Kalbajar (Azerbaijani: Kəlbəcər, Kurdish: Kelbecer) is a rayon of Azerbaijan. Kalbajar is an Old Turkic name meaning Castle on the mouth of the river. The entire region is now under the control of Armenian forces who call the western half Karvajar. The eastern half is part of Nagorno-Karabakh, making up part of the province of Martakert. The Azeri population of Kalbajar were displaced by the fighting and currently live as internally displaced persons in other regions of Azerbaijan.
As of 1989:
The Armenian name of the district is Karvachar (Armenian: Քարվաճառ), which corresponds to the ancient district of Vaykunik, one of 12 cantons of Artsakh (historical Nagorno-Karabakh). It was also known as Upper-Khachen or Tsar (after its chief town) and was ruled by one of the branches of the House of Khachen, who held it until the Russian conquest of the Karabakh region in the early 19th century.
As a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the area was taken by Armenian forces in 1992. Subsequently the Azeri population fled the region.
Karvachar is rich in Armenian monuments numbering close to 750, which include monasteries, churches, chapels, fortresses, khachkars and inscriptions. The most important of them is the monastery of Dadivank.
Under Armenian control
The district was made into the province of Shahumyan, one of the 8 provinces of NKR. The province remains the least populated of the NKR provinces with a total population of 2,800. The town of Karvachar is home to 500 people.
- Институт научной информации (Академия наук СССР), Всесоюзный институт научной и технической информации. Реферативный журнал: География, Выпуски 5-6.. — Издательство Академии наук СССР, 1975. — С. 36.
Топоним Кельбаджар (азерб. Кəльбəҹəр) раньше имел форму «Кэблəчəр», состоит из древнетюркского «кевли» — устье реки и «чер» — крепость.
- Robert H. Hewsen, Armenia: A Historical Atlas. The University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 40, 101-102, 264-265.
- Armeniapedia, Karvachar