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Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mostly mountainous and forested and has an area of 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi).

Most of the region is governed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, an unrecognized, de facto independent state established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within the Azerbaijan SSR of the Soviet Union. The territory is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, although it has not exercised power over most of the region since 1991. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region's status.



The word Nagorno- is a Russian attributive adjective, derived from the adjective nagorny (нагорный), which means "highland". The Azerbaijani name of the region includes similar adjectives "dağlıq" (mountainous) or "yuxarı" (upper). Such words are not used in Armenian name, but appeared in the official name of the region during the Soviet era as Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast. Other languages apply their own wording for mountainous, upper, or highland; for example, the official name used by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in France is Haut-Karabakh, meaning "Upper Karabakh".

The word Karabakh is generally held to originate from Turkic and Persian, and literally means "black garden".[1][2] The name first appears in Georgian and Persian sources of the 13th and 14th centuries.[2] Karabagh is an acceptable alternate spelling of Karabakh, and also denotes a kind of patterned rug originally produced in the area.[3]

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