Prior to the events of 1991, Getashen had been an Armenian village. Its name derives from the Armenian roots “get” (“river”) and “shen” (“building”) – Getashen lies on the banks of the Kurakcay River.
In antiquity, the village has been incorporated into Shakashen, a gavar (principality) of a historic Armenian province of Utik, though there is some evidence that Getashen had been actually located in the Kogth Gavar of Artsakh Province.
Prior to the expulsion of most of its population to Persia between 1800 and 1828, Getashen had been a large Armenian village. In 1828, Getashen was annexed by Russia. The first school of Getashen was built in 1860. In the early 20th century, it was settled by migrants from Bolnisi and Jraberd.
In the middle of the village were located the Surb Astvatsatsin Church, the four-story palace of Melik-Mnatsakanyans, an unnamed 1749 church, and a chapel housing a manuscript Gospel written in 1211.
South of Getashen are the ruins of the Yeghnasar Monastery. In the late 19th century, Bishop Makar Barkhudaryants visited the monastery, the fact of which he would mention in his book “Artsakh”. By the end of the 19th century, only the church of the monastery has been intact. Measuring 12 x 10 meters (length x width), the church is built from hewn stone.
The doorjamb of the southern entrance to the monastery features an inscription reading: “In 1135 (1686), I [unreadable words, only separate letters are preserved] Movses”. The inscription on the northern column of the church reads: “In the year of the Savior 1311 (1862), I, unworthy Ter-Ghazar, wrote”. This could allow one to conclude that the church has been renovated several times.
After the formation of the Soviet republics in the Transcaucasia, Getashen was incorporated into the Azerbaijani SSR. Until the Nagorno-Karabakh War, it has been a part of the Khanlar Province of Azerbaijan. In 1988, Armenians from the local Azerbaijani villages were driven out, though the people of Getashen, as well as of Martunashen refused to leave their homes. Subsequently, the Azerbaijani government would cut the communications and provisions to those villages. Armenia would later supply them with food and medications via cargo helicopters.
The Armenians of Getashen have been clashing with the neighboring villages, using firearms and mortars.
In May 1991 was carried out the Operation Ring. The units of the Soviet Internal Security Forces had been withdrawn from Getashen on April 19, after which the assaults from the Azerbaijani villages became more frequent. Any flights were forbidden, which pretty much left the population of Getashen without the necessary resources. Furthermore, the government cut the power supply and telephone communications in the village.
Within the framework of a cooperate operation, the units of the Azerbaijani OMON along with units of the Soviet Army and the Internal Troops called for the inhabitants of the Armenian villages of Shahumyan to display proof of their citizenship (known as a “passport-regime” check). As a result, more than 300 people were arrested and expelled from the Azerbaijani SSR. The 3,000-people population of Getashen was expelled to Armenia as well. The emptied villages would be inhabited by Azerbaijanis who had fled Armenia.
On December 2, 1991, Getashen participated in the Nagorno-Karabakh independence referendum.