By: The PH Team
Nagorno-Karabakh, officially the Republic of Artsakh, is an unrecognized country in the Caucasus region. Predominantly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, the region is claimed and internationally recognized as part of neighbouring Azerbaijan.
Stepanakert is the capital of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh. Home to roughly 56,000 inhabitants, the city is also known by its Azerbaijani name - Khankendi. It is the largest city and economic hub of the unrecognized country.
During the period of the USSR, Stepanakert was the capital of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast within the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic, between 1923 and 1991.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (as was known at the time) in 1991, Stepanakert continued with its status as the political and cultural centre of the new State.
It is home to all the national institutions: the Government House, the National Assembly, the Presidential Palace, the Constitutional Court, all ministries, judicial bodies and other government and economic institutions.
Stepanakert Airport is a non-functioning airport in near Stepanakert, the capital of the unrecognized Republic of Artsakh (NKR).
The airport has been under the control of the Republic of Artsakh since 1992. Flights ceased to take place with the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1990.
As the airport lies within the Republic of Artsakh, an unrecognized country, there are no codes for the airport in the official IATA list.
Although the reason for the airport not being operational does not seem to be the lack of IATA codes (as seen by the operating Hargeisa Airport in Somaliland), but rather security reasons caused by the conflict with Azerbaijan.
In 2009, the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities began the reconstruction of the facilities. Though it was scheduled to launch the first commercial flights on May 9, 2011, Artsakh officials postponed a new reopening date.
In 2012, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Administration announced that the airport would begin operations in the middle of the same year. However the airport remains closed until today due to threats made by Azerbaijan.