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Nakhchivan, the land of the ancient Azerbaijan, is one of the first places of civilization in the world. The people of Azerbaijan created an old and rich culture in this land. At the same time Nakhchivan is one of the ancient cultural centers in the world. The rich historical, scientific and cultural heritage of the Azerbaijan people were formed in this land.

The origin of the word “Nakhchivan” is explained differently by scientists. According to the folk ethimology and historical sources “Nakhchivan” was derived from “Nagshijahan” which has the meaning “decoration of the world”, “adornment of the world”. However, according to a  wide spread story among people, the word “Nakhchivan” has relation with the prophet Noah, namely, with the “world storm” that means “Nuhchuvan” – “the place of Noah supporters”, “the land of Noah”. The grave of the prophet Noah is in Nakhchivan.

Even the word Nakhchivan is rendered as “Nachuanna/Nakhchvan” ,“the place of miraclulous and splendid waters” or “the country of healing mineral waters” .

Nakhchivan is one of the most  ancient cities in the world. It is considered one of the ancient cities in the East and also in the world. It was Stephanie Ozbeliany, the  historian of the Medieval centuries, who  gave information about  the foundation of Nakhchivan city in 1539 B.C. The systematized written sources, the archaeological materials discovered  during archeological diggings in the area of Nakhchivan, the famous Gamigaya  over rock petrography and other monuments in the territory once again reveal  that the age of Nakhchivan is around 5 thousand years.

During the power  of Midia IX-VI B.C. Nakhchivan was one of the most popular cities. In 633 B.C. Nakhchivan underwent the attacks of the Skuffs and too much ruined and looted . Nakhchivan being under the power of the Ahamanilar from the middle of VI century B.C. (after the collapse of of Midia in 550 B.C.) till the thirties of  IV century B.C., starting from  IV century B.C. ) till the 1st half of the 1st century  Nakhchivan was under the control of Atropatena (Lesser Midia. Within this period Nakhchivan expanded its economic and cultural relations with several cities of the Near East considerably and established close trade relations with the antique states. At the beginning of our era,  Nakhchivan was a city and province in Albania (Caucasus). The Araksena  province of the Caucasus Albania (it was situated along the middle and down stream of the Aras) also covered the territory of Nakhchivan. Starting from  IV century Nakhchivan was within the power of Sasanids. During the assaults (364-367) of the Sasanid ruler Shapur II (309-379) Nakhchivan was destroyed and 18 thousand families from the city were taken as captives.            

As  Albania was under the authority of the Sasanids in some time periods, Nakhchivan was also  ruled by the viceroys-marzbans of the Sasanids and the residence of the Sasanids was moved from Dabil (Dvin) to Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan became one of the military strategical positions of the Sasanid rulers. The military troops of the Sasanid power were located in Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan being situated on the Great Silk Road and regarded a big and important center of  trade and craftsmanship,  established close relations with Iran and Georgia, with the Black Sea ports, Small Asia and with the cities in Beynalnahreyn. From the first half of  VI cc. there was a mint in Nakhchivan belonging to the Sasanids. It is considered one of the  most ancient mints in Azerbaijan.

Within VII-VIII centuries Nakhchivan was occupied by the Arabians as other lands of Azerbaijan. According to the treaty signed by HabibibnMaslama,  Arabian  Emir who occupied Nakhchvan in 654, the people of Nakhchivan  assumed to   to pay jizya and tribute (kinds of taxes) to the caliphate every year. In 656 a dreadful war took place between the Arabian and Byzantine troops around the Nakhchivan fortress walls.  Nakhchivan being one of the main headquarters of the Arabian Caliphate against the Byzantines  in Azerbaijan and also a military and administrative center of the Arabian emirs. The Khurramis-Babeki movement against the Caliphate in  IX century also spread Nakhchivan. After the slump of the Arabian Caliphate  independent states – Shirvanshahlars, Sajilar, Salarilar, Ravvadilar, Shaddadilar  headed by dynasties and  Shaki rulers appeared in the area of Azerbaijan..

