Artsakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, makes inseparable part of the Armenian history and due to its abundant scenery, it is a developing touristic attraction. It is often called second modern Armenian statehood.
Free Artsakh (as sometimes named by the locals) is a de-facto independent Armenian statehood. Thanks to Artsakh’s rich history, it can offer innumerable adventure, cultural and historical tourist destinations.
Not to mention that it is the home to unique art and architecture, ancient churches, monasteries and picturesque landscapes.
Already interested about this unrivalled treasury? Then just keep on reading and find some very special and interesting things about Artsakh.
The Republic of Artsakh: Let’s Go Through A Few Must-Know Things
- Nagorno-Karabakh, or officially known as the Republic of Artsakh, is an unrecognized republic situated in the South Caucasus.
- It has a regime of semi-presidential democracy with predominantly Armenian-populated Christians.
- As you can guess from its name from Armenian and Russian translation, Nagorno Karabakh is quite mountainous.
- As the local government announced in 2002, 95% of Artsakh’s population are Armenians.
- By the way, its population is estimated to be about 14,000.
- Over the last several years this de facto independent state has developed in tourist industry. This is largely due to its magnificent and breathtaking cultural landmarks.
- There is definitely an increasing interest towards Artsakh in the world. To illustrate we can say that according to the Consular Service of the NKR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 2010 over 8000 foreign citizens visited Nagorno Karabakh.
- Foreign visits had increased the data of 2009 by 30%.
- Artsakh’s capital and at the same time largest city is Stepanakert.
The Attribute of Artsakh’s Statehood – The Flag
Artsakh’s national flag is derived from the Armenian flag and reflects the connection between Armenia and the self-proclaimed republic. They adopted the flag on June 2, 1992. Since then it represents the official distinctive sign of Artsakh and symbolizes its independent statehood.
Like the Armenian flag, the flag of Artsakh depicts rectangular horizontal stripes of red, blue and orange that have their own meanings. The red color stands for the constant struggle of the Armenians, blue symbolizes the pure Armenian sky and the great will of the nation to live in peace. And last but not least, orange is for the creative power, courage and zest of the Armenian people.
On the right side of the flag you can see a white stepped pattern triangular zigzag cutting. Interested to learn what that part of the flag represents? It symbolizes the current separation from Armenia and its intention and desire to unite with the motherland. Interestingly, the design of the flag greatly recalls the well-known Armenian rugs. Somewhat, it is a way to show the national identity.
Now Let’s Go Through the Map of Artsakh
Here we have detailed map of Nagorno-Karbakh that shows the areas controlled by both sides of the conflict. It’s in English, even though some names may be difficult to pronounce, still it is readable.
By following this link you will be able to see Armenia and Artsakh road-map, the map of Stepanakert, tourist attraction map of Artsakh, administrative map and some others. So, you’ll have no problems in organizing a ride to Artsakh through Armenia.
Brief recap of Artsakh’s History
As an integral part of the Armenia Plateau, Artsakh was mentioned even in the works of such world renowned ancient philosophers, historians and authors as Plutarch, Strabo, Claudius Ptolemy, Dio Cassius and many others.
That’s the reason why Artsakh is rich in its ancient history and cultural heritage. Being one of the provinces of ancient Armenia, it was known as Urtekhe-Urtekhini during the Urartian era.
The period of peace and relative freedom lasted until 1917. In the years of 1918-1920 after the collapse of the Russian Empire, Artsakh was acknowledged as a “disputable territory” between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Though, at that period of history the region considered itself as a part of Armenia, Azerbaijan used large scale of violence and executed massacred against Armenians during that years. Only in Shushi approximately 40,000 Armenians were killed and deported.
In 1921, the Caucasian Bureau of the Communist Party of Russia under Stalin’s direct pressure and interference determines the status of Artsakh without any legal basis. Sounds pretty unfair, but let’s not forget, it was Soviet dictatorship.
