Azerbaijan has an ancient and historic cultural heritage, including the distinction of being the first Muslim-majority country to have operas, theater and plays. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920 as the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, its surrounding territories and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh after the ceasefire of 1994 and is not diplomatically recognized by any other state. As such, the region, effectively independent since the end of the war, is considered de jure a part of Azerbaijan.
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