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Fuzuli is a city and the capital of the Fuzuli District of Azerbaijan. The city had a population of 17,090 before its capture by Armenian forces on 23 August 1993, during the First Nagorno-Karabakh war, which resulted in all of the city's original Azerbaijani population being forcefully expelled and the city being completely destroyed, turning it into a ghost town. On 17 October 2020, Azerbaijani forces recaptured the city during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war.
The city was known as Qarabulaq until 1827 when it was renamed to Karyagino in honour of colonel Pavel Karyagin. It was administrated as part of Dzhebrail Uyezd during the Russian Empire.
The town was renamed to Füzuli in honour of the poet Fuzuli in 1959. During the Soviet years, the city was the administrative centre of the Füzuli raion of Azerbaijan SSR. According to the 1979 census, 13,091 people lived in the city, of which 87% were Azerbaijanis and 7.4% were Russians and Ukrainians. Population rose to 17,090 in 1989.
During the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, the city was captured by Armenian forces on 23 August 1993. All of the city's around 17,000 inhabitants were forcefully expelled and the city turned into a ghost town. The city was completely destroyed and mined after its capture by Armenian forces. Subsequently, it was made part of the Hadrut Province of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh and the town was renamed Varanda during the occupation.
In the context of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war on October 17, 2020 president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev stated that the Azerbaijani army had retaken control of the city. The next day Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence released video from Fuzuli showing Azerbaijani soldiers raising the Azerbaijani flag in the centre of the city.
As part of a massive reconstruction project, a new highway is to be built to Shusha via Fuzuli, according to President Aliyev who announced the plan to build during his 16 November 2020 visit to the ruins of the latter town. The process was started with immediate effect, press reports suggesting the new 101 km multi-lane highway should be finished by mid-2022.
On 5 January 2021, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev announced that an international airport was planned to be built near Fuzuli. Four days later, the plan for a Fuzuli-Shusha railway was also announced.
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