They made a decision to seize already the inseparable part of Armenia, Artsakh, passing it to the territory of Azerbaijan. In the history of international law, this act was really unprecedented as it violated already accepted procedures.
New Era of Artsakh After the Collapse of Soviet Union
As a matter of fact, Azerbaijan started a full-scale aggression and war. Unfortunately, it resulted in significant material loss and in tens of thousands of deaths. Artsakh, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in May, 1994.
Despite of the fact that the armistice agreement is being violated by Azerbaijan, it continues acting till today.
Mouthwatering Cuisine of Artsakh, Both for Meat-lovers & Vegetarians!
You are a gourmet and want to discover a mouth warming, delicious and amazing new meals? The simple but delicate national dishes are waiting for you in Artsakh.
As the rich history of Nagorno Karabakh, the roots of its cuisine as well go to the extreme antiquity. Artsakh has a great variety of veggies that grow on its valleys and hills. Its cuisine mostly is composed of the dishes prepared from meat and tasty vegetables.
But probably Artsakh’s cuisine is best known for its “jengyalov hats” (a flat bread with up to 20 types of greens). It is a ceremonial dish and is unique only to the cuisine of Artsakh.
Its preparation is also something spectacular as it is made by aged and skilled women who pass their most “sacred secrets” of cooking to their daughters and, why not, daughters-in-law. By the way, this dish will be just a perfection for vegans.
A special component of this cuisine is the fine variety of wines, like white, red, dessert or dry made from Muskat grape, blackberry, pomegranate and other berries.
Nevertheless, the irreplaceable and most popular beverage of the region is the homemade mulberry vodka. Already packing your things to travel to Artsakh?
The Republic of Artsakh: The Cradle of Traditional Carpet Weaving
Although carpet weaving is a traditional form of art in all Armenian regions, Artsakh carpets stand out with their distinctive and unique features.
Right from the ancient times carpets were considered to be heirlooms. Furthermore, taking a carpet out of a home was regarded as a bad luck.
Nagorno Karabakh’s carpets are distinguished by their rich and original symbols and ornaments. The most popular symbols are “vishap” (dragon) and medallion. The main colors that are used in Karabakh carpets are light and dark reds, blues and browns.
While traveling in Shushi you can find a large shop-museum of Karabakhian carpets, where you can not only admire their beauty, but also purchase them. By the way, the original ornaments of Artsakh’s carpets are widely used in fashion industry and design.
The Republic of Artsakh: The real Recreation for Tourists
Probably the most thrilling thing about Artsakh will be the fact that it was involved in the list of best landmarks for adventure and entertainment by “The Guardian”. Indeed, Artsakh is a land of empowering atmosphere that is filled with a strong sense of liberty, serenity and pride.
Also, there’s a good news for those who love hiking. Similar to Armenia, Nagorno Karabakh is a developing hiking destination as well. Abundant forests, fast-running rivers, the mountainous scenery and just the outstanding nature make it a marvelous place to explore and admire, especially on foot.
The People of Artsakh
Before talking about the people of Artsakh in details, we advise you to watch this video. Watch it, get the good vibes and then continue reading!
Artsakh is also popular with its hospitable, easy-going and very talented people. Some of them are very famous people in the industry of culture. Among the most famous Armenian artists from Artsakh are the pop singers Andre and Razmik Amyan.
In 2006 Andre represented Armenia for the first time in the Eurovision Song Contest. As of today, Andre is a jury member of “X factor” world format show.
By the way the former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan and the current president Serzh Sargsyan are also from Nagorno Karabakh.
Next up is probably one of the most well-known Kharabakhians, the founder and creative director of Armenia’s Song State Theater and just a brilliant Armenian composer Arthur Grigoryan (also known as Arthur Grigorich).
He is the author of such beloved compositions as “My love, Artsakh”, “10 Million Armenians” and the soundtrack to the movie “The line”.
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