Karabakh occupation

The word Karabakh (also spelled Karabagh and Qarabağ) originates from the Azerbaijani Turkish language, and literally means “black garden” (“kara” means black and “bagh” means garden.) The place name is first mentioned in the Georgian Chronicles (Kartlis Tskhovreba), as well in Persian sources from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The name became common after the 1230s, when the region was conquered by the Mongols. The Karabakh region is an area within Azerbaijan, constituting approximately 3,175 square miles.

From 1988 through 2020 the Azerbaijani region of Karabakh came under Armenian occupation as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  Some 600,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), constituting some 7% of the Azerbaijani population, have been ethnically cleansed from their homes in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan as a result of the conflict. IDPs lost their homes when Armenian forces began illegal military occupation of the area called Nagorno-Karabakh (“mountainous Karabakh”). Today IDPs live in government housing, private dwellings, and temporary camps in Azerbaijan and are finally getting a chance to return home

Karabakh is a geographic region in southwestern Azerbaijan, extending from the highlands of the Lesser Caucasus down to the lowlands between the rivers Kura and Aras. It includes two sub-regions, as follows: Mountainous Karabakh (better known as Nagorno-Karabakh) and Lowland Karabakh (the southern Kura plains and mountains, which includes the districts of Aghdam, Aghjabedi, Barda, Fuzuli, Gubadli, Jebrayil, Kelbajar, Lachin, Terter, and Zangilan).

You can learn more about IDPs and IDP Issues with these resources Lawrence Scott Sheets transcribed interview “Azerbaijan’s IDP Burden” and Scholar Jennifer Wistrand discussion on “Economic Migrants and Displaced People in Azerbaijan”.

The word Karabagh also refers to a specific rug pattern originally produced in the area. Learn more about the Karabagh textile featured at the Textile Museum. Karabakh is also home to one of the most renowned schools of mugham, a traditional Azerbaijani style of music. Uzeyir bey Hajibeyov introduced the mugham to the Western world through his famous operas. It is also the birth place of the Azerbaijani tar, the national string instrument. You can find samples of his work and sheet music at this website.

Have Your Representatives Stand for Karabakh

Tell your representatives that you support the return of IDPs to Karabakh and the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.

Mountain Homes