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

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Activities in Baku

The Azer-Ilme Ltd

The Azer-Ilme Ltd. has been established in order to revive and enable the further development of the traditional Azerbaijani carpet-weaving art which has materially and spiritually enriched the world culture with its unique examples of carpets. At the same time Azer-Ilme Ltd. contributes to the popularization of this unique art through its carpet sales organised worldwide. The company commenced its activity in 1996.
Azer-Ilme Ltd. carries out the following important tasks: manufacturing high-quality carpets, restoring damaged examples and reviving the artistic traditions of Azerbaijani carpet weaving. Besides these activities, the company popularizes this amazing Azerbaijani traditional art by means of carpet sales organized all over the world. Nowadays our carpets adorn many museum and private collections in the world.
Today the enterprise has branches in such historic centres of Azerbaijani carpet weaving art as Nardaran, Bina, Hokumali in the Baku zone, Kurdamir in Shirvan and mountainous Lerik in the south. The company has become famous not only within Azerbaijan, but throughout the world for its careful approach to the preservation of national carpet-weaving traditions that have formed over many centuries.
Azer Ilme Ltd. develops artistic and technical traditions of carpets woven by national carpetweavers in Gazakh, Borchali, Goycha, Zangezur, Agbaba, Derechichek, Pashali, Jalaloglu,Hamamli, Sharur, Dereleyaz, Derbent, Tabriz, Ardebil, Sarab and other historical territories of Azerbaijan. At the same time, alongside with preservation of national traditions, carpets, produced in Azer Ilme in conformity with modern artistic style and technological characteristics, meet international standards.
Besides carpet production, Azer-Ilme provides for high quality of its carpets that meet current international standards from the point of view of artistic execution and technological parameters.
Carpets woven from silk and wool by professional weavers from Azer-Ilme workshops are notable for their fine weave, high knot density, unique compositions and bright colours. Wool yarn woven in Quba, Shirvan and Baku with application of traditional techniques, and silk yarn produced in Sheki are skeined and transported to
dye workshops.

