By Abdul Kerimkhanov
Once you decide to visit Gusar region, the "Northern Gate"of the Azerbaijan, you will get immense satisfaction from this wonderful land crystal-clear mountain air and breathtaking panoramas.
Gusar is on the north of Azerbaijan, some 180 km on Baku. The region appeared in 1930 after the division of the Guba province. People settled in this area from the end of the 2nd millennium BC. There are many monuments and attractions of different eras.
The population of Gusar is mainly Lezgins who have lived in this area for centuries. It is easy to guess that the famous dance "lezginka" is directly related to this people. Lezgins are infinitely benevolent and hospitable people, which you can surely see for yourself after meeting the citizens. Each visit to these places promises new pleasant acquaintances.
As to folk crafts, the most widespread is carpet weaving, in particular the creation of lint-free carpets. Such products are created either in home machines or in the city center. There is located a large weaving shop with a unique feature - inside it there is the largest (ten-person) loom in all of Azerbaijan.
There is the highest point of Azerbaijan - Mount Bazarduzu, located in the height of 4,466 meters on the territory of the Gusar region. The area is rich in flora, as many as 20 percent of the territory is covered with forests.
There is also a state reserve, covering an area of 15,000 hectares in Gusar region. The village of Urva has a beech forest taken under special protection called Alistan-baba, covering an area of seven hectares.
Now it is time to learn more about touristic destinations of Gusar region.
The village of Laza is located on the north-eastern spurs of the Greater Caucasus Range, at the foot of the Shahdag mountain in the height of 4,242 m above sea level. The neighborhood of the village is very picturesque, numerous waterfalls fall from the rocks.
The inhabitants here live an ordinary life of high-altitude settlements, keep the household, keep poultry, cattle and small horned livestock.
The most famous historical monument of Laza is a mosque, which is 300 years old, located right in the center of the village. Laza is one of the most visited tourist villages in Azerbaijan. There are many guests in the village both in winter and in summer. Foreigners especially like to come here. Tourists stay with local residents - in the rooms specially built in the courtyards of the villagers all the amenities are created for them, and the service also includes meals.
The village of Anig is located in 27 km of the south-west from the region center, on the right bank of the Gusarchay River. People have lived since ancient times in this high mountain village, located on the top of a huge, protected by natural barriers of the hill. According to legend, the village is named after the local ruler Anig-aga. According to another version, the toponym Anig is associated with the name of the Hun tribe.
A fortress was built to protect against Arab invasions in this strategically important village. Fort Anig is located at an altitude of 1,100 m above sea level.
Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov lived in Gusar for a while after he was exiled to the Caucasus in 1837 for antimonarchic speeches and freedom-loving. Here he wrote his works "The Prisoner of the Caucasus" and "Ashig Garib: a Turkic fairy tale." In Gusar, Lermontov settled with his friend, a military doctor, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Marshev. A museum was created in the house of Marshev in memory of the stay of Lermontov in Gusar.
Shahdag is a must-see mountain peak of Azerbaijan, with a breathtaking view. Located in the eastern part of the Greater Caucasus, Shahdag literally means "king-mountain" and offers a wide variety of opportunities for recreation and sports. Tourists can enjoy the beauty of Shahdag on foot, by bicycle, on skis - choose a season and go to meet nature.
Visit Gusar to discover the glory of northeast Azerbaijan!
Abdul Kerimkhanov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AbdulKerim94
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