The Caucasus /ˈkɔːkəsəs/ or Caucasia /kɔːˈkeɪʒə/ is an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but is today accepted by the majority of scholars as being part of Asia.
Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. On the southern side, the Lesser Caucasus includes the Javakheti Plateau and grows into the Armenian highlands, part of which is located in Turkey.
The Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus (Ciscaucasus) and Transcaucasus (South Caucasus), respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is within the Russian Federation, while the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the partially recognised Artsakh Republic.
Topography of the Caucasus
|Partially recognized countries|
|Autonomous republics and federal regions|| Russia
|Time Zones||UTC+02:00, UTC+03:00, UTC+03:30, UTC+4:00, UTC+04:30|
|Highest Mountain||Mt Elbrus|
|Height of the highest peak||5,642 m|
The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but also includes Ciscaucasia (which is part of the Russian Federation) and Transcaucasia. According to Alexander Mikaberidze, Transcaucasia is a "Russo-centric" term.
Pliny the Elder's Natural History (77–79 AD) derives the name of the Caucasus from Scythian kroy-khasis ("ice-shining, white with snow"). German linguist Paul Kretschmer notes that the Latvian word Kruvesis also means "ice".
In the Tale of Past Years (1113 AD), it is stated that Old East Slavic Кавкасийскыѣ горы (Kavkasijskyě gory) came from Ancient Greek Καύκασος (Kaukasos; later Greek pronunciation Kafkasos)), which, according to M. A. Yuyukin, is a compound word that can be interpreted as the "Seagull's Mountain" (καύ-: καύαξ, καύηξ, ηκος ο, κήξ, κηϋξ "a kind of seagull" + the reconstructed *κάσος η "mountain" or "rock" richly attested both in place and personal names.)
According to German philologists Otto Schrader and Alfons A. Nehring, the Ancient Greek word Καύκασος (Kaukasos) is connected to Gothic Hauhs ("high") as well as Lithuanian Kaũkas ("hillock") and Kaukarà ("hill, top"). British linguist Adrian Room points out that Kau- also means "mountain" in Pelasgian.
The Transcaucasus region and Dagestan were the furthest points of Parthian and later Sasanian expansions, with areas to the north of the Greater Caucasus range practically impregnable. The mythological Mount Qaf, the world's highest mountain that ancient Iranian lore shrouded in mystery, was said to be situated in this region. In Middle Persian sources of the Sasanian era, the Caucasus range was referred to as Kaf Kof. The term resurfaced in Iranian tradition later on in a variant form when Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh, referred to the Caucasus mountains as Kōh-i Kāf. "Most of the modern names of the Caucasus originate from the Greek Kaukasos (Lat., Caucasus) and the Middle Persian Kaf Kof".
The modern name for the region is usually similar in the many languages, and is generally between Kavkaz and Kawkaz.
The Ciscaucasus contains most of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. It consists of Southern Russia, mainly the North Caucasian Federal District's autonomous republics, and the northernmost parts of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The Ciscaucasus lies between the Black Sea to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and borders the Southern Federal District to its north. The two Federal Districts are collectively referred to as "Southern Russia."
The Transcaucasus borders the Greater Caucasus range and Southern Russia to its north, the Black Sea and Turkey to its west, the Caspian Sea to its east, and Iran to its south. It contains the Lesser Caucasus mountain range and surrounding lowlands. All of Armenia, Azerbaijan (excluding the northernmost parts) and Georgia (excluding the northernmost parts) are in the South Caucasus.
The watershed along the Greater Caucasus range is generally perceived to be the dividing line between Europe and Southwest Asia. The highest peak in the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus (5,642 meters) located in western Ciscaucasus, and is considered as the highest point in Europe.
The Caucasus is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse regions on Earth. The nation states that comprise the Caucasus today are the post-Soviet states Georgia (including Adjara), Azerbaijan (including Nakhchivan), Armenia, and the Russian Federation. The Russian divisions include Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia–Alania, Kabardino–Balkaria, Karachay–Cherkessia, Adygea, Krasnodar Krai and Stavropol Krai, in clockwise order.