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Shirvanshahs Palace Complex

Shirvanshahs Palace Complex

Complex of Shirvanshahs Palace was the last residence of the rulers of Shirvan State with the history of thousand years. At medieval times this state was the most powerful state in Azerbaijan. While in the south of Azerbaijan old and new feudal states replaced each other, in its north the borders of Shirvan state stretched up to Derbend, the south of Daghistan. In the historical literature the history of Shirvanshahs’ state is divided into four periods: the first Shirvanshahs, Mazyadids, Kesranids and Derbendis. In the historical literature there is little information about the first Shirvanshah dynasty. Mazyadids dynasty was founded by Heysam ibn Khalid in 861. Mazyadids dynasty of Arabic origin assimilated into local nobility and gradually turned into Kesranids dynasty being local for its traditions and way of life. Shirvanshahs Manichohr, Akhsitan, Fariburz were wise and well-educated rulers from Kesranids dynasty. The last ruler of this dynasty was Shirvanshah Hushenge ibn Kavus. As he had no heir to the thrown, after his death in 1382, feudal lords of Shirvan elected his distinct relative Sheikh Ibrahim as the new Shirvanshah. Sheikh Ibrahim was a poor, but well-known feudal lord from Sheki. As his ancestor had been the ruler of Derbend, Sheikh Ibrahim founded the new Shirvanshahs dynasty of Derbendi. Sheikh Ibrahim ruled in very uneasy period linked with the wars of Emir Timur in Near East. In this period Emir Timur and Tokhtamish khan of the Golden Horde fought for the seizure of Azerbaijan, which had advantageous geographical position and rich natural resources. Campaigns of Timur and Tokhtamish of the Golden Horde that fought against each other passed through Shirvan and inflicted serious damages and losses to the country. Being a wise ruler and smart diplomat, Shirvanshah Ibrahim I took the side of Timur, the most powerful ruler of that period. In 1386 Emir Timur started to plan a new campaign against Tokhtamish khan. He made a military camp in Barda. Shirvanshah Ibrahim I convened his divan. Members of the divan recommended him to launch a war against Emir Timur. However,Shirvanshah Ibrahim I refused and told that he wouldn’t make his soldiers target to the sharp swords and arrows of enemy and he didn’t want his people to be trampled under feet of horses of enemy. Shirvanshah Ibrahim I stated that he would go to the military camp of Emir Timur and suggest him to be his vassal. Emir Timur would either accept his offer or behead him. Shirvanshah Ibrahim I went to military camp of Timur with various expensive gifts and in every possible way expressed his humility. Although he took all gifts in 9 pieces, the number of slaves was eight. When Emir Timur asked the reason, Shirvanshah Ibrahim I told that he was the nineth slave. Emir Timur liked his grand gesture so much that he recognized the independence of Shirvan state and entrusted him the protection of the northern borders of the country. In 1405 after the death of Timur the empire created by him collapsed. Shirvanshah Ibrahim I making use of the situation achieved the independence of Shirvan state. Sheikh Ibrahim I, who tried to expand the territory of Shirvan state, could unite the other lands of Azerbaijan – Ganja, Karabakh. Thanks to his diplomatic skills and military talent, for thirty five years of reign Sheikh Ibrahim could not only manage to keep Shirvan independent and strengthen its power, but he could also expand the territory of the country.
The first capital of Shirvanshahs’ state was the city of Shamakhi. After the devastating earthquake that took place in Shamakhi in 1197, Shirvanshah moved the capital to Baku. However, long before the earthquake, during the reign of Shirvanshah Manuchohr III (1120-1160) the fortress walls of old Baku were built.
In the written sources there is little information about Shirvanshahs’ state with thousand year history. The rich archive and manuscripts of Shirvanshahs were plundered during the war with Safavids state taken place in 1500. One can obtain information about social-political and cultural life of Shirvanshahs’ state, its administrative structure, its tax policy and kinds of tax and about other important issues from epigraphic sources. According to these documents, in the Shirvanshahs’ state after the ruler the second position was the chief commander, the third was the position of sadr. Close relative of Shirvanshahs (brother or cousin) usually held the position of chief commander. During the reign of Shirvanshah Sheikh Ibrahim I, his brother Sheikh Bahlul was the chief commander of Shirvan state. Emir Tahmuras, the son of Sheikh Bahlul held the position of chief commander during the rule of Shirvanshah Khalilullah I, the son of Sheikh Ibrahim. As usual, the highest priests held the position of sadr. Sheikh-ul-Islams, imams, seyids, akhunds and other religious figures, scientists participated in state meetings and played the main role in making decisions on important state issues. The only manuscript of document written by Shirvanshah Farrukh Yasar, which has come down to our days, confirms this fact. In 1474 when Shirvanshah Farrukh Yasar appointed his son Shamkhal ruler in Mahmudabad, Qustasb region and Salyan, he told him not to make a decision without the participation of religious figures. He wrote that religious figures were the columns of the state and they could not keep peoples under obedience without the help of priests.
During the reign of Shirvanshah Manuchohr III (1120-1160) and his son Akhsitan I (1160-1197) Shirvan state flourished and strengthened, intensive renovation and construction works were carried out, cities and castles were built, military fortifications and public houses were restored.
In the XII century and the first half of the XIII century there happened economical, political and cultural development in Shirvan state. In this period Baku was the capital of Shirvanshahs’ state. Military-strategical significance of Baku and Absheron peninsular in the defence of the northern borders of Shirvan increased. Baku also developed as a port city. Sabail castle, fortress walls, Shirvanshahs’ Palace are clear proof of this development.
Shirvanshahs’ state lost its independence under Mongols. Numismatic materials related to the second half of the XIII century confirm this fact. Only the name of Munkakaan was minted on coins. During the reign of Sheikh Ibrahim I (1382-1417), Khalilullah I (1417-1462), Farrukh Yasar (1462-1500) military fortifications of Derbend, Akhti, Tsakhur were restored, Farrukhiyye medrese was built in Jame (mosque) komplex of Derbend. Shirvanshahs could keep independence till 1538. On coins minted during the reign of Sheikh Ibrahim II his name is used with the title “Sultan”. In 1538 Shirvanshahs’ state was united to Safavids state.
The Complex of Shirvanshahs’ Palace was erected on one of the highest points of Icherisheher, in a densely populated area. The construction work was not confined to the single architectural plan. However, taking into consideration the purpose of each building of the Complex, the masters could place them in order of importance and could create a beautiful scenery. If you look carefully, you can see that the buildings don’t contrast each other, on the contrary, they complete each other.The constructions of the Complex occupy 1 hectare area. Because of rough relief of its area, the territory of the Complex was divided into three courtyards with the level difference of 5-6meters. The constructions of the Complex are located in these three courtyards. Here you can observe the division of the area according to the functional purpose.
The upper courtyard, where Dwelling house and Mausoleum of Farrukh Yassar are located, is called ceremonial yard.

