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City and Municipality
Collage of Ordubad.png
Landmarks of Ordubad, from top left:
Panorama view of Ordubad and mountain range area • Juma Mosque
Huseyinuh Mosque • Dirnis Mosque
Geysarriya Monument • Ambaras Mosque
Sarshahar Mosque
Azerbaijan adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Coordinates: 38°54′29″N46°01′40″E / 38.90806°N 46.02778°E / 38.90806; 46.02778 Coordinates: 38°54′29″N46°01′40″E / 38.90806°N 46.02778°E / 38.90806; 46.02778
CountryFlag of Azerbaijan.svg  Azerbaijan
Autonomous republic Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic
District Ordubad
Time zone UTC+4 (AZT [1] )
Postal code
Area code(s) +994 036

Ordubad is the second largest town and a municipality of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan and is one of its three regions. It is the capital of the Ordubad District. Ordubad is a medieval city of the Caucasus and in its current capacity of a town was founded in the 18th century. The town is divided into five districts: Ambaras, Kurdtatal, Mingis, Sarshahar, and Uch.


Ordubad is known as the “pearl” of Nakhchivan and is well known for its exports of fruits and spices, and for its cuisine.


Ordubad is a name of Turco-Persian origin and means "army town" (from Turkic ordu (army) and Persian bad (town)), which implies that the city was founded during the period of the Mongol or the ensuing Il-Khanid rule. [2] The historian and geographer Hamdallah Mustawfi (1281–1349) mentions Ordubad in the mid-14th century as "a provincial town, one of the five towns making up the tumān of Nakhchivan, with fine gardens, and producing good grapes, corn and cotton". [2]

French traveller Jean Saint-Martin mentions, in his 1818 book about the geography of Armenia, that the contemporary people referred to the city as Ordouvar (Armenian : Որդուվար) or Ourdovar (Armenian : Ուրդովար) in Armenian, and Ardoubad in Turkish and Persian, and that the settlement had already existed in the 14th century. [3]


The Ordubad city, known as the “pearl” of Nakhchevan province, [4] is located at an elevation of 949 metres (3,114 ft). It is in the northern bank of the central stretch of the Araxes (Aras) river of the eastern Transcaucasia which earlier belonged to Persia, now in Azerbaijan. the second largest town. [2] [5] The Ordubad Province itself has an area of 972 square kilometres (375 sq mi) and is delimited by Iran on the south, Armenia forming the north and west border, and the Julfa region of Nakhchivan bordering the east. [6] The river that rises from the north from the Mt. Qobān (also known as Tk. Qapïjïq, Rus. Kapudzhukh or Kapydzhik) at an elevation of 3,904 metres (12,808 ft) drains into the Araxes. [2] The town is divided into five districts of the Ambaras, the Kurdtatal, the Mingis, the Sar sheher, and the Uch. [7] The city has a large number of walnut and mulberry trees. [8] The closest railway station is Ordubad and the distance to Nakhchivan city is 88 kilometres (55 mi). Tabriz is 94 kilometres (58 mi) away to the north-northwest. [2]


In 1875, Ordubad had a population of about 5,000 people, of whom 4,700 were Muslims and 300 were Armenians. [9] According to the 1897 Russian census, the population of Ordubad was 4,611 and consisted of 4,088 Tatars (later known as Azerbaijanis), 284 Armenians and 179 Russians. [10] [11]

By 1989, the population of Ordubad rose to 9,395 people. [12]


sarshahar square Ordubad serseher seseri meydani svln4821 historical.jpg
sarshahar square

The city may have been established by the 14th century, or earlier. [3] The Ottoman Empire (1299–1923) had occupied the Ordubad territory in the past. Before this occupation, a local rebellion had been organized against invasion of the Ottomans by Hadji, known as “Kasab” (butcher) and Bayandar when they came to know that Saffavids were to launch an attack. They were backed by the local people. The rebels initially took control of the city and also occupied a fortress near the city. However, the rebels had their own internal dissensions, and as a result a small battalion of the Ottoman army defeated the rebels and killed them. Following this victory and occupation by the Ottomans, Khaten bey Ordubadi, the prime vizier, appealed to the Shah to waive off all taxes levied on the local people, which was agreed. [13]

Ordubad was once an important regional stop on the caravan route of the Silk Road trade with China, Europe and India. The city was first founded as Gala city, a feudal city, on the top of the Ambras on the left bank of Ordubadchay River in the 15th century. In view of extensive trade, the city started developing on the right bank of the Ordubadchay with many new districts. In the 17th and 18th centuries trade centres were established in the city on the right bank, which diminished the importance of Gala city. Built in the backdrop of Zangezur Caucasus mountain it is enclosed on three sides by mountains providing for a very green environment. In the 17th century the city underwent major reconstruction activity, maintaining eastern feudal architectural features. [7] Following the Russo-Persian War (1826-1828), the town passed from Iranian rule to Imperial Russian rule under the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828. According to a census conducted in 1834, Ordubad, with its 52 villages, had a population of 11,341 consisting of Muslims and Armenians. [2]

