success closed Loading...

''Karabakh is Azerbaijan!'' - Facts for the deliberation of a foreign reader

From the IV century BC. until the VIII century A.D. the territory of the present Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan was one of the provinces of Caucasian Albania - the most ancient state of Northern Azerbaijan. Karabakh was never part of the Armenian state until the Armenians, acting in the most brutal manner, captured it in 1992. Even Russian communists admitted that Karabakh was part of Azerbaijan.

Samuel Weems, famous American legal scholar

(From the book "Armenia: Secrets of a" Christian "Terrorist State")

 In this short article, I am far from intending to act as an agitator, exhausting the reader with an abundance of arguments and endless discussions about the ownership of Karabakh. It sets out only the facts, which in my opinion will provide the reader who is far from the problem with a wide scope for deliberation and conclusions. I am sure that indisputable facts are the best protection against propaganda and lies.

Karabakh: archaeological sites of antiquity

Archaeological work carried out in the Azykh cave, discovered by Azerbaijani scientists in 1960, located in the Kuruchai ravine on the territory of the Fuzuli district of the Republic of Azerbaijan, showed that Karabakh can rightfully be attributed to one of the oldest centers of the emergence of human civilization on the Earth. The finds in Azykh provided the scientific community of the whole world with the most valuable material for studying the process of the origin and development of primitive society with all its integral components on the territory of the Caucasian region. A prominent specialist in the ancient history of Iran and the Caucasus, the late academician Igrar Aliyev, touching upon the emergence of civilization on the territory of Azerbaijan, assessed the discovery of the Azykh cave as a world scale scientific event:

“The unique dwelling place of man, the Azykh cave, its colossal material has paramount importance in studying the problems of the formation and development of primitive society, early people, their material and spiritual culture, as well as the palaeoenvironmental situation in which the most ancient people lived and worked. Thanks to the Azykh cave, we can begin our history from the era of the antiquity - more than a million years ago.

… The Azykh man (Azykhanthropus) mastered fire and knew how to maintain it for a long time. Fire played a huge role in the history of mankind, starting from the earliest stages of the Paleolithic. The first fire in Azykh began to glow several hundred thousand years ago”[I.Aliyev. "Nagorno-Karabakh. History, facts, events”, Baku; 1989, pp. 5-6].

In addition to the Azykh cave, the territory of Karabakh is abundant with material monuments referred to the “Khojaly - Gadabay culture” in archaeological science. According to scientists, the formation of this culture fell on the Late Bronze Age, which, starting from the XIV century BC replaced the Middle Bronze period. As noted by archaeologist D. Jafarova “the first archaeological studies of the monuments of Azerbaijan, either by the irony of fate, or by chance, or perhaps naturally, belonged precisely to this period, that is, to the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age. These are the Nakhichevan, Gadabay - Kalakent and Karabakh monuments. Moreover, these monuments were exclusively burial structures of various types and designs” [D.Jafarova. "Weapons of the tribes of Karabakh in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age". Baku; 2008, p. 8].

Artsakh - an attempt to Armenize the Albanian past of Karabakh

In the era of the decline of the slave-owning system and the emergence of feudal relations, Karabakh was one of the most important trade, economic, political and cultural centers of Caucasian Albania, the oldest state formation on the territory of the modern Azerbaijan Republic, which in turn makes up the northern part of the historical Azerbaijani lands.

 The regions that form Karabakh and occupied the entire interfluve of the Kura and Araks, at that time in history were called Orhistena (Artsakh), Tsavdey, Otena, and partly Araksen.

         A prominent scholar in the field of Albanian history F. Mammadova, in her fundamental scientific work "Caucasian Albania and Albanians" touching upon the issue of administrative-territorial division in Caucasian Albania, gives a comprehensive picture of the political, economic and spiritual significance of Artsakh - Karabakh for the ancestors of modern Azerbaijanis:

          “The historical province of Artsakh, one of the important provinces of the right-bank Albania (now part of Nagorno-Karabakh and part of the Mil steppe) was characterized by developed agriculture with the use of artificial irrigation. The population was engaged in cattle breeding, poultry farming and beekeeping, bred small and large horned livestock, the horses of the Artsakh-Karabakh breed were especially famous.

