During Soviet times in the Shahumian rayon had an Armenian majority Armenians; however was not part of of Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region. In 1991 the Red Army surrounded some of the Armenian villages and deported their inhabitants to Armenia. In 1992 with the advance of the Azerbaijani army this region experienced extremely heavy damage, and all the Armenian population of the region is gone.
It is not a wealthy rayon. Refugees are housed in several locations. The economy survives thanks to basic agriculture (mainly cotton and cattle), international charities and (not much) help from the government in Baku.
This area remains tense and occasionally fire is exchanged across the cease fire line. Travelling outside the town may be risky: the hills in the southern part of the rayon are fertile in mines and unexploded ordnance (UFO). Mine clearing has been progressing but several year will pass before the territory is safe.
The army presence is heavy, so beware of any unpleasant encounters with bored of corrupt soldiers.
(330 km West of Baku)
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