Dagestan - Toponymy

Toponymy

The word Dagestan is of Turkic and Persian origin. Dag means 'mountain' and -stan is a Persian suffix meaning 'land'. The word Dagestan therefore means "the land of mountains". Dagestan used to be called Kohestan in Persian (mountainous place) and Arabized as Ghahestan. When the Persian language gradually faded in those regions and the Turkish language prevailed, the Persian Koh (Kooh) was replaced with its Turkish equivalent dagh. The present name transliterated as Derbent is actually the Persian Darband, meaning a point on a mountain that one cannot climb further. In Persian Islamic mysticism Darband is the place where Simorgh (Shahrokh or Phoenix) lives and is the end point and farthest point of the world that man can imagine. Some areas of Dagestan were known as Albania, Avaria, and Tarkov at various times.

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