… Politically, Artsakh in the I-VI centuries was subservient to the Albanian Arshakids, and in the VI-VIII centuries to the great princes of Albania - Mihranids. Before the adoption of Christianity, the people of Artsakh adhered to their old pagan beliefs. With the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Albania, it is spread over in Artsakh as well.

... In political and church relations, the influence of Artsakh in Albania was great. Several episcopacies were formed in Artsakh. The clergy of Artsakh, together with the secular nobility, participated in general Albanian church councils (Aguen Cathedral in 488, Partav Cathedral in 705). The Albanian kings sent representatives from the Artsakh clergy to the Huns and Khazars as preachers of Christianity. Many Catholicoi of Albania were elected from the representatives of the Artsakh clergy” [F.Mammadova. "Caucasian Albania and Albanians", Baku; 2005, pp. 262-263].

Analysis of numerous sources also shows that Artsakh - Karabakh for several centuries was one of the main citadels of the Christian faith in the territory of Azerbaijan. Thus, since the transformation of Christianity into the state religion of Caucasian Albania, Artsakh has assumed the role of the ideological and educational center of the Albanian Church, as evidenced by the above facts by F. Mamedova. Other important information in this regard, which is reflected in the studies of Farida Mamedova, cannot be ignored. For example, it is enough to take into account that in the V-VIII centuries 3 of the 12 episcopacies of the Albanian Church, were located on the territory of Karabakh:

“In Albania, not every region had episcopacy. Thus, in Artsakh there were 11 regions, and there were episcopacies only in three regions - Gabanda, Metz-Kogmank, Metz-Irank” [ibid; p. 548].

Another important historical evidence that speaks in favor of the dominant position of Artsakh-Karabakh in the spiritual and ideological life of Christian Albania is the fact that the center of the patriarchate of the Albanian Apostolic Church was transferred in the 6th century to Barda (Partav), the main city of this region. Until the 9th century, despite the strengthening of the positions of Islam throughout the territory of Azerbaijan, including the Karabakh region, Barda continued to be the seat of the Albanian Church and the spiritual center of Albanian Christians who remained faithful to their former religion [ibid; p. 555].

The reason for the transfer of the residence was the destructive raids of the Khazar troops on Chola (present-day Derbent), as a result of which the city was largely destroyed, as is evidenced by the Albanian source - Moses Kalankatwak in the "History of Aghvan":

 “After these events (meaning the crusade of the Khazars - the authors) the Khazars seized the Albanian country. Churches and sacred books were burned. Then, in the twentieth year of the reign of the king of kings Khosrov and in the second year of the Armenian chronology, the patriarchal throne of Albania was transferred from the city of Chola to Barda, the capital of the country, due to the predatory raids of the enemies of the Cross of Christ". Moses Kalankatwak. "History of Albania" (in Azerbaijani Language), Translation, introduction of notes and comments by Z.M. Buniyatov, Baku; 2006, p. 83].

The eminent Azerbaijani historian and orientalist scholar Ziya Buniyatov, specifying the date of the transfer of the church's residence, notes that the need for such a decision arose after the Khazar army marched with fire and sword through the territory of Albania in 553. The then Albanian Catholicos Abas (551-595) realized that in the presence of a constant Khazar threat nearby, he would not be able to stay in Chola any longer and subsequently decided to move to Barda, that is, to Karabakh [see: Z. Buniyatov. "Azerbaijan in VII-IX centuries." (in Azerbaijani language), Baku; 1989, p. 43].

In addition, it is worth drawing the reader's attention to the fact that Catholicos Abas, as follows from the information of Moses Kalankatwak, was from Artsakh - Karabakh, more precisely, from the region of Metz-Irank.

