Lachin (Berdzor)
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Lachin (Berdzor) - location mapLachin, or Berdzor in Armenian maps,  is located in the narrow strip of territory between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. As a consequence of the war this strip of territory is under the control of Armenian troops. In the present cold peace climate, in order to reach Lachin you must go through Armenia. This should not be very difficult as the Nagorno-Karabakh  (Artsakh) region is eager to welcome tourists. See the section on visas, for details.

Lachin / Berdzor: the start of the Lachin corridor (photo by Miguel Torres / all towns and villages outside Nagorno-Karabakh under Armenian occupation Lachin is the most important, not for it's size of resources, but for controlling what became known as the "Lachin corridor". The Lachin Corridor was conquered in May 1992, and today is the umbilical cord that attaches Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh. The road that divides Lachin in to halves, starts in Goris in Armenia and weaves its way through totally bombed out villages, until it reaches Xankandi/Stepanakert, passing by Shusha/Sushi. Due to its strategic value the road has obviously been hit hard during the war and has recently received very substantial repairs and improvements, making it one of the best road in the region (much of the work has been paid by contributions from the Armenian diaspora).

Cease-fire line and territory under Armenian control - mapEntering Lachin is when you start seeing the war close up. The town is scenically built on the side of a mountain. It was pretty much destroyed - but Armenians are moving in and rebuilding it, the government has provided incentives for refugees to settle, mainly in the form of cattle, building subsidies, subsidized utilities and tax breaks. Currently the population reaches about 10.000, many are Armenian refugees from Azerbaijan.

Lachin / Berdzor: monument (photo by Miguel Torres / the centre a small hill is crowned by a dilapidated crescent shaped monument, dating from soviet times and constitutes the best spot for a panoramic view of the area. A couple of guests houses  provide basic accomodation.

On condition that Nagorno-Karabakh/Artsakh is recognized the status of international legal party, the Armenians are willing to return to Azerbaijan all the territories they occupy outside Nagorno-Karabakh, with the exception of the "Lachin Corridor".

Lachin / Berdzor: landscape (photo by Miguel Torres / the war there was a Kurdish minority in the area, part of which has been internally dislocated. In fact the town of Lachin was the capital of the short-lived (1923-1929) 'Kurdish Autonomous Province', often known as 'Red Kurdistan'.

Near Lachin you can find the monastery of Cicernavak, which traces its origins to Caucasian Albania.

(320 km southwest of Baku)

see also: Xankandi, maps, Shusha, Agdam, Istisu, Qubadli, Nagorno Karabakh, summary, history, images
A to Z of Azerbaijan / A dan Z ye Azerbaycan