ARTSAKH, ARDZAKH: World of Tsavde, Minor Siunik, the 10th province of Greater Armenia at its eastern part. Initially, up to the 4th century, the province also included the eastern part of lake Sevan basin (Tsavdek or Sodk). The northern and central parts of Artsakh which are the main regions that compile the province belongs to Koor basin, while the southern part of it belongs to Araks (Yeraskh) basin, except for the eastern and south of Araks river vicinity plain areas, which were compiled of Milli field. The area is mainly mountainous (Karabakh or Artsakh, Mrav mountain ranges). It was bordered form the north and the east with Utik province, from the south with Paytakaran province and from the west with Siunik province. According to Ashkharhatsuyts (World demonstrator) it had 12 districts Mius Haband, Vaykoonik (Vakoonik), Berdzor (Berdadzor), Metsirank (Metsa-rank), Metskvank (Mets Kvenk), Harchlank (Hardjlank), Mookhank, Piank, Patskank (Parzkank), Koosti Parnes, Sisakani Kotak, Koght. 

Artsakh was one of the earliest centers of the Armenian nation. In the first half of the 8th century it was merged with the Kingdom of Van (Urartu); in the Urartian cuneiform inscriptions it was named Urtekhe. In later centuries, it remained continuously under the Armenian statehood of Orontid, Artaxiad and Arsacid dynasties. After the division of the Greater Armenia at 387 AD, Artsakh was part of the Eastern Armenian Kingdom, and after that was part of the Armenian Marzpanate. Seeking to weaken Armenia, the Persian royal court, like the other Armenian regions, Artsakh too had removed from the Persian Marzpanate at 451 AD, and attached to Aghvank region. Nevertheless, Artsakh continued to remain an Armenian territory, forming an important part of eastern Armenian lands, whose people were actively involved in the national life. By the approved leadership of Aranshahik (Yeranshahik) dynasty, the people were able to withstand the encroachments of foreign invaders. In the 10th century, when the Aranshahik dynasty has transferred the political center to Khachenaget (cross river) valley, the toponym Artsakh gradually was replaced with Khachen. While during 12-13th centuries, the foreign name “Gharabagh” has become the dominant toponym. The name “Artsakh” was reintroduced since 1988. 

Author of the article:

Gegham Badalyan.


Encyclopedia of Garabaghian liberation war “1988-1994”, Yerevan 2004 (in Armenian).


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