At the end of  IX century Nakhchivan was annexed to  the Sajilar state  and was a part of it until the thirties of  X century. Though the state of the Sajilar collapsed, Nakhchivan  temporarily remained  at Deysamibn Ibrahim’s disposal, one of the emirs, (932-937). Then Nakhchivan became a part of  the state of Salarilar. Nakhchivan city was the capital of the feudal state called  “Nakhchivanshahlig”  from the 80s of X century and starting from late X century was included in the Ravvadilar state  which played an important role for about a century in the history of Azerbaijan. Alp Arslan (1063-72), the king of the Saljugs, built a residence for himself in Nakhchivan after he put  an end to the  power of the Ravvadilar state. The Saljug Empire vicegerent for Azerbaijan was situated in Nakhchivan. After the collapse of the Great Saljug Empire the Atabaylar-Eldaniz state (1136-1225) was founded by Shamsaddin Eldaniz (1136-1175) in the territory of Azerbaijan.

This time Nakhchivan became the capital of the Atabaylar state. That time the treasure of the Atabaylar state was kept in the Alinja fortress not far from Nakhchivan city. In the reign of Mahammad Jahan Pahlavan, the ruler of Azerbaijan (1175-1186), Gizil Arslan and after his death his wife Zahida Khatun  became  the rulers of Nakhchivan. Nakhchivan, as one of the economic, political and cultural centers of Azerbaijan, earned a world-wide fame during the Atabaylar-Eldanizlar period.

In XIII-XIV centuries Nakhchivan became  one of the centers of the ongoing  political-economic, cultural processes on going in Azerbaijan and in general, in the East. Nakhchivan being under the authority of the Hulakilar, Chobanilar, Jalairilar took a very active part in their political life. The city was governed by the representatives appointed by those states. Nakhchivan was destroyed by the Mongols in 1221. The city was looted  and plundered. In 1225 JalaladdinMangburni, son of MahommadKharazmshah, occupied Nakhchivan. There was a rebellion  against him in Nakhchivan. In the 30s of  XIII century Nakhchivan was consolidated  to the Gizil Orda and it became a part of the Hulakilar state in 1257. Vilhelm de-Rubruk, a flamand traveler, who was in Nakhchivan in 1253 wrote describing that the Mongols had destroyed the city and turned it to  an empty desert . In  XIII century  5/6 part of Nakhchivan was completely destroyed. At the end of  XIII century Nakhchivan was included in the series of  cities headed by Gazan Khan, the Elkhany ruler. The reforms carried out by Gazan Khan on economy and policy gave an opportunity to restore  Nakhchivan ,as well as, the other cities of Azerbaijan.

In the 50s  of  XIV century Nakhchivan was under the power of the Chobanis, Jujis, Jalairis and Muzaffaris. In 1386 Nakhchivan was occupied by Tokhtamish, the ruler of GizilOrda and destroyed.

The troops of Teymurlang occupied Nakhchivan in 1387. The local people put up a strong resistance against the troops of Teymur about 14 years (1387-1401) in the Alinja fortress. At  that time the Hurufi sect was  widely spread in Nakhchivan. FazlullahNaimi, the founder of that sect  was executed by Miranshah in Nakhchivan in 1394. Beginning from 1412 Nakhchivan was under the control  of the Garagoyunlu state of the Azerbaijan Turkish  origin, but from 1468 within the state of Aghgoyunlu. In  XVI century Nakhchivan was one of the leading cities of the Azerbaijan Safavid state. In XVI-XVII centuries during the Ottoman-Safavid wars (1514, 1553, 1554, 1579, 1585, 1590, 1605, 1635) Nakhchivan was several times destroyed and plundered. In 1603 Shah Abbas the First turned Nakhchivan to the army camp and its administration was tasked to Magsud Sultan Kangarly. In 1605 the area of Nakhchivan was annexed to the Ottoman Empire.           

