Russian Cities Founded By Armenians

In the 18th-19th centuries, for various reasons, many ethnic Armenians moved to the Russian Empire for permanent residence. These were Armenians who had been exiled by Shah Abbas to Iran, as well as Armenians who had lived in the so-called Ottoman (western) Armenia for centuries.

The Armenian people were invited to Russia by Russian tsars. On one hand, this was because Armenians were (and are) Christians, co-religionists, albeit of their own apostolic persuasion. On the other hand, they were excellent business executives who could quickly boost the economy of the vast, newly joined lands of the Caucasus and New Russia.

In the Russian Empire, Armenians would be granted lands along with the right to establish their settlements on the given land. Which they would do with great pleasure.


One of the most famous cities founded by Armenians in Russia is the town of Budyonnovsk in the east of the Stavropol Krai. The town on the site of the abandoned ancient Zolotoryda settlement was founded in 1799 by immigrants from Artsakh.

Initially, Budyonnovsk was called “Surb Khach” (|Holy Cross| in Armenian). The town would receive its modern name of Budyonnovks in 1035. Now, the town is home to a large Armenian community.


The town of Edissiya is also located in the Stavropol Krai – in the Kursk municipal district, on the very border with Chechnya. The town was founded by Armenian colonists in 1797.

Now, among the 5,000-people population of Edissiya are many Armenians, the descendants of the immigrants. Armenians migrated here in the late 18th century from the village of Kilvar (Քիլվար, now in the north of Azerbaijan).

Edissiya received its name after the ancient Armenian city of Edessa where ethnic Armenians had lived from ancient times.


This city was not founded as an Armenian settlement. However, one of its main founders was Admiral Lazar Serebryakov (Ghazar Artsatagortsian).


The city of Armavir (Արմավիր) with a population of 200 thousand people is a district center in the east of the Krasnodar Krai.

Armavir was founded in 1839 by the so-called “Circassian Armenians” (Cherkesogai), an ethnic group of Armenians who had lived side by side with the Circassians for a long time.

Armavir was named after the ancient capital of the Armenian kingdom, which now is a small town near Yerevan. About half of current Armavir residents are ethnic Armenians – both Cherkesogai and recent immigrants from Transcaucasia.


Nakhichevan-on-Don should also be mentioned. Now, it’s a part of the city of Rostov-on-Don. But until 1928, it used to be a separate Armenian settlement called Nor Nakhichevan (Նոր Նախիջևան, New Nakhichevan). The city was founded by Armenians who had resettled (or rather, had been evicted) to its area by the royal decree from the Crimea in 1779.

In Nakhichevan-on-Don at the beginning of the 20th century, half a dozen Armenian churches and even one monastery were standing. Unfortunately, not all of them survived.

Nowadays, many ethnic Armenians live compactly in this district of Rostov.


Another large Armenian settlement on the Don River, Chaltyr was founded on August 1, 1779, by Crimean Armenians, as well as the descendants of refugees from the capital of medieval Armenia, the city of Ani.

Please get in touch if you know other Russian cities, towns, or settlements founded by Armenians. I think that this list is far from complete, but I have no information.

Bakulin Alexander

Don Armenians
Khachkar in Budennovsk
Armenian church in Armavir

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