Nakhchivan? Where?? Armenia/Azerbaijan | The Family Without Borders

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Nakhchivan? Where??

Armenia: Border to Nakhchivan (Azerbaijani: Naxçıvan Muxtar Respublikası)

How many of you knows what this Nakhchivan is? Where is it exactly, how big, how beautiful? From this post you will get to know why even we didn’t visit this autonomous republic.

The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (in Azerbaijani: Naxçıvan Muxtar Respublikası) is a landlocked enclave of Azerbaijan. It has three borders: with Armenia, with Iran and funny 15 km with Turkey. That was our plan: to get there from Turkish side. Why? Because we didn’t apply for visa to Iran (and then we wouldn’t like to drive around), because from Armenia it is impossible to get there and because we didn’t want to pay for flight from Baku (which is very cheap for locals, but not cheap at all for foreigners).

Nakhchivan is again not an easy topic. Has a long history, dating all the way back to 1500 BC, but then two main versions of this history: Armenian and Azeri. I will even not try to describe what have happened when, not to start a fight with any of my friends from both sides. There is many variations of even the name Nakhchivan: including Nakhichevan, Naxcivan, Naxçivan, Nachidsheuan, Nakhijevan, Nakhchawan, Nakhitchevan, Nakhjavan or Nakhdjevan. That’s why we wanted to check the place out on our own. Unfortunately we got only one-entry visa to Azerbaijan which means, after leaving the main body of the country (and after visiting Georgia, Armenia, Georgia again and Turkey) we would need another visa. It’s a big pity, because now I can tell you only few interesting facts, without stories of real
people, photos and recent news.

There is not many foreigners out there. 99% of populations are Azeris. Very interesting information which I found is that Nakhchivan became the first part of Soviet Union which officially declared independence (just few weeks before Lithuania). It didn’t last long, Nakhchivan soon joined the rest of Azerbaijan, but still.

Today, Nakhchivan retains its autonomy as the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and is internationally recognized as a constituent part of Azerbaijan governed by its own elected parliament. But it doesn’t mean that those to parliaments are always at the same side. In the late 1990s Nakhchivan’s parliament recognized the sovereignty of the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and calling upon Azerbaijan to do so. While sympathetic to the TRNC, Azerbaijan has not followed it because doing so would prompt the Republic of Cyprus to recognize the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Nakhchivan is important for Azerbaijan not only because of tradition and cultural heritage. Heydar Aliyev, the former president of Azerbaijan and father of the current one, was born there. I’m really curious if there is even more billboards with his face in Nakhchivan City than in Baku? Anybody knows?

Our first book is out!

We have published our first book (for now just in Polish:) about our Central America Trip.
See, read and order here »


  • jamila
    Posted March 26, 2012 at 11:58 | Permalink

    i would like to come our nakhchyvan city/ you can come by turkey border/

    • Posted July 16, 2015 at 20:19 | Permalink

      Wow. This is a marvellous article. I backpacked through Azerbaijan a few years back but we didn’t make it to Naxivan as it was geographically disconnected. It’s definitely on my list though as I’ve been to a few other autonomous areas like Nagorno Karabakh and Transnistria. Thanks for sharing. Safe travels. Jonny

  • Posted February 2, 2016 at 20:21 | Permalink

    Nakhichevan is Armenian. It is derived from “Nakh” which means “first” in Armenian, and “Ichevan” which is “place of landing” in Armenian. Just because Azeri turks/tatars/mongols killed off the original Armenian inhabitants and occupy it currently doesn’t means its not ours. Armenia has leased it to Azergayjan temporarily, but when the next war starts, all the mongols will flee to turkey and Nakhichevan will unite with Armenia once again. These mongols turks and azeris try to destroy all our ancient culture and landmarks or claim it as theirs. Its a continuation of the genocide of the Armenians.

    • Oleg
      Posted March 1, 2016 at 12:11 | Permalink

      Hello Aram,

      So pretty much Nakhichevan means “first place of landing”
      What I got so far is that this is probably the first city built after the flood.
      “first place of landing” of what? possibly Noahs Ark

  • Arif
    Posted May 20, 2016 at 21:32 | Permalink

    Nakhchivan has always been constituent part of Azerbaijan. When Russia decided to create an armenian state between Azerbaijan and Turkey (in order to cease their communication) they brought armenians from Syria, Iran and Turkey and offered them to settle in Karabakh, Nakhchivan and Iravan (currently Yerevan) provinces of Azerbaijan. However, armenians refused to settle in Nakhchivan because of its rough climate. There has never been armenian settlement in Nakhchivan, despite there have been five ethnic armenian minorities within the Karabakh khanlig (kingdom) in 18th century.
    I’ve been in Nakhchivan, I’d say its clean and neat sea. Even cleaner than Baku :) Locals believe that it has been a place where Noah’s Ark first landed. There is even tomb (Nuh Yurdu) that locals believe prophet Noah has died there (or has been buried there, I don’t remember exactly).
    I don’t remember the billboard but I’m sure they have some as well:)
    If you visit Nakhchivan, you must visit Duzdag cave (wellness and Speleotherapy center)


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