By Laman Ismayilova
A trip to Azerbaijan wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Mingachevir. Known as the City of Lights, because of its hydroelectric power station, Mingachevir is the fourth-largest city in Azerbaijan.
Archeological excavations that took place here have proved that the earliest human settlements at this place existed in the VI century BC – III century BC.
The history of city covers a period from the eneolithic era (3,000 BC) to the 17th century.
Over 20,000 historical monuments, including graves and tumuli, ancient findings and much more were found there.
Combining many caravan and trade roads, Mingachevir was once called the "delivery road".
The famous Turkish traveler Evliya Chelebi also mentioned the city in the Travel Book, as a large settlement on the right bank of the Kura River, at the foot of Bozdag Mountain.
As he wrote, the city had several mosques, workshops for the production of silk fiber and silk fabrics, baths and other structures.
Every year, dozens of tourists flock to Sudagalan, an ancient settlement in Mingachevir.
The settlement on the left bank of Kura River is a part of Mingachevir Archaeological Complex. Here, the researchers found the ruins of urban-type settlements, two-tier pottery kilns (1st - 8th centuries), the ruins of houses built of raw brick, metal, stone and bone items, Sassanid and Arabic coins.
Clay, glass and silver utensils, numerous rings, iron tools, gold rings, coins, Sassanid seals were discovered in ancient graves on the territory of Sudagalan.
In addition, remains of ancient religious institutions were discovered on the territory of the settlement.
As it turned out, there was the 5th - 6th centuries temple in Sudagalan. A large prayer hall once served as the temple's main room.
The entrance to the temple was located in the southwest wall. Opposite the entrance there was a large stone capital with the image of two peacocks.
Three small rooms adjoin the temple from the southeast side. The walls of the building were built of raw bricks. The average wall thickness is 1.5 meters. The structure was once covered with tiles on a wooden base.
Ancient pot graves are also of special interest in Mingechevir. In fact, more than 300 pot graves were discovered in this area.
History lovers can also visit Mingachevir History Museum, which stores over 15,000 exhibits that reflect the life and development of Mingachevir from past till present.
The museum also displays items and decorations, tools, hunting weapons used by people who lived on this territory in the third and second millennia BC.
Incredibly beautiful sunny city, literally immersed in the greenery of beautiful parks, especially near Kura river.
On the banks of the Kura, the city's guests enjoy amazing tugay forests (form of riparian forest) which consist mainly of willow and poplars.
Mingachevir Boulevard is known as the largest park in Mingachevir. The park attracts curious visitors with eye-catching fountains and a number of cozy cafes and restaurants.
There are also many cultural centers in the city, including Heydar Aliyev Center, Mingachevir History Museum, Youth House, Mingachevir State Drama Theater , as well as a number of recreation centers and parks.
Some modern buildings are distinguished by their architecture. Perhaps, Marzia Davudova Drama Theater is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The theater's architecture combines some elements of both Eastern and European styles.
Moreover, the largest reservoir in the Caucasus is also there. The reservoir was built on a section of Kura River flowing through Mount Bozdag in 1953. The filling capacity of the reservoir is 83 m (272 ft) whereas the volume is 15.73 km³.
The largest hydroelectric power station of Azerbaijan is located on the reservoir. Mingachevir Hydro Power Plant has an installed electric capacity of 401.6 megawatts. The length of the hydroelectric dam is 1,550 m (5,090 ft), its width is 16 m (52 ft) and height is 80 m (260 ft).
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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