Nakhchivan was under the control  of the Azerbaijan Baylarbeilik in  XVI century and from the 2nd half of  XVII century  it was included in the Chukhursadbeilerbeilik. In XVI-XVII centuries the rulers of Nakhchivan were appointed from the Kangarli tribal leaders. At the beginning of  XVIII century the city was captured by the troops of Nadir Shah. After  Nadir Shah’s death (1747) Heydargulu khan  Kangarly tribal leader drove away the  representative of the Shah,  Agha  Hasan from Nakhchivan  and declared himself Khan. The city of Nakhchivan became the capital of the Khanate. During Russia-Iran war in 1826-1828 Nakhchivan was occupied by the Russian troops (27 June, 1827) and according to the Turkmanchay treaty (1828) it  was annexed to Russia. After annexation Nakhchivan became the center of the Nakhchivan province (1828-40) and then the Nakhchivan county.

Nakhchivan became a county  center in 1841. The city reform carried out by tzarism  (1870) also was applied in Azerbaijan (Baki, Ganja, Nukha, Shusha, Nakhchivan and Ordubad).

Strenghthening of the groundless land claim by the Armenians about  Nakhchivan  at the end of 1917 and at the beginning of 1918 became a real threat and as a result of which the regular dashnak armed forces destroyed a lot of villages of Nakhchivan and inflicted reprisals against the people. After declaring the independence of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia on May 26-28, 1918 Armenia began to pursue a policy to annex Nakhchivan and tortured the peaceful Azerbaijani population in Azerbaijan. At that time Armenia was defended by the English and USA ruling circles. Although Armenians continued to separate Nakhchivan from its mainland Azerbaijan,  they encountered the decisive resistance of local people and they couldn’t realize their crafty intention because of the Turkish soldiers who had already come to Nakhchivan to help the local Azerbaijanis.

According to the Mudros treaty(1918), after the  withdrawal of the Turkish troops from the region, the Aras-Turk Republic  to be protected  from the Armenian dashnak brigands and killers in November of the same year.  The city of Nakhchivan was proclaimed the capital. At the beginning of 1918  the British who had captured Nakhchivan rejected to recognize the Aras-Turk Republic. Though the Dashnaks occupied Nakhchivan with the help of the British, as soon as they left Nakhchivan, the military  forces of the Nakhchivan National Committee managed to banish the Armenian-dashnak forces.

The Nakhchivan people played a great role in keeping Nakhchivan under the control of Azerbaijan.

The Declaration about the establishment of the Soviet Power in Baki on April 28, 1920 and  in Nakhchivan  on July  28 and establishment of the Azerbaijan SSR, annexation of Zangazur by Armenia, separation of Nakhchivan from Azerbaijan brought  the issue of autonomy of Nakhchivan in  agenda.

After proclaiming the Soviet Power establishment in Armenia on November 29, 1920, Armenia SSR made new attempts  to annex Nakhchivan. Turkey had a great role in getting the status of the autonomy of Nakhchivan within Azerbaijan.

The Moscow  treaty signed on March 16, 1921 and the Gars treaty  signed on October 13, 1921 had a great significance in solving the fortune of Nakhchivan. As a result the Autonomous Region of Nakhchivan became Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic on February 9, 1924.

On February 18, 1929 the Transcaucasus Central Executive Committee under a totalitarian administrative domination  condition accepted a decision about consolidation of  9 villages of Nakhchivan ASSR; Gurdgulag, Khachik, Horadiz, villages of Shahbuz ;Oghbin, Sultanbay, Aghkach, Almaly, Itgiran village of Ordubad ; Gochevan and also some lands of Kilit village, planting fields and pastures to Armenian SSR. Examination of border questions of Nakhchivan by the Transcaucasia CEC, consolidation of some parts of Nakhchivan area to Armenia without the participation of both  sides  who signed Moscow treaty (1921) and Gars treaty (1921) breaking the International law norms roughly was the reflection of treason of the USSR to Azerbaijan people.

When established  the territory of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic constituted  5988  km2  of the historical area of Nakhchivan . In 1929-1930 and later some land parts of the autonomous republic were given to Armenia by the Kremlyn regime. At the result  the territory of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was reduced to 5365 km2.

The existence of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic , present day living standards and escape are due to  national leader  Heydar Aliyev who came to live and work and to do political activity here because of political persecution.

In the hard years the people of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic did their best to return HeydarAliyev to the power  to  establish an independent statehood and  to strengthen  territorial integrity of our country, to establish high democratic values  in order to reach the aim.         

