Karabash was founded in 1822 as a mining city. It's main industry was mining copper as the place had large deposits of copper ore. It was mainly populated by miners and their families, in the late 1930s 50 thousand people lived in Karabash. As the mines were closing, the population began decreasing. Ecological issues have always been acute for Karabash.
In the late 1980s vegetation almost disappeared from the city, staying there became dangerous for people, the population decreased to fifteen thousand. In 1998 they resumed copper smelting production in Karabash, the city which is called one of the dirtiest in the world, as per 2014 it was populated by twelve thousand people.