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It was then plundered by invading Mongols in 1220 and Khwarezmians in 1225 and became part of Mongol Empire in 1236 when the Caucasus was invaded by Chormaqan.
In the 13th century during the reign of the Mongol horde ruler Güyük Khan Christians were allowed to build churches in the strongly Muslim town of Nakhchivan, however the conversion to Islam of Gazan khan brought about a reversal of this favor.
With a rich cultural heritage dating back thousands of years, a striking geography varying from the snow-capped peaks in the northern provinces to the lush desert oases of the south, and a population eager to change your preconceptions with its disarming hospitality, Iran is well worth a visit.
The area that is now Nakhchivan became part of the Safavid dynasty of Iran in the 16th century.
According to the Armenian historian Faustus of Byzantium (5th century), when the Sassanid Persians invaded Armenia, Sassanid King Shapur II (310-380) removed 2,000 Armenian and 16,000 Jewish families in 360-370. It happened in the province of Gokhtan, which corresponds to Nakhchivan's modern Ordubad district.
On the other hand, Azerbaijani archaeologists have found that the history of Nakhchivan dates back to the Stone Age (Paleolithic).
Hübschmann noted, however, that it was not known by that name in antiquity, and that the present-day name evolved to "Nakhchivan" from "Naxčawan".
The prefix "Naxč" derives from Naxič or Naxuč (probably a personal name) and "awan" (the modern transcription of Hübschmann's "avan") is Armenian for "place, town".
In January 1990 Nakhchivan declared independence from the USSR to protest against the suppression of the national movement in Azerbaijan, and became the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic within the newly independent Republic of Azerbaijan a year later.
The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an autonomous area of Azerbaijan, governed by its own elected legislature. The 19th-century language scholar Johann Heinrich Hübschmann wrote that the name "Nakhichavan" in Armenian literally means "the place of descent", a Biblical reference to the descent of Noah's Ark on the adjacent Mount Ararat.