It should be noted that before the transfer of the residence of the Albanian Church from Chola to Barda, Karabakh had played the role of the economic and political center of the entire Caucasian Albania for more than a century, which is confirmed by primary sources and numerous studies of both Azerbaijani and foreign specialists. The well-known specialist in Caucasian studies, historian K. Trever in his "Essays on the History and Culture of Caucasian Albania" writes that from the moment the city was founded, the entire political elite of Caucasian Albania began to flock to Barda, as well as representatives of the Sassanid Shah (marzbans), whose political influence extended to the entire South Caucasus:

 “The city of Partav in Utica, on the Terter River (a settlement near the village of Berda in the Yevlakh region), according to legend, was built in the second half of the 5th century: “The Albanian king Vache “at the behest of Peroz, the Persian king, built the great city of Perozapat, which is now called Partav” (Moses Kalankatwak, “History of the Albanians”, Book I, Chapter 15, Book II, Chapter 19). It remains unclear whether Perozapat was the second name of Partav, or whether this name meant the residence built under Peros near Partav. There is another name "Perozhkavat", "where Djyvasher the Grand Duke of the East and Bishop Ukhtanes arrived with all the nobles"(Moses Kalankatwak, "History of the Albanians", book II, ch. 31). Perhaps this is the same Perozapat, completed or restored under Kavad, to which the Arab geographers (Balazuri) attribute the founding of Partav. Partav grew rapidly and soon became the political and economic center of Albania. The residence of the Catholicos was transferred from Chora (Chola - authors) and Persian marzpans were settled here in the 6th century” [K.V. Trever. "Essays on the history and culture of Caucasian Albania", Moscow-Leningrad; 1959, p. 266].

The fact that the economic and political rise of Partav, i.e.Barda, was not at all conditioned by the transfer of the center of the Albanian Church to this city, is confirmed by the words of the prominent orientalist scholar V.V. Bartold:

“Regardless of the transfer of the patriarchal throne to Partav, the city of Partav became the main city of Albania instead of Kabala, and retained this until the 10th century, and the Arab authors mentioned Barda, i.e. Partav as the largest city in the whole area” [VV Bartold. "The place of the Caspian regions in the history of the world." Works, II volume, I part, p. 672, Moscow; 1963].

 One more important historical event related to the city of Barda should not be overlooked. The case is that, in 628, as a result of another powerful raid of the Khazar Turks on Albania during the Persian-Byzantine war, where the Khazars acted as allies of Constantinople, the city of Barda was severely destroyed and plundered. F. Mammadova notes that Barda was restored only after almost 50 years, this time by the Arabs. Most likely this happened during the time of the founder of the Umayyad dynasty (661-750), Caliph Mu'awiye (661-680) [F. Mammadova. "Caucasian Albania and Albanians", p. 316].

Karabakh in the era of the Caliphate: Barda - the flourishing capital of Muslim Azerbaijan

 During the period of Islamic conquests in the Caucasus (VII-VIII centuries), Azerbaijan and including the Karabakh lands, were part of the Arab Caliphate. Barda, rebuilt and expanded geographically, became the residences of the Caliph governor in the South Caucasus. V.F. Minorsky notes that the Arabs, who did not meet military resistance from the Albanian princes, in turn also treated them rather softly. For the Albanian feudal lords, who recognized the supreme power of the Caliph, the rights to land holdings were recognized. The Arab governors choose Barda as the administrative center [V.F. Minorsky. "History of Shirvan and Derbend X-XI centuries", Moscow; 1963, p. 38].

