(English) Russians in Altiaghaj
The village used to be populated by Russians. Old Russian wooded houses are now rented out to tourists. The old church is closed. The large church bell is an attraction in the middle of the village. Orthodox Christianity started to spread in Azerbaijan in the early 19th century due to the “policy of resettlement” pursued by Russian tsarism in the region. In order to eliminate the heavy consequences of the split in the Russian Orthodox Church, sectarian Christians were exiled to the Caucasus.
The first Russian settlers in Azerbaijan founded the village of Altiaghaj in Shamakhy District in 1834. The Russians, who were exiled from tsarist Russia two centuries before and were called Malakans, settled in several parts of Azerbaijan. Since the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russians have been leaving this area. Presently, most of the population in the village of Altiaghaj, where 25 Malakan families live, are settlers from Western Azerbaijan (Republic of Armenia).
The villagers are engaged mainly in cattle-breeding. Altiaghaj is famous for its apple gardens. A cable way has been extended from here to the upper mountain and forest zone. All conditions are right for picnics here. Altiaghaj is a very good place for tourism. Many asthma patients come here for a breath of fresh air in summer. The area has great potential for hiking, a type of strolls and tourism. There are about 300 houses with a bed for the night in the area. Those who are fond of hiking take tourist trips to Shamakhy and Maraza from here. The office of the Altiaghaj National Park is located at the entrance to the village.