Charm­ing vil­lages of Land of Fire

Azer News - - Country Guide - By La­man Is­may­ilova

WTo get a true taste of the essence of Azer­bai­jan, many trav­el­ers visit the coun­try­side.

There are dozens of pic­turesque vil­lages and small towns in the coun­try. Each re­gion has its own beauty.

Gusar, the coun­try’s pic­turesque north re­gion at­tracts a num­ber of tourists for its nat­u­ral won­ders, cul­ture and tra­di­tions of peo­ple liv­ing here.

Called “North­ern Gates” due to its ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tion it is the last large set­tle­ment in the north of Azer­bai­jan and bor­ders the Re­pub­lic of Dages­tan of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion.

The high­est point of Azer­bai­janBazarduzu mount, high­est cot­tage in the coun­try - "Su­var" as well as coun­try's largest car­pet are here. The moun­tain river Qusar­chay, in honor of which the city ac­quired its name, flows in Qusar. There is also an ar­ti­fi­cial lake, Fialka.

The amaz­ing vil­lage of Laza lo­cated in the Gusar re­gion, hud­dles in a pic­turesque val­ley be­tween the moun­tains.

The vil­lage is pop­u­lated by eth­nic Lez­gins -- a dis­tinc­tive hos­pitable peo­ple, the an­ces­tors of Leahy, whose his­tory is linked to the Cau­casian Al­ba­nia - one of the old­est states in the ter­ri­tory of Azer­bai­jan. The vil­lage with the sim­i­lar name is lo­cated in gorge of the river Dami­ra­paran­chaj in Ga­bala.

The most an­cient land­mark of the vil­lage is the his­tor­i­cal mosque, lo­cated in the cen­ter of the set­tle­ment. The mosque is more than 300 years old.

Sur­rounded by moun­tains, Laza is well known for its ma­jes­tic wa­ter­falls. Com­pe­ti­tions on climb­ing are held at the frozen wa­ter­falls in win­ter here.

An­other Lez­gin vil­lage in GusarSudur is the ex­treme set­tle­ment of the Gusar re­gion, lo­cated on the slopes of Shahdag moun­tain. The road to the vil­lage lies through the slopes of the moun­tains above the precipice.

The tra­di­tional way of life has been pre­served in Sudur. Here, tourists can buy hand­i­crafts, fa­mil­iar­ize them­selves with the cus­toms and tra­di­tions of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion, with the life and folk­lore of the Lez­gins, and see the per­for­mances of the pehle­vans (he­roes), held in March dur­ing the spring fes­ti­val "Yaran Su­var".

The pop­u­la­tion is mainly en­gaged in agri­cul­ture, pro­duces but­ter, cheese, honey, grows cab­bage and pota­toes. There is no ho­tel in the vil­lage, how­ever, those who wish can al­ways stay at the homes of lo­cal res­i­dents.

From the an­cient ru­ins, fas­ci­nat­ing ar­chi­tec­tural struc­tures to di­verse land­scape there is an end­less col­lec­tion of tourist at­trac­tions in county's Guba re­gion. Char­ac­ter­ized by a unique nat­u­ral land­scape, Guba is a fa­vorite tourist spot for its nat­u­ral splen­dor.

The vil­lage Bum is lo­cated at an al­ti­tude of 1200 me­ters above sea level. It is home to over 5,000 peo­ple. The vil­lage is fa­mous for pre­serv­ing the ver­bal and mu­si­cal folk art. The lo­cal folk­lore en­sem­ble is called "Zop-Zopu", in honor of the epony­mous shep­herd's game. Dur­ing the game, two guys depict camels and en­ter­tain their friends. One of them crouches, and the rest, read the po­ems, jump­ing through a friend, shout "An­zli." The game is ac­com­pa­nied by the melodies na­tional mu­si­cal in­stru­ments zurna and naghara.

There are also a num­ber of his­tor­i­cal monuments, such as the Kilesedag tem­ple. It is one of the first cen­ters of the Chris­tian re­li­gion.

An­other pic­turesque vil­lage of Ga­bala - Van­dam, is lo­cated 11 km from the cen­ter. Lo­cal res­i­dents joke that the fa­mous ac­tor Jean-Claude Van Damme, in fact, their coun­try­man.

There are many or­chards in the vil­lage. A spe­cial place among them is oc­cu­pied by a va­ri­ety of ap­ple "Gizil Ahmad", which grows only in Is­may­illi and Ga­bala re­gions.

Res­i­dents of the vil­lage are en­gaged in mak­ing jam and pre­par­ing canned food, which are widely rep­re­sented on the coun­ters of road­side mar­kets through­out the Ga­bala re­gion. The vil­lage also has a car­pet weav­ing and wood carving work­shop where you can buy sou­venirs.

There is a pop­u­lar re­cre­ation zone in Azer­bai­jan, Duyma, where you can rent a com­fort­able room, fill­ing your leisure time with fish­ing and horse­back rid­ing in the sur­round­ing area.

