The Armenians who have turned Karabakh into a land of tragedies for 200 years often falsify our history and oust Azerbaijanis from their native land. Armenian “historians”, who have become a tool in the hands of so-called politicians, collect “facts which prove” that Karabakh belongs to Armenians, prepare “legal documents” and try to put a legitimate gloss on the seizure of territories by Armenians. Armenian ideologues and “archaeologists” are trying to present Karabakh’s Albanian Christian monuments as “Armenian monuments” and to prove, using some ancient sources, that the area between the Kura and Araz rivers is totally an “ancient Armenian land”, whereas until the 19th century, the Armenians had never lived not only in Karabakh, but even in the Caucasus, which is why this material culture cannot belong to them.
Samples of material culture and numismatic evidence discovered during archaeological research in Khankandi, Agdara, Khojavand and Shusha in Upper Karabakh, Barda, Tartar, Agdam, Agjabadi, Fizuli and Beylaqan in Lower Karabakh, as well as in Lachin and Kalbajar comprehensively reflect the ancient material culture of Karabakh, its ethnic-cultural situation, the socioeconomic condition of the population, its lifestyle and in general, the economic, public and cultural history of this part of Azerbaijan.
It is believed that a new alphabet was invented in Albania in the early 5th century and was used in official reports. In this regard, educational institutions were set up, and their main centre was the ancient Karabakh city of Barda. After the adoption of Christianity in Albania in the early Middle Ages (4th century), Albanian Christian religious monuments, which characterized the building culture of Karabakh in the 4th-7th centuries and represented an architectural style typical of Christian architecture, were created in the ancient Azerbaijani land of Karabakh. Amaras in Agdhara (this word means “White Hun” in the ancient Turkic language), Qovurqala in Agdam (a castle belonging to Albanian Christians), Albanian Christian temples in Qabala (Boyuk Amirli village), Lachin (Agoglan), Kalbajar (Hashavang (Khotavang), Chahartag), Zaqatala (Kilsadag, Mamrukh) and Qakh (Lakit), as well as the Khojavand Albanian church (Sos village), a basilica in the village of Tazakand in Agjabadi and an apsidal temple with three semicircles discovered in Barda characterize the architecture of the Karabakh region and its history and culture.
Unlike many regions not only in Azerbaijan, but also in many other countries, the Karabakh region has more ancient history. The Karabakh region is rich in historical material-cultural monuments, literature, arts and music.
Karabakh’s artistic thought and creativity has been greatly influenced by the region’s beautiful scenery and rich natural resources. Craftsmanship, which is related to the lifestyle and everyday life of the Karabakh people, plays an important role in their rich culture. Naturally, the particularities of the Karabakh people’s lifestyle and aesthetic taste, in a word, their national vision and identity, manifest themselves especially graphically in this type of art. It is not in vain that we can find many wonderful pieces of Azerbaijani craftsmanship represented by Karabakh handicrafts in many museums around the world. When we look at the rich collections of London’s Victoria and Albert, Paris’ Louvre, Washington’s Metropolitan museums and museums of Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran and Cairo, we can see pieces of arts created by skillful craftsmen of Karabakh, as well as Tabriz, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Qazakh, Quba, Baku, Shaki and Shamakhi.
Karabakh handicrafts, which were created through the hard work of the Karabakh people and were widely used in the region, have a great and rich history. Dishes, weapons and jewels found in Karabakh represent not just a historical fact, but also a valuable source that testifies to the mastery of the craftsmen who created them. The historical, ethnographic and artistic particularities of the Karabakh craftsmanship are reflected in cloths. This particularity manifests itself in cloths and decorations of certain forms and in artistic embroidery and weaving. The discovery of a large number of pieces of material culture during archaeological excavations has made it possible to study the history of the material and spiritual culture of Karabakh. Every archaeological artifact discovered in Karabakh, in other words, every peace of material culture – construction materials, household items, dishes and jewels – is a reflection of the characteristic features, level and development of ancient culture, which played a role in the life of the Karabakh people, both in terms of production techniques and various glyptic pictures and patterns engraved on them.
