THE BURNING MOUNT OF YANARDAG
The burning mountain of Yanardag (116 m) is considered one of the main attractions of the Absheron Peninsula. It is located in the small village of Mehemmedi, near Baku. This area has been known since ancient times for the release of natural gas from the earth, and when it comes into contact with oxygen, natural combustion occurs. This phenomenon was considered a divine mystery and attracted fire worshipers from all over the world. They built their temples here on sacred lights, one of which is the world-famous Ateshgah, preserved to this day.
The slope of Mount Yanardag has been engulfed in flames day and night for thousands of years. The natural fire of Yanardag is caused by the leakage of combustible natural gas from a large field under the Absheron peninsula. The ignition of this fire occurred in antiquity, and Marco Polo was mentioned. When lit up, it gives the impression that the mountain is burning. The famous Alexander Dumas, who visited here in 1858, also mentioned these places.
Since 2007, Yanardag Mountain has been taken under state protection, and this territory has been declared the State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve. Numerous tourists and pilgrims from all over the world come to see this natural wonder. At the top of the mountain is another little-known attraction, the Wolf’s Gate cave with traces of primitive people and preserved cave paintings. Local residents have legends that it was previously inhabited by werewolves.
Old-timers note that the wonderful lights of Absheron began to disappear, displaced by technical civilization, and Mount Yanardag is already burning differently than before. Perhaps the reason is the large-scale oil production in the district. At present, you can still see this mystical beauty here, a bewitching look when the flames burst from the ground, rising to a height of 3-5 m, and under the gusts of wind “dance” along the mountain slopes, and in rainy weather the flames acquire bright -blue color. The burning mountain acquires a particularly impressive sight at dusk, when tourists and locals gather at its slopes with mugs of tea and watch this bewitching sight while sitting. A visit to the burning mountain of Yanardag is included by our company Incomartur 93 in this excursion tour to Azerbaijan.
The Maiden Tower of Giz Galasy is considered one of the main attractions of Baku. It is located in the Old Town of Icheri Sheher.
The tower was built on a ledge of a coastal cliff, and it is a cylinder made of gray limestone with a height of 28 m and a diameter of 16.5 m. The thickness of the walls at the base is 5 m and at the top 4 m. It is believed that it was built in the 10th century. Already in the XII century. it was the main citadel of the Shirvanshahs fortress. But neither in form, nor in internal arrangement, nor in location, it practically did not provide any defensive goals. The “loopholes” of the tower are not located on the floors, but along the stairs rising up, and they look not down, but up. The roof area of the tower did not allow the installation of any military guns.
On the east side, a ledge adjoins the tower, the purpose of which is still not clear. If you look at the tower from above, then it is the number nine. The inner space of the tower is divided into 8 tiers. Each of the 8 tiers of the tower is covered by a stone dome with a round hole. The communication between the tiers was carried out using a spiral stone staircase, laid in the thickness of the wall. Niches are arranged in the thickness of the walls of the tower, inside of which a pipe 30 cm in diameter is laid. Inside the tower there is a well 21 m deep, punched in the rock to the aquifers from the third tier.
Many legends are associated with the Maiden’s Tower, one of which tells of a shah who fell in love with his daughter and decided to marry her. Trying to rid herself of such a fate and dissuade her father, the girl asked the shah to build a tower and wait until the construction was completed. The girl hoped that during the time while it will be built, her father will change his mind. But this did not happen, and when the construction was completed, the girl climbed the tower and rushed into the raging sea. According to another legend, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, Saint Bartholomew, was executed on the site of this tower. Bartholomew appeared on the territory of Baku in the 1st century. AD, promoting Christianity among pagan tribes.
There is also a version that the tower was originally built as a temple of fire or an observatory. In the XVIII-XIX centuries. The Maiden Tower was used as a lighthouse, which in 1907 was transferred to the island of Nargin. There is currently a museum inside the tower. The Maiden Tower of Gyz Galasy is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A visit to the Maiden’s Tower is included by our company Incomartur 93 in this sightseeing tour in Azerbaijan and a tour in Baku.