The Absheron Peninsula (Azerbaijani: Abşeron yarımadası) is a peninsula in Azerbaijan on the shores of the Caspian Basin. It is the place whereBaku, the biggest and the most populous city of Caucasus, and also the Baku metropolitan area, with its satellite cities Sumqayit and Khyrdalan are located.
The day is dedicated for our breath-taking Absheron tour… Begin with a visit to Yanar Dag; One of the most famous and popular tourist places of the “eternal flame” in Azerbaijan is the mountain of Yanar Dag. It is located 25 km to the north from Baku, in Mehemmedi village. A 10m long wall of fire, that never extinguishes, is burning continuously alongside the edge of the hill, which naturally is at its most spectacular at night when tourists and locals alike view the fire from a nearby teahouse. Local lore states that it was a shepherd that accidentally ignited the fire in the 1950s by tossing a cigarette, and that it has burnt ever since. The famous French writer Alexandre Dumas also witnessed these flames. He expressed his feelings: “This is absolutely the most interesting and fascinating thing, which can be seen nowhere else,” he wrote. Even today, the flames never fail to amaze tourists and locals alike. These natural fires have always inspired humans , and played a crucial role in the creation of mystical faiths like Zoroastrianism, centered on ceremonial fire cults. According to one local, “A lot of sick people see the mountain in their dreams. And when they come here, they receive treatment. On the other hand, the health conditions of those who came here drunk, deteriorates.” Historical records are proof of this – Venetian traveler Marco Polo is said to have observed numerous flames all over the Absheron Peninsula on his visit to Baku in the 13th century. Yanar Dag is now a protected site, with extensive archeological studies being conducted in the area.
Now, we continue to other Zoroastrian site of Absheron called Ateshgakh. This fire temple, with a mixture of Indian and Azerbaijani architectural styles, is a surviving proof of age-old relationship between the two countries. A wall surrounds the pentagon shaped building with a guest room over the gate (‘balakhane’). There are still some wall inscriptions in Sanskrit and Gurumukhi, including poems. Cells for pilgrims line the wall inside and surround the the main altar in the center of the temple – a quadrangular pavilion with the fire on the altar inside.
Historians, archaeologists, and theologians have argued over the construction date of the temple. Some defend that there was a Zoroastrian temple in Surakhany since the 6th century, others delay that event for another seven centuries. After Azerbaijan was Islamized some Zoroastrians escaped to India. But trade links with India in later centuries, led to renewed contacts with the fire-worshippers, who had migrated from to Northern India. During 17th and 18th Century, the site was rebuilt by Indian merchants and masons, who had established in Baku their settlement. This fire temple, with a mixture of Indian and Azerbaijani architectural styles, is a surviving proof of age old relationship between the two countries. The pentagon shaped building is surrounded by a wall with a guest room over the gate (‘balakhane’). There are still some wall inscriptions in Sanskrit and Gurumukhi, including poems. Cells for pilgrims line the wall inside and surround the the main altar in the center of the temple – a quadrangular pavilion with the fire on the altar inside.
Now it is time to stop for a wonderful lunch exclusively made for our valuable guests. After the lunch we will continue to Mardakan and Ramana castles- a medieval quadrangular castles situated in a small settlements Mardakan and Ramana (nor far from Baku). There is nothing inside but castle itself is well-preserved. You can feel the spirit of medieval military castle that withstood attacks of khan Tokhtamysh at the end of 14th century. There are many holes in the ground where inhabitants of castle stored food. Return to the Baku with an amazing impression and memories to share about your trip today.