Each city is known not only by its historical monuments and sights, but also by its streets and neighborhoods. For example, Moscow is famous by its Arbat, Paris Saint-Germain, New York Broadway, Baku Mountain, Torgovy and other neighborhoods. Like all cities, the Nakhchivan city has been divided into neighborhoods in far past. It is known that our people have built many buildings, castles, baths, bazars, shops in cities and villages over the centuries, and named neighborhoods, streets and squares in accordance with their way of thinking, professions, art and occupation of the people living on that street. These names, which are most common in the city of Nakhchivan, are our national and spiritual wealth that has survived over centuries. The study of such names expands the understanding of our people’s history of language, ethnic origin, ethnography, lifestyles, occupations, and plays an important role in revealing many obscure issues related to our blood memory. Each name of these neighborhoods has a history and a thousand meanings. Some of them are named relating to religious narrations and while others in order to perpetuate the memory of great personalities. Since ancient times, the city of Nakhchivan has been divided into 4 neighborhoods. Sarvanlar, Shahab, Alikhan and Kurdlar neighborhoods. There are various legends, myths and stories about the name of each neighborhood. Later, with population growth and intensification of migration from the regions, new neighborhoods were added to these four neighborhoods, and then in Nakhchivan, there were totally 13 neighborhoods. These are Oruj, Kohnagala, Khoshulu, Chaparkhan, Ziyilarkh, Bilici, Khoylu, Galali, Uzundere neighborhoods. In 1831, there were 1,330 families of 5,470 people lived in these neighborhoods in total. According to the sources, there were many buildings in the neighborhoods of Nakhchivan such as mosques, markets, shops, baths and madrasas. The caravanserais played the role of hotels and shopping centers in that time.
For that time the most valuable information source was the caravanserais, which hosted the caravans passing through the area throughout the year and created the necessary conditions for them. Because of people from different countries exchanged information and talked about innovations in caravanserais. Undoubtedly, the people near to the caravanserais are located also earned their livelihoods by providing various services to visitors, conducting trade deals with them, and developing various types of crafts. As a result, almost every neighborhood became professional in some form of craftship. It is interesting that in Nakhchivan, each neighborhood had its own rules and traditions, and these traditions have been lived for hundreds of years. For example, a wedding in one neighborhood was rarely attended by young people from another neighborhood. In most cases, the participation of people from other neighborhoods in the ceremonies was prohibited. Also, “What neighborhood are you from?” would be the most frequently asked question in this city. By answering this question, by mentioning the name of his neighborhood, he conveyed to the interviewer who the person was and what his characteristics were. Even now, the issue of the neighborhood is on the agenda in the conversations between the residents of Nakhchivan. Even today, during the conversation, many people say, “that person is from a certain neighborhood, they have this feature,” and so on. These ancient neighborhoods in our hometown have preserved their existence and traditions in modern times. The territories and borders of Shahab, Alikhan, Kurdlar, Agamali, Chukhur, Khinjab and other neighborhoods are still known. Of course, at a time of globalization, it is impossible for a small neighborhood to fully retain its features. However, it is not difficult to feel the breath they have taken since ancient times in these residential areas. It is interesting that in the city of Nakhchivan, not only in the distant past, but also in the years of autonomy, as well as in the years of independence, many names of neighborhoods, streets and squares occurred .The names of this neighborhoods, streets and squares are widely mentioned in the researches carried out by the late researcher-scholar, former member of ANAS Adil Bagirov:
“Ajami Nakhchivani” neighborhood. It is the name of a neighborhood in Nakhchivan. By the Decision of the Executive Committee of the Nakhchivan City CPD dated October 15, 1989, the 141st block of the “Yeni Nakhchivan” residential area was renamed the “Ajami Nakhchivani” neighborhood. This anthroponymic name was given to this neighborhood in order to perpetuate the name of Ajami Abubakr son of Nakhchivani, the founder of the Nakhchivan School of Architecture. “Ajami Nakhchivani” park. It is one of the main squares and parks of Nakhchivan. The square surrounds the Momine Khatun Mausoleum. The bust of National Leader Heydar Aliyev sculpted in 1983, the magnificent building of the Heydar Aliyev Palace, the tomb of the famous Momine Khatin built in the XII century (1186), the Khan’s Palace and the Gizlar Bulagi of the XVIII-XIX centuries give a special beauty to the square. A monument of Ajami Abubakr Nakhchivani, the founder of the Azerbaijan School of Architecture was sculpted on the square, and the park was named with his him.
