Nagorno-Karabakh, officially the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) (Armenian: Լեռնային Ղարաբաղի Հանրապետություն Lernayin Gharabaghi Hanrapetut’yun), or Artsakh Republic (Armenian: Արցախի Հանրապետություն Arts'akhi Hanrapetut’yun), is a republic in the South Caucasus recognised only by three other non-UN states. Recognised as part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh controls most of the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast and some of the surrounding area, giving it a border with Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.
The predominantly Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh was disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan when both countries became independent from the Russian Empire in 1918. After the Soviet Union established control over the area, it created the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO) within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923. In the final years of the Soviet Union, the region re-emerged as a source of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1991, a referendum held in the NKAO and the neighboring Shahumian region resulted in a declaration of independence. Large-scale ethnic conflict led to the 1991-1994 Nagorno-Karabakh War, which ended with a ceasefire that left the current borders.
Nagorno-Karabakh is a presidential democracy with a unicameral parliament. The country is very mountainous, averaging 1,097 metres (3,599 ft) above sea level.
The population is predominantly Christian, with most Christians being affiliated with the Armenian Apostolic Church. Several historical monasteries are popular with tourists, mostly from the Armenian diaspora, as most travel can only take place between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
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