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Medieval history of Nakhchivan


The ancient land of Nakhchivan, located on the banks of the Araz River, with its rich history, has endowed the treasury of world culture with invaluable personalities. Nakhchivan, which is located above the Araz River due to its geographical conditions, was of great strategic importance. It is as if the Araz River has become the center of Nakhchivan’s recognition in the world. Ancient manuscripts provide brief information about the shape and content of the Araz River. Let us look at the sentence of a part of the manuscript about the Araz River, translated by Mahmud Shirvani in the 16th century, as an example in Ibn al-Wardi’s “Haridat al-Ajaib and Faridat al-Qaraib”, a well-known scholar of the East.

Indeed, rich archival materials of history are hidden in an area along the Araz River, where the cities and villages of Nakhchivan are located. “Nakhchivan and Ordubad are mentioned as the cities of Nakhchivan region from the sources of both Ottoman and earlier periods. Since the second half of the 16th century, Julfa has been added to the list of cities. It is true that Ottoman narrative sources indicate that Julfa was a “fortress”, but the “Müfessel Defter” (detailed books) of the Iravan province of 1590 and the Nakhchivan pin of 1727 state that Julfa was a “village”.

Manuscripts about the ancient history of Nakhchivan

Today, we have a very valuable work, the “Nahçıvan sancağının müfessel defteri”, which testifies to the perseverance, steadfastness and zeal of the people of ancient Nakhchivan. Although persecuted by certain foreign invaders, the people of Nakhchivan quickly developed and prospered.
As always, the people of Nakhchivan took an active part in the protection of their national and spiritual values ​​in the XVI-XVIII centuries and took important steps for the benefit of their religion. Due to this, in the XVI-XVIII centuries, Nakhchivan became a typical Muslim city, military-administrative, trade and art center. During this period, 3 came in Nakhchivan; mosque-Kizil Arslan, mosque-Muhammad Kendxuda, mosque-Sharif and 10 mosques; Aga Mosque, Haji Khalil Mosque, Kechachi Mosque, Molla Ahmad Quarter Mosque, Sultan Mahmud Mosque, Haji Sani Mosque, Basri Mosque, Sheikh Aminaddin Mosque, Atmalik Mosque, Ismayilan Mosques were functioning. Until recently, the Kizil Arslan Mosque, which remained on the edge of the “Momuna-Khatun” mausoleum, was neglected and destroyed during the Soviet era.

Translated Nakhchivan manuscripts are of great importance in the opening of individual historical documents. As an example of such publications, it is possible to cite the work of Elmira Seyidbeyli “Kangarli archeographic documents of the XVII-XVIII centuries on Nakhchivan land ownership”. Great personalities who made invaluable contributions to the development of medieval Nakhchivan medical science grew up in manuscript texts. One of them was Najmaddin Ahmad ibn Abubakr Nakhchivani, a well-known philosopher and physician in the Eastern world. Well-known scientist in the Middle East, being a great philosopher and thinker of his time, he also had a rich knowledge in the field of medicine. Ibn al-Ibri (1226-1286), a student of Nasreddin Tusi, wrote about the famous scholar Najmaddin Nakhchivani: “He was a man of great virtue, a profound connoisseur of the exact sciences. He was engaged in philosophy in his homeland. He traveled to many countries of the world, eventually entering Asia Minor, holding senior positions, and then, with administrative worries, his sufferings overwhelmed him. From there, he left for Syria. ” According to the sources, the great philosopher-physician gave up at the end of his life and did not go anywhere. Only his friends visited him. Mohammad Bagir Khansari (1811-1895) wrote about the birth of the Nakhchivan philosopher and physician, as well as the great thinker-scientist in ancient Nakhchivan: “He was a great person from Nakhchivan and wrote commentaries on the works of Ibn Sina.”

Manuscript sources write about the philosopher and physician Najmaddin Nakhchivani, a representative of the medieval philosophical heritage of Nakhchivan: “As a philosopher, Nakhchivani was a perfect connoisseur of Eastern peripateticism, but he was not a consistent Aristotelian. He critically examined Ibn Sina’s books and protested against some of his doctrines. One of the most controversial philosophical issues was selfishness. Believing in the existence of the nafs (soul, human desires) after the destruction of the human body, Nakhchivani, as opposed to the Eastern peripatetics, had a strong inclination to “the doctrine of intercourse,” as Ibn al-Ibrani noted.

In the thirteenth century, the Jewish philosopher Ibn Kammuna, like others, tried to reconcile the critical views directed against him with peripatetic philosophy by commenting on the works of N. Nakhchivani. Khujandi did not accept N.Nakhchivani’s criticism of Ibn Sina’s teaching. The philosopher had several well-known works that attracted the attention of the world. A manuscript of his treatise, The Essence of Logic and a Summary of Philosophy (Lubab al-logic and summary al-Hikmat), is preserved in Najaf. His commentary on Ibn Sina’s Law of Medicine (al-Qanun fi-tibb) is kept in Paris, and his commentary on the book Signs and Notes (al-Isharat wat-talbihat) is kept in Istanbul.

As you look at the historical roots of medieval manuscripts about Nakhchivan, you once again witness a complete certainty. We read in the sources: “In the XI-XII centuries, art was significantly developed in Azerbaijan. Musicology as a subject was based on mathematics. In the 11th century, along with other contemporaries, Abulhasan Bahmanyar also showed a special interest in musicology and wrote a separate treatise on it. At that time, talented artists in the field of architecture and calligraphy were trained. Ajami Abubakr oglu Nakhchivani, who built the tombs of Yusif ibn Qusayr in Nakhchivan in 1162 and Momina Khatun, the wife of Atabay Muhammad Jahan Pahlavan 1186, is one of the great artists of the 12th century. These monuments, decorated from the very beginning with geometric patterns and inscriptions, embody different types of fine arts.