Sub­merged ru­ins of Bayil Fortress

Azer News - - Front Page - By Naila Huseynli

The re­mains of Bayil Cas­tle, also the cas­tle known as lost fortress, are vis­i­ble as a small is­land in the shore of Baku.

The mys­ti­cal cas­tle was con­structed un­der ar­chi­tect Ze­j­naddin ibn Abu Rashid Shir­vani in ac­cor­dance with the or­der of Shir­van­shah Fariburz III, in 1232-1235, in or­der to pro­tect Baku from the sea. Later, it be­came Bayil Cas­tle, also known as Sabayil Cas­tle, Shakhri Saba, Shakhri Nau, "sub­merged city", or "Bayil Stones".

Azer­bai­jani his­to­rian Bakikhanov said that there is a stone-lined road be­low the sea sur­face. Con­stel­la­tions, walls and 72 grave­stones ap­prove that an an­cient city founded 400-500 years ago drowned in wa­ter. The Rus­sian ge­ol­o­gist Gubkin said that one of the rea­sons of drown­ing of this city is re­lated with a strong and de­struc­tive earthquake in the south­ern part of the Caspian Sea in 1306.

In the paint­ing of the Ger­man trav­eler Kem­pher, the scat­tered tops of sev­eral con­stel­la­tions ap­pear in the bot­tom of the wa­ter near the end of the wall of the cas­tle ex­tend­ing to the sea.

Over the 100 past years, sea level fluc­tu­ated sig­nif­i­cantly. The cas­tle has been drowned due to the ex­pan­sion of the wa­ter, and the re­mains of the cas­tle ap­peared with the de­creas­ing of sea level. At present, only a small bit of the fortress is vis­i­ble from the coast­line.

Dur­ing ex­ca­va­tions, the foun­da­tions of nine build­ings were found. The western wall is ad­ja­cent with the de­stroyed plat­form, and the ba­sis of the cen­tral tower which was used si­mul­ta­ne­ously as a watch­tower and a light­house. Re­searchers also be­lieve that there was a tem­ple be­longs to fire-wor­ship­pers. The up­per parts of the fortress are com­pletely de­stroyed, only the bot­tom parts of the wall have sur­vived.

Through­out the first in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the con­struc­tion in 1939, the coin with the name of Shir­van­shah Fariburz III was found in the con­stel­la­tions.

In­scrip­tions in Ara­bic and Farsi, images of hu­man faces and imag­i­nary an­i­mals were il­lus­trated along the en­tire up­per part of the Bayil Cas­tle. The to­tal length of the wall is about 400 me­ters. More­over, the fig­ures of var­i­ous an­i­mals des­ig­nate the years of Shir­van­shah rulers and the text which is the ge­neal­ogy of Shir­van­shahs Maz­ja­dids dy­nasty, de­scribed in the images of crowned busts. The his­to­ri­ans also be­lieve that it is first time that fig­ure of an­i­mals and the images of hu­man face were de­scribed in the Mus­lim Mon­u­ment. Re­cently, the in­scrip­tions are held in the court­yard of the Shir­van­shah Palace.

The re­mains of this his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ment were in­cluded in the list of Cul­tural Her­itage of UNESCO, which is in Need of Ur­gent Con­ser­va­tion, on Oc­to­ber 24, 2001.

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