Later, under the Abbasids (750-1258) who replaced the Umayyads on the caliphate throne, Barda became the center of a huge administrative unit of the Caucasian region, which united the lands of Arran (that is, a significant part of the lands that ceased to exist Caucasian Albania-the authors) and part of the once existed and divided Armenia since 387 between Rome and Iran. Being the seat of the Arab governors, Barda is gaining unprecedented rates of development in a short time and consolidates the status of the main city of Arran. Having regained its former economic power, Barda eventually turns into the main cultural center of Caucasian Azerbaijan and the Caucasus as a whole. Beautiful monuments of Muslim architecture were erected, numerous madrasahs and educational centers were opened. After a short period of time, rumors about outstanding scientists from Barda and Karabakh as a whole began to bypass the entire Caliphate. Thanks to his talented men, Barda is gaining fame as one of the leading centers of science in the entire Muslim East. Chinggis Qajar in his historical and ethnographic book "Old Shusha" writes that in the 9th-12th centuries, medieval Muslim authors wrote about Barda as the Baghdad of the South Caucasus [Ch.Kajar. "Old Shusha", Baku; 2007, p. 34].

Azerbaijani researcher K. Hajiyev rightly emphasizes the presence of a huge amount of information in medieval Muslim primary sources about writers and scientists with the names "Karabakhi" i.e. from Karabakh) and "Bardai" (i.e. from Barda). The author regretfully emphasizes that the works of most of these personalities, the name and works of each that have been turned into a vivid history, for various reasons have not reached us [K. Hajiyev. "Material and spiritual culture of Karabakh", in the collection "Questions and Truths" (in Turkish), Istanbul; 2006, p. 118].

Subsequently, the elimination of Albanian statehood and the gradual rooting of Islam among the local population in Azerbaijan, by the 10th century, Karabakh with its center in Barda was already a predominantly Muslim region. But despite this, according to N. Velikhanova, even then in Karabakh among the Albanians, Christianity still retained its significant presence. Of course, along with many factors that support the survival of Christianity in the Muslim environment, it is necessary to pay tribute to the tolerant attitude of the Arabs towards the followers of this faith:

"After the conquest of Arran (northern, Caucasian Azerbaijan) by the Arabs, its population was partially Islamized, and the rest of it remained with its former Christian religion, because the Arabs did not force the people of different faith - Christians and Jews as" People of the Book "to accept Islam" [N.M. Velikhanova. “Changes in the historical geography of Azerbaijan as a result of the Arab conquest”, in the collection “Historical Geography of Azerbaijan”. Chief Editor Acad. ZM Buniyatov, Baku; 1987, p. 50].

 The part of the Albanian population that did not accept Islam for a long time, even after the collapse of Arab rule, carefully continued to preserve the traditions of Christianity. This applies most of all to the Albanians living in the mountainous part of Karabakh, the Islamization of which the Arabs did not really care. Considering the commercial, economic and military significance of the lowland Karabakh, the Arabs were more interested in the Islamization of these regions. When considering this issue, one should not forget that the large cities of the Karabakh region, due to geographical and economic factors, were originally founded in the lowlands. These cities were Barda and Baylakan (in the Albanian period it was called Paytakaran).

The Azerbaijani historian and the last vizier of the Karabakh Khanate Mirza Jamal Javanshir (? -1853), who, in addition to everything, was from the Javanshir clan who founded the Karabakh Khanate, in his "History of Karabakh" calls Barda and Baylakan the first two cities of Karabakh: “The first city, which was built in the Karabakh province, is the city and fortress of Barda, which is located near the Ter-ter river, three parasang from the Kura.

… The second was the city of Baylakan, founded about 1500 years ago by Qubad Padishah, one of the monarchs of Iran and Fars" [Mirza Jamal Javanshir. "History of Karabagh", Baku; 1959, p. 6].

The dependent position of Nagorno-Karabakh - the population, which paid up to the Muslims according to the Shariah, - was quite sufficient for the Arabs. Caliph governors did not prevent the Albanian Christians from freely performing their religious ceremony, teaching their children the basics of the habitual faith, and even building temples.

