Social Studies

Karabakh or Dağlıq Qarabağ in Azerbaijani


Pre-reading activities

  1. Ask students what they know about Caucasian Mountain and see if students can identify that on a map.
  2. Show students the beautify diversity of Azerbaijan geographical regions, and emphasis on the Western part of Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh, known as Dagliq Qarabag in Azerbaijani, is one of the most beautiful regions of Azerbaijan. Karabakh is the birthplace of Azerbaijani poetry and music, the land of amazingly picturesque nature, the richest moral and cultural traditions. Karabakh is also the birthplace of many outstanding Azerbaijani scientists, poets, writers, artists and musicians. Hundreds of the oldest, unique folk examples, musical masterpieces of Azerbaijani people are connected with Karabakh and were created in this region. Let us explore some of the characteristics of the Karabakh region.

  1. Susha is the center of musical and poetic art.

Karabakh presented the World the most talented founder of the opera in the East – Uzeyir Hajibeyli, outstanding composers Zulfugar Hajibeyli, Zakir Bagirov, Fikret Amirov, Soltan Hajibeyli, Niyazi, Suleyman Alasgerov, Afrasib Badalbeyli.

Jabbar Garyagdioglu, Seyid Shushinsky, Bul-Bul, Gurban Pirimov, Khan Shushinsky, Rashid Behbudov, Firudin Shushinsky and Zulfi Adigozalov played a distinct role in the development of Azerbaijani musical art.

Such outstanding representatives of Azerbaijani literature as Gasim Bey Zakir, Khurshudbanu Natavan, Najaf bey Vezirov, Abdurrahman bey Akhverdiyev, Firuddin bey Kechyarli, Hashim bey Vezirov, Safarali bey Valibekov, Ahmed bey Aghayev, Hamida Khanim Javanshir, Suleyman Sani Akhundov, Yusif Vezir Chemenzemenli are also from the city of Shusha. This city was one of the centers of education, the cradle of musical and poetic creativity, both of individual authors and of the folk. Talented personalities as ashugs-poets Khasta Gasim, Valekh, Akhverdi, Mamedaga, Shamil, Gambar, Najafgulu, Abbasgulu, and also famous for his ingenuity and wittiness Abdal Gasim are also natives of Shusha.

Famous singers-khanende Haji Khusu, Kerbalai Khusu, Abdulbagi Hilalov, Alasgar Farzaliyev, Jabbar Garyagdyoglu, Malibeyli Hamid deserved a special memory not only in the history of musical culture of Karabakh, but of entire Azerbaijan.

There is a good reason this city was called the “conservatory” of Azerbaijan. Shusha is considered the most beautiful corner of Karabakh. Every sand grain, every stone is a witness of many historical events. No one remained indifferent to its beauty and nobility. Shusha was home to the State Drama Theater, state museums on the history of Karabakh and the history Shusha, house museum of Uzeyir Hajibeyli, Bulbul, Mir-Mohsun Navvab, a branch of the State Carpet Museum, a state art gallery, vocational music schools, colleges and libraries.

There is a flower of unparalleled beauty in the tall mountains of Shusha. This miracle is called ‘khary-bulbul’. The shape of khary-bulbul resembles of nightingale. Hence the name of the flower: “khar” in translation from the Azerbaijani language means a “thorn”, and “bulbul” – a nightingale.


Some keywords to remember: picturesque, moral, unique, masterpiece, distinct, cradle, ingenuity, nobility, resembles, nightingale

Class Activity: Teach different types of poems. Ask students to find examples of poems about Karabakh. Students can also draw a picture to depict Susha.


  1. Karabakh is the cradle of an ancient civilization, crafts, architecture and theatre.

Favorable climate contributed to the birth of ancient civilizations on these lands, as evidenced by Azikh cave located near Fizuli region of the Republic of Azerbaijan. A Neanderthal-like jaw bone found in 1968 in Azikh cave provided grounds to believe that our country was one of the oldest places of human settlement. World historical science refers to Karabakh as one of the centers of the ancient “Guruchay culture”, which served as the basis for the culture of Mesopotamia and of the entire Middle East. Karabakh is a word of Turkic origin. It is derived from the words “qara” – “big”, “dense”, and “bagh” – “garden”. This name was mentioned for the first time in the manuscripts of 7th century.

Rich deposits of iron ore of Karabakh since ancient times contributed to the emergence of blacksmith crafts based on the local raw materials. Pottery was among the most ancient field of handicraft production in Karabakh, and to this day has retained its importance.

