Agdam

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For other uses, see Agdam (disambiguation).

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

Ağdam
Ակնա, Akna
Skyline of AğdamԱկնա, Akna
AğdamԱկնա, Akna is located in Azerbaijan
AğdamԱկնա, Akna
Ağdam
Ակնա, Akna
Coordinates: 39°59′35″N 46°55′50″E / 39.99306°N 46.93056°E / 39.99306; 46.93056
Country
Rayon Agdam
Elevation 369 m (1,211 ft)

Ağdam (also spelled Agdam or Aghdam) is a ghost town in the southwest part of Azerbaijan and the formal capital of its Agdam District. Founded in the early 19th century, it grew considerably during the Soviet period and had 28,000 inhabitants by 1989. Armenian forces captured Agdam in July 1993 during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[1] 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.[2] A notable exception is the city's mosque, which is intact but is in a derelict condition.

In November 2010 it was renamed by the NKR government to Akna (Armenian: Ակնա).[3][4] It is administratively part of the town of Askeran, which is located some 10 km away.[5]

Etymology[edit]

The city's name is of Azerbaijani origin and means "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.[6] Another possibility is that it was derived from ancient Turkic glossary meaning "small fortress". In the distant past, Turkic speaking tribes built small fortresses for their protection and safety.[6]

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.[7] It is 26 km (16 miles) from Stepanakert. Before the Nagorno-Karabakh War, butter, wine and brandy, machine factories and a railway station functioned there.[8][9]

Nagorno-Karabakh War[edit]

Main article: Nagorno-Karabakh War
Nature slowly reclaiming the ruins

Agdam was the scene of fierce fighting during the Nagorno-Karabakh War. According to journalist Robert Parsons, Azerbaijani forces used Agdam as a base for attacks on Karabakh, launching BM-21 Grad missiles and bombing raids from there against civilians.[10] During the Battle of Aghdam, Armenian forces violated the rules of war by hostage-taking, indiscriminate fire, and the forcible displacement of civilians.[11] As the city fell, almost its entire population fled eastward.[12]

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.[13][14]

Post-war years[edit]

The ruined city once had a population of almost 40,000 people,[15] but today it is an almost entirely uninhabited ghost town.[16] All the houses are ruined, some by shells fired in the war, others due to looting for building materials.[17][18]

One of the few buildings to remain intact is Agdam Mosque. Its derelict condition drew criticism from Azerbaijani and Turkish communities, who complained to Pope Benedict XVI about the mosque's current situation.[19]

In 2008, the Lonely Planet's guidebook dubbed the city as "Caucasian Hiroshima".[20][21]

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)
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)
6.1
(43)
12.3
(54.1)
16.1
(61)
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)
3.2
(37.8)
8.9
(48)
13.5
(56.3)
17.8
(64)
21.2
(70.2)
20.0
(68)
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
(0.59)
24
(0.94)
32
(1.26)
48
(1.89)
73
(2.87)
64
(2.52)
33
(1.3)
27
(1.06)
30
(1.18)
50
(1.97)
32
(1.26)
19
(0.75)
447
(17.6)
Average precipitation days 4 6 7 7 10 7 3 3 4 6 5 4 66
Source: NOAA[22]

Demographics[edit]

Year Population Ethnic groups Source
1923 1,660 [23]
1926 7,910 93.6% Azeri Soviet census[24]
1939 10,746 83.3% Azeri, 8.7% Russian, 5.3% Armenian Soviet census[25]
1959 16,061 92% Azeri, 3.6% Russian, 3.4% Armenian Soviet census[26]
1970 21,277 94.9% Azeri, 2% Russian & Ukrainian, 2% Armenian Soviet census[27]
1979 23,483 97% Azeri, 1.3% Russian & Ukrainian, 1.2% Armenian Soviet census[28]
1989 28,031 Soviet census[29]
1991 39,200 [23]
2005 0 NKR census[23]

Economy[edit]

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.[30][31]

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.[32]

The Imarat Stadium, which was Agdam's only stadium, was also destroyed by bombardments from Armenian military forces during the Nagorno-Karabakh War.[33][34][35]

Transport[edit]

Education[edit]

Notable residents[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Category:People from Agdam.

Some of the city's many prestigious 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.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Caucasus City Falls to Armenian Forces". The New York Times. 24 August 1993. In July, Armenian forces forced out the defenders of Agdam, Azerbaijan, looting and burning the city. 
  2. ^ Specter, Michael (2 June 1994). "Azerbaijan, Potentially Rich, Is Impoverished by Warfare". The New York Times. Cities like Agdam have been emptied of people. 
  3. ^ "Armenian separatists rename Azeri town". azernews.az. 3 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "July 23 marks 21st anniv. of Akna (Aghdam) liberation". PanARMENIAN.Net. 23 July 2014. 
  5. ^ Musayelyan, Lusine (26 April 2011). "Life Among Ruins of Caucasus' Hiroshima". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. 
  6. ^ a b "Agdam city". Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Значение слова "Агдам" в Большой Советской Энциклопедии (in Russian). Soviet Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Агдам (Азербайджан). Landmarkers.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  9. ^ Girchenko, Yuriy. Юрий Гирченко. В Союзе все спокойно... (in Russian). Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Human Rights Watch. Azerbaijan: Seven years of conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. p.19.
  12. ^ Paul, Amanda. "Agdam – an Azerbaijani ghost town". Archived from the original on 19 May 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  13. ^ Hannigan, Chris. "Ghost Towns: Ağdam, Azerbaijan". Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Chauffor, Célia. "Report: Agdam, ghost city". Caucaz Europenewz. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  15. ^ Azerbaijani cities
  16. ^ "20 Abandoned Cities from Around the World". Daily Cognition. Retrieved 26 July 2010. 
  17. ^ Esslemont, Tom (25 June 2009). "Karabakh guns still at the ready". BBC News. Retrieved 26 July 2010. [dead link]
  18. ^ Armenians occupied Agdam cities listed among the ghosts
  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. ^ Lonely Planet Georgia, Armenia & Azerbaijan (Travel Guide). Lonely Planet Publications. 2008. p. 301. 
  21. ^ "Dark Tourism's Agdam". www.dark-tourism.com. Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Agdam Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  23. ^ a b c "Azərbaycan". pop-stat.mashke.org. 
  24. ^ http://www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru/agdam26.html
  25. ^ http://www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru/agdam39.html
  26. ^ http://www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru/agdam59.html
  27. ^ http://www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru/agdam70.html
  28. ^ http://www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru/agdam79.html
  29. ^ http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/sng89_reg1.php
  30. ^ Shirinov, Elnur. ""Qarabağ bülbülləri" nin yaradıcısı kimdir". Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  31. ^ Золотой голос Карабаха – Гадир Рустамов. karabakhinfo.com (in Russian). Retrieved 14 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Adil Nadirov: «Bizi az qala döyüb öldürəcəkdilər" (20 April 2010) (Azerbaijani)
  33. ^ Vaxt olmayan yer (Azerbaijani) Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ Ermənilərin xarabaya çevirdiyi Ağdamın «İmarət» stadionu (8 June 2010) (Azerbaijani)
  35. ^ “Caqa” ikinci dəfə lotereyada uddu (Azerbaijani) Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]