The exclave's capital

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Facts Nakhchivan

Azerbaijan  Country:
456100  Population:
2nd century BC  Founded:
Azerbaijani  Languages:
Textile and food industry, agriculture (tobacco, cotton, fruit-growing, viniculture)  Economy:
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Region: Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic

The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is a landlocked exclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Variations of the name Nakhchivan include: Nakhichevan, Naxcivan, Naxçivan, Nachidsheuan, Nakhijevan, Nakhchawan, Nakhitchevan, Nakhjavan and Nakhdjevan.


Nakhchivan is a semi-desert region that is separated from the main portion of Azerbaijan by Armenia. Nakhchivan is extremely arid and mountainous. The Zangezur Mountains make up its border with Armenia while the Aras River defines its border with Iran. The only area of forest is located near Bichanak. The flora consists of the mountainous steppe, with dwarf oak and Iberian maple in the upper valleys. Sparse vegetation and intense bursts of rain often cause floods. The region regularly has strong earthquakes; that of 1931 has been particularly severe.


Armenian tradition holds that Nakhichivan was founded by Noah, of the Abrahamic religions. The oldest culture artifacts found in the region date back to the Neolithic Age (6000 B.C.E. to 4000 B.C.E.) The region was part of the Mannaean civilization, an ancient people of unknown origin, who lived in the territory of present-day Iran, around the tenth to seventh centuries B.C.E. It became part of Urartu, an ancient kingdom of Armenia that existed from around 860 B.C.E. until 585 B.C.E. The name corresponds to the Biblical Mount Ararat. 

In the eleventh century, the conquering Seljuk Turks became the dominant force in Azerbaijan and laid the ethnic foundation of contemporary Azerbaijanis. In twelfth century, the city of Nakhchivan became the capital of the state of Atabegs of Azerbaijan, also known as Ildegizid state, which included most of Iranian Azerbaijan and a significant part of South Caucasus

In the sixteenth century, control of Nakhchivan passed to the Persian Safavid dynasty. In 1604, Shah Abbas I Safavi, concerned that the lands of Nakhchivan and the surrounding areas would pass into Ottoman hands, instituted a scorched earth policy. 

After the last Russo-Persian War (1826-1828) and the Treaty of Turkmanchai, the Nakhichevan khanate passed into Russian possession in 1828. The Tsarist authorities encouraged the resettlement of Armenians to Nakhichevan and other areas of the Caucasus from the Persian and Ottoman Empires.

Nakhchivan was one of the first districts to declare independence from the USSR in 1990 but due to the Armenia-Azerbaijan War that ravaged the land, the republic got cut off with Armenia controlling Kraki exclave, leaving Nakhchivan isolated from Azerbaijan mainland.


Seventy years of Soviet rule left many examples of the plain and anonymous Soviet-style of building. Numerous examples of earlier building styles remain. Nakhchivan city features the heavily restored twelfth-century Momine Khatun Mausoleum. 

Nakhchivan has been mentioned in works of literature. Writers and poets include: M. S. Gulubekov and Mammed Said Ordubadi, both writers; Huseyn Javid, poet; Jalil Mammadguluzadeh, writer and satirist; as well as Ekmouladdin Nakhichevani, Hindushah Nakhichevani, and Abdurrakhman en-Neshevi, all medieval literary figures.

Private tour to Nakhchivan?

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How to get to Nakhchivan

Jermuk by car

By car

By car from Baku journey takes around 9 h distance (714 km).

Jermuk by minibus

By minibus

There is bus from Baku to Nakhichevan, a duration of 8 h. The bus goes from Baku international bus terminal twice daily, here you can find schedule

Jermuk by plane

By plane

The best way to get to Nakhchivan is to fly to Nakhchivan International Airport. 

Jermuk by train

By train

There are no train connections to Nakhichevan. 

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Guided tours to Nakhchivan

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Impressions from Nakhchivan

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