Kalbajar District

Coordinates: 40°06′24″N 46°02′18″E / 40.1067°N 46.0383°E / 40.1067; 46.0383
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Kalbajar District
Map of Azerbaijan showing Kalbajar District (red) with parts controlled by the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (light red)
Map of Azerbaijan showing Kalbajar District (red) with parts controlled by the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh (light red)
Country Azerbaijan
RegionEast Zangezur
Established8 August 1930
 • GovernorAzer Gojayev[2]
 • Total3,050 km2 (1,180 sq mi)
 • Total94,100
 • Density31/km2 (80/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+4 (AZT)
Postal code

Kalbajar District (Azerbaijani: Kəlbəcər rayonu) is one of the 66 districts of Azerbaijan.[4] It is located in the west of the country and belongs to the East Zangezur Economic Region.[5] The district borders the districts of Lachin, Khojaly, Agdam, Tartar, Goranboy, Goygol and Dashkasan districts of Azerbaijan, as well as the Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor provinces of Armenia. Its capital and largest city is Kalbajar. As of 2020, the district had a nominal population of 94,100.[3]


Dadivank monastery

In Turkic Kalbajar means "Castle on the mouth of the river".[6] The city of Kalbajar was renamed to Karvachar (Armenian: Քարվաճառ) after its occupation in the First Nagorno-Karabakh war, which corresponds to the ancient district of Vaykunik, one of 12 cantons of Artsakh.[7][clarification needed] 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.[7] In 1992, Azerbaijan abolished the Mardakert District of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, and its western part was included in the Kalbajar district.[8]

Armenian occupation[edit]

As a result of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, the area was occupied by Armenian forces on April 3, 1993. The district was declared a part of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, although it continued to be recognized by United Nations as a territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan.[9] The Azerbaijani population of Kalbajar were displaced and lived as internally displaced persons in other regions of Azerbaijan. The district was made into the Shahumyan Province, one of the eight regions of NKR. The region remained the least populated of the NKR regions with a total population of 2,800. The town of Kalbajar was home to 500 Armenian residents.[citation needed]

Return to Azerbaijan[edit]

Under the terms of the agreement that ended the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh War, most of the district (i.e. Kelbajar district within its Soviet time borders) returned to Azerbaijani control. The eastern part of the district, which was part of Martakert Province, remained under the control of the Republic of Artsakh. Initially, the western part was to be returned to Azerbaijani control by 15 November 2020, but this deadline was subsequently extended to 25 November 2020.[10][11] In the early hours of November 25, Azerbaijani forces entered the region; it was the second region to be returned to Azerbaijan per the ceasefire agreement.[12]

Cultural monuments[edit]

The district has close to 750 Armenian cultural monuments, which include monasteries, churches, chapels, fortresses, khachkars and inscriptions.[7] The most well-known is the monasteries of Dadivank and Gandzasar.[7]


"Kalbajar-1" hydropower station

In 2022, the small 4.4 MW hydroelectric power plant Kelbajar-1 was taken into operation.[13]


At the beginning of the 17th century, most of the Armenians of the region, roughly corresponding to the territory of the region, were deported to Iran, and Kurds began to settle in the region.[14]

According to the "Statistical Data on the Population of the Transcaucasian Territory, extracted from the family lists of 1886", on the territory of the Avrayan, Ayrum, Asrik, Koturli, Farakhkanli and Chirakhli rural communities of the Jevanshir uezd of the Elizavetpol Governorate, corresponding to the territory of the Kelbajar region (within its Soviet borders), overall, there were 6446 Kurds and 919 Tatars (later known as Azerbaijanis), all of the Shiite religion.[4]

According to the 1926 census, Kurds made up 99.8%, and Turks (later known as Azerbaijanis) - only 0.5% of the population of the Kelbajar district of the Kurdistan uezd, while for the majority of the population the native language was Turkic (later known as Azerbaijani).[15]

In 1933, Turks (i.e. Azerbaijanis) accounted for 100% of the total population of the Bashlybel, Asrik, Kilsala, Otaklar, Kamyshli, Kylychli village councils, more than 99% of the Seidlar, Synykh-Kilisalinsky, Zarsky, Zulfugarli village councils, as well as more than 90% of the Kelbajar and Keshtak village councils. Also, Azerbaijanis made up 50.6% of the Chirakh village council, while 44.4% were Kurds. Only in the Aghjakent village council Kurds made up the majority - 90.9%.[16]

According to the 1939 census, 89.5% of the region's population were Azerbaijanis.[17]

As of 1979 the region had a population of 40,516:[18]

In 1980, the population excluding Nagorno Karabakh was 40,300, counting 124 settlements.[19] 8 of these settlements were Kurdish.

