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Ordubad: an ancient city in the heart of Eurasia

By Peter Tase

On October 5th, 2014, I had the privilege to visit the city – region of Ordubad in Nakhchivan, the birth place province of Heydar Aliyev in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The center of Ordubad has breathtaking views, very welcoming people and a warm atmosphere to international visitors who unfortunately rarely travel to these areas of Azerbaijan.

The city of Ordubad has a historic building that dates back in the 17th century, namely the Qeyyseriye building, located near the bazar and currently used as a museum; it continues to be one of the three Qeyseriyye buildings in this region.

The other two buildings were in Samarkand and Tabriz. Since 1990 this building has been used as historical and ethnography museum.

Ordubad is a region with an ancient history and possesses specific national and moral values. It is located on the foothills of the Gapydjyg in the Minor Caucasus. Impressive mountains dominate the landscape; its smaller part consists of foothill areas and only 5 percent of flat areas. It has extremely rich flora and fauna. The settlement is mostly located on the foothill area and has abundant fresh water reserves that are used for irrigation and daily consumption. Ordubad borders Iran in the south, Armenia in the north and west, and Julfa region of Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan in the east and covers an area of 972 sq. km.

The borderlines of the city are still not established and defined exactly. Yet this area is considered one of the most ancient human settlements in the world and the place where humanity was shaped. The name of Ordubad is mentioned for the first time in the written sources of the 5th century. The Gemigaya Mountain, considered one of the great pantheons of the ancient world is also located in Ordubad. The mountain carvings and the settlements located here enable to trace back the cultural development and the lifestyle of the ancient population settled on the territory of Ordubad in the 7th through the 1st century B.C. The settlements and necropolises rich in the remnants of culture of the 2nd-1st millenniums B.C exist on the territory of such settlements as Ordubad, Sabirkend, Plovdagh and Kharaba Gilan. These remnants ensure the ancient establishment of Ordubad going back in more than seven thousand years ago.

In the early 18th century Ordubad was part of the Safavi Empire. In 1724 Ordubad was annexed by the Ottoman Empire and conquered by Iranian ruler Nadir Shah. Thousands of Ordubad residents became victims of Armenian terrorism and were subjected to persecution in the early 20th century.

The wonderful nature, enigmatic world and natural beauty raised the interest of a number of travelers in the 19-20th centuries. Russian scientist I. Shopen, Polish researcher A. Petzold, French writer A. Duma and others glorified this beauty and left Azerbaijan with great impressions from Ordubad.

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The land of Ordubad is characterized not only with its colorful beauty but also with famous people, art workers and world-famed scientists. The followers Nasreddin Tusi Mohamed bin Hasani, a famous astronomer, scientist, mathematician and poet, still live in Ordubad.

Ordubad is located at the junction of important trade routes that maintained trade relations with the Near East and Eastern Asia. The region is known for 40 different kinds of grapes. The silk had been exported from Ordubad to Venice, Marseille, Amsterdam and other towns in Europe beginning from the second half of the 16th century. The Ordubad silk has been presented with 13 gold medals at the international exhibitions and fairs held in the early 20th century.

Today Ordubad is considered a live museum of the Eastern world, a city that is preserving its history and traditions and passes them from generation to generation.  Due to its architectural structure and historical monuments, Ordubad was declared a reserve and treasure of humanity in 1977.

 

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Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a contributor, freelance journalist and a research scholar of International Affairs, Paraguayan Studies, Middle East Studies and Latin American Affairs, located in the United States. Educated at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and Marquette University Les Aspin Center for Government; Tase is the author of “Simultaneous Dictionary in Five Languages: Guarani, English, Italian, Albanian and Spanish” and “El Dr. FEDERICO FRANCO y Su Mandato Presidencial en la Historia del Paraguay.” He’s a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy News. His personal website is www.petertase.com

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