Information from: Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Icherisheher” under Cabinet of Ministres of Azerbaijan

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The Mahammad mosque

The Mahammad mosque was built on a fire worshippers’ temple in 1078-79. It is largely known as Broken fortress. It has interesting history. In 1723, the artillery of Peter the Great, on an offensive along the Caspian coast, opened cannon fire on Baku. The minaret of Baku’s oldest mosque was damaged in the attack. The Mahammad mosque has been called the Broken fortress since then. Abd ar-Rashid al-Bakuvi: “Countries monuments and information about Allah’s slaves” (14th century)

“This city has a special feature: wind blows here day and night. Sometimes the wind is so strong that it is impossible to walk. In winter, the wind throws horses and sheep into the sea because they can’t stand on their feet.” City of winds This is another name of the city. Baku has always been noted for Khazry (northerly wind). When it starts blowing, it lasts a week. When old Bakuvians want to find out whether someone is originally from Baku, they ask, “When is there winter in Baku?” If the person answers, “During Khazry”, there are no more doubts left.

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National Museum of History of Azerbaijan

National Museum of History of Azerbaijan is 90 years old On June 15, 2010. The museum launched its activity under the name “Educational museum of native land-independence Museum” as the first state museum of Azerbaijan since June 1920. The cultural site which was called Azerbaijan USSR state Museum since 25 October of this year, became history-profile National Museum of History of Azerbaijan under Azerbaijan affiliate of Academy of Sciences Union as a result of reconstruction work since 1936. From establishment day the museum acting as cultural enlightenment and scientific research institution had engaged in exposition of material treasure ref­lecting history of Azerbaijani nation and its demonstration at exhibition and propagation, as well as, collection protection, investigation and publication. Over 300 thousand material monuments are protected in 11 funds and a rich library, the majority of which is consisted of rare books of the museum. The museum collection provides audience and investigator with opportunity to study history of the nation and explore any affair related with history.
Scientific research explored in the museum fulfils its main duty along with developing history in Azerbaijan. The results of different expeditions, valuable archaeological, ethnographic, numismatic, documentary and substantial materials achieved from intensive researches are testified in the exposition and peculiar and centuries-old civilization and history of Azerbaijan.
Eight scientific sections, including archaeology, ethnography and numismatics scientific fund department and a restoration lab function at the museum.
Presented album demonstrated only some parts of the collection of the museum.

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Taza Pir Mosque

Taza Pir Mosque in Baku was built in 1914 under the patronage of Nabat Khanum Ashurbayova. In 1920, the Soviet government closed the mosque and it functioned as a cinema and a warehouse and since 1943 as a mosque. It was renovated in 2009.

The mosque serves as an official residence for the Caucasian Muslims Office.