Three territories in the region claim independence but are recognized as such by only a handful entities: Artsakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Abkhazia and South Ossetia are recognized by the world community as part of Georgia, and Artsakh as part of Azerbaijan.
The region has many different languages and language families. There are more than 50 ethnic groups living in the region. No fewer than three language families are unique to the area. In addition, Indo-European languages, such as Armenian and Ossetian, and Turkic languages, such as Azerbaijani, Kumyk language and Karachay–Balkar, are spoken in the area. Russian is used as a lingua franca most notably in the North Caucasus.
The peoples of the northern and southern Caucasus tend to be either Sunni Muslims, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Armenian Christians. Twelver Shi'ism has many adherents in the southeastern part of the region, in Azerbaijan which extends into Iran.
Located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran, and Russia, the region has been an arena for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries. Throughout its history, the Caucasus was usually incorporated into the Iranian world. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire conquered the territory from Qajar Iran.
The territory of the Caucasus region was inhabited by Homo erectus since the Paleolithic Era. In 1991, early human (that is, hominin) fossils dating back 1.8 million years were found at the Dmanisi archaeological site in Georgia. Scientists now classify the assemblage of fossil skeletons as the subspecies Homo erectus georgicus.
Kura–Araxes culture from about 4000 BC until about 2000 BC enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km, and mostly encompassed, on modern-day territories, the Southern Caucasus (except western Georgia), northwestern Iran, the northeastern Caucasus, eastern Turkey, and as far as Syria.
Under Ashurbanipal (669–627 BC) the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire reached as far as the Caucasus Mountains. Later ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia, Albania, Colchis and Iberia, among others. These kingdoms were later incorporated into various Iranian empires, including Media, the Achaemenid Empire, Parthia, and the Sassanid Empire, who would altogether rule the Caucasus for many hundreds of years. In 95–55 BC under the reign of Armenian king Tigranes the Great, the Kingdom of Armenia included Kingdom of Armenia, vassals Iberia, Albania, Parthia, Atropatene, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Cilicia, Syria, Nabataean kingdom, and Judea. By the time of the first century BC, Zoroastrianism had become the dominant religion of the region; however, the region would go through two other religious transformations. Owing to the strong rivalry between Persia and Rome, and later Byzantium, the latter would invade the region several times, although it was never able to hold the region.
As the Arsacid dynasty of Armenia (an eponymous branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia) was the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion (in 301 AD), and Caucasian Albania and Georgia had become Christian entities, Christianity began to overtake Zoroastrianism and pagan beliefs. With the Muslim conquest of Persia, large parts of the region came under the rule of the Arabs, and Islam penetrated into the region.
In the 10th century, the Alans (proto-Ossetians) founded the Kingdom of Alania, that flourished in the Northern Caucasus, roughly in the location of latter-day Circassia and modern North Ossetia–Alania, until its destruction by the Mongol invasion in 1238–39.
During the Middle Ages Bagratid Armenia, Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, Kingdom of Syunik and Principality of Khachen organized local Armenian population facing multiple threats after the fall of antique Kingdom of Armenia. Caucasian Albania maintained close ties with Armenia and the Church of Caucasian Albania shared same Christian dogmas with the Armenian Apostolic Church and had a tradition of their Catholicos being ordained through the Patriarch of Armenia.
In the 12th century, the Georgian king David the Builder drove the Muslims out from Caucasus and made the Kingdom of Georgia a strong regional power. In 1194–1204 Georgian Queen Tamar's armies crushed new Seljuk Turkish invasions from the south-east and south and launched several successful campaigns into Seljuk Turkish-controlled Southern Armenia. The Georgian Kingdom continued military campaigns in the Caucasus region. As a result of her military campaigns and the temporary fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204, Georgia became the strongest Christian state in the whole Near East area, encompassing most of the Caucasus stretching from Northern Iran and Northeastern Turkey to the North Caucasus.
