During the period from 189 BC up to 387 AD Artsakh was the tenth province of the historical kingdom of Armenia. Today’s name of Artsakh – "Nagorno-Karabakh" itself seems to attests to the region's tumultuous history. The word "Nagorno" (Нагорный or Nagornyj) is Russian for "mountainous. "The name "Karabakh" first appeared in Georgian and Persian writings from the 13th and 14th centuries.Many scholars have come to a conclusion that "Karabakh" (or "Karabagh") is a compound of the Turkic "kara" meaning "black" and the Persian "bakh" meaning "garden. "However, there are strong arguments that he word "kara" is a derivative of "kaleh" or "kala", which in the old Harzani (an ancient dialect of the Azeri language) language means "large". Thus the name “Karabagh” could be interpreted as “large garden” that in general almost exactly defines this region.
Now Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a de facto independent state with the main cities of Stepanakert, Shushi, Askeran, Martuni and Mardakert.
Even though the capital city is Stepanakert, the country’s cultural center is Shushi.
The nature has been generous to this land. During the course of centuries the fast-flowing mountainous rivers of this land have formed deep canyons and picturesque valleys. Besides, an extremely rugged mountainous landscape predominates in the territory. The diverse flora and fauna, upland and foothill regions, thick forests make the whole panorama more fascinating.
The territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is rich in natural resources like zinc, lead, copper, gold, coal, and various constructions. Artsakh is home to several mineral water springs with high composition of iron. And the waters of these springs are used for medical purposes.
In 2005 archeological excavations discovered the historical fortress of Tigranakert founded by king Tigran The Great of Armenia ruling in the first century. The fortress town is now open for visitors.