 

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Bibi-Heybat Mosque

Bibi-Heybat Mosque in Baku was built in the 13th century. It was destroyed by the Soviet government in 1936. It was restored in 1999 and renovated according to medieval plans in 2008.

The complex includes a mosque, tombs and graves of respected people (among them the grave of Ukeyma Khanum, a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad). French writer Alexandre Dumas described the mosque as “the mosque of Fatima”.

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National Flag Museum of Azerbaijan

Every year on 9 November, Azerbaijan celebrates the Day of the National Flag.

On November 9, 2010, on the National Flag Square in Baku, the National Flag Museum was opened and also a mast was built, which was (at the time of the opening) the highest in the world (entered in the Guinness Book of Records). The National Flag Square covers an area of ​​60 hectares. The height of the mast is 162 meters; the base has a diameter of 3.2 meters. The flag is 35 meters wide, 70 meters long; its total area is 2,450 m2, weight – 250 kg. National Flag Museum of Azerbaijan and  National Flag Square the highest flag in the world.

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Icheri Sheher – the fortified old city of Baku

The fortified city of Baku (Icheri Sheher) with the Shirvanshah’s Palace and the Maiden Tower represents a compound with unique sights and medieval architecture. The city surrounded with well preserved walls whose area covers 21 hectares is the oldest part of Baku which was inhabited as early as in the Bronze Age. The Maiden Tower is a unique structure of an eight-storey cylindrical tower that rises to a height of 28 meters. The Shirvanshah’s Palace consists of a complex of palaces built during the rule of the Azerbaijan dynasty of Shirvanshah. It consists of the Palace, the Palace Mosque, the Burial-Vaults, the Palace Bath-House, Ovdan (a covered reservoir), Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum and Murad’s gate.

Icheri Seher also features Shemakha Gates, 3 bath houses, 4 caravanserais, 14 mosques including the Mosque of Mohammed (1078), market place, House of the Baku Khan and Donjon

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Gobustan tour

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

The Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (area of 3096 hectares) south of Baku features historical people campgrounds and 6000 rock drawings located in an area of ​​537 hectares. The oldest drawings date back to the Middle Stone Age. Most come from the Bronze Age. The drawings reflect the centuries-old experience of ancient tribes, their cult/religious and aesthetic views.

There is also a stone slab with a Roman inscription which dates to the first century and a unique Gaval-dash (tambourine stone). The stone produces pronounced rhythmic motives when tapped.

