Once a thriving city of 150.000 souls with its own airfield, capital of Agdam rayon, today Agdam is the consummated portrait of the devastation brought about by the Nagorno Karabakh war, it was lost to Armenian forces in July 1993.
Although Agdam was not affected directly by bombardments or the place of combats, the city was systematically destroyed and looted by the Armenian forces. The mosque was the only building spared, although covered in graffiti. As in a nightmare you’ll find street after street of empty and gutted buildings, where the birds and the weeds started to take over. No people, no cars, no sounds – a ghostly atmosphere.
Following the collapse of the Azeri defenses all the population was forced to move eastwards anticipating the advance of the Armenian forces, who eventually took about 80% of the Agdam rayon. Many of Agdam’s former residents have found normal life elsewhere in Azerbaijan, but many other still dwell in refugee camps spread throughout the country.
Although Agdam is just 20 kilometers northeast of Xankandi , it is outside the territory of the Nagorno Karabakh region. Nevertheless the area remains occupied by Armenian forces, who consider it a temporary buffer zone against an eventual Azeri attack.
Since the Armenians admit that sooner or later this territory will return to Azeri sovereignty no effort has been made to resettle Agdam .
Armenians from the neighboring areas use Agdam as a source of construction materials, and the handful on non-military residents are professional scavengers, making a living from the materials taken from the abandoned buildings.
The city is easily accessible from Xankandi, but being so close to the cease-fire line any visit may be limited by the Armenian military forces – large military camps exist just outside the town and armored vehicles are to be seen everywhere.