Up to and including the early 19th century, the Southern Caucasus and southern Dagestan all formed part of the Persian Empire. In 1813 and 1828 by the Treaty of Gulistan and the Treaty of Turkmenchay respectively, the Persians were forced to irrevocably cede the Southern Caucasus and Dagestan to Imperial Russia. In the ensuing years after these gains, the Russians took the remaining part of the Southern Caucasus, comprising western Georgia, through several wars from the Ottoman Empire.
In the second half of the 19th century, the Russian Empire also conquered the Northern Caucasus. In the aftermath of the Caucasian Wars, an ethnic cleansing of Circassians was performed by Russia in which the indigenous peoples of this region, mostly Circassians, were expelled from their homeland and forced to move primarily to the Ottoman Empire.
In the 1940s, around 480,000 Chechens and Ingush, 120,000 Karachay–Balkars and Meskhetian Turks, thousands of Kalmyks, and 200,000 Kurds in Nakchivan and Caucasus Germans were deported en masse to Central Asia and Siberia. About a quarter of them died.
The Southern Caucasus region was unified as a single political entity twice – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia became independent nations.
The region has been subject to various territorial disputes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994), the East Prigorodny Conflict (1989–1991), the War in Abkhazia (1992–93), the First Chechen War (1994–1996), the Second Chechen War (1999–2009), and the 2008 South Ossetia War.
In Greek mythology the Caucasus, or Kaukasos, was one of the pillars supporting the world. After presenting man with the gift of fire, Prometheus (or Amirani in the Georgian version) was chained there by Zeus, to have his liver eaten daily by an eagle as punishment for defying Zeus' wish to keep the "secret of fire" from humans.
The Roman poet Ovid placed the Caucasus in Scythia and depicted it as a cold and stony mountain which was the abode of personified hunger. The Greek hero Jason sailed to the west coast of the Caucasus in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, and there met Medea, a daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis.
The Caucasus is an area of great ecological importance. The region is included in the list of 34 world biodiversity hotspots. It harbors some 6400 species of higher plants, 1600 of which are endemic to the region. Its wildlife includes Persian leopards, brown bears, wolves, bison, marals, golden eagles and hooded crows. Among invertebrates, some 1000 spider species are recorded in the Caucasus. Most of arthropod biodiversity is concentrated on Great and Lesser Caucasus ranges.
The region has a high level of endemism and a number of relict animals and plants, the fact reflecting presence of refugial forests, which survived the Ice Age in the Caucasus Mountains. The Caucasus forest refugium is the largest throughout the Western Asian (near Eastern) region. The area has multiple representatives of disjunct relict groups of plants with the closest relatives in Eastern Asia, southern Europe, and even North America. Over 70 species of forest snails of the region are endemic. Some relict species of vertebrates are Caucasian parsley frog, Caucasian salamander, Robert's snow vole, and Caucasian grouse, and there are almost entirely endemic groups of animals such as lizards of genus Darevskia. In general, species composition of this refugium is quite distinct and differs from that of the other Western Eurasian refugia.
The natural landscape is one of mixed forest, with substantial areas of rocky ground above the treeline. The Caucasus Mountains are also noted for a dog breed, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Rus. Kavkazskaya Ovcharka, Geo. Nagazi). Vincent Evans noted that minke whales have been recorded from the Black Sea.
Caucasus has many economically important minerals and energy resources, such as alunite, gold, chromium, copper, iron ore, mercury, manganese, molybdenum, lead, tungsten, uranium, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal (both hard and brown).
2014 Winter Olympics venue, Sochi, Russia. Krasnaya Polyana — a popular centre of mountain skiing and a 2015 European Games snowboard venue. The first in the history of the European Games to be held in Azerbaijan.
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix (motor racing) venue was the first in the history of Formula One to be held in Azerbaijan The Rugby World Cup U20 (rugby) was in Georgia (country) 2017 In 2017 U-19 Europe Championship (Football) was held in Georgia.
