Lahij is a remote village located in Ismayilli district of Azerbaijan, on the slopes of Greater Caucasus, at a height of 1211 meters above sea level. The distance from the capital Baku to the village is about 190 km. The population of the village is around 2,000 residents mainly consisting of the ethnic minority group who speak the Tat language.
Lahij is one of the most ancient one of the oldest continuously habited places in the world. Moreover, the sewage system of the village dates back to 1000 years ago which was an extra-ordinary facility for that time. For example, the big cities of Europe like Paris and London did not have sewage system until the XIII-XIV century AD. The buildings and master plan of the village is very unique. As a result of the frequent earthquakes, local people have developed sophisticated and authentic construction techniques. Traditionally, people used the ground floors of houses as workshops and trade rooms. Houses here are distinctive with their flat roofs. Furthermore, some houses feature balconies that look out onto the street.
Etymology and Legends
The history and the name of L is connected with many legends. According to one legend, many years ago there was a city of 36,000 people called La. One day very big earthquake happened and La flattened. Afterwards, it became nothing, and its name changed to “La-hec”. “Hec” in Azerbaijani means nothing, or zero. In time people came to live in the settlement again. By the time, “La-hec” changed to Lahij.
According to other legend, Persian shah Kai Khosrow killed a respectable ruler of one city which caused a massive riot in his country. Finally, after some fights for power and throne, outnumbered and defeated shah decided to flee from the country to save his life. Later, he found shelter in the mountains close to modern day Lahij. The servants of the shah established Lahij village for their Shah and families. Eventually, Kai Khosrow died there, but gradually, the small village expanded and turned into a settlement. Thus, the local population consider themselves the descendants of Kay Khosrow’s original court. Even, they claim that the name of the village comes from the place called Lahijan in Persia. A grave with a tombstone supposed to belong to Kay Khosrow was found in the Zavara cemetery of Lahij along with other tombstones dating back to more than 1,000 years ago.
In Medieval Period, the village became an important centre of craftsmen in Azerbaijan.
Craftsmen of Lahij started to become very popular in all Asia and Europe. In the 18th century, the town earned itself reputation of producing cold steel arms and copper. Many of them, such as copper pots and lamps, coffee makers and weapons still adorn the famous museums of Europe, in particular Louvre and the Hermitage.
In Medieval Period, the village became an important centre of craftsmen in Azerbaijan. Craftsmen of Lahij started to become very popular in all Asia and Europe. In the 18th century, the town earned itself reputation of producing cold steel arms and copper. Many of them, such as copper pots and lamps, coffee makers and weapons still adorn the famous museums of Europe, in particular Louvre and the Hermitage.
Today, the village and its entire heritage is under protection, but open to tourists.The spirit of Medieval Ages and Ancient Silk road still lingers in Lahij.
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