The most beautiful villages and hamlets in Azerbaijan14. февраля 2023
Azerbaijan attracts tourists from all over the world with its rich history, favourable climate, incredibly beautiful nature and local hospitality. Azerbaijan covers an area of 86,600 square kilometres. — It is unlikely that you will be able to see the whole country in one trip, however long it may be. But this is not a reason to be upset, it is an excuse to organise your holiday carefully. I have prepared for you some of the most picturesque villages and hamlets of Azerbaijan.
The village of Laza is situated on the right bank of the Gusarchai River on the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus Range. The village is mountainous, with an elevation of about 1,700 metres above sea level.
What attracts tourists to Laza? First of all it is certainly the stunning and original nature. There are beautiful mountains, unique cascading waterfalls and old buildings. There is also an ancient mosque, sanctuary of ‘Pir Haji Seid Baba’ and waterfalls.
Lagich is a small but very picturesque village in the Ismailli district of Azerbaijan. The town is a historical and cultural reserve, which is included in one of the most popular tourist routes — the Great Silk Road. The town of Lagich is one of the most famous trade and craft centres of Caucasus. It is famous for the manufacture of various copper utensils, decorated with engraved oriental ornaments and handmade cold steel weapons.
The village of Khinalug is located on the territory of Guba district of Azerbaijan at an altitude of about 2100-2200 metres above sea level. The location is inaccessible, the village is located on the slope of Kyzylkaya mountain on the northern slope of the North Caucasus Range, opposite to the mountain bearing the same name — Khinalug. Due to the fact that the village is difficult to reach in terms of transport, it has preserved its identity, in particular, almost the entire population is indigenous. The number of inhabitants at the moment is about two thousand people.
Dwelling houses in the village of Khinalug are built according to the cascade type. That is, the roof of the house below is a porch or part of the house above. This type of construction is caused by the fact that houses are built on steep hills in the absence of flat land. Nowadays, this type of construction can be seen in many cultures and ethnic groups living in mountainous areas.
Saribash is one of Azerbaijan’s high mountain villages: it is situated at an altitude of 1,602 metres on the plateau of the Caucasus Mountains. It offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside — the nature here is beautiful and rugged. One can reach Saribash village only by car, but sometimes even a car will not help: if the area is exposed to heavy rains, the road to the village is cut by a fast river. So if you are planning a trip to Saribash, you should also take note of the weather forecast.
5. "Red Town"
The name «Krasnaya Sloboda» (Red Town) is given to the village where the local Jews live. They call themselves «dzhugur». Another name for the ethnic group is Highland Jews. The Krasnaya Sloboda is located on the outskirts of the town, particularly on the right bank of the Gudialchai River. There are 13 synagogues, but only two are functioning. In its heyday, there were about 360 houses here, and the population was about 1500 people. Today, the number of the population of the settlement has increased to 4-5 thousand.
The resettlement of Jews to Guba city area took place in XVIII century, namely in 1736-1747, when Nadir Shah ruled the area. Thus, in the course of military operations he captured Guba and the Jews who came with him were geographically placed in the area between the villages of Galadüz and Küpçal. After the Jews had been accommodated in the area, their elders appealed to Huseynali Khan for assistance, so that the authorities could ensure the safety of the newly arrived Jews. The Khan met them halfway, and not only ensured their safety, but also gave them a territory to be developed in the upper part of the present-day Red Sloboda. They moved to the present territory in 1765.
Today, the inhabitants of Krasnaya Sloboda are engaged in trade and business. At the same time, the local population likes to live «off the beaten track». For this reason, expensive luxury houses are ubiquitous there, and expensive luxury cars are often seen near them.
The village with the Russian name Ivanovka, surprisingly enough, is in Azerbaijan. People of different nationalities have settled here, joined together and sought support from one another. It is no coincidence that the land of Ivanovka has so many ancient and new sights. The beautiful nature, freedom, trust, unique way of life, the power of elders and wise traditions. All this is Ivanovka — a place that you are lucky to see.