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The Maiden`s Tower

The symbol of Baku, Maiden Tower was included into the list of World Cultural Heratage of UNESCO in December of 2000. Maiden Tower, erected at the coast of the Caspian Sea preserved its magnificence till our days. The Tower, which was included into the fortification system of Baku, was called “Maiden Tower” for its inaccessibility.
Maiden Tower is a cylindrical shaped tower built at the coast rock. From the sea side the oblong prop (counterfort) adjoins the tower. The height of the tower is 31meters from the north and 28meters from the south. It should be noted that there are some versions concerning the figure “28”. The facts that Caspian Sea is below the world sea level by 28 meters, there are 28 blocks in Icherisheher, the Fortress walls connect 28 semicircular towers, indicate the symbolic character of this figure. The diameter of the Tower is 16meters on the ground floor, and thickness of wall is 5meters on the ground floor. The Tower consists of 8 floors. Each of the eight floors is covered with the stone cupola with round hole in the center. The holes of the cupolas are arranged in such a way that it is possible to see the floor of the ground floor when looking through the openning in the central part of the ceiling of the eighth floor. The single entrance into the Tower is the arched doorway on its western side. The ground floor of the Tower is 3meters high, the height of the other floors is on the average 2,5meters. The connection between the floors is supported by staircases built in the thickness of the south-eastern wall of the tower. At medieval times there was no staircase on the ground floor and therefore the access to the first floor was possible only by lowering the rope or ladder through the circular hole on the ceiling. The door of the tower was also made of several firm layers. This fact is proved by the remains left on top of the arched door way, the length of which is equal to the width (5 meters) of the Tower wall. In order to keep under control the sea and southern and south-eastern sides of the Tower, special loopholes were made on the walls. These loopholes were intended for the circulation of fresh air, as well.
In 1962-63 archeological excavation works were carried out on the ground floor of the Tower. As a result of the digging down to a depth of 5 meters, it was found out that the foundation of the monument was built on a huge rock with slope to the sea. We can come to a conclusion that the counterfort adjoining the monument from the sea side plays the role of a main prop of the Tower in front of this slope.
During the archeological research works carried out in 1964, from the foundation of the Tower there were found big logs 14 meters high, which stretched to the interior of the monument. Even today, the main function of these logs is not known. It is possible that, these logs relate to a special construction inside the counterfort, or protect the building against earthquake.
There are various suppositions and legends about the date of construction and function of the tower. Some of the scientists suppose that the Tower was built in two different periods. According to this supposition, the lower part of the tower with smooth wall up to 12 meters is older and dates back to the VIII-VII centuries BC. The upper part surrounded with stone stripe is supposed to be built later.
Accurate calculations defined that the width of the Tower wall is 5 meters at the bottom and 4.5meters at the top. This fact shows that the lower and upper parts of the monument were not built in different periods as stated by some scientists, but in the same period. Because, the wall 5 meters wide helped the both parts of the Tower stand on firm foundation. The secret of preservation of the Maiden Tower till our days is its construction on such a firm foundation. One of the interesting features in the construction structure of the Maiden Tower is a well dug out on a rock. From the level of the ground floor to the depth of 5 meters the well was built out of well hewn stones. This well 21 meters deep is in the thickness of the south-eastern wall of the Tower, and its diameter is 0.7 meters. Excavation works were carried out in this well. Material cultural remnants found in the well show that it was used starting from the XII century. According to the calculations it was determined that the well has no connection with the sea level.
Chemical analysis also proved that water in the well is good for drinking. The mouth of the well starts from the level of the third floor and goes down 13meters along the wall of the Tower. The well was hidden inside of the Tower walls for security reason. On the northern and southern walls of the well there are foot-places 10-12cm deep for going up and down. The diameter of the well widens at the depth of 12 meters.
There is a supposition that the underground passage between Maiden Tower and Shirvanshahs’ Palace starts from the bottom of the well. The first underground passage was discovered as a result of the large-scale archeological excavations carried out at the eastern part of Icherisheher in 1982. This passage is located on the eastern part of the main street leading from Shamakhi Gate, which was the central trade street of Baku at medieval times, to Salyan Gate. It is interesting that this way passes under Multani caravanserai of the XIV century and goes in the direction of the Maiden Tower.
