Located in the the Caucasus, the autonomous republic of Nakhitchevan has direct borders with the Iran, the Arménie and the Turkey, but it is without territorial continuity with the remainder of Azerbaïdjan. The persistent tensions between Azerbaïdjan and Arménie block any direct communication between Azerbaïdjan and Nakhitchevan, accentuating the insulation of this last.
Nakhitchevan is an arid, semi-desert and mountainous area located between the river Araxe and the mountains of the Zanguézour: Araxe marks the border with the Iran and the Zanguézour mounts with the Arménie. Nakhitchevan has a surface of 5.500 km ². The culminating point of Nakhitchevan is the mount Kapydjik (3904 m). The mountain of the Snake (also called Ilandag) culminates with 2415 meters.
Nakhitchevan is populated (estimate 2005) of 373.000 inhabitants, today as a large majority of Turkish origin (in the broad sense) and tatare, of Islamic religion Shiite and language close to the Persan. Minorities Russian and Kurdish remain. The Armenian population of the area was expelled in reprisals with the azerbaidjano-Armenian war with the Haut-Karabagh in the years 1990.
Nakhitchevan changed domination on several occasions through the History: Turkish, Armenian, Persian, Arabic, Mongolian, chorasmien, Othoman, Soviet and Azeri.
At the time of the integration of the Eastern Arménie in the Soviet Union, the population of Nakhitchevan decided by referendum in 1921 the fastening of the area to the Azerbaïdjan, with a statute of Autonomous region . This fastening was carried out with the agreement of Lénine and was confirmed by Stalin in the agreement signed in March 1921 between the Soviet socialist Republic of Russia and the Turkey.
Nakhitchevan, which was populated of more than 50% of Armenians before the First World War, lost almost all its Armenian population during the Soviet era because of movements of emigration and an pro-Azeri policy in the exclave: the resentment which results from this Armenian side is also a factor of tension in the arméno-Azeri relations until. Armenian population of Nakhitchevan, estimated at 15 % in 1926 prefers to leave the autonomous Soviet socialist Republic of Nakhitchevan for the Soviet socialist Republic of Arménie neighbor.
The 30 and December 31st 1989, nearly 4.000 demonstrators destroy the frontier installations with the Arménie and the Iran on 130 kilometers, and require grounds and freedom of movement. At the beginning, the reaction of the Soviet government is non-existent and the insurrectionists believe in their impunity. In one week, the revolt sets ablaze all Azerbaïdjan and hunting for the Armenian starts. The January 15th 1990, the state of emergency is issued and the KGB sends reinforcements - 15.000 men of the troops of elite.
As of the beginning of the Years 1990, the enclave becomes the turntable many traffics, one of the most attended passages dies of opium bound for the laboratories Turkish. Stronghold of the clan of Heydər Əliyev, the territory became a “nonconflict ground”, where the dies of the gray Loups cohabit (pro-Turkish), those of Armenian the Dachnak party and Kurdish PKK (anti-Turkish), all enjoying high protections which make it possible to perennialize their political activities and their traffics.
The September 27th 1997, the government of Azerbaïdjan submitted to the the Council of Europe the constitution project of the autonomous Republic of Nakhitchevan. For this purpose, the European commission for the democracy by the right (Commission of Venice) was seized.
- the territory counts jewels of the Armenian culture of which some date from the 16th century.
There existed in Nakhitchevan, a traditional network of more known underground irrigation canals under the name of chaheriz . These underground channels, entirely dug with the hand, made it possible to collect and bring to surface the water of the Ground water to be consumed by the populations and for agriculture. These systems of water provision were largely used but they were abandoned after the introduction of modern systems of drain. These old techniques of construction and maintenance of the network were known under the name of kankan . A program of restoration financed by OIM made it possible to start to rehabilitate these old networks, and at the end of August 2004, 24 technicians had been formed and 10 chaheriz given in function, ensuring the water provision of 34 villages.
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