Ivanovka is above all a Molokan village, but with a Russian spirit. The ancestors of the Molokans were exiled to South Caucasus from Czarist Russia about 200 years ago because of their religious beliefs. Nowadays Ivanovka is the largest Molokan settlement on the territory of present Azerbaijan. If you are in Ivanovka, you have a direct opportunity to meet the Molokan community, and learn more about the local faith.
The last remaining Soviet-era collective farm in Azerbaijan operates in Ivanovka. It is called the Nikitin collective farm, and has existed in the village of Ivanovka since 1936 up to the present day.
The village of Kish is located about 6 kilometres from the town of Sheki in the Sheki region of Azerbaijan. It is situated on the bank of the Kish River of the same name, at the foot of a mountain. In old times the village of Kish was a place of residence of udins. In ancient writings the village was also mentioned under the name of Gis. Number of inhabitants of the village is now nearly 6.5 thousand. Majority of them are Azerbaijanis. Mainly the population is engaged in farming and cattle breeding.
Main attraction of the village of Kish is its Christian church built back in XII century. This building has a special status compared to other Christian architectural monuments in Albania. And its value lies not only in its architectural value, but also in its historical context. The point is that the church has a special place in dissemination of Christianity in territory of Albania of Caucasian Albania. In particular, there is evidence that the church was founded by Elisha the Apostle, which suggests that the oldest independent Albanian church in the Caucasus began as an apostle.
Today, Basgal is a village located in the Ismailli district of Azerbaijan with a population of 1,500. According to researchers, Basgal was founded around the fourth century AD. To this day, archaeologists have found many artifacts of ancient human settlements, particularly in the southeast of the village.
Many castles have survived to this day. Their distinctive feature is their very thick walls, up to several metres thick in some places! Particularly, such walls are found in an area called Galabashi. It is officially believed that they were constructed in XIV century. Another point of interest of the settlement is an ancient sewerage system, which functions properly up to the present day. And of course, Basgal is simply a beautiful place, distinguished by its natural beauty, vegetation, beautiful scenery from the mountains and viewing platforms.
Altiagach is a national park, 90% of which is covered by forests and is home to various species of eagles listed in the Red Book of Azerbaijan. In the autumn and spring the Altiagach National Park turns into a real paradise for bird watchers — every year up to 200,000 birds, over 320 species, fly through here. There is also a rehabilitation centre for wild animals and birds, the house-museum of Jafar Jabarly and Mikail Mushfig, and the Altai Marals Centre. Among the most interesting villages of the district are the village of Molokan, Altiagach, through which centuries ago ran the ancient road from Shamakhi to Derbent, the village of Alishirin, also known as Shikhlar, where the tomb of Sheikh Heydar is located.
The settlement was founded in 1844 by the Dukhobors, who were evicted to the area by order of the tsar. It is believed that the settlement got its name from the town of Slavyansk, which at that time was one of the centres of the culture of these Dukhobors. Due to the fact that the settlement was on the periphery, its inhabitants over time became quite orthodox. This did not prevent them from consuming alcohol and tobacco. Such information was left in the notes of Vasili Vereshchagin, who visited the village in 1863. The year 1895 was very tragic for the locals. As a sign of protest against conscription, they carried out a number of acts of arms burning. The ensuing repression and persecution by the Cossacks and police raised the question of the physical existence of the village and the locals. However, they were rescued by the famous Lev Tolstoy, whose efforts were directed towards the authorities’ decision to allow the emigration of the inhabitants to Canada to the undeveloped land, which was done in 1898-1899. At this time more than eight thousand (8,500) Dukhobors embarked on a long journey to another continent. And a little later the Molokans and other settlers settled in this territory.
In this village there is a spring of mineral water called «Nowlu». The composition of the mixture is unique due to the presence of various minerals and salts, owing to which the water has found wide popularity both within Azerbaijan and abroad. Industrial production of the respective water, called ‘Slavyanka 1’, started in 2004.
