Lankaran, the mesmerizing corner of Azerbaijan
By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
Lankaran region, one of the most beautiful parts of Azerbaijan, is located in the south-eastern part of the country, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Original architecture and magnificent natural landscapes are the hallmarks of this region.
The wonderful climate, the sea and the presence of thermal springs attract a lot of tourists who want to relax and improve their health, and the ancient history and abundance of sights do not leave indifferent fans of meaningful pastime.
The climate in Lankaran is humid, subtropical. The winter in this region of Azerbaijan is moderate, the summer is dry and hot, the autumn is rainy.
The subtropical climate of Lankaran region is ideal for growing citrus crops, rice, grapes, tobacco. Great attention is paid to the production of tea in Lankaran. Azerbaijani tea became a winner at many of world exhibitions and international competitions. Therefore, it is pretty obvious why there is a huge samovar monument at the entrance to Lankaran.
Citrus and subtropical fruit growing occupies a special place in Lankaran, and it is not by chance that Lankaran is called the land of citrus plants such as oranges, tangerines, lemons, kumquat, pomelo and others. Laurel, aleurites, kiwis, eucalyptus and bamboo also grow here.
Lankaran is home to the Hirkan National Park, the area of which is fully covered with forests in a primarily mountainous region. It is one of the largest contiguous forests in Azerbaijan, which is not interrupted by any settlement or pasture.
The Hirkan National Park protects the humid subtropical and humid temperate forests in the area of the Lankaran Lowland and the Talysh Mountains, sheltering many endemic plant and animal species like Persian ironwood and the Caucasian leopard, which is the largest subspecies of leopard on the earth.
An interesting fact is that National Geographic channel made a documentary about this leopard. The filmmaker Adrian Steirn and his team set cameras across Azerbaijan in their quest to capture footage of the Caucasian leopard, Europe’s last remaining indigenous leopard species.
Speaking about Lankaran forests, it is noteworthy that there is a perfume dedicated to these forests. Maria Candida Gentile, a perfumer from Italy who was impressed by the beauty of forests after her trip to Lankaran, created this perfume. The presentation of the Lankaran Forest fragrance was held as part of the Fragranze 2016 perfumery exhibition held in Florence.
Touching upon history, it is noteworthy that archaeological excavations in Lankaran have shown that people settled here in the Bronze Age – 4,000-5,000 years ago, but Lankaran city originated in the 10th century BC.
At one time, Lankaran was part of the Caucasian Albania state, and in 1743 it became the center of the Talysh Khanate. Most of the region’s population are the Talyshs people, who have retained their ancient traditions and customs.
Lankaran fortress (18th century) and Kichik-Bazar mosque (19th century) deserve special attention. In 100 kilometers north of Lankaran, there is Khanega village of the Middle Ages, where one can find such historical monuments of architecture as the fortress walls (12-14 centuries), the mosque and the tomb of Pir-Hussein and some other ancient buildings. The mosque of Pir-Hussein is composed of well-hewn stone slabs, covered with a spherical dome.
Lankaran is also home to Mirakhmad Khan's Palace - one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of the region. The palace was built in 1913.
Moreover, Lankaran is one of the most popular regions of Azerbaijan for health tourism. The Caspian Sea is the rare pearl that nature bestowed on Lankaran, since the sea and the black sand have tremendous healing properties.
In addition, Lankaran cuisine is very rich and diverse and includes a large number of dishes from rice, meat, fish, beans, greens, as well as mouth-watering sweets.
The city of Lankaran is located 282 kilometers south of the capital of Azerbaijan. Daily buses run from Baku International Bus Terminal to Lankaran.
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