Nakhchivan City (Naxcivan)
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Nakhchivan City - Azerbaijan - location mapThe main city and capital of the Nakhchivan Republic, also called Nakhchivan, was an ancient trading centre. Some historians consider that it was founded in the 16th century  BC. According to an Armenian legend, the city was founded by Noah. The Greeks and Romans called it Nacksuana / Naxuana (from the Greek for "sweet water"). As early as the 2nd century BC it is mentioned by Ptolomy as a thriving city.

It is spread over the foothills of Zangezur chain, on the right bank of the Nakhchivan river at an altitude of almost 1000 m.

Invader after invader looted, destroyed and (in some cases) rebuilt the city. It was the capital of the Atabek Eldegiz emirate in the 12th century and the Nakhchivan Khanate in the 18th century.

Nakhchivan City: Momina Khatum Mausoleum - also known as Atabek Gumbezi  (photo by Mohamadreza Tahmasbpour)The main sight in the city is the 12th century Momine Khatum Mausoleum, also known as 'Atabek Gumbezi'. Momine Khatum was the wife of Ildegizid Atabek Djakhan Pakhlevan, ruler of the the Atabek Eldegiz emirate. The 10-sided monument is decorated with intricate geometrical motives and Kufic script, it uses turquoise glazed bricks. It shares the neighbourhood with a statue of its architect - Abubakr oglu Ajami - and a bust of Heidar Aliyev. Also from the 12th century and by the same architect, is the octogonal Yusuf Ibn Kusir tomb, known as 'Atababa', half abandoned near the main cemetery.

Nakhchivan city, Azerbaijan: city seen from a roof toop - minaret, mausoleum of Momine Khatun, Aras river and Iranian mountains in the distance - photo by K.JafarliMore recent (1993) is the white marble mausoleum of Hussein Javid. The Azeri writer died in the Gulag under Stalin. Both the mausoleum and his house museum are located east of the theatre. Although being a recent construction, Hussein Javid's mausoleum is of great iconic importance, representing the ability of the exclave to live despite the Armenian embargo and becoming a symbol of Nakhchivan itself.
The city also has an historical museum, a literary museum (both on Nizami street) and the house museum of Nakhchivansku (on Ataturk street). Have a look also at the baths and the blue domed Imamzade, the Uzbek style tomb of Abu Muzaffa Bahdur Khan.  The city has a few interesting mosques, particularly the Juma mosque, with its large dome.

Nakhchivan city, Azerbaijan: city seen from a roof toop - minaret, mausoleum of Momine Khatun, Aras river and Iranian mountains in the distance - photo by K.JafarliToday Nakhchivan city is home to over 60.000 inhabitants. It has some industry, centred around glass, furniture, textiles and carpets, aluminium, tobacco and grape processing. Currently the government is looking for investment to develop tourism and oil production. Socially, this regional capital is quite sophisticated with its own university and a significant scientific and artistic community. For entertainment try the palace of culture, on Azadlyg avenue, the state musical and drama theatre on Ahmed Javad street or the puppet theatre on Nizami street.

The city has a lot of business visitors from Iran, Turkey and Russia (these countries have consulates in the city), leading to a reasonable offer of hotels.

Nakhchivan city: the mother monument (photo by Mohamadreza Tahmasbpour)Nakhchivan city is served by an airport and theoretically has good road and rail links, however the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has made access more difficult contributing to a greater isolation. The best way to get to Nakhchivan is to fly from Baku  to Jevlach airport, south-east of the city (airport code: EVL). From Jevlach you can also fly to Moscow with Samara airlines. If you are arriving from Baku there is no passport check and you can simply walk out of the terminal. There are buses and taxis to the city, which is only 3km away. From the city, buses to the airport leave from the Shabuz bus station on the NW part of the city.

Several buses a day depart for Igdir and Erzerum in eastern Turkey, allowing easy connections to the rest of Turkey. There are train services to Ordubad and Sharur. Inside the city there are buses and trolley-buses.

(450 km west of Baku)
see also: maps, Nakhchivan Republic, hotels in Nakhchivan, Julfa, Ordubad, Sharur, summary, maps, images, places
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