Various pictures engraved on household items and jewels made from copper, bronze and gold prove that visual arts existed in Karabakh in ancient times. Carpets woven by Azerbaijan’s Karabakh carpet-weaving school at different times still astonish people with their beauty. Many of them are kept at famous museums of the world.
This heritage was enriched with new trends from the middle of the 19th century. In this period, under the influence of growing Russian-Azerbaijani arts and cultural relations, Karabakh arts gradually underwent qualitative changes, resulting in new realist features appearing in national arts. For its richness and uniqueness, Karabakh culture has been, and will be, a leading and integral part of Azerbaijani culture. All this goes to show that Karabakh culture is the mirror of Azerbaijani culture.
Regional peculiarities of Garabagh
A number of monuments representing the ancient architecture and culture of Azerbaijani people is situated in Karabakh. Rich traditions accumulated in different fields of life activity by the citizens of the region made Karabakh popular long beyond its borders.
Horse-breeding and sheep-breeding are wide spread in cattle-breeding. Karabakh horse and Karabakh sheep species was breed by local selection method. These horses are well-known in Europe from ancient times.
Karabakh khanandas (singers) play an important role in the development of music culture of Azerbaijan. Karabakh folk singers were popular in the East in the past. Karabakh dialect had an influence on the development of literary language of Azerbaijan.
Karabakh is the land of rare plants included into the “Red Book”: Hirkan box – pirkal, Caucasus glanthus, Komarov camomile, Scorzonera pusilla Lomak, velvety rose, ordinary chestnut, Karabakh poppy, magpie althaea etc. Kharibulbul (Ophrys caucasica) which is deemed to be one of rare plants of the world grows only in Shusha, Karabakh.
In the past such types of dwellings as “garadam” (black roof) (“ev dami”, “torpag dam”), “baghdadi” and “taghband” are wide-spread in the region. The dishes and sweets of the region have great influence on the enrichment of Azerbaijan cuisine (Karabakh katasi, Barda nani etc.). The Karabakh school of carpet-making is famous all over the world. The carpets with diversified patterns – “Lambarani”, “Chalabi”, “Achma-Yumma”, “Baliq”, “Buynuz”, “Karabakh”, “Barda” and “Lachakturunj” are specially distinguished.
Karabakh is the cradle of Azerbaijan folk music, mugham and poetry. It is the native land of a number of famous musicians, poets, writers and popular singers.
“Kata” is a speciality of the Karabakh cuisine. The Karabakh cuisine includes such meals as “govurma” made of mutton and beef, gavly, dolma, yakhni, bozbash, khash, kallapacha, sajichi, roasted offal, soups and different pilaus. Roasted and boiled river fish are also popular here. Dried fruits are widely spread in the Karabakh cuisine. They are used in making khoshab, pilau, soup and meat dishes and served as dessert. Jad, gutab with meat, fasali, kata, shakarbura, pakhlava, guymag, halva, gurabiya, shorgogali, dovga, different kabab types etc. are cooked here.
The main difference of Karabakh wedding parties is that they pay a special attention to mugham (as in Baku and Shirvan). People participating in the wedding party prefer listening to mugham to dancing and entertaining.
The Bride does not come to a maghar (a large tent built for a wedding ceremony) in Karabakh weddings. Generally, the party is organized only for men, women come to maghar in the evening after the meal.
To take a thing from bride’s house is one of the traditions in Karabakh region. The “stolen” things are demonstrated to the people around after the wedding group goes to the groom’s house. The other names for this original tradition are “sheyogurlugu”, “xaspushlug”, “khakrizdama” (Aghdam, Fizuli, Shusha, Tartar), “chipitma” (Lachin, Jabrayil), “khirziliq” and “sirgat”. In some places the bride’s mother gives her daughter a pinch of ash instead of bread.
Karabakh horses of Azerbaijan are regarded as the oldest horse breed in Asia and the Caucasus. Researchers believe that Karabakh horses hail from Manna, Media, Atropatena and Albanian horses. Karabakh horses are 148.5 cm in height and 165.8 cm in width, while the wrist is 18.3 cm in cicle. They are mainly golden-redheaded and bay horses. Since 1946, pedigree stock-breeding has been carried out at the Agdam horse-breeding farm.
