The Nagorno-Karabagh Republic is located in the southeastern part of
the Caucasus Minor. The Republic is typically mountainous, embracing the
eastern part of Karabakhi plateau and from the west goes downhill to
the east, joining with the Artsakh valley, forming the great part of
Almost all the rivers of Nagorno-Karabagh flow from the western and
southwestern mountains to the east and south- east out into to the
During the centuries these fast flowing mountainous rivers formed deep
spectacular gorges and beautiful picturesque valleys. The valleys of the
rivers Ishkhanaget, Varanda, Khonashen, Kar- Kar, Indja, Kavart, Tartar
are considered the most beautiful. The vastest is the valley of the
river Tartar, situated in Martakert region.
It is no surprise that the carving of the mountains by the fast rivers
characterizes the republic’s territory and offers the most beautiful of
scenery. The eastern parts of Martakert and Martin regions are
relatively low-lying. The average height of Nagorno Karabagh above sea
level is 1100 meters.
From the north to the south on the eastern frontier of Nagorno Karabagh
stretches the Karabakhian mountain ridge. Running from this chain in an
east west direction are several mountain ridges stretching along most
of the territory of the region.
The Mrav mountain ridge is the country’s highest running as it does
through the Martakert region. The highest peaks are Gomshasar (3724m)
and Mrav (3343m), which are situated in the northwest of the region.
Other notable high mountains are Forty Girls (2828m) in Askeran region,
peaks of Great Kirs (2725m) and Dizapait (2480m) located in the
Karabakhian ridge. The Great Kirs is situated in the junction of Shushi
and Hadrout regions Dizapait - in Hadrout region.
Artsakh plateau like all Armenian plateaus is characterized by active
seismics. Volcanic rocks that appeared in ancient times are gaining
ground: limestone and other sedimentary rocks from the Jurassic and
The NKR's climate is mild and temperate. The great part of the territory has dry subtropical climate.
The average annual temperature here is +10.5. The hottest months are
July and August, the average temperature of which is +21.7 and +21.4.
The hottest districts in the territory of NKR are the low-lying zones of
Martouni and Martakert regions.
In the winter the average temperature in January-February vacillates
from –0.2 to – 0.9. In winter months it is relatively cold in the alpine
regions, in particular the northern part of Mrav ridge.
There are rarely sustained periods of either hot or cold weather in the
territory of the Republic. The lowest temperature in low-lying area is
recorded at –16, in the foothills at –19, and in alpine regions– from
–20 to –23. The highest temperature recorded in low-lying and foothill
districts reaches +40, in middle mountainous and mountainous districts
from +32 to +37.
The mountainous-valley winds predominate over the territory of
Republic. In spring and summer months, there are often heavy storms. The
average annual amount of precipitation ranges from 480 to 700 mm. The
lowest precipitation falls in plain zones – in lowest parts of Martakert
and Martouni districts and averages 410-480 mm a year. The greatest
precipitation is recorded in alpine zone and averages 560-830 mm a year.
Most rainfall is recorded in the months of May-June. It is usually very
heavy tropical type rain often accompanied by hail. On average some
100-125 days in a year are foggy.
The flora and fauna
The vegetable kingdom of Nagorno Karabagh is varied. There are recorded
some two thousand variants of plants. It is only in extreme alpine
districts where one will find bare rocks not given to the growth of
flora or fauna. The mountainous massifs of Artsakh are covered with
forests, bushes or grasses.
The plants of semi-desert predominate, in particular, in steppe zones,
situated at a height of 300-350 meters above sea level. In general,
wormwood, camel’s bur, blue-brand and other numerous kinds. Grasses are
numerous in foothill and middle mountainous zones.
Artsakh is also rich in forests. They comprise more than 36% of the
territory of Republic or 160 thousand hectares. The most wooded areas
are the regions of Martakert, Askeran and Hadrout. Here grow oak,
hornbill, linden, ash-tree, birch and many other kinds of trees.
In wood fields there are many plants with aromatic flowers – violet,
tulip, forest rose, lily, pink and water lily. One can also see many
bushes of blackberries. Above the tree line at a height of 2300m above
sea level it is alpine, and in these high mountainous parts there are
plants characteristic of tundra.
The fauna of region is various. We can see wild goats and pigs in the
plains. There are fulvous bears, wolves, wild cats, trots, foxes, hares,
squirrels, moles and boars in the forests. Amongst the birds there are
wild geese, ducks, partridges, magpies, crows, sparrows, pigeons,
vultures, cuckoos, woodpeckers, larks, owls and others. There are many
kinds of snakes, tortoise and hedgehog in both the plain and stony
There are also many kinds of locusts, beetles and butterflies. Fish are found in most of the large rivers.
There are a number of metals and nonmetals in Nagorno Karabagh
Republic. The geology-research of the territory has not been the subject
of in depth study. Among the mineral fuels discovered is that of coal
near the villages Maghavuz, Nareshtar and Kolatak in the Martakert
region. In Karabagh even from ancient times the discovery of deposits
and development of many kinds of metals took place. In particular the
metals zinc, lead, copper, gold, sulfuric pyrites and gland. Most are to
be found near the villages Mehmana, Drmbon, Gyulatagh, Kousapat, Van,
Khazanchi, Lisagor, Zardanashen, Mets Tager, Tsor and Maghavouz, between
the Tartar and Khachen rivers, and also on the slopes of the mountain
Artsakh is also rich in nonmetals. In particular, there are many
deposits of marble and marbled limestone with various colored shades.
They are to be found near the cities of Stepanakert and Shushi also near
the village Karaglukh. Within the territory of the Republic there are
supplies of granite, basalt, tuff, limestone, and the raw materials for
the production of cement, graphite, lithographic stone, gypsum, sand and
high quality loam.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is also rich in mineral water resources.
Some sources are known from ancient times. The sources of mineral water,
situated in 16-18 km from Shushi, in Lisagor, near the road Goris
-Stepanakert have a very practical position. They contain iron and are
valued for their medicinal properties.
A sanatorium was built on the base of one of the mineral water sources, near the village of Shirlan of Shushi region.
Karabakh offers a wealth of tranquility and beauty to the visitor. The
soft climate, the pure air, the clear running waters of its rivers, the
rich and varied forests, the healing mineral waters, the valleys carved
by nature and the tumbling water falls provide for all a haven of peace
and relaxation. A rest home of stunning majestic beauty.