Travelling among the mountains and plains of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, you will discover breathtaking landscapes, ancient monuments and quaint villages nestling in scenic valleys. The towns and cities of this region also boast a host of historical and cultural sites, tidy squares and inimitable hospitality.
The capital of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Nakhchivan City, is 536 km from Baku, near the border with Iran and close to the Nakhchivan River. It is one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan: folk legend says it originated around the time of Noah and that Noah himself laid the foundations of the city after the Great Flood. Noah’s Mausoleum is preserved in the southern part of the city while the Mausoleum of Yusuf ibn Kuseyr (1162), the Alinja-Gala Fortress (11th-13th centuries), the majestic Khan Palace (18th century) and other historical sites make up a small part of the historical heritage of this ancient region. Nakhchivan is also a centre for health tourism thanks to the salt caves of Duzdag Mountain and the various mineral springs located here.
The town of Ordubad is the second most important population centre in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. Located in the foothills of the Zangezur range, on the banks of the Ordubadchay River and on the slopes of the canyon of the same name, Ordubad is a small town with a population of slightly over 10,000. The region is best known for the rock paintings on Gemigaya Mountain located 60 km to the south of Ordubad; this place is second only to Gobustan in Azerbaijan for its concentration of petroglyphs.
This area is located in the west of Nakhchivan and borders with both Armenia and Iran. Despite the fact the city itself is young, this area is the location of ancient settlements: excavations carried out in Arpachay and the valleys of the Araz River have uncovered the remains of Bronze Age settlements. The name 'Sharur' is mentioned as the name of one of the clans in the Book of Dede Korkut. Gizgalasi and Oglangalasi, located on mountaintops, are the top archeological monuments of the region and thought to be from the Bronze Age and the beginning of Iron Age.
The Shahbuz region is located in the north of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and its centre is Shakhbuz city, where ancient sites have been found in close proximity: unusual dwellings consisting of four rooms and a balcony cut out of the wall. At an altitude of 1,400 metres visitors can the picturesque area of Badamli where you will also find the plant that bottles Badamli mineral water, which is distributed around Azerbaijan. At the source of the Nakhchivanchay River at an altitude of 2,500 metres above sea level in the mountains of the Shakhbuz region lies the picturesque Lake Batabat, known for its floating peat island.
This is the youngest region in Nakhchivan, established in 2004, and got its name from the Turkish Albanian Kengerli people. In the north the district borders with Armenia and in the south with Iran. The climate here is sharply continental – very hot in summer and very cold in winter. Garabaglar village ('the Great Gardens') is located on a picturesque slope of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains and was one of the ancient cultural centres of Nakhchivan. The UNESCO-protected mausoleum complex here is a typical example of the renowned Nakhchivan architectural school.