In many modern museums of the world, you can find various samples of Azerbaijani folk art, represented by samples that were discovered in Karabakh. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan in Washington, as well as the rich collections of museums in Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran, Cairo and others contain samples of handicraft art created by the skillful hands of Karabakh masters, some are not identified. The samples of dishes, weapons and ornaments found in Karabakh are not only a historical fact, but also a valuable source, indicating the craftsmanship and talent of artisans who created these items. Among the samples of metal items one can find those engraved with patterns and drawings, through which we have an opportunity to better learn the traditions and customs, religious views, as well as the outlook of people who lived in this region back many centuries and decades past.

The traditions of urban planning and architectural art were also strong in Karabakh. Numerous monuments of material culture are ascribed to the Karabakh region dating back to the Middle Ages and a new era. Ahmed Sultan Tomb, Jalal Tomb (1307) in Fizuli, Juma mosque in Goradiz village, Asgeran fortress in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, “Maiden tower” in Jebrayil, tomb in the village of Shykhlar (1308), 12-coal tomb near the village of Khachin-Derbent in Aghdam district, Juma Mosque in Aghdam (1870), bathhouse in Abdal Gulabli village of Aghdam district (early 20th century), Shahbulag mosque in Aghdam, Karbalai Safihan Garabagi complex of Imamzade mosque with two minarets (1868) in Barda, “Bakhman Mirza” tomb, octagonal tomb in the city of Shusha, the house of Khurshudbanu Natavan, Mamayi Mosque, Mashadi Shukur Mirsjab caravanserai with mosque, Julfalar Mosque, Haji Yusifli Mosque, Saatly Mosque, Yukhari Gevharan Mosque , Ashagi Gevharan Mosque (XIX century), Khan house, gymnasium, Garasaghal tomb in the territory of Lachin, Soltan Baba tomb, Sheikh Ahmed tomb, several tombs in the village of Djidjililli, all these are priceless pieces and monuments of Azerbaijan history. The magnificent mosques with two minarets presented to you are the most rare treasures of the Muslim East.

All of this formed a kind of “genetic pool” of the artistic culture of Azerbaijani people and has left us its rich heritage. This legacy has been supplemented by new trends since the middle of 19th century. The main representatives of this era were talented painters Mir Movsum Navvab, poet and artist Khurshudbanu Natavan and many others.

Due to its richness and uniqueness, the Karabakh culture was and will be the leading and inseparable part of the Azerbaijani culture.

The cuisine of Karabakh

Two dishes are the main star of the Karabakh cuisine: the Karabakh kyata and Barda nan, both of which are an integral part of the culinary culture of Azerbaijan.

How to cook kyata?


Dissolve the yeast in warm water; add 13 tablespoons of flour and a pinch of salt. The ready mass should be mixed and placed in a warm place for 0.5 hours for fermentation. Move the fermented mass into a large container, add some oil, sugar, eggs, and a pinch of vanilla, salt and then mix. Then, after adding some flour, knead the dough and leave for 1.5-2 hours. During this time, prepare the filling for kyata. For filling you have to whip chilled butter with sugar, then add flour and vanilla. From the prepared dough roll 10 pieces of fist size. From each piece of dough roll a flat cake of 7-8 centimeters in diameter. Put the filling in the middle of the flat cake, even the edges of the cake and re-mix it into a bakery cake. Decorate the surface, bake 20 minutes at a temperature of 200-220 C.

Barda nan (a bun with lipstick)

This tasty product in the form of buns is made from dough mixed with candied fruit and raisins, covered on the surface with a layer of lipstick, painted in pink. Grind butter in a saucepan for 10-15 minutes; then add sugar and continue to grind another 10-15 minutes.

Use a special whisk is beaten egg whites in a separate saucepan to get stable foam with a pinch of salt. To do this, they should be cooled in advance to 3-5 degrees. After that, peel the nuts and crush the core with a knife pin into pieces of 2-3 mm. Then place into a saucepan the butter grinded with sugar powder, whipped egg whites and yolks, crushed kernels of nuts, raisins, candied fruits, milk and ammonium and all this is stirred for 8-12 minutes. Then add flour in small portions and mix all the mass for another 5-8 minutes. The mixed mass is dumped on a table in small portions, but quickly (to avoid tightening of the dough) and mixed with flour. The mixing time should not exceed 8-10 minutes. The temperature of the kneaded dough should be 18-20 degrees.

Along with mixing the dough, prepare the lipstick. To do this, place some sugar in a pan and heat to a boil. After 5 minutes add molasses and the mixture has to be boiled to 115-120 degrees. The ready mass is poured onto a cold table, where it is cooled to 35-40 degrees, and then moved to a saucepan and kneaded with hands using a small spatula or in a mixer until a fine crystalline consistency is formed. Before whipping into a mass, carmine has to be added.

Dole the dough in portions of 60 gr. each, roll buns with a diameter of 60-65 mm and stack on dry sheets. Slightly attach buns on the top of sheets. Before baking rolls glair them with egg. Ready baking should be placed into the oven or in the cook-box at 170-190 degrees for 20-25 minutes. After cooling to a temperature of 30-35 degrees, buns are trimmed with pink sugar lipstick.