The watershed of the Greater Caucasus, the backbone of the system, traditionally has been part of the line dividing Europe and Asia; but the whole region is so subject to Asian influences that there is now general agreement on assigning the Caucasus to Asia.
West of the Kura-Aras Lowland rises the Lesser Caucasus range, which is extended southward by the Dzhavakhet Range and the Armenian Highland, the latter extending southwestward into Turkey.
Caucasia includes not only the mountain ranges of the Caucasus proper but also the country immediately north and south of them. The land north of the Greater Caucasus is called Ciscaucasia (Predkavkazye, or “Hither Caucasia”) and that south of it is Transcaucasia (Zakavkazye, or “Farther Caucasia”).
Georgia may have been the cradle of the first Europeans...Archaeologists now believe that our ancestors left for Europe at least 1.8 million years ago, before returning to Africa and developing into Homo Sapiens...The Dmanisi bones may have belonged to an early Homo erectus which lived in Georgia before moving on to the rest of Europe.
(..) It is difficult to establish exactly when Islam first appeared in Russia because the lands that Islam penetrated early in its expansion were not part of Russia at the time, but were later incorporated into the expanding Russian Empire. Islam reached the Caucasus region in the middle of the seventh century as part of the Arab conquest of the Iranian Sassanian Empire.
The Avars (Avar: аварал / магIарулал, awaral / maⱨarulal; "mountaineers") are a Northeast Caucasian native ethnic group who are the predominant of several ethnic groups living in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The Avars reside in a region known as the North Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas. Alongside other ethnic groups in the North Caucasus region, the Caucasian Avars live in ancient villages located approximately 2,000 m above sea level. The Avar language spoken by the Caucasian Avars belongs to the family of Northeast Caucasian languages and is also known as Nakh–Dagestanian. Islam has been the prevailing religion of the Avars since the 13th century.Battle of the Caucasus
The Battle of the Caucasus is a name given to a series of Axis and Soviet operations in the Caucasus area on the Eastern Front of World War II. On 25 July 1942, German troops captured Rostov-on-Don, Russia, opening the Caucasus region of the southern Soviet Union, and the oil fields beyond at Maikop, Grozny, and ultimately Baku, to the Germans. Two days prior, Adolf Hitler issued a directive to launch such an operation into the Caucasus region, to be named Operation Edelweiß. German forces were compelled to withdraw from the area that winter as Operation Little Saturn threatened to cut them off.Caucasus Emirate
The Caucasus Emirate (Chechen: Имарат Кавказ Imarat Kavkaz (IK); Russian: Кавказский Эмират Kavkazskiy Emirat), also known as the Caucasian Emirate, was a militant Jihadist organisation active in the southwestern region of the Russian Federation. Its intention was to expel the Russian presence from the North Caucasus and to establish an independent Islamic emirate in the region. Caucasus Emirate also refers to the state that the group seeks to establish. Partially a successor to the secessionist Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, it was officially announced on 7 October 2007, by former President of Ichkeria Dokka Umarov, who became its first emir.By late 2015 the group no longer had a visible presence in the North Caucasus region, as most of its members defected to the local ISIL affiliate, Vilayat Kavkaz.Caucasus Mountains
The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system at the intersection of Europe and Asia. Stretching between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, it surrounds the eponymous Caucasus region and is home to Mount Elbrus, the highest peak in Europe.