Lankaran is the tenth largest Azerbaijani town on the Caspian Sea. Here in the village of Khanbulan is the famous Xanbulan İstirahət Mərkəzi recreation area — the Caspian Sea on one side and the Talysh Mountains on the other. Nearby, there is a beautiful forest and picturesque lake of Khanbulan whose water is used for irrigation and as a drinking water in Astara and Lankaran. Nearby is the Girkan National Park. Stone and wooden cottages have been built for tourists on the territory of the resort, there are sports grounds and playgrounds for children, and in the restaurant you may taste national dishes.
Ilisu village is a highlight of Gakh district. At one time it was the capital of the Ilisu Sultanate. The village is located at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level. 12 km separate Ilisu from the nearest town.
Ilisu is a popular tourist destination. Travellers from all over the world flock here every year to enjoy the beauty of nature, the lush forests and bubbling rivers and to improve their immunity in the medicinal mineral springs. There are also many architectural and historical monuments in the vicinity of the village. In Ilisu village there is Juma Mosque and the Sumug Fortress with a mosque in its centre. There is also a round tower called Galacha, aka Shamil-kala, near the village. There is also one of the most ancient monuments here — clay tombs dated to the 1st century B.C. The bridge of Ulu can be called another ancient archeological specimen. The bridge lies over the Kurmukhchai River, two kilometres from the village.
13. Istisu in Masalli
Masalli is a region in the south of Azerbaijan. The locals call it a subtropical paradise. The district is bordered by Caspian Sea from one side and by Talysh Mountains from another. Masalli is a region rich in mountain rivers and a favorite format of tourists is fishing on these rivers and in the local Vilyashchaish reservoir. Vilyashchay, the longest river in Azerbaijan’s subtropical zone, 115 km long, flows here. One of the natural landmarks of the district is the green pharmacy, the first botanical pharmacy of the USSR created in the 1980s: here you can receive treatment using medicinal herbs collected in the mountains or grown in a botanical garden. There is also Istisu hydrogen-sulphide healing clinic — mineral water with a temperature of +69 °C rises from under the ground and helps cure muscle and joint pains, gynaecological and skin diseases. Other healing springs with ice-cold water can also be found in the Istisu area between the rocks. Would you like to see the ‘burning mountain’? Go to the Yardimli region — natural gas gushes out from the upper layers of the mountain’s soil, which, when released into the air, ignites and gives the impression that the mountain is on fire.
Traditionally, the village of Demirchi is considered to be a blacksmiths’ village. As we know, blacksmithing is one of the oldest and most sought-after crafts on the planet. For many centuries, local blacksmiths have been making various metal tools — agricultural and household tools, weapons and even jewellery. Originally the village was called Gyuneichai. However, in due course, due to the spread of blacksmith’s craft the village was renamed as Demirchi (word dəmirçi means ‘blacksmith’ in Azerbaijani).
According to the villagers, in old times there were up to 40 blacksmith shops in the village. They supplied metal products to all neighbouring settlements. The peculiarity of Demirchi village was that it was situated on the well-known Silk Road. Thanks to this local blacksmiths could not only sell their products to passing merchants, but their fame spread far beyond Azerbaijan. Interestingly, the forges are still in operation today, despite the displacement of artisanal production by modern technology. Many locals prefer to use metal products from Demirchi, such as horseshoes, knives, axes, etc.
A well-known Azerbaijani mountain-climatic resort that attracts tourists with its unusually clean air and excellent climate. Hajikend is often visited by people suffering from respiratory and nervous system diseases. However, totally healthy people also come to the resort to admire the local beauty as part of hiking excursions, to test themselves in mountain climbing. The highlight of the resort is Blue Lake (Göygel), which is high up in the mountains in a protected area. The Blue Lake is over 1000 years old and was created by the destructive earthquake that dammed the river flowing through it. The mountain lake itself and the area around Hajikend have been declared a protected area.
Авторство: <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Alumni.aserbaidschan" title="User:Alumni.aserbaidschan">Asif Masimov</a>. <span class="int-own-work" lang="ru">Собственная работа</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Ссылка
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