Masalli, a unique re­gion lo­cated in 240 km of Baku has much to of­fer tourists and lo­cals.

There are many pic­turesque vil­lages in the re­gion, where you can get ac­quainted with the lo­cal his­tory and tra­di­tions. You can also re­lax from the city bus­tle in the largest vil­lages of Masalli, in­clud­ing Bo­radi­gyah, Erki­van, Sharafa, Ban­bashi, Gizila­gaj, Taza Al­vadi and oth­ers.

The vil­lage of Gizila­gaj, lo­cated 15 km from the cen­ter of Masalli, has an an­cient his­tory.

There is a mound of the Ne­olithic and Ene­olithic epochs known as Hazi Tepesi. In the Mid­dle Ages, Gizila­gaj was a port that main­tains trade re­la­tions with other ports of the Caspian Sea. Its pop­u­la­tion went on a voy­age and was en­gaged in fish­ing. The sea car­a­van routes, go­ing to Gi­lan and Mazan­daran, also ran through Gizila­gaj. For many cen­turies, Gizila­gaj played a sig­nif­i­cant role in the trade re­la­tions be­tween Europe and the Mid­dle East.

An­other large vil­lage of Masalli Bo­radi­gyah, which has the sta­tus of a set­tle­ment, is also called the old Masalli, since it is be­lieved that the base of the re­gion was laid in this vil­lage, and only then the re­gion's cen­ter was moved to the present place.

One can­not help but men­tion the high-moun­tain­ous vil­lage of Shikhlar, from which a charm­ing panorama opens up to the Vi­lashchay Reser­voir and Masalli Re­gional cen­ter.

Most fam­i­lies in this vil­lage are en­gaged in bee­keep­ing.

One of the largest high-moun­tain vil­lages of Masalli is the vil­lage of Ben­dalan. The most de­li­cious bar­berry of the Talysh Moun­tains grows here. Dried ground bar­berry is widely used in the Azer­bai­jani cui­sine as a sea­son­ing for meat and fish dishes.

Erki­van vil­lage in Masalli is re­mark­able for be­ing the record holder in Azer­bai­jan for the pop­u­la­tion den­sity per square kilo­me­ter. In ad­di­tion, this vil­lage is fa­mous for its nu­mer­ous springs, the to­tal num­ber of which ex­ceeds 37. Shamkir is a re­gion with a great his­tory. Back in 1819, im­mi­grants from Wurt­tem­berg, es­cap­ing re­volt from the Napoleonic wars, came to Azer­bai­jan and es­tab­lished two colonies, which they called Ye­le­nen­dorf and An­nen­dorf (now Goy­gol and Shamkir cities).

The fa­vor­able cli­mate, pris­tine na­ture, rich cul­tural and his­tor­i­cal her­itage open a whole range of op­por­tu­ni­ties to its visi­tors.

The vil­lage of Chi­narli is lo­cated 15 km south of the city of Shamkir. It is known that it was founded by Ger­man colonists who came from Swabia, in 1888 and ear­lier it was called Ge­orgs­feld.

As a legacy of Swabi­ans, a mag­nif­i­cent old park was cre­ated at an area of 5 hectares.

A spe­cial charm is given to the park by dense veg­e­ta­tion. It's en­hanced by the species com­po­si­tion of the flora: along with huge cy­presses and pines, fan-shaped palm, a rare In­dian wal­nut and bam­boo grow here.

For cen­turies, Shamakhi was one of Azer­bai­jan's most prom­i­nent cities, an im­por­tant cul­tural and trad­ing cen­tre and the royal seat of the Shir­van­shahs (the 9th to 18th cen­turies). Fur­ther­more, it is known as the root of Azer­bai­jani lit­er­a­ture.

To­day, the city is well known for wine-mak­ing and car­pet weav­ing.

The an­cient moun­tain vil­lage of Demirchi has ex­isted since the time of the Cau­casian Al­ba­nia.

Pre­vi­ously, the pre­vail­ing oc­cu­pa­tion of the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion was black­smithing, which is why the vil­lage got its name. For a thou­sand years, this vil­lage was strate­gi­cally im­por­tant, since there were forged weapons, horse horse­shoes, carts, etc.

There is a sew­er­age sys­tem, laid out of stone, which still op­er­ates. Un­til re­cently, Demirchi was en­gaged in car­pet weav­ing. There are still crafts­men here who are able to forge a sword and a horse to shoe. One of them is a hered­i­tary black­smith Aga­guseyn Huseynov, a tat by na­tion­al­ity.

To­gether with his sons Aga­guseyn works in his own small work­shop, where they pro­duce horse­shoes, knives, cut­ters and tra­di­tional hand grinders. They also engrave in­scrip­tions on metal dishes and other items.

Demirchi al­ways warmly wel­comes its guests. Here you will be given tea and fa­mil­iar­ized with black­smith's craft.

There are hun­dreds of other beau­ti­ful vil­lages that you must ex­plore on your next trip to Azer­bai­jan.

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