ABSHERON PENINSULA TOUR
The Ancient Zoroastrian Temple Ateshgah - "Fire Temple"
The Temple of Eternal Fire - Ateshgah - is an authentic Azerbaijani exotic. It is well-known practically all over the world. It is located 30 km from the center of Baku in the suburb of Surakhany. This territory is known for such unique natural phenomenon as burning natural gas outlets (underground gas coming onto surface contacts oxygen and lights up). The temple in its present state was constructed in the 17th-18th centuries. It was built by the Baku-based Hindu community related to Sikhs. However, the history of the Temple is even longer. From times immemorial this was the holy place of Zoroastrians- fire worshippers (approximately beginning of our era). They attributed mystical significance to the inextinguishable fire and came there to worship the relic.
In the early 19th century the Temple acquired its present-day appearance. Ateshgah is a pentagonal structure with a castellation and entrance portal. In the center of a yard the altar-sanctuary executed in the form of a stone bower on which angles some more centers are located towers. In the center of an altar - a well from which beat "eternally" burning gas. In the mid-19th century due to the movement of the surface the natural gas yield ceased. Pilgrims interpreted it as the punishment from the gods and left. Ateshgah as a place of worship existed until 1880. Today this ancient Zoroastrian temple has been opened for tourists attracting them with artificial fires.
Gala-Absheron History In the Open Air
Forty kilometers from Baku there is Gala, the well-known open-air historical and ethnographic museum. The museum, founded in 2008 at an archaeological site located in the same-name village, is dedicated to the history of the Absheron Peninsula. There, you can see how the Azerbaijani lived, what they ate and drank and how they managed a household over the period from the XVI to XIX centuries.
The territory of 1.2 ha hosts old-time houses – portable tents made of animal skins, subsequently replaced by stone and beaten cobworks with cupolas, an ancient blacksmith shop, market, pottery, bakery, threshing mill and other interesting medieval buildings. You can see, touch, and take picture of all of them. You can even try to bake bread in a common oven, weave a carpet, muddy in pottery or feed camels, horses and donkeys, peacefully resting in their stalls.
Many monuments and exhibits were brought to the Gala Museum from different corners of the Absheron Peninsula; they were renovated or fully reconstructed. All together, they help to get an idea of the life of the medieval people in Azerbaijan. It is interesting to know that scientists have found the evidence showing that the first settlements on the site of Gala village appeared much earlier, at least 5,000 years ago rather than in the Middle Ages. Rare exhibits of antiquity as well as cave paintings of primitive people with pictures of hunting and ritual sacrifice, also found their place in the richest museum exposition. The Gala Museum territory hosts also several exhibitions, where the tourists can see ancient household items, glassware, jewellery and other interesting exhibits cased in glass.
A guide, whom is best to hire in the museum, will help you not to get lost in the maze of the history of the Absheron Peninsula.
Yanar Dag - a Reminder of the Ancient Cult of Fire
Azerbaijan is historically called the Land of Fire, and it is not for the sake of a witty remark. At a whim of nature, the land of this Caucasian country located on the picturesque coast of the Caspian Sea, is replete with underground sources of oil and gas that long for blowing out. Natural gas in the Azerbaijan bowels is so much that it comes to the surface over and over again.
One of the most famous and popular tourist places of the "eternal flame” in Azerbaijan is the mountain of Yanar Dag. Actually, it is rather a hill than a mountain, with natural gas burning on its slope from ancient times. Meter-long tongues of fire are licking the stratified earth approximately for 10 m in width, searing those who approached too close. People occupy the benches to watch the blazing hill in the evening, when the its sight is most effective. Yanar Dag is located 25 km to the north from Baku, in Mehemmedi village. There are buses running to it from the city, so you can get there fairly cheap and easy. From the year 2007 Yanar Dag is declared a state-protected conservation area.
Address: Nizami 100, Baku. Azerbaijan, AZ 1010
Tel: +994 12 555 12 46,
+994 55 273 54 10
+994 55 836 13 26
+994 55 791 62 63
E-mail: [email protected]