Agdam

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Coordinates: 39°59′35″N 46°55′50″E / 39.99306°N 46.93056°E / 39.99306; 46.93056

Ağdam
Juma Mosque Agdam1.JPG
Ağdam is located in Azerbaijan
Ağdam
Ağdam
Coordinates: 39°59′35″N 46°55′50″E / 39.99306°N 46.93056°E / 39.99306; 46.93056
Country
RayonAgdam
Elevation
369 m (1,211 ft)
Time zoneUTC+4
 • Summer (DST)UTC+5

Ağdam (also spelled Agdam or Aghdam) is a ghost town in the southwest part of Azerbaijan and the capital of Agdam District, today controlled by the de facto Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, but de jure internationally recognized territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.[1] Founded in the early 19th century, it grew considerably during the Soviet period and had 39,200 inhabitants by 1991.[2] Armenian forces captured Agdam in July 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[3] The heavy fighting forced the entire population to flee eastwards. Upon seizing the city, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) forces destroyed much of the town to discourage Azerbaijanis from returning. More damage occurred in the following decades when locals looted the abandoned town for building materials. It is currently almost entirely ruined and uninhabited.[4]

In November 2010 it was renamed by the NKR government to Akna (Armenian: Ակնա).[5][6] It is administratively part of the town of Askeran, which is located some 10 km away.[7]

Etymology[edit]

The city’s name is of Azerbaijani origin, meaning "white house", where means "white" and dam is "house" or "attic", thus referring to a "bright sun-lit, white house" which was given by Panah Ali Khan of the Karabakh Khanate.[8] Another possibility presented by Azerbaijani authors is that it was derived from ancient Turkic glossary meaning "small fortress".

History[edit]

Agdam Mosque on Azerbaijani stamp (depicted as it looked before the Karabakh war)

Agdam was founded in the 18th century and granted city status in 1828.[9] It is 26 km (16 miles) from Stepanakert (Khankendi). Before the Nagorno-Karabakh War, butter, wine and brandy, machine factories and a railway station functioned there.[10][11]

Nagorno-Karabakh War[edit]

Nature slowly reclaiming the ruins

Agdam was the scene of brutal fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to journalist Robert Parsons, Azerbaijani forces used Agdam as a base for attacks on Karabakh, launching BM-21 Grad rockets and bombing raids from there against civilians.[12] [13] As the city fell, almost its entire population fled eastward.[14]

The Armed Forces of Armenia still use the city as a buffer zone, meaning that Ağdam remains empty and decaying, and usually off-limits for sightseeing.[15][16]

Post-war years[edit]

The ruined city once had a population of almost 40,000 people,[17] but today it is an almost entirely uninhabited ghost town.[18] According to Azerbaijani sources, one of the buildings to be stripped of materials is the Agdam Mosque, which has been converted into a barn for cattle and pigs. Its derelict condition, including a missing roof, drew criticism from Azerbaijani and Turkish communities, who wrote a letter in 2010 to Pope Benedict XVI asking him to warn Armenians (though Armenians predominantly follow a church which broke with Rome in the 6th century) about the situation.[19]

In June 2010 Andrei Galafyev, a photographer who visited the mosque in 2007, reported that "The floor in the mosque is entirely dirtied with manure of cattle, which wanders on the ruins of Agdam in daytime". His photographs showed cattle within the mosque. This report generated criticism from Azerbaijani newspapers and a Turkish organization, who complained, claiming that the mosque is being used as a cowshed and pigpen.

In November 2010 the government of Nagorno-Karabakh announced that the mosque and its surroundings had been cleaned. They also announced that the mosque of Agdam, as well as the mosques of Shusha, have been refurbished.

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Agdam
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.2
(43.2)
7.0
(44.6)
11.2
(52.2)
18.6
(65.5)
23.1
(73.6)
27.8
(82.0)
31.3
(88.3)
30.1
(86.2)
25.9
(78.6)
19.1
(66.4)
13.0
(55.4)
8.6
(47.5)
18.5
(65.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.3
(36.1)
2.8
(37.0)
6.1
(43.0)
12.3
(54.1)
16.1
(61.0)
20.4
(68.7)
24.6
(76.3)
23.3
(73.9)
18.6
(65.5)
13.5
(56.3)
8.2
(46.8)
4.1
(39.4)
12.7
(54.9)
Average low °C (°F) −0.9
(30.4)
0.0
(32.0)
3.2
(37.8)
8.9
(48.0)
13.5
(56.3)
17.8
(64.0)
21.2
(70.2)
20.0
(68.0)
16.4
(61.5)
10.6
(51.1)
5.8
(42.4)
1.5
(34.7)
9.8
(49.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 15
(0.6)
24
(0.9)
32
(1.3)
48
(1.9)
73
(2.9)
64
(2.5)
33
(1.3)
27
(1.1)
30
(1.2)
50
(2.0)
32
(1.3)
19
(0.7)
447
(17.6)
Average precipitation days 4 6 7 7 10 7 3 3 4 6 5 4 66
Source: NOAA[20]

Demographics[edit]

Year Population Ethnic groups Source
1923 1,660 [21]
1926 7,910 93.6% Azeri Soviet census[22]
1939 10,746 83.3% Azeri, 8.7% Russian, 5.3% Armenian Soviet census[23]
1959 16,061 92% Azeri, 3.6% Russian, 3.4% Armenian Soviet census[24]
1970 21,277 94.9% Azeri, 2% Russian & Ukrainian, 2% Armenian Soviet census[25]
1979 23,483 97% Azeri, 1.3% Russian & Ukrainian, 1.2% Armenian Soviet census[26]
1989 28,031 Soviet census[27]
1991 39,200 [21]
2005 0 [citation needed]

Economy[edit]

Before the Nagorno-Karabakh War, butter, wine and brandy, machine factories and a railway station functioned there.

