By Laman Ismayilova
Settled since the 8th millennium BC, Gobustan State Historical Reserve is filled with some of the world’s best-preserved and most atmospheric prehistoric remains.The historical site is home to more than 600,000 stone and iron-age figures.
In 2007, Gobustan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of "outstanding universal value" for the quality and density of its rock art engravings depicting images of hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyles in pre-historic times and for the cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times that the site reflects.
This year the Gobustan State Historical Reserve celebrates its 54th anniversary. A video conference has been held as part of the celebration.
Director of the reserve Vugar Isayev informed the conference participants about Gobustan monuments and their preservation and promotion. He stressed the importance of representing the country at international level.
The leading researcher of the Reserve's Scientific Exposition Department Sevinj Shirinli provided insight into new projects and achievements carried out in Gobustan.
Gobustan rock carvings have their own unique charm. Most of them depict primitive men, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of celestial bodies. Among the carvings also pictures of fish, snake, lizard and insects were recorded.
Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl (1914-2002) began forming Scandinavian ancestry hypothesis after visiting Gobustan.
He suggested that Scandinavian ancestry could be traced to the country now known as Azerbaijan. The ethnographer recognized local boats petroglyphs as the oldest known images of pirogue in the world.
These vessels, similar to the old Scandinavian ships, prompted him to make sensational hypothesis statement about the connection between Norwegians and Azerbaijanis.
Apart from petroglyphs, there is also another unique discovering known as Gaval Dash.
The Gaval Dash is a natural musical stone which can only be found in Gobustan. The musical stone is called Gaval Dash as its sound can be compared to a tambourine.
The "Mystery of Gavaldash" is quite simple: the marks on the stones show that they were struck in places that protruded in some way into the air, and could thus reverberate. In such a way, when this porous limestone was hit one could hear various sounds.
A number of Azerbaijani musicians have used Gaval Dash to create wonderful music pieces.
The musical stone and the Yallı chain-dance was also featured in the interval act of the semi-final of Eurovision Song Contest 2012 held in Baku.
Now Gobustan is a real open-air museum, visited by thousands of people from all over the world.
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