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Nagorno-Karabakh Republic facts for kids

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Presidential, NKR, Stepanakert
The NKR Presidential Palace

The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) (Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ Հանրապետություն Lernayin Gharabaghi Hanrapetut’yun) or Artsakh Republic was a breakaway state in the South Caucasus whose territory was internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. Between 1991–2023, Artsakh controlled parts of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, including the capital of Stepanakert. It was an enclave within Azerbaijan. Its only overland access route to Armenia was via the 5 km (3.1 mi) wide Lachin corridor.

The mostly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh firstly became disputed between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1918. After the Soviet Union established control over the area, in 1923 it formed the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR. In the final years of the Soviet Union, the region again became a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, culminating in the Nagorno-Karabakh War of 1988-1994.

On December 10 1991, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence from Azerbaijan as the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. The country remained unrecognized by any international organization or country, including Armenia.

Conflicts sporadically broke out in the area, the most significant one being the 2020 Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The Lachin corridor linking Artsakh to Armenia was blockaded by Azerbaijan in December 2022. Following an Azerbaijani offensive on 19 September 2023, the government of the Republic of Artsakh agreed to disarm and enter talks with the Azerbaijani prompting an exodus of ethnic Armenians from the area.

On 28 September 2023, the president of Artsakh subsequently signed a decree to dissolve all of the republic's institutions by 1 January 2024, though the president later attempted to annul this decree. By 1 October 2023, almost the entire population of the region had fled to Armenia. Artsakh dissolved on 1 January 2024 in accordance with the decree.


The country was very mountainous, averaging 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) above sea level.

Its largest water body was the Sarsang Reservoir. Its two major rivers were the Tartar and the [[Khachen (river)|Khachen]. The country was on a plateau, with the average altitude being 1,100 m (3,600 ft) above sea level.

More than 36% of the country was forested. The plant life on the steppes consisted mostly of semi-desert vegetation, while subalpine zone and alpine tundra ecosystems could be found above the forest in the highlands and mountains.

Government and politics

The Republic of Artsakh was a presidential democracy with a unicameral legislature.

The President was both the head of state and head of government. The president was directly elected for a maximum of two-consecutive five-year terms.


Armenian functioned as the only state language and an official language in the Republic of Artsakh, being the native language of over 99% of the population.


The population of the country was 99.7% ethnic Armenian, and the primary spoken language was Armenian. The population was overwhelmingly Christian, most being affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church.


Prior to the 2020 war, the republic developed a tourist industry geared to Armenia and the Armenian diaspora.

Tourist attractions included:

  • Gandzasar monastery, main tourist attraction.
  • Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of the Holy Savior (Under Azerbaijani control since 2020 war)
  • Church of the Holy Mother of God "Kanach Zham" (Under Azerbaijani control since 2020 war)
  • Amaras Monastery
  • Tsitsernavank Monastery (Under Azerbaijani control since 2020 war)
  • St. Yeghishe Arakyal Monastery
  • Dadivank Monastery
  • Gtichavank monastery (Under Azerbaijani control since 2020 war)
  • Bri Yeghtsi monastery
  • Yerits Mankants
  • Katarovank Monastery (Under Azerbaijani control since 2020 war)

Other tourist attractions included:

  • Fort Mayraberd (10th–18th centuries) served as the primary bulwark against Turko-nomadic incursions from the eastern steppe. The fort is found to the east of the region's capital city of Stepanakert.
  • Govharagha Mosque (18th century), a mosque located in the city of Shusha, now under Azerbaijani control.
Karintak-IMG 1445
Section of Janapar trail.

Janapar Trail is a marked trail, through mountains, valleys, and villages of Artsakh, with monasteries and fortresses along the way. It is not hikable since the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War. The trail was broken into day hikes, which brought tourists to a different village each night. The paths have existed for centuries but now are marked specifically for hikers. The Himnakan Janapar (backbone trail), marked in 2007, leads from the northwest region of Shahumian to the southern town of Hadrut, now under Azerbaijani control. Side trails and mini trails take one to additional parts of Artsakh. The important sites passed along this hike include Dadivank Monastery, Gandzasar monastery, Shusha, the Karkar Canyon with its high cliffs, Zontik Waterfall, and the ruins of Hunot and Gtichavank monastery.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Artsaj para niños

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