By Naila Huseynli
Ismayilli region, located on the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus Mountain, surrounded by mountains and forests, is one of the most charming corners of Azerbaijan. There are many ancient monuments of different periods. The colorful villages of the region are also remarkable.
Maiden’s Tower, located 10 kilometers away from the center of the region, near the village of Khanagah, and is the most famous historical monument in these places, which is the peak of the mountainous Ismayilli State Reserve. It is always cool here because the sun rays do not fall on the peak of the mountain covered with a heavy forest. The tower's history dates from the 7th century to the 11th-12th centuries. This defensive tower is 1.5 hectares, built on the right bank of the River Ax-Ox, at the peak of the mountain. It will need to walk one kilometer towards the tower. Crossing the mountain river flowing to reach the Maiden Tower makes the trip more adventurous. It's better to take a guide from local residents. Climb the historical tower as it is well worth the effort.
The tower located on the right bank of the River Agchay, 7 km away from the center of the region and 4 km away from Talistan village.
Once you reach the Talistan village by car, you can go to Javanshir Tower on horseback or on foot. The tower is composed of interior and exterior parts. The width of the southern walls is two meters wide, and the height is 10 meters. The inner fortress, which is about two hectares, is built on the peak of the mountain. This is a strong defense fortress of the early middle Ages. It is said that those who sinned were thrown into the abyss. The tower is related to the name of the famous Albanian warrior, Javanshir Mehrani (642-681). An underground tunnel was drilled at the Maiden Tower, 7 km away.
There is a waterfall surrounded by dense forests in the area. This place has good conditions for a picnic.
Ivanovka village is located in the Adjinohur Mountains, 500-800 meters above sea level, on the plateau between the Goychay and Davabatan rivers. The total area of the village is over 8,000 hectares. Along the road leading to the village appears corn fields and farmland. Rural roads are smooth and accurate. Ivanovka located 14 kilometers away from the center.
After the collapse of the Soviet collective farms were disbanded and abolished. In Ivanovka, where the collective-public labor system operates earlier, the kolkhoz (collective farm), named after Nikitin, has been preserved for many years. There are 2.200 of cattle, 7,000 sheep and birds in this collective farm. The products of the farm are highly famous in the other part of the country. Ivanovka's old name was Haftaran and later was renamed in honor of Colonel Ivanov, who led the Molokans' campaign to move to Azerbaijan. Exiled people called themselves Molokan because they did not accept church reform in Russia, and executed old rites.
The houses in Ivanovka built side by side and in classical standards with carved facades. They are separated by wide streets and there is a small shop in front of each houses.
Along with Molokans, Lezgi and Azerbaijanis also live in the village.
At first sight Basqal village, similar to the Icheri Sheher in Baku and located 56 km away from the center. The village was the center until 1933. In 1958, some fragments of the film "Distant shores" were filmed here. The village with 60 hectares land was declared state reverse. Cobblestone-paved narrow streets and the stone-built houses create a special atmosphere. The interesting aspect of Basqal is that all the houses are towards Qibla (is the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays). Another feature of the village is that hamams are in the homes since XVII century. Two-storeyed houses and their yards with neatly looked along the road. The first floor of the house is for farming and the second for living. During the construction, woods were laid after every five-six stones. Experts call this a "seismic belt". All the houses are earthquake-resistant.
Kelagayi (silk covering for the head)
Kelagayi is a fine example of Azerbaijani folk art and was one of the main attributes of women's clothing, regardless of their social status. Different kelagayis were weaved for girls and women of different ages. This head cover is made of different colors and sizes, and usually decorated with different edges. At the wedding, the girls usually use red, black silk kerchief covered in mourning ceremonies. In daily life, the women have used white and brown silk kerchief. In Basqal, kelagayi was weaved in every house until the 60s of the last century. After the collapse of the USSR, there was abundance of different headgear in the country. The national kelagayi fell out the fashion. Nevertheless, the Silk Center is still operating in Basqal. There is also a manufacture where the other silk products are sewed, as well as a small kelegayi museum.