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This article is about the autonomous region; for the city see Nakhichevan (city)
Flag of Azerbaijan, currently the only official flag of the exclave
Flag of Azerbaijan, currently the only official flag of the exclave
Missing image
Unofficial flag of Nakhichevan, used in the 1990's
Map of Azerbaijan, showing Nakhichevan to the bottom-left
Map of Azerbaijan, showing Nakhichevan to the bottom-left

Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic (Azerbaijani: Naxıvan Muxtar Respublikası) is an exclave of Azerbaijan. The area of 5,500 km² borders Armenia (221 km), Turkey (9 km) and Iran (179 km).

It consists of 6 rayons: Babak, Julfa, Ordubad, Sadarak, Shahbuz and Sharur.

The main city is Nakhichevan, home to the Nakhichevan State University


Climate and Resources

The region is extremely arid and primarily a mountainous country with large salt deposits. With irrigation, agriculture produces cotton, tobacco, grain, and market garden produce, and in the drier areas sheep farming is significant. Minerals are extracted, including salt, molybdenum, and lead, while industries include cotton ginning/cleaning, silk spinning, fruit canning, meat packing, and tobacco products.


According to a legend Noah was the founder of Nakhichevan. According to supporters of this view, Nakhichevan derives its name from Nukhshijihan, which means "colony of Noah". Other historians contend that Nakhichevan derives its name from the ancient Nakh (Vaynakh) tribes.

Laid waste by the Persians in the 4th century, Nakhichevan sank into comparative insignificance, but by the 10th century had largely recovered. Its geographic position caused it to suffer frequently during the wars between the Persians, Armenians and Turks, and it finally passed into Russian possession in 1828. When the Transcaucasus was incorporated into the USSR in 1920-21, the borders between the republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia were not determined immediately. Drawing the borders between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and settling the question of the status of the regions of Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan caused most of the delay. The political struggle for Nagorno-Karabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan took the Soviet leadership some years to settle. Initially, the situation favored Armenia, as Azerbaijan in December 1920 (under strong Soviet pressure) issued a statement that the regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, Zangezur and Nakhichevan were all to be ceded to Armenia. Josef Stalin made the decision public on December 2, Azerbaijan though later rescinded the statement. Four months later, the situation swung back towards Azerbaijan. On March 16, 1921, a treaty between Turkey and the Soviet Union determined that both Nagorno-Karabakh and Nakhichevan were to be under Azerbaijani administration (Zangezur however was left within Armenia, eventually becoming the Armenian provinces of Syunik' and Vayots' Dzor). This changing of the boundaries ended up making Nakhichevan an exclave. In 1924, Nakhichevan obtained the status of an Autonomous Republic as a concession on the part of Stalin to the newly founded Turkish Republic under Kemal Atatrk, whom at the time was seen as a potential ally. Nakhichevan unilaterally declared independence in 1990 from the USSR, but later became part of the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan. There was some factional fighting within Nakhichevan during the Armenian-Azerbaijani war over Nagorno-Karabakh, but Nakhichevan remained firmly under Azerbaijani control. It now exists - and is internationally recognised - as a part of Azerbaijan, though with a high amount of autonomy over its internal affairs with its own elected parliament and President.


  • Armenian governing coalition partner ARF still claims that Nakhichevan belongs to Armenia and that since a lot of the current territorial disputes could be traced back to arbitrary decisions from Moscow, that those decisions should be rescinded. Similar claims are laid by Armenia with regard to Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • Nakhichevan's parliament in the late 1990's passed a resolution calling upon Azerbaijan to recognize the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Azerbaijan to date has not done so. TRNC itself views this as formal recognition from Nakhichevan.

External links

ca:Nakhtxivan de:Autonome Republik Naxivan et:Nahhitševan es:Repblica autnoma de Naxivn id:Nakhichevan ka:ნახჭევანი nl:Naxivan sv:Nakhitjevan


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