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Manuscripts about the ancient history of Nakhchivan

In the manuscripts, the history of Nakhchivan as the first place of residence and urban development can be traced back to antiquity. Throughout history, This area has been famous in the world for its urban artists. The magnificent monuments built by architect Ajami Nakhchivani are considered to be unique pearls of art of the whole East. The toponyms existing in Nakhchivan are connected with a number of Eastern myths. Even the name of Nakhchivan is connected with the name of the prophet Noah.

Нахчыван: основные направления развития и достижения автономного государства

Նախիջևանի Ինքնավար Հանրապետություն

Researchers believe that these places were once called “Huhchular”. Later, the word was changed to “Nakhchivan”. Researchers based on Arabic-Persian sources connect the word Nakhchivan with the word “Naqshi-jahan” (“Pattern of the World”) in Arabic and Persian. This word: as the first place of residence and urban development, it is the cradle of world culture. This antiquity allows us to say that Nakhchivan was not only an ancient Turkic land, but also a center of culture, art, economy and trade of the East.The local Turkic tribes called him “Nuhchu” in Turkish, and the Eastern merchants who built trade routes here called him “Naqshi-jahan”. In the famous book “Oguzname” of the Oghuz Turks, the lands of Nakhchivan are presented as the land of Azerbaijan. Fazlullah Rashidaddin’s “Oguzname” in the book “Cameil-tavarikh” describes the marches of Oguz, the father of the Oghuz Turks. In the book, the author gives Nakhchivan as part of Arran or Shirvan provinces.

The borders of the Albanian-Arran state, which has a history of more than a thousand years, passed along the Araz River and Nakhchivan was one of the main fortifications of that state. The famous world traveler Evliya Chalabi in her “Travelogue” notes that Nakhchivan district was once created by Alp Er Tunga. Alp Er Tunga is considered the ancestor of all Turks. In Firdovsi’s “Shahnameh” his name is given as Afrasiyab. Firdovsi praises him as the king of Turan. It is a historical fact that Nakhchivan is mentioned in manuscript sources as the first urban settlement. Moi’s encyclopedia states that “Nakhchivan, as the oldest urban settlement in the Caucasus, dates back to very ancient tribes.”

In other sources, in Ali Akbar Dehkhuda’s “Dictionary”, the name of Nakhchivan was given in the sense of “Nakhchivan” – “hunter, lover of hunting, friend of the hunter and hunter.” The other name of this city was formerly “Nashavi”. The master of words was Hindushah from this historical land, who said: “The name of Nakhchivan was Nashavi, Naqchevan”.
As we have noted, Nakhchivan has long been one of the world’s cultural centers. In addition, we can say that Nakhchivan was also the cradle of literature. It is no coincidence that Nakhchivan is mentioned in ancient historical and literary sources. Herodotus, considered the “father of history”, gave the legends of Astyages and Tomiris in his book History. The events he describes also take place in Nakhchivan.


Nakhchivan toponyms are mentioned in the epos “Kitabi-Dada Gorgud” which appeared in the VII century AD. The 10th stanza of the saga is called “Ushun Goja oglu Sagrayin boyu” and it is narrated that Ushun Goja’s eldest son Agrek was captured and imprisoned on his way to Alinja fortress. His brother Sagrek grows up and saves him from prison. Some readers who do not know the historical facts may think that Alinja fortress was a foreign country at that time. In fact, the issue is completely different. In the saga, all events take place in the Oghuz provinces. It is the religion that separates them. Such dimensions also reflect historical realities. In the 7th and 8th centuries, not all Oghuzs converted to Islam. The fortress of Alinja was also considered the territory of the Turks who did not convert to Islam. Later, the Babek movement started from these sides and was remembered with bloody battles against the caliphate. In those battles, the Oghuzs, who did not convert to Islam, were more active.

In the 11th century, Nakhchivan was the central city of the Ravvadis state, and official representatives of the state settled in Nakhchivan. Famous poets such as Asadi Tusi and Qatran Tabrizi functioned in their palace. The legends about Asadi Tusi, originally from Tus, directly clarify the history of Nakhchivan in the 11th century. Asadi Tusi, the teacher of Firdovsi, the author of the famous epic “Shahnameh” who escaped from hunger and poverty in Khorasan, took refuge in the ruler of Nakhchivan-Ravvadi Abu Dulaf. Abu Dulaif greeted him very warmly and said that he had great respect for poetry and art. The ruler of Nakhchivan says in a conversation that you are famous for writing epic poems. Let’s write the epic “Garshaspname” reflecting the historical past and heroism of our Nakhchivan people. At the request of the ruler, Assad wrote the famous epic “Garshaspname” from 1054 to 1056 and dedicated it to Abu Dulaif.

Fakhri Gurgani, who lived in the 11th century and wrote the poem “Vis and Ramin”, also included Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan in the geographical areas he described in his work. The image of the smart, beautiful Rose depicted in the poem is an Azerbaijani girl. The country where he lives is Azerbaijan-Nakhchivan. Since the 12th century, Nakhchivan has been part of the Atabeylar state. At that time, the residence of the Atabeys was in Nakhchivan. Atabay Eldeniz’s wife and sons Jahan Pahlavan and the mother of the Kızıl Arslan, Momina Khatun, also died here, and in the same century, the famous architect Ajami built the “Momina Khatun” mausoleum over his grave.

“Poets such as al-Farabi, Mujiraddin Beylagani, Asiraddin Aksikati, Abu Bakr ibn Khosrov, Ashhari, a close friend of the famous doctor Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi and doctor Ekmeleddin al-Nakhchivani lived and created in the palace of the Atabeys, and the great Nizami was connected with their palace.” Nizami Ganjavi dedicated his famous poem “Khosrov and Shirin” to the rulers of Atabay. Abu Bakr ibn Khosrov, a friend of the poet and a famous writer of the time, was from Ganja. He often went to Ganja. In the palace he brought up the children of the Atabeys. He brought up the famous Jahan Pahlavan and the Kızıl Arslan from his childhood and taught them various sciences. His work “Munisname” is also intended as a textbook in madrassas.