There are different thoughts about functional purpose and date of construction of the Maiden Tower. This tower is called a temple of fire worshippers, defensive tower, observatory, Zoroastrian hut and so on.
One of the arguments to fix the date of construction of the Maiden Tower is a stone inscription with dimensions of 0.4×0.6 meters, located on the exterior of the tower, over the entrance, at the height of 14meters. The inscription runs: “Qubbe – Masud ibn Davud”. Some scientists suppose that Masud ibn Davud is the name of the architect who built the Tower. In their thoughts they are based on the inscription on the circular tower of Mardakan fortress. The inscription on Mardakan tower reads: “architect Abd-Al-Majid ibn Masud”. These researchers consider that the architect Abd-Al-Majid is the son of the architect Masud, who erected Maiden Tower. Till the recent period this inscription has been the main argument for relating this monument to the XII century. But, later on it was found out that this inscription was built into the Tower long time after its construction. It was inserted roughly into the part of the wall surrounded with stone stripe. According to the supposition of other researchers this stone inscription was placed on the Tower wall after its construction. As far as the origin of Masud ibn Davud is concerned, according to the medieval sources he is the grandson of Seljuk sultan Mahmud. Sultan Mahmud was the ruler of Azerbaijan in the early XII century. His grandson Masud is likely to have ruled over Northern Azerbaijan in this period and had this inscription inserted into the Tower wall in order to immortalize his own name.
According to the structure of the monument, some researchers link its history to the ancient periods and consider the Tower to be a Zoroastrian hut, a temple of fire worshippers, building related to the goddesses Mitra and Anahid. These researchers claim that the temple of fire worshippers – Maiden Tower could be built in the VIII-VII centuries BC under the influence of towered temples of Caspiana and Midiya at the cost of the Caspian Sea, in the ancient city of fire “Ateshi Baquan”.
Taking into account the resemblance of Maiden Tower to Chiraq Gala defensive tower, some scientists think that it relates to the Gilgilchay fortification system. Taking into consideration the similarity of Maiden Tower to the architectural elements of defensive towers in North-Eastern Albania, we can state that the Tower dates back to the V-VI centuries. It is known from the history that Baku, which was the southern city of Caucasian Albania, was under the influence of Sassanid Iran. It is possible to suppose that Maiden Tower was included into the fortification system built by Sassanid Empire in the northern occupied provinces, namely, in the territory of Albania.
There is a version that the Tower was originally called “Ghuz Qala”. “Ghuz” tower was a temple of the god of light-fire being worshipped by Turkic tribes. In the course of the centuries people created various legends, versions, and stories about the pride, magnificence and distant past of this ancient monument. It is possible that the name of “Ghuz” tower changed in these legends and assumed the form “Qiz” (Maiden) tower.
Maiden Tower damaged during various battles was gradually restored, and at medieval times the Tower together with Baku Fortress wall functioned as a fortification. The changes made on the constructional structure of the tower prove this fact. The Maiden Tower was built in this form, so that the ruler and his relatives could lock themselves in this tower and resist for long time even after the conquest of the city. As all these facts are characteristic of defensive towers, there is no need to undertake defensive measures in a temple, watch tower, or an observatory. Of course, the fact that the monument was used for the purpose of that period is not denied. We can note the resemblance of Maiden Tower to the magnificent defensive Towers (Mardakan, Ramana, Shuvalan, Nardaran towers) in Absheron.
Starting from the first floor up to the seventh floor there is a hollow in the form of a well built in the thickness of the south-western wall of the Tower. A semi-circular niche was made on the place of the hollow on each floor. Ceramic pipes 40-45cm long, 2.2cm thick and with the diameter 25-30cm, joined each other were placed into the hollow from the top up to the bottom. The joints of the pipes were stabilized with lime solution. From the ground floor up to the foundation of the Tower there are quadrangular ceramic gutters with dimensions of 22×18 cm, in the place of the pipes. These gutters go through the wall out of the Tower. The traces of potter’s wheel are obvious on these ceramic gutters and pipes. There is a supposition that this equipment functioned as sewerage system of the tower.
According to some suppositions Maiden Tower was an observatory. This tower could be used for astrological observations in day time. Each of the eight floors is covered with stone cupola with round hole in the center and this opening allows observing starry sky in day time. Its narrow windows look like loop-holes were suitable for the observation of starry sky. Each of the windows of the Tower was directed to the certain star: one to Sirius, the other to Veqa and the third one towards Antares.