Although Karabakh horses have undergone some changes due to their interbreeding with Roman, Sassanid, Arab, Seljuk, Mongol, Iranian and other horses, they have maintained their real roots. The breed of Karabakh horses greatly improved in the 18th-19th centuries. Karabakh horses had a great impact on horse-breeding in Turkey, Iran, Georgia, the North Caucasus, Russia, Kazakhstan and Western Europe.
“The Book on Horses” says that modern Don horses are indebted to Karabakh horses for their golden colour. Karabakh horses have won prizes and awards at several international exhibitions and contests. Karabakh horses have participated in and repeatedly won contests under the names of Meymun, Tokhmakh, Agalar, Bayram, Zaman, Qaragozlu, Qavqaz Gozali, etc.
Karabakh horses have a special position among Arab, Don and Budenny horse breeds. Karabakh horses walk at a speed of 8 km per hour
From typical natures of Karabakh horses these signs in particular, draw attention:
• First of all, entire parts of the body, which is typical of mountain horses are in harmonic and close relation, in addition the head is proportional to the neck and strong back of the head, strength of hoofs, straight form of back and feeling of saddle-place, the small neck, the ability to balance the gravity center at actions, and ability to stop by changing the position of body at any moment even during the speedy run;
• the shiny, eye-dazzling and fine color of hairs, the thin and dry skin, having sanguine(ous)–choleric temperament, inclination to catch cold etc, all these showing that the horse is of southern origin;
• the pure blood of horse and closeness to owner at obeying level, meaningful vision, appearance of kind senses in its behavior etc;
3 types of horses were kept at khan plants of Karabakh: Maymun and Qarniyirtiq, Eliyetmez . Meymun sort of horses besides being durable to long distance run, were calm, prone to jumping height. Qarniyirtiq sort of horses were very nice, with high stand, tall neck, and were weaker than Meymun sort for strength and durability. Eliyetməz (Gazelle) sort was successive at short-distance race, with gazelle like jumps and beautiful and playful body structure. In addition, horse breeders preferred Tokhmaq sort, too. These horses were relatively of large body, with yellow-gold color, with dark bay color of mane and feet.
After assaults of Armenia to Karabakh region of Azerbaijan the Aghdam stud was occupied by aggressors in August 1993. When Armenian troops entered the territory of region the object that interested them most was stud. However, the wishes of the Armenians could not be achieved, horse riders managed to take out Karabakh horses from battles areas.
Karabakh horses taken away from battle areas were temporarily accommodated at initial period at Yevlakh “Aran” sheep-breeding farms. But as natural conditions of these places are not suitable to the Karabakh horses were moved to Lanbaran winter quarters in Agjabedi region.
Adapted to adverse conditions during the last years but reserved the characteristic features of breed a new generation of Karabakh horses were grown
Kharibulbul (Ophrys Caucasica)
Harı Bulbul is the rare endemic type of plant of Azerbaijan. It is mainly found in the territory of Karabakh. It is distinguished with special beauty. It is a symbol of Karabakh, in particular of Shusha.
There are other names of hari bulbul – Caucasian qash Sahlabi. It is the perennial plant reproduced with seeds. It belongs to Haribulbul orchids (latin: Orchidaceae) class, ofphis (lat. Ophrys) kind. Ophrys kind has more than 50 species and many of them are available in different regions of Azerbaijan and in general in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. The rest grows in Turkey, Greece, the Crimea and other places.
The plant as we called Haribulbul in Latin called as Ophrys Caucasica or Ophrys Mammosa. Ophrys is word of Greek origin, and means “jewel” . Orphyses like many orchids depends on symbiotic fungus existing jointly in root tissue and required for plant. Therefore, these plants can not be planted in other places – they will be destroyed. Pollination of ophrys takes place with the help of shining winged insects and its flowers repeat the form and appearance of the insects attracts them. Depending of fungus and certain types of insects makes ophrys very sensitive to environmental changes. Therefore, these plants are considered rare plants. They are preserved by the state. Haribulbul (Ophrys Caucasica) and many other types of Ophrys even have been included in the Red Book.