Culture[edit]

Music and media[edit]

Mugham music, a tradition in the Karabakh region, is an important part of Agdam's musical heritage; the city was home to Agdam Mugham School, which produced "Karabakh nightingales" ensemble.[28][29]

Sport[edit]

Despite the invasion, the town is represented by a professional association football team competing in the top-flight of Azerbaijani football – Qarabağ FK, currently playing in the Azerbaijan Premier League.[30]

The Imarat Stadium, which was Agdam's only stadium, was also destroyed by bombardments from Armenian military forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[31][32][33]

Transport[edit]

Prior to the war, the city had bus and tram lines, which no longer function.[citation needed]

Education[edit]

Prior to the city’s destruction and subsequent abandonment, it contained 74 schools, none of which are functioning now.

Notable residents[edit]

Some of the city's notable former residents include military commanders Allahverdi Bagirov and Asif Maharammov, footballers Ramiz Mammadov, Mushfig Huseynov and Vüqar Nadirov, mugham singers Gadir Rustamov, Mansum Ibrahimov and Sakhavat Mammadov, actor Jeyhun Mirzayev, scientist Zakir Mammadov and singer Roya.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gai︠a︡nė Novikova (2004). The Nagorno Karabakh Conflict: In Search of the Way Out : To the Question of the Readiness of Azerbaijani and Armenian Societies to a Compromise Resolution of the Conflict. Amrots Group. p. 138. ISBN 9789994131273.
  2. ^ "Cities & towns of Azerbaijan". pop-stat.mashke.org. Retrieved 2020-10-18.
  3. ^ "Caucasus City Falls to Armenian Forces". The New York Times. 24 August 1993. In July, Armenian forces forced out the defenders of Agdam, Azerbaijan.
  4. ^ Specter, Michael (2 June 1994). "Azerbaijan, Potentially Rich, Is Impoverished by Warfare". The New York Times. Cities like Agdam have been emptied of people.
  5. ^ "Armenian separatists rename Azeri town". azernews.az. 3 November 2010.
  6. ^ "July 23 marks 21st anniv.Aghdam liberation". PanARMENIAN.Net. 23 July 2014.
  7. ^ Musayelyan, Lusine (26 April 2011). "Life Among Ruins of Caucasus' Hiroshima". Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
  8. ^ "Agdam city". Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  9. ^ Значение слова "Агдам" в Большой Советской Энциклопедии (in Russian). Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  10. ^ Агдам (Азербайджан). Landmarkers.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  11. ^ Girchenko, Yuriy. Юрий Гирченко. В Союзе все спокойно... (in Russian). Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  12. ^ Parsons, Robert (3 June 2000). "Tug-of-war for Nagorno-Karabakh". BBC News. Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  13. ^ Human Rights Watch. Azerbaijan: Seven years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. p.19.
  14. ^ Paul, Amanda. "Agdam – an Azerbaijani ghost town". Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011.
  15. ^ Hannigan, Chris. "Ghost Towns: Ağdam, Azerbaijan". Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  16. ^ Chauffor, Célia. "Report: Agdam, ghost city". Caucaz Europenewz. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Azerbaijani cities".
  18. ^ "20 Abandoned Cities from Around the World". Daily Cognition. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  19. ^ "Turks complain to Pope on vandalism in Karabakh mosque by Armenians". Archived from the original on 20 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010.
  20. ^ "Agdam Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Azərbaycan". pop-stat.mashke.org.
  22. ^ "Агдамский уезд 1926". ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru.
  23. ^ "Агдамский район 1939". ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru.
  24. ^ "Агдамский район 1959". ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru.
  25. ^ "Агдамский район 1970". ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru.
  26. ^ "Агдамский район 1979". ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru.
  27. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  28. ^ Shirinov, Elnur. ""Qarabağ bülbülləri" nin yaradıcısı kimdir". Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  29. ^ Золотой голос Карабаха – Гадир Рустамов. karabakhinfo.com (in Russian). Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
  30. ^ Adil Nadirov: «Bizi az qala döyüb öldürəcəkdilər" Archived 2016-03-19 at the Wayback Machine (20 April 2010) (in Azerbaijani)
  31. ^ Vaxt olmayan yer (in Azerbaijani) Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Ermənilərin xarabaya çevirdiyi Ağdamın «İmarət» stadionu Archived 2016-03-22 at the Wayback Machine (8 June 2010) (in Azerbaijani)
  33. ^ “Caqa” ikinci dəfə lotereyada uddu (in Azerbaijani) Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]