The South Caucasus Region
The South Caucasus also referred to as Transcaucasia is a part of the Caucasus mountainous country, located south of the Main range of the Greater Caucasus. This area covers a big part of the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus range, the Colchis Lowlands and Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Lesser Caucasus Mountain range, the Transcaucasia Armenian highlands, the Talysh Mountains, the Lenkoran Lowlands.
The population of the South Caucasus is multinational. The Georgians and the Abkhazians belong to the peoples of the South and North groups of the Caucasus language family. The Azerbaijani represent the Turkic language family people. The Armenians, the Talysh, the Tats, the Kurds, and the Ossetians belong to the Indo-European language family. The Russians, the Ukrains, the Azeris, the Greeks, the Jews, the Turks and other nationalities inhabit Transcaucasia as well. Many religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism were widespread in the area, local religious beliefs also emerged there.
The history and all the aspects of life of the peoples residing in the South Caucasus are characterized by the traditions going back to the ancient times. To a large extent these traditions survived up to the XIX – beginning of the XX century when the South Caucasus occupied some part of the political space of Russian Empire.
Landscape Zones and Branches of Ecomony.
The variety of the landscape zones of the South Caucasus caused the diversity of the forms of economy activity, the kinds of settlements and dwellings. Due to the similar living conditions some similar types of economy and vital maintenance were formed among the representatives of different peoples living in the neighbourhood.
The basis of a peasant production complex economy was founded as early as the neolithic period, but its particular types would change together with a change of the form of social order and migrations of some groups of the population.
The main occupation of the people inhabiting the flat country and mountainous lands were arable agriculture and livestock transhumance; in steppe districts migratory stock herding was in practice. Hunting, fishing, bee keeping etc. played a supplementary role, but in some districts they got to a professional level. Gardening and viticulture were popular as well all over the region.
The specific features of the South Caucasus were different domestic handicrafts which reached a high level of quality. The location of the South Caucasus on the crossways of all the most important transportation roads of Euroasia enabled the crafts flourish.
The forms of public mutual assistance survived in economic activity: in the rural districts they worked on the basis of family and rural communities, in towns - as guild associations.