Gafan district was established on September 9, 1930. The center of the district with an area of 1345 km² was city of Gafan, which was subordinated to the republic. The distance from there to the city of Iravan is 320 km. The territory of the district is surrounded by Bargushad, Zangezur and Mehri (Megri) mountain ranges on three sides. Okchuchay river flows through the region.

The territory of the region was historically included in the Zangezur district of the Iravan khanate, and during Tsarist Russia it was part of the Zangezur district of Yelizavetpol (Ganja) governorate.

There are legends and myths about the existence of Gaf mountain in Azerbaijan and the Simurgh bird (phoenix) living inside this mountain. It is believed that the name of the Caucasus was taken from here. The word “Gafan” also means “the area where the Gaf is located”. Gaf mountain in Gafan district is actually Mount Kaputjugh with a height of 3904 m.

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 the Syunik province of Armenia.