The Caucasus Mountains include the Greater Caucasus in the north and Lesser Caucasus in the south. The Greater Caucasus runs west-northwest to east-southeast, from the Caucasian Natural Reserve in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea nearly to Baku on the Caspian Sea. The Lesser Caucasus runs parallel to the Greater about 100 km (62 mi) south. The Greater and Lesser Caucasus ranges are connected by the Likhi Range, and to the west and east of the Likhi Range lie the Colchis Plain and the Kur-Araz Lowland. The Meskheti Range is a part of the Lesser Caucasus system. In the southeast the Aras River separates the Lesser Caucasus from the Talysh Mountains which straddle the border of southeastern Azerbaijan and Iran. The Lesser Caucasus and the Armenian Highland constitute the Transcaucasian Highland, which at their western end converge with the highland plateau of Eastern Anatolia in the far north east of Turkey. The highest peak in the Caucasus range is Mount Elbrus in the Greater Caucasus, which rises to a height of 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) above sea level. Mountains near Sochi hosted part of the 2014 Winter Olympics.Chechens
Chechens (; Chechen: Нохчий Noxçiy; Old Chechen: Нахчой Naxçoy) are a Northeast Caucasian ethnic group of the Nakh peoples originating in the North Caucasus region of Eastern Europe. They refer to themselves as Vainakhs (which means our people in Chechen) or Nokhchiy (pronounced [no̞xtʃʼiː]; singular Nokhchi, Nakhchuo or Nakhtche). Chechen and Ingush peoples are collectively known as the Vainakh. The majority of Chechens today live in the Chechen Republic, a subdivision of the Russian Federation.
The isolated terrain of the Caucasus mountains and the strategic value outsiders have placed on the areas settled by Chechens has contributed much to the Chechen community ethos and helped shape its fiercely independent national character. Chechen society has traditionally been egalitarian and organized around many autonomous local clans, called teips.Chechnya
Chechnya (; Russian: Чечня́, IPA: [tɕɪˈtɕnʲa]; Chechen: Нохчийчоь, Noxçiyçö), officially the Chechen Republic (; Russian: Чече́нская Респу́блика, tr. Chechenskaya Respublika, IPA: [tɕɪˈtɕɛnskəjə rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə]; Chechen: Нохчийн Республика, Noxçiyn Respublika), is a federal subject (a republic) of Russia.
It is a Federal Subject of Russia located in the North Caucasus, situated in the southernmost part of Eastern Europe, and within 100 kilometres (62 miles) of the Caspian Sea. The capital of the republic is the city of Grozny. As of the 2010 Russian Census, the republic was reported to have a population of 1,268,989 people; however, that number has been questioned by multiple demographers, who think such population growth after two deadly wars is highly implausible.After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Chechen-Ingush ASSR was split into two parts: the Republic of Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic. The latter proclaimed the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, which sought independence. Following the First Chechen War with Russia, Chechnya gained de facto independence as the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. Russian federal control was restored during the Second Chechen War. Since then there has been a systematic reconstruction and rebuilding process, though sporadic fighting took place in the mountains and southern regions until 2017.Georgia (country)
Georgia (Georgian: საქართველო, translit.: sakartvelo, IPA: [sɑkʰɑrtʰvɛlɔ] (listen)) is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.During the classical era, several independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia, such as Colchis and Iberia. The Georgians adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. The common belief had an enormous importance for spiritual and political unification of early Georgian states. A unified Kingdom of Georgia reached its Golden Age during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 12th and early 13th centuries. Thereafter, the kingdom declined and eventually disintegrated under hegemony of various regional powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and successive dynasties of Iran. In the late 18th century, the eastern Georgian Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti forged an alliance with the Russian Empire, which directly annexed the kingdom in 1801 and conquered the western Kingdom of Imereti in 1810. Russian rule over Georgia was eventually acknowledged in various peace treaties with Iran and the Ottomans and the remaining Georgian territories were absorbed by the Russian Empire in a piecemeal fashion in the course of the 19th century. During the Civil War following the Russian Revolution in 1917, Georgia briefly became part of the Transcaucasian Federation and then emerged as an independent republic before the Red Army invasion in 1921 which established a government of workers' and peasants' soviets. Soviet Georgia would be incorporated into a new Transcaucasian Federation which in 1922 would be a founding republic of the Soviet Union. In 1936, the Transcaucasian Federation was dissolved and Georgia emerged as a Union Republic. During the Great Patriotic War, almost 700,000 Georgians fought in the Red Army against the German invaders. After Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, a native Georgian, died in 1953, a wave of protest spread against Nikita Khrushchev and his de-Stalinization reforms, leading to the death of nearly one hundred students in 1956. From that time on, Georgia would become marred with blatant corruption and increased alienation of the government from the people.