“Dada Gorgud” Square. Dada Gorgud Square, located in front of the present-day Tabriz Hotel, is one of the historical squares of Nakhchivan. Over the past 100 years, the square has been renamed several times. Before the revolution, the area was the “Customs Square” because of the location of the Customs Office, and then the building of the Nakhchivan government was located on this area – on the Bazarchay. Due to its location on the Bazarchay, it was called “Sovnarkom Square” until 1930, “Square of the 17s” in June of the same year, “Small Garden” for a while, and “Tabriz Square” in the 1980s. According to the Decree “On the celebration of the 1300th anniversary of ” Kitabi-Dada Gorgud “epic signed by our National Leader Heydar Aliyev on April 20, 1997”, the anniversary was celebrated at the international level in 1999, a monument was sculpted in honor of Dada Gorgud and the area was renamed Dada Gorgud Square.Koroglu Square. “Koroglu” is the name of one of the main squares of Nakhchivan. Located at the eastern entrance to the city, the square was named in honor of the national hero Koroglu in 1988. A bronze statue of Koroglu on horseback was erected on the square. In recent years, large-scale construction work has been carried out in Nakhchivan as part of wide range construction works.
“ Chanlibel“ neighborhood. It is the name of a new neighborhood in Nakhchivan. This name was given to the neighborhood №10 in the “Yeni Nakhchivan” residential area by the decision of the Executive Committee of the Nakhchivan city CPD dated October 15, 1989. The name of the neighborhood is named after the people’s hero Koroglu, Chanlibel, where he settled down.
“Babek” neighborhood. The name of the neighborhood was established by the Decision of the Executive Committee of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic dated October 15, 1989, and the settlement of the third micro-district of the city was named “Babek neighborhood”. The origin of the name is connected with the name of the folk’s hero, prominent commander Babek.
“Chiman” neighborhood. It is the name of a former neighborhood in Nakhchivan. The neighborhood covered the opposite side of the current high school number 7. Until the 50s -60s of the last century, this area was crop lands, pastures and meadows. Later, in accordance with the development of the city, new buildings, streets and roads were built in the area, and the neighborhood was named “Chimen neighborhood” due to the rich vegetation of the area. “Alinja” neighborhood. By the decision of the Executive Committee of the Nakhchivan city CPD dated October 15, 1989, the residential area of the 2nd micro-district of the city was renamed Alinja quarter. The name of the neighborhood is taken from the name of Alinja fortress.
“ Gomayil” neighborhood. It is one of the names of ancient quarters in Nakhchivan. Gomai was the name of an ancient tribe. The name “Gomayil mahalla” was formalized by the decision of Nakhchivan city CPD Executive Committee dated October 15, 1989. Representatives of this tribe live mainly in this neighborhood, and some in the Saltag village in Julfa region, and preserve the names of the tribes.
“Khatai “neighborhood. This ancient quarter in Nakhchivan was previously called “Hajivar neighborhood”. The neighborhood covered a small area in the direction of the current Khatai neighborhood of the city and was known as “Yeni Hajivar”. Later, construction work was carried out in the neighborhood, new houses were built and the area was named “Sultanabad”. In the first years of Soviet rule, the village was renamed Sovetabad, and in 1990, in order to perpetuate the name of Shah Ismail Khatai the neighborhood was renamed “Khatai”. Now Khatai neighborhood covers a large part of Nakhchivan city.
“Kochustu “ neighborhood. The neighborhood surrounds the current high school number 10. The neighborhood is named after the stone statue of a ram and the ceremonies held around it. It is said that until the middle of the last century, the people of the neighborhood held various events and festivities here, and on the last Wednesday they came to the spring by the ram statue. The name of the neighborhood lived in the memory of the people and was formalized by the Decision of the Executive Committee of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic dated May 17, 1990.
The names of neighborhoods and squares are one of the most reliable sources confirming the national and spiritual wealth of our people, the antiquity of town-building in the region. Collecting and studying such names is of great interest from a historical point of view. These names expand the ideas of our people about the history of language, ethno-genesis, ethnography, lifestyle, folk traditions, professions and occupations and play an important role in revealing many obscure issues related to our blood memory.
Author: Aydan Yunisqızı
Translator: Emin Gulmammadov