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NAGORNO - KARABAKH

 

Geography and Nationality


The Artsakh Republic is mountainous, a feature which has given it its former name (from the Russian for "Mountainous/Highland Karabakh"). It is 11,500 km2 (4,440 sq mi) in area, bordering Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. The highest peaks in the country are Mount Mrav, 3,340 metres (10,958 ft), and Mount Kirs 2,725 metres (8,940 ft). The largest water body is the Sarsang reservior, and the major rivers are the Terter and Khachen rivers. The country is on a plateau which slopes downwards towards the east and southeast, with the average altitude being 3,600 ft (1,097 m) above sea level. Most rivers in the country flow towards the Artsakh valley.

 

The people of NKR are very friendly and inviting, and if your Armenian or Russian is good enough, you will easily meet people who will invite you to their house for dinner (and some will even harass you until you accept). Unlike many parts of the world, you should not worry about your safety, no matter how much they harass you, and accept their invitation. Even though these people do not have much and, like many persons in developing countries, view westerners as rich, they will vehemently refuse any type of money given to them (although you may find luck saying it is "for the children"). However, do not show up empty-handed! You will be expected to bring some sort of gift, with food (wine, chocolates, coffee, etc) being best. You should also bring something to show/give them from your home country (postcard, book, photos, etc) to have a conversation or at least get their interest. You never know, they may likely have family in another place and what you thought was just dinner could turn into inviting you to other family's businesses (discounts), homes (to stay the night), or another meal.

 

 


 

 


Culture


Nagorno Karabakh and adjacent territories belonging to historical Artsakh (some of which fell under the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic's control in 1992-1994) has been called an open-sky treasure-house of various forms of Armenian architecture. Overall, Nagorno-Karabakh hosts several thousand architectural artifacts and historical monuments in a larger sense. In addition to ecclesiastical structures, this number includes samples of civil architecture, ancient castles and fortresses as well as numerous khachkars.

The art and architecture created in Nagorno Karabakh has progressed through the same major stages as did Armenian art in a larger sense. They began developing in the pre-Christian times, proceeded through the adoption of Christianity early in the fourth century, and entered the era of modernity after blossoming in the Middle Ages.

The principal expression of Artsakh's art in the Middle Ages was through ecclesiastical architecture: churches, cathedrals, chapels and monasteries. Most other forms of art in that period, including illuminated manuscripts, khachkars (Armenian: խաչքար; unique-to-Armenia stone slabs with engraved crosses) and mural paintings were likewise tied to Artsakh's religious life and its primary institution—the Armenian Apostolic Church.

Works of architecture in Nagorno-Karabakh are constructed according to similar principles and with the use of the same techniques as those in the rest of Armenia. Limestone is the principal building materials that form the nucleus for the walls. They are then covered with facing and/or plated with volcanic tuff rock slabs.


Relief sculptures on the dome of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist of the Gandzasar Monastery (1216-1238)

In large buildings in cities or in monasteries the exterior facing can consist of carefully cut blocks of tuff. The monasteries of Gandzasar and Dadivank serve as the primary examples of that style. For more modest structures, such as parish churches in provinces, it was common to use less carefully cut stone, a practice which creates a more rustic appearance.

Names of monasteries in Nagorno Karabakh, like in the rest of historical Artsakh and Armenia, customarily include the term "vank" (Armenian: վանք), which means "monastery." Examples: Dadivank, Gtichavank, Khunisavank, Khadavank, Khatravank, Yerits Mankants Vank, etc.[7][12]Monasteries are often located in or near settlements that bear the name Vank (Վանք); the most notable cases include Dadivank Monastery, Gandzasar Monastery and Spitak Khach Vank Monastery. Names of castles and fortresses in Nagorno Karabakh like in the rest of historical Artsakh and Armenia, customarily include the term "berd" (Armenian: բերդ) which means "fort." Examples: Jraberd, Handaberd, Mairaberd, Khokhanaberd, etc.

 

 


 

 


Climate


The NKR's climate is mild and temperate. The great part of the territory has dry subtropical climate. 

The average annual temperature here is +10.5. The hottest months are July and August, the average temperature of which is +21.7 and +21.4. The hottest districts in the territory of NKR are the low-lying zones of Martouni and Martakert regions. 

In the winter the average temperature in January-February vacillates from –0.2 to – 0.9. In winter months it is relatively cold in the alpine regions, in particular the northern part of Mrav ridge. 

There are rarely sustained periods of either hot or cold weather in the territory of the Republic. The lowest temperature in low-lying area is recorded at –16, in the foothills at –19, and in alpine regions– from –20 to –23. The highest temperature recorded in low-lying and foothill districts reaches +40, in middle mountainous and mountainous districts from +32 to +37. 

The mountainous-valley winds predominate over the territory of Republic. In spring and summer months, there are often heavy storms. The average annual amount of precipitation ranges from 480 to 700 mm. The lowest precipitation falls in plain zones – in lowest parts of Martakert and Martouni districts and averages 410-480 mm a year. The greatest precipitation is recorded in alpine zone and averages 560-830 mm a year. Most rainfall is recorded in the months of May-June. It is usually very heavy tropical type rain often accompanied by hail. On average some 100-125 days in a year are foggy. 



 

 


Sightseeings


There are many architectural monuments in the region, which speaks of the role this part of Artsakh Republic played in the history of Armenia. Among the most popular monuments are Dadivank, Handaberd castle, Tsar Village.

Dadivank is situated on the left bank of Tartar River, 100 km north from Stepanakert. According to the old manuscripts Dadivank was founded back in the 1st century, in the place of Saint Dadi grave, who had faced a lot of cruelties and died for preaching Christianity. The stone pillar indicates the  exact place of the grave.  Due  to archeological excavations the remains of Saint Dadi and the wooden throne, on which Saint was buried, were possible to find. Despite the myriad of devastating enemy invasions  thirty building of different meanings have been preserved up to today.

Handaberd was built in the second half of IX century by Prince Atrnerseh, The castle is situated near Chapni village, on the top of wooded and steep mountain and is surrounded by deep abysses. Not far away from the castle monastery complex of a church, chapel and tabernacle is situated. Judging from lithography records the complex was built during XII-XIII centuries.

Tsar village is situated on the upper stream of Tartar village on the highland surrounded by the cliffs of 300-310 meters and there is only one way leading to the village. Exactly in this direction there is fortified wall.

For the first time the village was recalled in 1289. The administrative center of the province and the magisterial residence are situated there. The village has four churches dating back to XIII-XIV centuries, in the surroundings there were also two monasteries which were destroyed during the Azerbaijani ruling.

 In addition to historical, architectural monuments Shahumyan region is also known with its natural rich resources. There are  springs of warm mineral waters, among which the most popular ones are Jermajur and the ones near Zuar village. The former is known for its ability to cure illnesses.

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