On September 3, 1991 in the extraordinary session of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, by insistent willing and desire of the people, Heydar Aliyev took the responsibility to be  Chairman of the Supreme Majlis of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. In  November,  1992 the most prominent  educated people, figures  of science and art, political figures came to Nakhchivan. Under the chairmanship of Heydar Aliyev , New Azerbaijan Party was founded.

Towards the summer of 1993 Nakhchivan was the center of the national democratic movement of the whole country where   a strong statehood and political stability dominated. Then Nakhchivan took an active part in preventing the attempts of coup-d’etat, in establishing stability and unity in the country.

At the beginning of the 90s of  XX century the government of Armenia taking advantage of  anarchy existing after the USSR collapse decided to realize their land claim about Azerbaijan, as well as, Nakhchivan   by means of open armed  intervention.  The land of Nakhchivan faced  great difficulties. 8 hours before the attacks of the Soviet troops against Baki, namely, on January 19 night towards January 20, the Soviet-Armenian  armed forces attacked Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and occupied Karki village of Sadarak. As a result of the aggressive policy of Armenia the railway lines and automobile ways connecting Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan during the Soviet system were cut and Nakhchivan began to live isolated and  blockade condition. The indifferent attitude  and approach to   Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic  by the leadership of that time made situation more complicated. Even the power alteration  in May 1992, namely, the Popular Front Party’s coming to power, didn’t change the situation. Nakhchivan being in military and economic blockade by Russia-Armenia underwent a political blockade by the Azerbaijan Popular Front authority . The population of Nakhchivan in such economic difficulty could demonstrate fearlessness  and invincibility against the enemy and  rescued this ancient land of Azerbaijan from the menace  of Armenian occupation  and safeguarded its autonomy status. In protecting  Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic from  Armenian aggression steadily, in administrating the region in dilemma,  national leader Heydar Aliyev’s activity period in Nakhchivan, his several initiatives and decisions of great importance in leading Azerbaijan are the brightest pages of  Azerbaijan history. The fearless steps  that the leader  made on the independence  ways of the autonomous republic during those difficult years were met and supported  by the Azerbaijani people with great sympathy  and affected to all ongoing political processes  positively happening in  Azerbaijan.

With the decision of the Supreme Soviet of Nakhchivan ASSR session held on November 17, 1990 the words “Soviet” and “Socialist” were taken out from the name of the autonomous republic and the name of the Supreme Soviet was substituted with the name of the Supreme Majlis and the tricolor flag of the Azerbaijan People’s Republic accepted  in 1918 was accepted a flag of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic,  too. The Supreme Majlis made a legislative initiative in front of the Republic of  Azerbaijan  to take the same step. Just starting from the same time, with  Heydar Aliyev’s initiative, the Supreme Legislative Body of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic decided decrees about the elimination of  the situation in Garabagh, to eliminate the extraordinary case in Baki, also about the political evaluation of  the incidents happened on  January 19-20, 1990. A lot of  important decisions about halting  the activity of the local bodies of the Communist Party in the area of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, about the refusal of Nakhchivan population in participation in the referendum to keep  the USSR, about declaring December 31stas  the Day of Unity and Solidarity of the World Azerbaijanis were accepted.

After gaining  independence according to the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan  which was adopted in 1995, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was given the status of the autonomous state within the Republic of Azerbaijan.

On the basis of the New Constitution,  the new  Constitution of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic was prepared, it was adopted by the Supreme Majlis of the autonomous republic on April 28, 1998, the same year on December 29  it was ratified by  Milli Majlis of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

During all historical periods Nakhchivan lived the historical fortune together  within Azerbaijan  and today this process is going on. The separation of Nakhchivan from the mainland of Azerbaijan because of Armenian occupations,  beginning from the 90s, blockade by the  Armenians committed great difficulties for the autonomous republic. But the long term  hard blockade conditions  couldn’t break the will of Nakhchivan-born  people, vice-versa made it more steady. At the result of the resolute measures implemented  in Nakhchivan, the Armenians failed in implementing their occupation policy in Nakhchivan which they did in Garabagh.

At present  Nakhchivan is the  ancient land of Azerbaijan, Turkish world which develops dynamically.