Ellar district was established on September 9, 1930. The administrative center of the district, with an area of 846 km², was the city of Ellar, which was subordinated to the republic. It is located 10 km northeast of Iravan.

The territory of the district was historically included in the Kirkhbulag district of the Iravan khanate, and during the period of Tsarist Russia, it was included in the Iravan uezd.

The toponym was formed by adding the suffix “-s” to the word “el”, which means “nation, tribal union” in Turkish. This word is also used in the Turkish language in the form of “il” in the same sense. It is an ethnotoponym. It is recorded as “Eylayar” on the five-verse map of the Caucasus, “Eylar” and “Elar” in Armenian sources.

By the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Armenian SSR dated October 12, 1961, the name of the region was changed to “Abovyan”.

Since 1987, the native inhabitants of the district – Azerbaijanis were forced to leave their places of residence. In 1995, the district was abolished and included in the administrative territory of Kotayk province of Armenia.