  • Wheat Flour Extra Class – 330 gr
  • Butter – 80 gr
  • Sugar powder – 170 gr
  • Eggs – 8 pieces
  • Candied fruits – 50 gr
  • Raisins – 80 gr
  • Milk – 80 gr
  • Nut-kernel – 40 gr
  • Sugar sand – 250 gr
  • Molasses – 25 gr
  • Ammonium-1.6 g
  • Food color carmine – 0,02 gr


Papag (hat)      

Source: , dated February 20, 2018.

The history of Karabagh folk art, its ethnographic and artistic features is also reflected in the apparel. Outer garments of Karabagh men and women, especially man’s papag, were known for their beauty throughout the Middle East.

Men in Azerbaijan valued their hat, which is seen as a symbol of courage, honor and dignity, loosing of which would be a great disgrace. It was possible to inflict an insult on a man and his entire family only by knocking off his hat. The hat and its form would demonstrate the social status of its owner. Men would never take their hat off (even during a meal), except for ablution (destemaz) before a prayer. It was considered indecent to appear in public places without a headdress.

Papag is a headdress of cylindrical shape, sewn from animal skins, with a cloth inner lining. It takes a considerable amount of time and energy to make a papag.

Papags in Azerbaijan had many types and names – shepherd papag, bukhara papag, bey papag, gumush papag, gara papag, etc. Each of these types belonged to a certain village, or was worn according to some tradition, or belonged to a certain class of the population.


The legends about Khary bulbul

Khary bulbul is a flower that only grows on the mountains of Shusha and there are lots of legends and tales about it…

Here is one of those legends.

…Many years ago birds, flowers and bushes could feel and love like people. So, one day a Nightingale fell in love with a Rose. The nightingale was very happy of having a beautiful Rose as its lover. Deeply in love with the Rose, he sang the song of his feelings for days and nights. The Rose loved him back. In less than a month the word got around all over the neighborhood. Hundreds, thousands of other flowers – Poppies, Violets, Tulips, Narcissus, they all rejoiced in this love as if they were also in love. But Khar (in translation “thorn”) could not accept this. In envy of this love, it seeks a way to separate them. After some time, the insidious Khar begins to sing the Rose love songs. Already in love with the Nightingale the Rose rejects Khar’s feelings, and her refusal infuriates him. From anger, he eats the petals of Rose one by one. The Nightingale responds to the moaning of the dying Rosa. Seeing that his beloved Rose may perish, he begins to sing a song of sorrow that spreads far in the neighborhood. In hearing the compassionate song of Nightingale, all the flowers pick the rose up, begin to pray for the life of the unhappy Rose and so that they can all save their adorable love. They sang that they were ready to sacrifice themselves for the sake of keeping the life of the beautiful Rose. Their prayers were heard and all three – the Rose, Nightingale and Thorn turn into a single flower, “Khary Bulbul”.

Every year in spring all three petals blossom. The nightingale, delighted with the self-sacrifice of wildflowers, flies to all these flowers, but does not sing, but groans, and Khar is hanging and hiding his head among the petals of the flower as a sign of embarrassment, forever closing its eyes to the beauty of the world and the light….



Some keywords to remember: evidence, settlement, manuscript, blacksmith, ornaments, engrave, octagonal, magnificent, settlement, demonstrate, indecent

Class Activity: Story writing –fiction writing.  How to compose a story, what makes a good paragraph.



  1. Igrar Aliyev – Nagorniy Karabakh: History, Facts, Events. Publishing house “Elm”, Baku, 1989.
  2. Abbas-Guli Aga Bakikhanov – «Gulustani Iram»
  3. Source:
  4. Arif Yunusov, Karabakh: Past and Present, Baku, 2005.
  5. Mirza Adigezal-bey – Karabag-name. Publishing house “Baku”, 1959
  6. Gasim Hadjiyev, Аyyub Abdulazimov – The History of Karabakh, The manual of the elective course for the VIII grades of general education schools
  7. Gulzadeh Akhundova – Based on the materials of scientific and practical conferences on the topic “Karabakh yesterday, today and tomorrow”, the second part, Baku. 2009, Pp. 44-49


Post Reading Task –Questions

  1. What is the Azerbaijani name for Nargorno Karabakh?
  2. Where is Karabakh located?
  3. What is Karabakh most known for?
  4. Who are some of the famous persons from Karabakh?
  5. What mineral deposit can be found in abundance in Karabakh?
  6. What is the crafts of the people of Karabakh?
  7. List two famous cousince from Karabakh?
  8. What is the symbol of papags?
  9. What are some of the types of papags?

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