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  Nakhchivan City is the capital of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan, located 450 km west of Baku. The municipality of Nakhchivan consists of the city of Nakhchivan and the villages of Başbaşı, Qarağalıq, and Daşduz. It is spread over the foothills of Zangezur chain, on the right bank of the Nakhchivan river at an altitude of almost 1000 m.

  The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is a landlocked exclave of Azerbaijan. The region covers 5,363 km² and borders Armenia (221 km) to the east and north, Iran (179 km) to the south and west, and Turkey (15 km) to the northwest. The capital is Nakhchivan City.


  As of 2009, Nakhchivan's population was estimated to be 398,000. Most of the population are Azerbaijanis, who constituted 99% of the population in 1999, while ethnic Russians (0.15%) and a minority of Kurds (0.6%) constituted the remainder of the population.

  The 1990s and 2000s saw a large outflow of the Azerbaijani population into Turkey and Azerbaijan proper, due to the economical hardship of the post-Soviet era as well as Nakhichevan's geographical separation from the rest of Azerbaijan.

  The Kurds of Nakhchivan are mainly found in the districts of Sadarak and Teyvaz The remaining Armenians were expelled by Azerbaijani forces during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh as part of the forceful exchange of population between Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to a 1932 Soviet estimate, 85% of the area's was rural while only 15% was urban. This percentage increased to 18% by 1939 and 27% by 1959.


  Nakhchivan is an atmospheric, semi-desert region that is separated from the main portion of Azerbaijan by Armenia. The Zangezur Mountains make up its border with Armenia while the Aras River defines its border with Iran. It is extremely arid and mountainous. Nakhchivan's highest peak is Mount Kapydzhik (3904 m) and its most distinctive is Ilandag (Snake Mountain) (2415 m) which is visible from Nakhchivan City. According to legend, the cleft in its summit was formed by the keel of Noah's Ark as the floodwaters abated.


  Nakhchivan's major industries include the mining of minerals such as salt, molybdenum, and lead. Although dry irrigation, developed during the Soviet years, has allowed the region to expand into the growing of wheat (mostly grown on the plains of the Aras River), barley, cotton, tobacco, orchard fruits, mulberries, and grapes for producing wine. Other industries include cotton ginning/cleaning, silk spinning, fruit canning, meat packing, and, in the dryer regions, sheep farming. In terms of services, Nakhchivan offers very basic facilities and lacks heating fuel during the winter.


  The city has a wide range of cultural activities, amenities and museums.


  Nakchivan’s signature cuisine includes plov with gravy (made with mutton, hazel, almond and dried fruits), dastana, komba, tendir lavash and galin.

Museums and galleries

  The main sight in the city is the heavily restored 12th century Momine Khatun Mausoleum, also known as 'Atabek Gumbezi'. Momine Khatun was the wife of Eldegizid Atabek Djakhan Pakhlevan, ruler of 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 - Ajami Nakhchivani - and a bust of Heydar Aliyev. Also from the 12th century and by the same architect, is the octagonal Yusuf Ibn Kuseir tomb, known as 'Atababa', half abandoned near the main cemetery.

  More 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 many historical museums, the literature museum of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, Nakhchivan State History Museum, The Nakhchivan State Carpet Museum, and the house museums of Jamshid Nakhchivanski and Bahruz Kangarli. There is also an archeological museum on Istiqlal street. The city has a few interesting mosques, particularly the Juma mosque, with its large dome.

  Modern museums in Nakchivan include the museum under Open Air, and along the memorial museum and Heydar Aliyev museum.


  Nakhchivan Airport (NAJ), in the north of the city, serves a number of domestic and international destinations including Iran, Turkey and Russia.Currently, light rail line is working from Nakchivan to Ordubad beyond to Sharur.