By the 1980s, Georgians were ready to abandon the existing system altogether. A pro-independence movement led to the secession from the Soviet Union in April 1991. For most of the following decade, post-Soviet Georgia suffered from civil conflicts, secessionist wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and economic crisis. Following the bloodless Rose Revolution in 2003, Georgia strongly pursued a pro-Western foreign policy; aimed at NATO and European integration, it introduced a series of democratic and economic reforms. This brought about mixed results, but strengthened state institutions. The country's Western orientation soon led to the worsening of relations with Russia, culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian War in August 2008 and Georgia's current territorial dispute with Russia.
Georgia is a member of the United Nations, the Council of Europe, and the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development. It contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained very limited international recognition after the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Georgia and most of the world's countries consider the regions to be Georgian territory under Russian occupation.Greater Caucasus
Greater Caucasus (Azerbaijani: Böyük Qafqaz, Бөјүк Гафгаз, بيوک قافقاز; Georgian: დიდი კავკასიონი, Didi K’avk’asioni; Russian: Большой Кавказ, Bolshoy Kavkaz, sometimes translated as "Caucasus Major", "Big Caucasus" or "Large Caucasus") is the major mountain range of the Caucasus Mountains.
The range stretches for about 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) from west-northwest to east-southeast, between the Taman Peninsula of the Black Sea to the Absheron Peninsula of the Caspian Sea: from the Western Caucasus in the vicinity of Sochi on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea and reaching nearly to Baku on the Caspian.
The range is traditionally separated into three parts:
Western Caucasus, from the Black Sea to Mount Elbrus
Central Caucasus, from Mount Elbrus to Mount Kazbek
Eastern Caucasus, from Mount Kazbek to the Caspian SeaIn the wetter Western Caucasus, the mountains are heavily forested (deciduous forest up to 1,500 metres (4,900 ft), coniferous forest up to 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) and alpine meadows above the tree line). In the drier Eastern Caucasus, the mountains are mostly treeless.Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush (Pashto and Persian: هندوکش, Persian for “Indian Mountains”; ), also known in Ancient Greek as the Caucasus Indicus (Ancient Greek: Καύκασος Ινδικός) or Paropamisadae (Ancient Greek: Παροπαμισάδαι), is an 800-kilometre-long (500 mi) mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. It forms the western section of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH). It divides the valley of the Amu Darya (the ancient Oxus) to the north from the Indus River valley to the south.
The Hindu Kush range has numerous high snow-capped peaks, with the highest point in the Hindu Kush being Tirich Mir or Terichmir at 7,708 metres (25,289 ft) in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. To the north, near its northeastern end, the Hindu Kush buttresses the Pamir Mountains near the point where the borders of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan meet, after which it runs southwest through Pakistan and into Afghanistan near their border. The eastern end of the Hindu Kush in the north merges with the Karakoram Range. Towards its southern end, it connects with the Spin Ghar Range near the Kabul River.The Hindu Kush range region was a historically significant centre of Buddhism with sites such as the Bamiyan Buddhas. The range and communities settled in it hosted ancient monasteries, important trade networks, and travelers between Central Asia and South Asia. The Hindu Kush range has also been the passageway during the invasions of the Indian subcontinent, and continues to be important during modern era warfare in Afghanistan.Insurgency in the North Caucasus
The insurgency in the North Caucasus was a low-level armed conflict between Russia and militants associated with the Caucasus Emirate and, since June 2015, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) groups. It followed the official end of the decade-long Second Chechen War on 16 April 2009. It attracted people from the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia, who then participated in the conflict, but volunteers from the North Caucasus are also fighting in Syria. Also used is the name Armed Conflict in the North Caucasus (Russian: Вооружённый конфликт на Севером Кавказе).
