and in 1929, according to decision of the Presidium of the Pre-Caucasian Central
Executive Committee, the territories within Nakhchivan province, as well as Gerchivan, Gurg gulag, Horadiz, Aghbin, Aghkhach,
Danan Almali, Almali, Itgiran, Sultanbey and part of Kilit village were given to Armenia SSR. The total area was 657 km2.
The maps drawn in 1962, 1965 and 1967 were falsified, here the border line through the red brick building from Urmia to Arazdeyen
was gradually set close to Sadarak village of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, thus more than 400 ha areas were illegally joined
the Armenian territory. On January 19, 1990, Karki village of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was occupied by Armenian-Russian
While Moscow and Gars treaties are in force, the illegal annexion of territories of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
to Armenia opposites the standards of International law, Vienna Convention of 1969 on Law of International treaties, Declaration
of 1970 on International Law principles, and Helsinki Final Act of 1975.
NAKHCHIVAN DURING SOVIET UNION
After the governance of Bolsheviks in Azerbaijan, the Nakhchivan Soviet Socialist republic was declared on July 28. The
Supreme body Nakhchivan Revolutionary Committee was chosen. According to Moscow and Gars Treaties signed in Moscow, Nakhchivan
is given to the patronage of Azerbaijan providing that Azerbaijan will never compromise its patronage right to a third state.
The Moscow and Gars Treaties played an important role in protection of Nakhchivan territories. During the Soviet Union, some
areas of Nakhchivan were given to Armenia, and the economic, political and cultural relations were prevented between Turkish
Azerbaijan and its integral part Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic had long struggled to be independent. In late 1980, the
collapse of USSR caused the instigation of Garabagh issues and conflict between Azerbaijanis and Armenians. To suppress the
independence movement, the Soviet troops entered Baku on January 19, 1990 and committed a massacre. Eight hours earlier the
Russian-Armenian amalgamation occupied Karki village of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, and started intensive attacks
along the borders. The hundreds of Azerbaijanis became victims of the events. As the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic couldnt get guarantee for protection of its borders, the Supreme Soviet made decision to get out of USSR basing on
Moscow and Gars Treaties. This political act was actually the first step towards collapse of USSR.
AUTONOMY STATUS OF NAKHCHIVAN
Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, Nariman Narimanov, Behbud Shahtakhtinskiy and others played an important role in getting the Autonomy
status of Nakhchivan. 1917-1920 period was more difficult period for Nakhchivan, and this ancient Azerbaijani territory was
under threat of being occupied by Armenia. Getting the patronage from the winner states (USA, England) of the First World
War, the dashnag government of Armenia used armed invasion to join the region with Great Armenia, and even used the bands
of Andronik, Dron and Njden for these purposes. But the local population bravely resisted the violence, and considered the
union of Azerbaijan as the solution of the problem. As a result of insidious intentions of Armenians, the International community
was mostly involved in the region, as the social-political events got the tragic level in Nakhchivan. As the dashnag government
considered Azerbaijan People Republic is unable to solve the problem peacefully, they spread rumors on amalgamation these
territories into the Armenian territory.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was given autonomy within Azerbaijan Republic according to Constitution of Azerbaijan
Republic adopted through general election referendum on November 12, 1995. The state leader of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev said:
The autonomy of Nakhchivan is the historical achievement, we should protect it. The autonomy of Nakhchivan is a great factor
to return back all its lost territories. We must conserve this factor.