Azerbaijan offers free entry to some historical sites
By Laman Ismayilova
The State Tourism Agency invites you to enjoy free access to several tourist sites on holidays, including Ramadan, Republic Day and International Children's Day.
Yanardag State Historical-Cultural and Natural Reserve, Ateshgah Temple, Lahij State Historical and Cultural Reserve, Sheki Museum of History and Local Lore and Sheki Museum of Applied Arts are open to visitors free of charge from May 19 to June 2.
The main goal of the initiative is to eliminate certain restrictions applied in connection with the special quarantine regime and support the development of domestic tourism.
The work of tourism facilities was restored on May 18 in accordance with the decision of the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers.
Famous for its "eternal flame", Yanar Dag remains one of the most famous and popular tourist destinations.
Yanar Dag is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea near Baku.
The Italian trader and traveler Marco Polo even mentioned the flames during his travels to Baku.
This magical place is associated with many legends. Since ancient times, fire worshipers from India and Iran have gathered in these places.
Unlike mud volcanoes, the Yanar Dag flame burns fairly steadily, as it involves a steady seep of gas from the subsurface.
The flames emanate from vents in sandstone formations and rise to a height of 10 metres.
The Yanardag State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve re-opened last year after the overhaul. The reserve features a museum, a 500-seat amphitheatre for outdoor concerts, workshops, shops, and a parking lot.
The Land of Fire is also home to another must-visit Zoroastrian site Ateshgah or "Fire Temple".
This temple is an ancient Hindu castle-like religious edifice in a suburb of greater Baku, which was initially recognized as a Zoroastrian fire worship place.
Built in the 17-18th centuries, the temple is located on a place well known for its natural burning-gas phenomenon.
Zoroastrians monks highly rated mystical significance of the inextinguishable fire and came here to worship it.
The four holy elements of their belief were: ateshi (fire), badi (air), abi (water), and heki (earth). The complex was turned into a museum in 1975.
The Temple of Fire "Ateshgah" was nominated for List of World Heritage Sites, UNESCO in 1998.
On December 19, 2007, it was declared a state historical-architectural reserve.
Lahij, beautiful village in Ismayilli region, is a historical and architectural reserve with no hint of modern times.
The quarter building of Lagic dates back to the 15th – 19th centuries. Two-story houses prevail, all buildings are stone. The streets and squares are paved.
The village is famous as a center for handicraft production: local craftsmen make copper utensils and carpets, preserving folk traditions. Hand-made things are often sold in village shops and in the bazaar.
They say that the legendary Monomakh's cap, a chief relic of the Russian Grand Princes and Tsars, was made here.
There is a large collection of Lahij products in the Azerbaijan Museum of National History, which reflects the many different and richly made items produced by the Lahij craftsmen.
Sheki Museum of History and Local Lore
Sheki Museum of History and Local Lore stores is named after Azerbaijani writer and ethnographer Rashid Efendiyev.
The museum stores more than 5,000 exhibits reflecting Sheki`s history, culture and art. The museum consists of ten departments dedicated to Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, ethnography, science, agriculture, and others.
Open door is held on the first Sunday of May each year, which means visitors can enter the museum free of charge.
The museum, opened on June 9, 1985, is located in the ancient Albanian temple, which is popularly called the "round temple", as its dome and main building has a semicircular shape. The exact date of the erection of the church is not known.
Sheki Museum of Applied Arts
Sheki Museum of Applied Arts operates in the ancient Albanian temple "round temple", as its dome and main building has a semicircular shape.
The museum displays art works by potters, embroiderers, coppersmiths, shebeke artists and much more.
Many exhibits were discovered as a result of archaeological excavations in Sheki.
No less interesting are the old pottery created by Sheki ceramists and potters. Here you can find unqiue clay vases, jugs, pots and much more.
The next room presents national costumes, both men's and women's outfits, as well as national musical instruments.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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