Shamshadin

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Shamshadin is a region of Tavush Marz, which is centered around the small town of Berd. During Soviet times this was a region (rayon) named Shamshadin.

Background

A remote and beautiful part of Armenia along the NE border with Azerbaijan, the former Shamshadin district is comprised of three deep river valleys, the Hakhum, Tavush, and Khndzorut, all running N to the Kura in Azerbaijan from the Miapor mountain range, with high ridges in between. The region took its name (Arabic "sun of the faith") from the Turkic Shamsh-od-Dinlu tribe, once its predominant occupants. At the end of the 18th c., this region was claimed both by the Kingdom of Georgia and by Javad Khan of Ganja. Russia cheerfully espoused the Georgian claim and occupied the district (which they called Shamshadil) in 1801, despite occasional raids by Javad Khan's forces. A few decades later, having meanwhile on January 2, 1804 stormed the Ganja fortress and killed the Khan, the Russians conceded to geography and transferred the district back to Ganja/Yelizavetpol gubernia. Though part of Kazakh uezd, Shamshadin ended up in Armenia in 1919. The predominant population in the early 19th century was nomadic, though a Russian survey of 1804 listed 42 Muslim villages (some now in Azerbaijan) and two Armenian (Choratan and Krzen, with 227 people), paying taxes to the chief of the Ayrumlu tribe. Locals say Shamshadin has been entirely Armenian since the 1950s or before. The region has a collection of interesting Armenian monasteries, mostly remote and difficult of access. Care should be exercised in areas near the Azerbaijan border, since occasional firing incidents occur.

There are three access roads into the region. First is a spectacular mountain road that leaves from the NW edge of Ttujur, just beyond Chambarak/Krasnosyelsk, and follows the ridge between the Hayrum and Tavush rivers to Navur. Second is a road that goes E from the N extremity of the Ijevan-Kazakh road, following the Azerbaijani border. Third, shortest looking on the map but the most difficult, is a poor dirt road that switchbacks up from the S edge of Ijevan, through Ganzakar and thence to Itsakar and Berd.

For more information read the Shamshadin section of Rediscovering Armenia Guidebook- Tavush Marz