Karabakh: Christian past dominated by medieval Turkic empires - traditions of tolerance remain unchanged

Subsequent Muslim-Turkic dynasties - Seljuk, Atabegs (Ildeniz), Kara-Koyunlu, Ak-Koyunlu, Safavids who ruled Azerbaijan for many centuries - adhered to the same tolerant position towards the Christian part of the Albanian population. The fact of the construction of Christian religious monuments on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh in the Middle Ages is a clear, material proof of the religious tolerance of the Azerbaijani rulers:

 “Artsakh is the richest region of Albania with Christian monuments (Amaras, Big Aran Monastery, Mohranis). This is probably explained by the fact that the population of the province, who preserved the Christian faith, constantly supported religious buildings, repairing and updating them, and also building new ones. Religious construction in Artsakh reached a wide scale in the XII-XIII centuries, when many churches and monastic complexes (Ganjasar, Khudavank, Gyutavank and others) were built or renovated and expanded” [G. Mammadova. "Architecture of Caucasian Albania", Baku; 2004, pp. 10-11].

The religious tolerance of the Muslim-Turkic dynasties towards the Christian Albanians allowed them,starting from the 9th century on the territory of former Albania, to create their own principalities, that is, to restore, even on an insignificant scale, the traditions of the former Albanian statehood.

Among the areas of the Albanian revival, of course, there were also the lands of Karabakh, where, in fact, at that time the main ideological and ethnic pillars of Albanian identity were preserved. Among the regions where the process of the Albanian revival took place, in addition to Karabakh, F. Mammadova mentions other regions of the once united Caucasian Albania:

“In the period after the Arab conquest and in the period preceding the conquest of historical Azerbaijan by the Turks, on the territory of the former Albanian kingdom, separate political formations- Albanian principalities-kingdoms began to be created -:Sheki and Arran, ruled by Sahl ibn Sumbat (822-855), Ktisha and Baylakan - by Stepannos Ablasad and his nephew Isai (Yesai) Abu Musa; Syunik - Vasak; Khachena - Atrnersekh; Gardman - Ketritch; Utica - Stepan Klia or Kon (before 853). All of these principalities were initially dependent on the Arabs and in one way or another were with Babek, either supporting him in the struggle against the caliphate, then betraying him” [F. Mamedova. "Caucasian Albania and Albanians", Baku; 2005, p. 391].

The foregoing gives us the opportunity to assert that Karabakh continued to cherish the memory of the ancient statehood and culture of Azerbaijan. This living chronicle of the glorious past, having gone through many hardships in the person of the Albanian Apostolic Autocephalous Church, ended in 1836. This year, Tsar Nicholas I subordinated the former Albanians churchs to the Armenian Church by a special "Statute" [ibid; pp. 564-565].

Shusha - the center of the Karabakh khanate and the treasury of Azerbaijani culture

It is no coincidence that since the second half of the 19th century, Shusha, which has turned into the cultural and spiritual center of Karabakh, since its foundation (1752), due to the huge number of outstanding musicians who amazed not only their native land, but the whole world with their talent, became famous as the "Conservatoire of the Caucasus".

Karabakh and its cultural center Shusha are the birthplace of such prominent personalities as scientist - encyclopedist, educator Mir Movsum Navvab (1833-1918), composer, public figure U.Hajibeyov (1885-1948) - the founder of professional Azerbaijani music, the author of the first opera in the Muslim East, and the initiator of the establishment of the Baku Conservatoire, famous conductor and composer Niyazi (1912-1984), performers known far beyond the borders of their homeland Rashid Behbudov(1915-1989), BulBul (1897-1961), classics of Azerbaijani literature Qasim bey Zakir (1784-1857), N.Vezirov (1854-1926), A.Haqverdiyev (1870-1933), Y.V.Chamanzaminli (1887-1943), ideologist, statesman and talented publicist A. Agaogly (1869-1939), talented military leaders - lieutenant general of the tsarist army, one of the prominent commanders of the Crimean War (1853-1856), Faraj-bey Agayev (1812-1891), hero of the Russian Japanese War of 1905, a bright figure of the First World War, Lieutenant General of the Tsarist Army, Minister of Defense of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (1918-1920) Samed-bey Mehmandarov (1845-1932), Major General of the Tsarist Army, hero of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, Amir Kazim-Mirza Govanly-Qajar (1855-1920), colonel of the tsarist army, governor-general of Ashgabat Haji - bey Sultanov (1847-1920) and many others.

