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 Astara

Sim village

As mentioned above, this is a must-see ancient village high in the mountains. The road is very tiring. To be more ex­act, there is no road at all. So the 40-km distance is covered only in four hours. However, the nature is so mesmerizing that no-one complains. There are peo­ple on horseback here and there. Curi­ous, they can’t help asking who we are and where we are going. We were told that since the village is remote, there are not too many visitors here. There is no electricity, gas, mobile phones and roads in Sim. In short, there is no sign of modern civilization. There are 50 min­eral water springs and two 25-30-meter waterfalls here. The local honey is of ex­quisite taste. Described as a land of museums, Sim has about 20 ancient cemeteries. Arc­heological researches suggest that Sim was inhabited B.C. Benches and tables, pools, palaces, engravings, prison, caves and ice-boxes, all made of stone, sug­gest that there was life here 2-3 millen­nia ago.Sim is also known for rocks. There are gigantic rocks in the center of the villa­ge and outside every house. There are numerous rocks with engravings aro­und the village too. There are ancient stone-made pools, remains of an an­cient minaret and other historical mo­numents here. If it hadn’t been for so many trees, this place could be called the second Gobustan. Attributed to the 9-10th centuries, the Sim settlement is an archeological monument of national importance.

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Arjivan village

It is one of the biggest and most anci­ent villages of Astara. There are interes­ting stories about Shah Ismayil Khatai. It is said that after his father was overt­hrown, the future ruler of the Safavids was faced with the death threat and was hidden in the Arcivan village by his be­nefactors who tied his cradle to a tree. After ascending to the throne, Ismayil always came to the Arjivan village before starting his military marches and perfor­med Salah at an ancient local mosque – the Mahammad Hanafiyya mosque established in 1499. The glorious Safa­vid ruler, who was an active Shiite, did not attempt to change the villagers’ cre­ed because they had once saved his life. Surrounded by Shiites on all sides, Arci­van thus retained its Sunni faith. There are also 19th century Karbalayi Hamid Abdulla bathhouse, the Mashadi Abuta­lib bathhouse, the Hajiteymur and Ha­jijahanbakhish mosques in the village. The shrine at the old village cemetery is the best known place here.

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Hirkan National Park

Located on the Astara-Lankaran road, the park covers three districts: Lerik, Lankaran and Astara. Lying mostly in Astara, the HNP was set up in 2004. It covers an area of 21,435 hectares. Its goal is to protect the nature, preserve the endangered flora and fauna species included on the Azerbaijan Red Book AR and create conditions for the promotion of tourism. Mainly covered with forests, the park has several historical fortresses, monuments and residential settlements, as well as the Khanbulan water reservoir. There are five travel routes to the Hirkan National Park . All of them are carried out on foot. The shortest last four hours, while the lon­gest nine hours.

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Yanar bulag (burning water spring)

This is one of the best known and most popular travel destinations in Archivan. The water is sulfurous but potable. The­re are always people at the spring who stop by to fill their bottles and carry on their journeys. As is clear from its name, the water burns. Suffice it to strike a match and see. It is said that a large kettle can start boiling from this fire in 45 minutes.

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Pillakan village

The real name of the village on the way to Sim is Palikas. There are interesting legends about Vilipard and Pijena Pard bridges attributed to the 6-13th centu­ies. One day Padishah Anushiravan led his troops on a march. The ruler and his army had extremely difficult time crossing a rapid river. Seeing this, an old wo­man from the village wanted to put the Padishah to shame and built a bridge with her own hands. On his way back, the ruler was very surprised to see the bridge. Livid with wrath, he says “I won’t be myself if I get on this bridge”, and crosses the river by swimming. This is how the bridge became famous.In addition to the bridge, there is a ro­peway for crossing the river. It is fun. The ropeway is mainly used in floods. The 2.5-m waterfall is a local sight. The Alichapan rocky area is also of interest. There is a pedestrian road here as well. A plant called Gilamarza, which has many healing properties, can be gathered in the local forest. It is also called wild mint. Local villagers dry and store it. It is added to the pineapple guava compote to lend it red color.

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Shindan fortress

It is located at an altitude of 2,000 meters, at the top of Sindan mountain on the border with Iran. One of the most remarkable pieces of architecture in historically Azerbaijani town of Namin, it relates to a pre-Islamic period. Babak, fighting against Arab occupation, saw this as a strategic location. There is an ancient cemetery in the fortress. Those heading different medieval rebellions found shelter in the fortress. Made of stone and brick, the fortress has only one road – from the north. Observation places for watchmen and commanders are quite interesting. It takes one full day to tour the fortress which was origi­nally built for defense purposes.

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Miki village

This one of Astara’s must-see mountain villages. It derives its name from an an­cient tribe which was noted for its belli­gerence. The place-name emerged from the words “miyo” and “ku”, i.e. midd­le of a mountain. The village is located on a high slope of the Talysh mounta­ins. Numerous cemeteries and mosques are evidence of the village’s age. North of Miki there is a place called Monkalla where battles with the Mongols are said to have been held. Many Mongols killed in the battles are buried here (Monkalla translates as Mongol heads), hence the name of the place.Since the village is situated on a steep slope, it is difficult and expensive to de­liver construction materials here. For this reason, houses in Miki are made of tim­ber, not stone, while a mixture of grass and straw is used as cement. Such ho­uses remain cool in summer and warm in winter.

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