Caucasus topographic map-en.svg
Topography of the Caucasus
Partially recognized countries
Autonomous republics and federal regions Russia



Time ZonesUTC+02:00, UTC+03:00, UTC+03:30, UTC+4:00, UTC+04:30
Highest MountainMt Elbrus
Height of the highest peak5,642 m

The Caucasus s/ or Caucasia ə/ is a mountain range and also a regional term used to describe an area situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea and occupied by Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains including the Greater Caucasus mountain range, which has historically been considered a natural barrier between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, but is today accepted by the majority of scholars as being part of Asia.[2]

The Lesser Caucasus extends south by the Dzhavakhet range and the Armenian highlands (part of which are located in Turkey).[3] Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus, at 5,642 metres (18,510 ft) is located in the west part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range.

The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but includes the "countries" immediately to its north and south. These are Ciscaucasia (part of the Russian Federation) and Transcaucasia. The territory includes the southern areas of the Greater Caucasus, Talysh mountains and Lenkoran lowland, the Colchis lowland, the Kura Depression, the Dzhavakhet-Armenian plateau, and the Lesser Caucasus.

The Caucasus region is separated into northern and southern parts – the North Caucasus (Ciscaucasus) and Transcaucasus (South Caucasus), respectively. The Greater Caucasus mountain range in the north is within the Russian Federation, while the Lesser Caucasus mountain range in the south is occupied by several independent states, namely Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the partially recognised Artsakh Republic.

The region is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area.


The term Caucasus is not only used for the mountains themselves but also includes Ciscaucasia (which is part of the Russian Federation) and Transcaucasia.[4] According to Alexander Mikaberidze, Transcaucasia is a "Russo-centric" term.[5]

Pliny the Elder's Natural History (77–79 AD) derives the name of the Caucasus from Scythian kroy-khasis ("ice-shining, white with snow").[6] German linguist Paul Kretschmer notes that the Latvian word Kruvesis also means "ice".[7][8]

In the Tale of Past Years (1113 AD), it is stated that Old East Slavic Кавкасийскыѣ горы (Kavkasijskyě gory) came from Ancient Greek Καύκασος (Kaukasos; later Greek pronunciation Kafkasos)),[9] which, according to M. A. Yuyukin, is a compound word that can be interpreted as the "Seagull's Mountain" (καύ-: καύαξ, καύηξ, ηκος ο, κήξ, κηϋξ "a kind of seagull" + the reconstructed *κάσος η "mountain" or "rock" richly attested both in place and personal names.)[10]

According to German philologists Otto Schrader and Alfons A. Nehring, the Ancient Greek word Καύκασος (Kaukasos) is connected to Gothic Hauhs ("high") as well as Lithuanian Kaũkas ("hillock") and Kaukarà ("hill, top").[9][11] British linguist Adrian Room points out that Kau- also means "mountain" in Pelasgian.[12]

The Transcaucasus region and Dagestan were the furthest points of Parthian and later Sasanian expansions, with areas to the north of the Greater Caucasus range practically impregnable. The mythological Mount Qaf, the world's highest mountain that ancient Iranian lore shrouded in mystery, was said to be situated in this region. In Middle Persian sources of the Sasanian era, the Caucasus range was referred to as Kaf Kof.[13] The term resurfaced in Iranian tradition later on in a variant form when Ferdowsi, in his Shahnameh, referred to the Caucasus mountains as Kōh-i Kāf.[13] "Most of the modern names of the Caucasus originate from the Greek Kaukasos (Lat., Caucasus) and the Middle Persian Kaf Kof".[13]

"The earliest etymon" of the name Caucasus comes from Kaz-kaz, the Hittite designation of the "inhabitants of the southern coast of the Black Sea".[13]

It was also noted that in Nakh Ков гас (Kov gas) means "gateway to steppe"[14]

Endonyms and exonyms

The modern name for the region is usually similar in the many languages, and is generally between Kavkaz and Kawkaz.

Other Languages
Адыгэбзэ: Къаукъаз
адыгабзэ: Къаукъаз
አማርኛ: ካውካሶስ
Ænglisc: Caucasus
العربية: القوقاز
aragonés: Caucas
arpetan: Côcase
asturianu: Cáucasu
Avañe'ẽ: Káukaso
авар: Кавказ
azərbaycanca: Qafqaz
تۆرکجه: قافقاز
বাংলা: ককেসাস
Bân-lâm-gú: Caucasus
башҡортса: Кавказ
беларуская: Каўказ
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Каўкаскія горы
भोजपुरी: कॉकेशस
български: Кавказки регион
bosanski: Kavkaz (regija)
brezhoneg: Kaokaz
català: Caucas
Чӑвашла: Кавказ
čeština: Kavkaz (region)
dansk: Kaukasien
Deutsch: Kaukasien
eesti: Kaukaasia
Ελληνικά: Καυκασία
español: Cáucaso
Esperanto: Kaŭkazio
euskara: Kaukasia
فارسی: قفقاز
Fiji Hindi: Caucasus
français: Caucase
Frysk: Kaukasus
Gaeilge: Cugas
Gàidhlig: Cabhcas
galego: Cáucaso
ГӀалгӀай: Кавказ
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Kavkaz
한국어: 캅카스
հայերեն: Կովկաս
हिन्दी: कॉकस
hrvatski: Kavkaz (regija)
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaukasus
Ирон: Кавказ
isiXhosa: Caucasus
íslenska: Kákasus
italiano: Caucaso
עברית: קווקז
Basa Jawa: Kaokasus
къарачай-малкъар: Кавказ
ქართული: კავკასია
қазақша: Кавказ
kurdî: Qefqasya
Кыргызча: Кавказ
лакку: Ккавкказ
latviešu: Kaukāzs
лезги: Къавкъаз
lietuvių: Kaukazas
Lingua Franca Nova: Caucasos
македонски: Кавказ
മലയാളം: കൊക്കേഷ്യ
मराठी: कॉकेशस
მარგალური: კავკაცია
مازِرونی: قفقاز
Bahasa Melayu: Caucasus
Nederlands: Kaukasus (gebied)
नेपाली: ककेसस
日本語: コーカサス
нохчийн: Кавказ
norsk: Kaukasia
norsk nynorsk: Kaukasia
occitan: Caucàs
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Kavkaz
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਕੋਹਕਾਫ਼
Piemontèis: Càucas
português: Cáucaso
română: Caucaz
русский: Кавказ
саха тыла: Хапхаас
sardu: Càucasu
Scots: Caucasus
sicilianu: Caucasu
Simple English: Caucasus
Soomaaliga: Qooqaas
کوردی: قەوقاز
српски / srpski: Кавказ (регион)
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kavkaz (region)
Basa Sunda: Kaukasus
suomi: Kaukasia
svenska: Kaukasien
Tagalog: Kaukasya
татарча/tatarça: Кавказ
тоҷикӣ: Қафқоз
Türkçe: Kafkasya
українська: Кавказ
اردو: قفقاز
Tiếng Việt: Kavkaz
Winaray: Caucaso
粵語: 高加索
Zazaki: Qewqasya
中文: 高加索