The insurgency has gone relatively dormant in recent years. During its peak, the violence was mostly concentrated in the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. Occasional incidents happened in surrounding regions, like North Ossetia-Alania, Karachay-Cherkessia, Stavropol Krai and Volgograd Oblast.Kingdom of Iberia
Kingdom of Iberia may refer to:
Kingdom of Iberia (antiquity), 302 BC to AD 580
Kingdom of Iberia (Middle Ages), AD 888 to 1008Also identified as "Kingdom of Iberia" or "Iberian kingdom" may refer to:
Kingdom of Kartli, 1460s to 1762
Kingdom of Georgia, 1008 to 1490/1Languages of the Caucasus
The Caucasian languages are a large and extremely varied array of languages spoken by more than ten million people in and around the Caucasus Mountains, which lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
Linguistic comparison allows these languages to be classified into several language families, with little or no discernible affinity to each other. However, the languages of the Caucasus are sometimes mistakenly referred to as a family of languages.Lesser Caucasus
Lesser Caucasus, also called Caucasus Minor is second of the two main mountain ranges of Caucasus mountains, of length about 600 km (370 mi). The western portion of the Lesser Caucasus overlaps and converges with the high plateau of Eastern Anatolia, in the far northeast of Turkey.
It runs parallel to the Greater Caucasus, at a distance averaging about 100 km (62 mi) south from Likhi Range (Georgia) and limits the Armenian Highland from the North and North-East.
It is connected to the Greater Caucasus by the Likhi Range (Georgia) and separated from it by the Kolkhida Lowland (Georgia) in the West and Kura-Aras Lowland (Azerbaijan) (by Kura River) in the East.
The highest peak is Aragats, 4,090 m (13,420 ft).The borders between Georgia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan run through the range, although its crest does not usually define the border.List of dishes from the Caucasus
The cuisine of the Caucasus includes the traditional cuisines of Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan in Transcaucasia and of Adygea (Circassia), Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia in Ciscaucasia.Mount Elbrus
Mount Elbrus (Russian: Эльбру́с, tr. Elbrus, IPA: [ɪlʲˈbrus]; Karachay-Balkar: Минги тау, Miñi taw or Mın̨i taw IPA: [mɪˈŋːi taw]; Kabardian: Ӏуащхьэмахуэ, ’Wāśhamāxwa or Ꜧuas̨hemaxue, IPA: [ʔʷaːɕħamaːxʷa]; Adyghe: Ӏуащхьэмафэ, ’Wāśhamāfa or Ꜧuas̨hemafe, IPA: [ʔʷaːɕħamaːfa]; Hakuchi: Къӏуащхьэмафэ, Qʼuas̨hemafe, IPA: [qʷʼaːɕħamaːfa];) is a dormant volcano in the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia. It could be considered the highest mountain in Europe, notwithstanding the fact that Caucasus mountains are at the intersection of Europe and Asia, and it is the tenth most prominent peak in the world.Elbrus has two summits, both of which are dormant volcanic domes. The taller west summit is 5,642 metres (18,510 ft); the east summit is 5,621 metres (18,442 ft). The east summit was first ascended on 10 July 1829 (Julian calendar) by Khillar Khachirov, and the west summit in 1874 by a British expedition led by F. Crauford Grove and including Frederick Gardner, Horace Walker, and the Swiss guide Peter Knubel of St. Niklaus.