However, Azerbaijani historian, Professor Sara Ashurbeyli rejects all these suppositions and tries to prove that neither for a temple of fire worshippers, nor for an observatory there is no need for such a thick wall. She considers Maiden Tower to be a defensive tower included into the general fortification system of Shirvanshahs. In case of danger, alarm signals were sent from the top of this beacon-tower to other towers by means of fire at night and by smoke in day time. Well-known epigraphist Meshedixanum Nemet read the word “qulle” in the inscription of the Maiden Tower. It is translated from Turkish languages as “tower”. In the opinion of Meshedixanum Nemet, Maiden Tower means “Eye Tower”, that is watch tower. This tower played the role of a beacon together with the quadrangular towers of Ramana and Mardakan and in case of danger alarm signals were delivered to other towers.
From the height of bird’s flight Maiden Tower looks like figures “9’ or “6”. These numbers together create the symbol “yin-yang”. In ancient Chinese cosmology “yin-yang” symbolizes the beginning of woman creation or female beginning of human creation. According to ancient Turkish perception “9” means the connection with the origin of life, also the time period for development of child in mother womb. The number “6” means the end of life, underworld.
From ancient times various legends and myths were created about Maiden Tower. One of these legends deals with the beautiful love of a daughter of king and a fisher. Every day the fisher came to Maiden Tower to see his beloved. He walked on the surface of the sea. His belief in this love gave him this power. Once after the date, on the way back the fisher thought about his beloved and some doubt appeared in his heart. Thus, he began to drown. When the daughter of the king saw her beloved drowning, she jumped from the Tower into the sea to rescue him. But, as the feeling of fear in her heart exceeded belief in love, she also drowned in the sea. Maiden Tower became the symbol of love and purity.
Another legend connects the name of Maiden Tower to the goddess of water Anahida (Arabians call her Zohre, turks name her Yaqut and Morning Star). Allah sent her to the earth in order to bring water to people. According to the myth, one day two angels – Marut and Harut were sent to the earth. Both of them fell in love with Anahida and declared secretly their love to her. Anahida confined them into the well, and then she rose to the heaven. From that time inhabitants of ancient world erected temples in honor of Anahida flown to the heaven and worshipped her. In the East such sacred places are named Maiden Tower. During archeological excavations a fish figure of bronze was discovered at the sea side of Maiden Tower. The head of this figure is in the form of a dolphin. Dolphin was considered the sacred animal of the Sea god in antique period. The finding of this figure near the Maiden Tower proves that this tower functioned as a temple of water goddess in the certain historical period.
According to another legend about the Maiden Tower, ancient Badikube (Baku) surrounded with three rows of walls was besieged for ninety days by Nuraddin shah of Iran. Within this city, at the coast of the Gulsum Sea (Caspian Sea) there was a black temple from the top of which smoke rose. In this temple all religious rituals were performed to save the city of fire. After the rituals, the main priest of the temple of fire Yeqirvand declared: “…Tomorrow the ruler of enemy will be killed by innocent creature…” At that moment the door of the temple opened and a maiden with long fair hair and with a fiery sword in her hand appeared at the hearth. She came up to the main priest. The priest said to her that she had to rescue the capital of the land of eternal fires – the sacred city and holy temple. The maiden came to the residence of Nuraddin shah and killed him. The fiery maiden fulfilled her sacred duty, she liberated her compatriots. But she fell in love with the ruler of enemy, and preferring to die after the death of her beloved she thrust the sword into her own heart at the door of the temple. At that moment the fire of the temple went out and the temple was named Maiden Tower in honor of the maiden. The wind blew for seven days and nights. On the seventh day the wind fell. The fire began to burn in the territory of Shamakhi region.
Maiden Tower was restored in 1960s and began to function as a museum in 1964.
Exposition of archaeological materials discovered from the well of the Maiden Tower is being displayed now on the third floor of the tower. These wares of the XII century were found from the water well during the excavation and their broken parts were restored with white plaster.
Weapons used at medieval times are being exhibited on the forth floor of the Maiden Tower. You can see here tabarzin, which was the favorite weapon of Eastern fighters. It is in the form of crescent and made out of steel. In this exposition you can see shield, dagger, armour, lance and other sorts of weapon, as well. The dagger has short blade and handle. All these weapons are only imitation, the original ones are preserved in Azerbaijan State History museum.
Archaeological excavations are underway in Icheri sheher. Perhaps, material-cultural findings being got during research works will allow to give accurate information about historical past of Maiden Tower.

Information from: Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve “Icherisheher” under Cabinet of Ministres of Azerbaijan

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