Territories of ancient Albania till the beginning of the 8th century, according to the information of numerous historical soursescovered wide area- in the south from Araz river to The MajorCaucasus, in the east from the west coast of Caspian Sea to the lands located in the west of Goycha Lake. Yet in the 5th century Heredotus gave information about Alban tribes living under kaspi name in the north part of Araz river. In health of Alexander The GreatPliny the Elder confirms the existence of Alban rule. Albania was formed before about 3th-4th century BC and it was occupied by Arab caliphate in VIII century. At the beginning capital city was current Qabala, then Barda city of Azerbaijan.
According to the information of Strabon, populations of Albania wereconsist of tribes speaking 26 languages. Uties, gargars, amazonkas, sovdes, kaspis, mags, sisakhs, mards, amards, ariaks, anariaks, gels and lekhs were mentioned among the people and tribes living in Albania. The oldest of these tribes was avtokstonethnoses which spoke Caucasian and Turkic languages. Starting from the first centuries AD with the instructions of Sasanian King several Iranian tribes were moved to Albania and from III-IV century flow of new Turkic tribes including huns, khazars, subars, barsils etc. have begun. Especially, subarian tribes had settled around Qabala capital of Albania. Because of this, in the middle ages sometimesQabala was called Qabala-Subar.
After declaration of Christianityofficial state religion Albania more or less has been under influence of Christian ideology till the end of its existence. Even though, laterpart of population accepted Islam, this factor hasn’t caused to abolish alban-christion ideology and national-cultural values, on the contrary Islam has put responsibility and liability on shoulders of every Muslim to protect alban historical and cultural monuments, as well as tribe traditions in Azerbaijan.
One of the ancestors of Azerbaijani people albans have been formed in the same territory and established rich and unique culture. Chairmen of Public Association for Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments in the Occupied Territories of Azerbaijan has stated that, just from this perspective the importance of native alban sources is very crucial in the study of ancient and middle ages history and culture of Azerbaijan. Maybe because of this reason prominent Caucasus investigator and historian Yevgeny Krupnov wrote: “ Theremustn’t be any limitation and obligation in study of Albania history. Historians from different countries study history of Albania. But one is thing is sure: More than anyone Azerbaijani people must be engaged in history and fate of Caucasus Albania. In this area, they have responsibility in front of world science and owe it to world.
Albans were ancestors of udins, avars, khinaligs and other tribes living in Azerbaijan. Alban historian MoiseyKhalankati in his “History of Albania” book wrote that one province in north-west of Albania is called Kheni. The name of Khnalig village situating Quba region of Azerbaijan expresses name of the same provice, but ancestors of khnaligs were gat tribes mentioned as alban tribes in the sourse of 5th century, khanaligs call themselves khat now too.
Starting from the first century Christianity began spreading to South Caucasus with where empire had economic and cultural relations. After declaration ofChristianity official state religion by Albania czar Urnayr new templesand churches started being built in the country. It is known to all that in Caucasus first apostolic church has been Alban church. Because Armenians accepted this religion 270 years after Albans accepted Christianity in 313 year. This was also shown in researches of Ziya Bunyadov. He proofs with evidences that, in fact Armenians has accepted Christianity under leadership of Gregory in 583 year. Armenians aren’t apostles.
Majority of monuments of Albanian has reached our time while maintaining their general form. Not only in territory of Caucasus Albania, generally, in Caucasus first built Christian church Kish Temple, at the moment, is located in Kish village of Sheki region of Azerbaijan. It proofs that works of art created by Albanarchitects, even though there is no epigraphic writing on the temple at the moment with its architecture-planning features, construction style and technology is very important. Many times restored and repaired temple has reached our time in quite good shape. In the past there was an inscription on the temple which indicated that it was secret apostolic Yenisey church and was reformed by arxidiakon Serafim of Alban churchin 1244 year.
After Albania char III Vachaqa’s Aluen counsil in 488 year with participation of prominent religion and state figures construction in Christian architecture style became popular. During III Vachaqa’s reign (487-510 years) more than 300 churches and temples had been built in Albania. There had been more than 30 monasteries till the middle of VII century in the country. Christian temple in Qum village of Qakh District of Azerbaijan is oneof work of arts attracting attention of specialists with its architecture-constructiveform. Temple which is situated in Lakhik village has been built with archaic construction style. Both of these temples are supposed to belong to V-VI centuries.
Popular Avey temple is located on the top of high mountain in Kazakh District of Azerbaijan. According to research scientists C.Rustamov and F. Muradov’s opinion Shishgaya temple and other artificial cave temple complex which are located a little beneath belong to first centuries when Christianity started spreading.
Samples of Alban architecture of IV-XVI century in occupied territories of Azerbaijan by Armenia have reached to our times. As an example Agoglan temple in Kosalar village of Lachin district of Azerbaijan,Amaras monastery in Sos village of Xocavand District, Gavurdara temple in Qubadli District of Azerbaijan, Arakel temple in Magadiz village of Agdam district of Azerbaijan, Khansikh and Khacmac temples in Khojali Districts of Azerbaijan, Red temple inTukh village of Xocavand District of Azerbaijan, Agtala temple, Arcivang temple, Uzunlar temple, Yenivang temple, Sanain temple in Western Azerbaijan are the most beautiful samples of Alban architecture that have reached to our times.
Lots of temples have been built on the honor of apostle Yelisey who has done great contribution spreading Christianity in Albania. The most interesting of those is Yelisey complex which is situated in Agdara District of Azerbaijan.
Popular Gancesar monastery erected in Vangli village of Agdara District on left bank of Khachin river on mountain, Qoshavang temple, Dadavang Temple are the most prominent monuments of Christian architecture.
Among the people called Xotavang or Xudavang, that is “God temple” monastery complex which is located on the left bank of Tartar riverin the territory of Kalbajar District of Azerbaijan has been religion center of Khachin Alban state which had been created in mountainous part of Karabakh in IX century, one century later after Caucasus Albania collapsed. Residence of alban episkopos and religious education center have been operated in the complex.
According to scientists who have researched for many years architectural monument of Caucasus Albania, these monuments differs totally from Armenian religious architectural monuments with their characteristic features and architectural planning styles. Before Armenian-Azerbaijan Upper Karabakh conflict number of Alban monuments were 25 and after occupation Armenians changed writings and dates on them. Cross belonging to Albans on this church has been changed and put in the form of cross in Armenian Church.
Supervision of protection of monuments under conditions created by state legislation and international law has become daily duties of international organizations. These kinds of illegal behaviors are considered unacceptable in international laws and conventions.