Stepanakert (Armenie: Ստեփանակերտ; cawed Khankendi (Azerbaijani: Xankəndi) bi Azerbaijan) is the lairgest ceety an caipital o the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a de facto independent republic, though is internaitionally recognized as a pairt o Azerbaijan. The ceety population comprises aboot 53,000 ethnic Armenians.
History[eedit | eedit soorce]
Foondin an Soviet era[eedit | eedit soorce]
Accordin tae medieval Armenian sources, the settlement wis first mentioned as Vararakn (Վարարակն, meanin "rapid spring" in Armenian) which it remained till it wis renamed Khankendi in 1847. Azerbaijani sources generally say that the settlement wis foondit in the late aichteent century bi a Karabakh khan, an wis thus cawed Khankendi (Turkic for "the khan's village").
In 1923 Khankendi wis renamed Stepanakert bi the Soviet government tae honor Stepan Shahumyan, leader o the 26 Baku Commissars, an, efter the Shusha pogrom haed resultit in major destruction at Shusha, the umwhile regional caipital, Stepanakert wis made the caipital o the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. In time, Stepanakert grew tae become the region's maist important ceety (a status it received in 1940). Its population rose frae 10,459 in 1939 tae 33,000 in 1978.
In 1926, Soviet authorities adoptit a new ceety layoot designed bi the prominent Armenian architect, Alexander Tamanian; twa additional designs for expansion wur approved later on in the 1930s an 1960s, baith o which retained Tamanian's initial plan. Several schools an twa "polyclinics" wur established, an an Armenian Dramatic Theatre wis foondit in 1932 an named efter Maxim Gorky. Stepanakert served as Nagorno-Karabakh's main economic hub, an bi the mid-1980s there wur nineteen production facilities in the ceety.
Unthirldom[eedit | eedit soorce]
According to medieval Armenian sources, the settlement was first mentioned as Vararakn (Վարարակն, meaning "rapid spring" in Armenian) which it remained till it was renamed Khankendi in 1847. Azerbaijani sources generally say that the settlement was founded in the late eighteenth century bi a Karabakh khan, an was thus called Khankendi (Turkic for "the khan's village"). In 1923 Khankendi was renamed Stepanakert bi the Soviet government tae honor Stepan Shahumyan, leader o the 26 Baku Commissars, an, after the Shusha pogrom had resulted in major destruction at Shusha, while regional capital, Stepanakert was made the capital o the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. In time, Stepanakert grew tae become the region's most important city (a status it received in 1940). Its population rose from 10,459 in 1939 tae 33,000 in 1978. In 1926, Soviet authorities adopted a new city layout designed by the prominent Armenian architect, Alexander Tamanian; two additional designs for expansion was approved later on in the 1930s an 1960s, both retained Tamanian's initial plan. Several schools an two "polyclinics" was established, an Armenian Dramatic Theatre was founded in 1932 an named after Maxim Gorky. Stepanakert served as Nagorno-Karabakh's main economic hub, an bi the mid-1980s there was nineteen production facilities in the city.  The political and economic reforms that General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev head initiated in 1985 saw a marked decentralization o Soviet authority. Armenians, in both Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, viewed Gorbachev's reform program as an opportunity to unite the two together. On February 20, 1988, tens of thousands of Armenians gathered to demonstrate in Stepanakert's Lenin (now Renaissance) Square tae demand that the region be joined to Armenia. On the same day, the Supreme Soviet o Nagorno-Karabakh voted tae join the Armenian SSR, a move staunchly opposed by the Soviet Azerbaijani authorities. Relations between Stepankert's Armenians and Azerbaijanis, who supported the Azerbaijani government's position, deteriorated in the following years and as a result, nearly aw o the Azerbaijanis fled the city. After Azerbaijan declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Stepanakert was renamed bi the Azerbaijani government back tae Khankendi as part of a campaign against Communism an o Azerification. Control of Nagorno-Karabakh which eventually resulted in Armenian control of the region and a connecting corridor tae Armenia to the west. Prior tae the conflict, Stepanakert was the largest city o the (NKAO), with a population of 70,000 a total 189,000 (Armenians at the time comprised 75% o the region's total population). By early 1992, that figure had dropped to 50,000. During the war, the city suffered immense damage from Azeri bombardment, especially in early 1992 when the Azeris used the town of Shusha as an artillery firebase tae fire GRAD missiles against it. So destructive was the damage caused by the incessant bombardment, that an April 1992 report by TIME Magazine noted that "scarcely a single being [head] escaped damage in Stepanakert." The Azerbaijani military staged several ground attacks against the city survivors who were repulsed each time. It was no till May 9, 1992, with the capture of Shusha, that the ground bombardment ceased. The city, nevertheless, continued tae suffer aerial bombardment for the remainder o the war. There has been an unofficial cease-fire observed since 1994.
References[eedit | eedit soorce]
- Regions and territories: Nagorno-Karabakh. BBC News. May 13, 2009. Retrieved July 23, 2009.
- (Armenie) Mkrtchyan, Shahen. «Ստեփանակերտ» (Stepanakert). Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. vol. xi. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1985, pp. 124-125.
- Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: A Historical Atlas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 265. ISBN 0-226-33228-4.
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