 Statistical data relating to the 19th century best of all reflect the high level of cultural development of Karabakh in general, and in particular Shusha. The famous musicologist F. Shushinsky, in his book "Shusha", provides valuable archival data on the number of active scientists and art workers in the city for the specified period:

 “According to information collected by the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR, in the 19th century, there were 95 poets, 22 musicologists, 38 singers, 16 painters, 5 astronomers, 18 architects, 16 doctors, about 42 teachers, etc. in Shusha. This large detachment of the intelligentsia played a huge role in transforming Shusha into a cultural center. At that time, 10 scientific-literary and other societies were created in the city” [F. Shushinsky. "Shusha". Baku; 1968, p. 86].

 To appreciate this statistics, it is necessary to supplement it with other, more precisely, with data on the population of the then Shusha. According to the archives of the tsarist government, by the end of the 19th century, only 30 thousand people lived in the city, and by 1916 the population of Shusha had increased to 43864 people [respectively, see: “Caucasian calendar for 1886”, p. 319 and “Caucasian calendar for 1917 ", p. 190].

Without a doubt, not every city manages to grow such a number of intellectuals and talents, with a small amount of human resources. It should be noted that Shusha, small in scale and population, along with all the successes achieved in the field of science and arts, took the role of a driving force in introducing a Western-type educational system throughout the entire South Caucasus. It was here that on December 29, 1830, the Shusha district school began work, designed to train officials from the local population, as well as translators of the Russian language for the tsarist administration of the region. In 1874, the county school was reorganized into an urban one, which allowed it to expand its activities [see. in more detail: A. Chingis-oglu. “Education in Karabakh (1750-1950). Historical-encyclopedic research "(in Azerbaijani. Language), Baku; 2013, p. 25, 28].

Appealing to conscience

 After the conquest of Transcaucasia, tsarism, following the results of two Russian-Iranian wars, resettled a significant number of Armenians living in Iran and Turkey to the territory of Karabakh, Nakhichevan and Erivan. This plan was provided by geopolitical considerations. Since these regions were located along a border, the Armenian buffer allowed the tsarism to largely isolate the Muslim population of Azerbaijan from Qajar Iran and Ottoman Turkey. Later, a separate Armenian region was formed on the territory of Nakhichevan and Erivan, which later played the role of primary stage for the formation of the first Armenian state in 1918 in the history of the Caucasus. After the formation of the USSR, the territory of Armenia at the expense of the historical Azerbaijani lands was increased from 9 thousand square kilometers to 29 thousand square kilometers.

In parallel, on the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, under the direct pressure of the Soviet leadership, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region (NKAO) was formed in 1923, which, as it emerged that, later turned into a platform of Armenian separatism against Azerbaijan.

 Despite all this, by the time of the collapse of the USSR, the Karabakh region was completely under the control of Azerbaijan and the sovereignty of our country was recognized by the world community within these borders. And so far, this principle remains unchanged. The patrons and accomplices of the Armenian adventures must realize that attempts to violate the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan will never lead to the expected result. The Azerbaijani state and the Azerbaijani people will not allow the creation of a second Armenian state at the expense of Karabakh. The Armenians already have an independent state - the Armenian Republic! That is, the Armenian people already in 1918 constituted themselves.

 The Armenian people, deprived of their state for centuries, were scattered all over the world. And today Armenians live in Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Georgia, France, Lebanon and other countries. It turns out that the leadership of these countries should indulge the sick imagination of Armenian nationalists and grant them at least autonomy, and in some cases even sovereignty. Is the leadership of these people ready to make such a concession? I think no. Then why are the heads of some Western states trying to persuade Azerbaijan to make a similar concession?

 It seems that after all these facts, the question to whom does Karabakh belong will be answered not by prejudices, but by the conscience of a foreign reader.


Academician Ramiz Mehdiyev

President of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences