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Trip Planner Azerbaijan  /  Shaki-Zagatala Region  /  Nij


The town of Nij, located forty kilometers south west of Qabala in Azerbaijan, is the world's only settlement of Udi people. It has a population of 5,744.HistoryThe forefathers of the Udi people were members of one of the twenty six Caucasian Albanian tribes who played an important role in the creation of the state of Caucasian Albania, which was situated in Azerbaijan and in the southern territories of Daghestan (currently in the Russian Federation) in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC.Ancient Udi was the principal language of Caucasian Albania. The Udi tribe was described in the writings of Herodotus, Strabo and Pliny the Elder. According to these chroniclers, the Udis became politically active following their involvement in the military incursions into Greece of Persian Emperor Xerxes I.They are the only ethnic minority retaining their affiliation to Christianity in Azerbaijan. The Caucasian Albanian-Udi Apostolic Autocephalous Church is located in Nij. The Udi language is a North Caucasian language. Modern Udis are bilingual in both Udi and the Azeri language.During the 5th–9th centuries, Christians in Caucasian Albania used the Caucasian Albanian alphabet. As a result of the later political weakening of the State of Caucasian Albania and the Caucasian Albanian Catholicate, the script gradually faded out, and subsequently its usage was discontinued. Currently, the Udi Alphabet uses 52 letters.
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