While authorities differ on how the Caucasus are distributed between Europe and Asia, most relevant modern authorities define the continental boundary as the Caucasus watershed, placing Elbrus in Europe due to its position on the north side of the watershed in Russia.North Caucasus
The North Caucasus (Russian: Се́верный Кавка́з, IPA: [ˈsʲevʲɪrnɨj kɐfˈkas]) or Ciscaucasia is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Sea of Azov and Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east, within European Russia. Geographically, the Northern Caucasus (territory north of the Greater Caucasus Range) includes the Russian republics and krais of the North Caucasus. As part of the Russian Federation, the Northern Caucasus region is included in the North Caucasian and Southern Federal Districts and consists of Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the constituent republics, approximately from west to east: the Republic of Adygea, Karachay–Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia–Alania, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and the Republic of Dagestan.Geographically, the term North Caucasus also refers to the northern slope and western extremity of the Caucasus Major mountain range, as well as a part of its southern slope to the West (until the Psou River in Abkhazia). The Forecaucasus steppe area is often also encompassed under the notion of "Ciscaucasus", thus the northern boundary of the Forecaucasus steppe is generally considered to be the Manych River.Peoples of the Caucasus
For caucasian in the racial sense, see Caucasian race.The peoples of the Caucasus are diverse comprising more than 50 ethnic groups throughout the Caucasus region.South Ossetia
South Ossetia (, less commonly ), officially the Republic of South Ossetia – the State of Alania, or The Tskhinvali Region, is a disputed territory in the South Caucasus, in the northern part of the internationally recognised Georgian territory. It has a population of 53,000 people who live in an area of 3,900 km2, south of the Russian Caucasus, with 30,000 living in Tskhinvali. The separatist polity, Republic of South Ossetia (or the State of Alania), is recognised as a state by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria. While Georgia lacks control over South Ossetia, the Georgian government and most members of the United Nations consider the territory part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area as "the former autonomous district of South Ossetia", in reference to the former Soviet autonomous oblast disbanded in 1990.Georgia does not recognise the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, and therefore its territory does not correspond to any Georgian administrative area (although Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia was created by the Georgian authorities as a transitional measure leading to the settlement of South Ossetia's status), with most of the territory included into Shida Kartli region. The area is often informally referred to as the legally undefined Tskhinvali Region in Georgia and in international organisations when neutrality is deemed necessary.
South Ossetia declared independence from the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia's autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force. The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War. Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008. The latter conflict led to the Russo–Georgian War, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast. In the wake of the 2008 war, Georgia and a significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military.
South Ossetia relies heavily on military, political and financial aid from Russia. Russia does not allow the European Union Monitoring Mission to enter South Ossetia.South Ossetia, Transnistria, Artsakh, and Abkhazia are sometimes referred to as post-Soviet "frozen conflict" zones.Transcaucasia
Transcaucasia (Russian: Закавказье, tr. Zakavkaz'ye), (Armenian: Անդրկովկաս, Andrkovkas) or the South Caucasus (Georgian: სამხრეთ კავკასია), (Azerbaijani: Cənubi Qafqaz) is a geographical region in the vicinity of the southern Caucasus Mountains on the border of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Transcaucasia roughly corresponds to modern Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Total area of these countries is about 186,100 square kilometres (71,850 square miles). Transcaucasia and Ciscaucasia (North Caucasus) together comprise the larger Caucasus geographical region that divides Eurasia.
Transcaucasia spans the southern portion of the Caucasus Mountains and their lowlands, straddling the border between the continents of Europe and Asia, and extending southwards from the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range of southwestern Russia to the Turkish and Armenian borders, and from the Black Sea in the west to the Caspian Sea coast of Iran in the east. The area includes the southern part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, the entire Lesser Caucasus mountain range, the Colchis Lowlands, the Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Talysh Mountains, the Lenkoran Lowlands, Javakheti and the eastern portion of the Armenian Highland.
All of present-day Armenia is in Transcaucasia; the majority of present-day Georgia and Azerbaijan, including the exclave of Nakhchivan, also fall within the region. Parts of Iran and Turkey are also included within the region of Transcaucasia. Goods produced in the region include oil, manganese ore, tea, citrus fruits, and wine. It remains one of the most politically tense regions in the post-Soviet area, and contains three heavily disputed areas: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh. Between 1878 and 1917 the Russian-controlled province of Kars Oblast was also incorporated into the Transcaucasus.