The population grew to 43,713 by 1989.[20]

As of 1999, the population in the Kalbajar District including part of the now-abolished Mardakert District was 66,211, however the census counts were not carried out in Armenian-occupied parts of Kalbajar:[18]

During Armenian occupation[edit]

Starting in the early 2000s, the district was slowly repopulated by Armenian settlers from eastern Shahumyan and Gulustan area.[21]

According to 2005 census carried out by the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh, 2,560 Armenians were living in the western part of the Shahumyan Province, which roughly corresponded to the Soviet Kalbajar District.[22] The number grew to 2,800 by 2006.[23]

By 2015, the number of Armenians who had settled in the district had grown to 3,090 according to the statistics provided by Artsakh.[24]

However, the international observers provided different figures. An OSCE Fact-Finding Mission visited the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in 2005 to inspect settlement activity in the area and report its findings to the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. According to FFM figures, at that time the number of Armenian settlers in Kalbajar District was approximately 1,500.[25] The OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, who conducted a Field Assessment Mission to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in October 2010 reported that there was no significant growth in the population since 2005.[26]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "İnzibati-ərazi vahidləri" (PDF). preslib.az. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  2. ^ "İcra Hakimiyyətinin Başçısı". kelbecer-ih.gov.az. Retrieved 14 June 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Population of Azerbaijan". stat.gov.az. State Statistics Committee. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Azərbaycanın regionları" (in Azerbaijani). Archived from the original on 2009-11-14.
  5. ^ "Azərbaycan Respublikasında iqtisadi rayonların yeni bölgüsü haqqında Azərbaycan Respublikası Prezidentinin Fərmanı » Azərbaycan Prezidentinin Rəsmi internet səhifəsi". president.az.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ a b c d Robert H. Hewsen, Armenia: A Historical Atlas. The University of Chicago Press, 2001, pp. 40, 101–102, 264–265.
  8. ^ "Государственный комитет по статистике Азербайджанской Республики". Archived from the original on 2009-11-14.
  9. ^ United Nations Security Council Session 3313 Resolution 884. Resolution 884 (1993) / adopted by the Security Council at its 3313th meeting, on 12 November 1993. S/48/PV.3313 1993-11-12.
  10. ^ "Azerbaijanis celebrate Karabakh deal". aa.com.tr. Anadolu Agency. 10 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Азербайджан дал Армении отсрочку на вывод войск из Кельбаджара". РБК (in Russian). Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  12. ^ "Azerbaijani Forces Enter Second District Returned By Armenia Under Nagorno-Karabakh Truce". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  13. ^ "President Ilham Aliyev attended opening of "Kalbajar-1" Small Hydroelectric Power Station VIDEO". azertag.az. 2022. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  14. ^ Hewsen R. H. Armenia: A Historical Atlas. — University of Chicago Press, 2001. - P. 265.

    Though remote, Tsar nevertheless suffered from the deportations of Shah 'Abbas in the early seventeenth century and was almost denuded of its Armenian inhabitants. Eventually, Kurds settled the area, as they did in the district of Kashat'agh across the Karabagh (Arts'akh) Mountains to the south.

  15. ^ "Этнокавказ. Национальный состав населения Курдистанского уезда по переписи 1926 года - Курдистанский уезд 1926". web.archive.org (in Russian). 2020-08-23. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  16. ^ Административное деление АССР. Б.: Издание АзУНХУ. 1933. pp. 41–42.
  17. ^ К. Т. Каракашлы (1965). "Из истории общественного строя населения Малого Кавказа" (2) (Азербайджанский этнографический сборник ed.): 59, 60. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ a b "население азербайджана". www.ethno-kavkaz.narod.ru. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  19. ^ Müller, D. (2000). "The Kurds of Soviet Azerbaijan, 1920–91". Central Asian Survey. 1. 19: 41–77. doi:10.1080/713656178. S2CID 144200659. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Демоскоп Weekly – Приложение. Справочник статистических показателей". www.demoscope.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  21. ^ The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: A Legal Analysis. Heiko Krüger. Springer, 2010. ISBN 3642117872, 9783642117879. p. 102
  22. ^ "THE RESULTS OF 2005 OF THE NAGORNO-KARABAGH REPUBLIC, Part 2, Chapter 1, Table 1.1 NKR De Facto and De Jure Population by Administrative Territorial Distribution and Sex" (PDF). p. 23. Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  23. ^ Statistical yearbook of NKR, Population (PDF) (Report). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-27. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  24. ^ "THE RESULTS OF 2015 POPULATION CENSUS OF THE NAGORNO-KARABAGH REPUBLIC, Chapter 2, Table 1.2 NKR de facto and de jure population (urban, rural) according to administrative-territorial division and residence status" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-02-01.
  25. ^ "Report of the OSCE Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan Surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh (NK)" (PDF). OSCE. 28 February 2005. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  26. ^ "Report of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs' Field Assessment Mission to the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan Surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh". OSCE Minsk Group. 24 March 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2021.

40°06′24″N 46°02′18″E / 40.1067°N 46.0383°E / 40.1067; 46.0383