The Ordubad site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on 24 October 2001 in the Cultural category under Criteria (i), (iv) and (v). [7]

Archaeological excavations

Archaeological excavations carried out by Russian archaeologists in ancient settlements of Ordubad have unearthed remnants of Bronze Age dated to the fourth century. [14] It includes a necropolis, which revealed graves of warriors also dated to the fourth century. These were initially assessed, in 1928, as skeletons of only warrior men but subsequent research carried out by the Archaeological and Ethnological Institute of Azerbaijan National Academy of Science in 2004 has concluded that at least one of the skeletons is of a woman warrior found with her armory such as quiver, arrows and helmet. [14]


Ordubad economy is dependent on trading particularly of fruits, wheat, and silk; grapes are of 40 varieties. The silk exports have been mostly to Venice, Marseille, Amsterdam and many other places in Europe, from the middle of the 16th century. During the early years of the 20th century the Ordubad silk received 13 gold medals in the international exhibitions and fairs. [6] [4] Arak is also an export commodity of the city. [8] Economic activity in Ordubad and near by regions includes copper mining, Paragachayskoe molybdenum deposit from the Meghri-Ordubad gratoidnym batholiths, bauxite, tungsten and tin ore. [15]


21 industrial plants operated in the region in 2015. The average number of people working for industry is 634. The cost of industrial products was 8469,7 thousand manat in 2015. Its rate is 4.8 times more than the level in 2005. There are 9 milk processing plants in Ordubad. The daily production rate is 24 ton. Besides, the wine plant ''Oren-Gala" produces pomegranate juice.

Features of the city

A view of Ordubad Ordubad 2014-02-11 23-35.jpg
A view of Ordubad

In the new city of Ordubad, planned in the 17th century, there were five divisions or districts with trade squares of larger size than the earlier blocks, which also had a plethora of mosques, springs, and bath-houses. The medieval market square in the heart of the city is prominent and the glass mosque, the Cümə Mosque, is a landmark. Caravan sheds and the market here traded in silk and dry fruits with East European countries. The lay out of the streets is radial and appears in the shape of a fan close to the center of the city. Each of the streets have squares which are a typical feature of the city. [7] A well known suburb of the city is Akulis through which a small stream flows. The city has many private and public schools. [8] The city has a number qanats or underground canals called "kahriz", which are the source of water for houses and orchards. [16] The city reflects tradition and culture of northern and southern Azerbaijan. [4]


There are three museums in Ordubad.

Juma Mosque

Juma Mosque, in the heart of the city, was initially built as the office of Hatambek Ordubadi vizier of Shah Abbas, in the 17th century. Even now it looks more like a palace. The history museum, located on the opposite side, is a domed structure that is dated to the 18th century which in the past was used as a silk shop, restaurant and zurkhaneh ("house of strength"). Soviet era photos are exhibited here. The porch here was once decorated with statues of Russian communists and the roof was also designed in Russian architecture, and these have since been removed. [18]


Qeyseriyye Ordubad qeyseriyye zorxana svln4821.jpg

Qeyyseriye building is a historic edifice dated to the 17th century, located in the main market centre. It is now a historical and ethnography museum. [6]

Gemigaya Mountain

Gemigaya Mountain is an important backdrop to the city which is known for its petroglyphs, necropolises, and ancient settlements of Ordubad, Sabirkend, Plovdagh and Kharaba Gilan, which attests to its occupancy between 7th to 1st century BC. [6] It is situated within the Ordubad National Park. [16]


In the Astronomical Observatory at Ordubad, Nakhchivan ASSR and also at the Tarija, Bolivia, with the help of expedition astrograph, 6,000 plates were recorded from 1983–1988 which cataloged 200,000 stars south of the equator up to the 11th magnitude. [19]

Notable natives

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  1. Azerbaijan cancels daylight saving time
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Ordubād". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  3. 1 2 Saint-Martin, Jean (1818). Mémoires historiques et géographiques sur l'Arménie. Paris: L'imprimerie Royale. p. 134. Original text in French: "Որդուվար Ortouvar, ou Ուրդովար Ourtovar, en turc et en persan Ardoubad, grand bourg à l'extrémité orientale du pays de Koghthen, au nord de l'Araxes, sur une petite rivière qui vient des montagnes de Gaban et se jette dans ce fleuve. Ce bourg existoit déjà au quatorzième siècle."; English translation: "Որդուվար Ortouvar, ou Ուրդովար Ourtovar, in Turkish and Persian Ardoubad, big town at the eastern extremity of the country of Koghthen, in the north of the Araxes, on a little river that comes from the mountains of Gaban and that empties in this river. This town existed already in the fourteenth century."
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