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Geography and Climate


Geography

The Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) is located in the south - eastern part of the South Caucasus. The republic is mostly mountainous; it covers the eastern part of the Artsakhian upland and goes down obliquely from the west to east. The territory of the Republic is characterized by strongly cut up mountainous relief. The average height above sea level is 1100 m. Almost all the rivers of Artsakh, except Araks, flow from the western and south - western mountains to the valley of Artsakh, transforming the relief of the mountainous territory into deep gorges and picturesque valleys. The vastest of them is the valley of the River Tartar in the Martakert region and the valley of Araks in Lowland Artsakh.  

Along the western border of Artsakh  stretches   the  uplands of Syunik and the mountainous ridge of Vardenis from north to south , giving birth to some branches of the range that stretch from the western to eastern part of the territory. The Artsakhian ridge is composed of the mountain tops "Forty Girls" (Armenian “Qarasun Aghjikner”, 2828 m). Big Kirs (Armenian “Mets Qirs”, 2725 m)  is located at the junction of the regions of Shoushi and Hadrout and Dizapayt (2480 m) which is located in Hadrout region.

Artsakhian upland, like the whole Armenian upland, is characterized by its seismic activity. A great amount of plutonium appeared in ancient times, including limestone and other types of sediments from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Climate

Climate in the Republic of Artsakh is mild and temperate, close to dry subtropical. Annual average temperature is +10.5 degrees Centigrade. The hottest months are July and August, when the average temperature is about 22 degrees Centigrade.

The low – lying areas of Artsakh are distinguished by relatively high temperature. During the cold period, in the months of January and February, the average temperature in the region fluctuates between -0.2 to -0.9 degrees Centigrade.

The territory of the Republic does not have a long-term cold or hot weather. Instead of it  the seasons are fluctuating. The coldest temperature in the lowland doesn’t drop lower than 0-2 Centigrade, while on the foothills it drops down to -10 degrees Centigrade and between 10-20     (-10-20) degrees Centigrade in the highlands. The highest temperature rises up to +40 degrees Centigrade in the lowlands and +32-37 degrees Centigrade in the highlands. Mountainous-valley winds dominate on the territory of the Republic. There are thunderstorms in spring and winter months. Annual average rainfall fluctuates between 480 and 700 mm depending on the zone. Most rainfall is in May-June and September-October. Torrential rains and hail are common in this period, too.

Natural resources

There are a number of metals and non-metals in the Republic of Artsakh. However, a little geological research or investigation has been carried out in the territory. 

Since ancient times coal fields, numerous types of metals including zinc, lead, copper, gold, sulphurous pyrites and iron have been discovered. Artsakh is also rich in non-metals, including stones, such as marble and limestone of various shades. 

There are also deposits of granite, basalt, tufa and limestone on the territory of the republic, as well as deposits of raw materials for the production of cement, graphite, lithographic stone, gypsum, sand and clay of high quality.

Since 2002, gold has been extracted from the Drmbon mine in the Martakert region. 

The Republic of Artsakh is also home to mineral water springs. Some of them have been famous since ancient times. Mineral water springs, situated 16-18 km from Shoushi at the Goris-Stepanakert motorway, are of especial practical importance. They are rich in iron and are appreciated for their healing properties. Salubrious mineral springs, mild climate, clean air and clear rivers, forests rich in various fruits, picturesque valleys and waterfalls are the wealth of Artsakh.