Republic of Artsakh
Karabakh (Armenian: Ղարաբաղ; Azerbaijani: Qarabağ) also known as Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղ; Azerbaijani: Dağlıq Qarabağ) or Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախ) is a region in Transcaucasia with an area of 4400 km². As of 1990 it had a population of 192,000. The population at that time was mainly Armenian (76%) and Azeri (23%), with Russian and Kurdish minorities. The capital is Stepanakert (Ստեփանակերտ) in Armenian, Khankendi (Xankəndi) in Azeri. The other major city is Shushi (Շուշի), parts of which today lie in ruins due to the Karabakh War.
The current borders of Karabakh, established in Soviet times, resemble a kidney bean. The bean, whose indentation is on the right side, has very tall mountain ridges along the northern edge, along the west, and the south is just plain mountainous. This makes options for getting to Karabakh from Armenia limited, with a windy mountainous road through Lachin being the primary route, and a dirt road through northern Kelbajar the only real alternative without driving all the way around Karabakh. The part near the indentation of the kidney bean itself is a relatively flat valley, with the two edges of the bean (Mardtakert and Martuni) having flat lands as well. Other flatter valleys exist around the Sarsang reservoir, Hadrut, and the south. Much of Karabakh is forested, especially the mountains.