Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!

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Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!Trip TO Azerbaijan – Magnific Land of Fire!
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Activities in Absheron

villa petrolium

Villa Petrolea

Villa Petrolea was built in 1882-83 for the company personnel. Discernible in the incessant smoke emissions of oil industry enterprises, it resembled the Gulustan villa. Well-known Polish specialist E. Beklin was specifically invited from Warsaw to design the mansion. When it was clear that the local soil was contaminated with oil residue and wastes, ships loaded with fertile soil were quickly dispatched from Lankaran. Water for irrigation was brought in from Astrakhan. A total of 80,000 trees and decorative shrubs were brought from Russia, Georgia and other parts of Europe. The villa, surrounded by fountains and swimming pools, was entirely at the disposal of the Nobel brothers and his servants. Many statues, works of art, sculptures and books were delivered from Petersburg. Local and Iranian carpets adorned the rooms of the mansion to create a truly aristocratic atmosphere. Wasting no time, the Nobel brothers rented the Pirallahi island and discovered a major oil field there in 1904. Over a short period of time the small fishing village developed into an industrial settlement. There was a fire temple and a mosque in the settlement, which is why it was called Pirallahi. People were coming here from cities and villages, eventually branding Pirallahi Nobel’s Sakhalin.

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Mardakan fortresses

Mardakan fortresses

The Mardakan fortresses were built in 1187, in the time of Akhsitan, the son of Shirvanshah Manuchohr. The rectangular fortress is 22 m high. Its 76-step tower has two drinking water and 60 food wells. There is a circular tower 500 m away, is known as a “round fortress”. It is also called the “Six fortress” after Sheikh Abu Said Abulkheir. It is 12 m high. The Arabic inscriptions on it suggest that it was built by architect Abdulmajid Masud in 1232. The Tubashahi mosque, built in 1481, is one of the oldest local structures. All of them are believed to have an underground road connecting them to each other.

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Nardaran mosque

The Nardaran mosque

The Nardaran mosque is located in the north of the village. The grave of Imam Museyi Kazim’s daughter, Rahima, is in the mosque (8th century). She was one of the Prophet’s children who came to Azerbaijan in the time of Harun er-Rashid Mamun. The new mosque was built in 1994. It has four 41-meter minarets. The grave can be visited by 1,500 pilgrims at a time. On religious holidays, during the month of Muharram, especially on the “Day of Ashura”, there are so many people at the mosque that it is hardly possible to move. Another important site erected in honor of the Imams is situated on the other end of the city, at the entrance to Baku.

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Ateshgah – Temple of Fire Worshipers

30 km outside Baku, in the village of Surakhani, Ateshgah (“House of Fire”) – the temple of fire worshipers is located. This ancient shrine was built on a site where natural gas flows came to the surface and burned. The pentagonal complex features an open courtyard with an altar in the middle. The structure was repeatedly reconstructed and its current version comes from the 17th century.

Ancient manuscripts refer to the temple as Ateshi Baguvan – “the place of Baku sacred fires”. It was mentioned in writings by travelers, diplomats and historians.

Jules Verne, a French writer, described Ateshgah in his story entitled “Claudius Bombarnak”: “…the famous shrine of Ateshgah is located 22 versts outside the city…The eternal fire is burning there…”

Currently, Ateshgah constitutes a historical-architectural conservation area attracting tourists from all over the world.

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