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State Tourism Agency preserves Khinalig's unique architecture [PHOTOS]

17 May 2023 17:15 (UTC+04:00)
State Tourism Agency preserves Khinalig's unique architecture [PHOTOS]
Laman Ismayilova
Laman Ismayilova
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Chairman of Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency Fuad Nagiyev has met with the citizens in Khinalig village to discuss the issues of restoring and repairing houses with preservation of the unique architectural style of the village.

During the meeting, it was noted that the development of the village's tourism potential contributes to increasing employment and improving the social well-being of the population, Azernews reports.

Azerbaijan State Tourism Agency continues to improve the tourism infrastructure in the Khinalig State Historical-Architectural and Ethnographic Reserve upon the presidential instructions, which focus on protection and promotion of the historical and cultural heritage.

Khinalig's architectural style requires special attention. Since the slopes here are very steep, the houses are lined tightly. So, the roof of one house serves as another's house front door terrace.

Interestingly, houses in Khinalig are heated with dung, which is made from pressed manure. The manure, mixed with straw, is filled into special shapes and compacted.

The resulting bricks are dried under the sun and then piled into improvised walls. These bricks are the main fuel used by the people of Khinalig.

Restoration of houses in Khinalig is divided into several stages amid the village's geographical position and relief. Around 60 houses in the most dangerous condition have been monitored in Khinalig.

Some 16 houses in a state of emergency were repaired and restored in 2021. Their foundations and walls were strengthened, roof coverings were dismantled and rebuilt according to local typology, doors and windows were renewed as well.

In 2022, most of the works on 7 of the 11 houses that started to be repaired and restored were completed, and on 4 houses, the works were stopped due to weather conditions.

In 2023, preparations were started for the repair of unfinished houses and the restoration of 14 additional houses, and 6 more houses have been registered for restoration and repair. In total, at this stage, 44 houses are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

Last year, a nomination document entitled Khinalig Cultural Landscape and the Migration Route, which describes the preserved nomadic culture of the people living in Khinalig and surrounding villages and its universal values, was prepared and submitted to the World Heritage Committee of the organization for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

In the nomination document, the intangible cultural heritage related to the seasonal way of life in the summer and winter pastures, as well as the exceptional universality of the material and cultural heritage elements (tombs, cemeteries, bridges, etc.) created as a result of the use of the migration route between those pastures for centuries it is emphasized that it has value.

Note that Khinalig village sits on a mountaintop 2,350 meters above sea level in the Greater Caucasus Mountains. It's surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Azerbaijan, including Bazarduzu (4,466m), Shahdag (4,243m), and Gizilgaya (3,723m), and it boasts over 5,000 years of history.

Therefore, Khinalig is often called an island among the mountains. The village is famous for its unique language, customs, and traditions. Here is a temple of fire worshippers, the tomb of Khidir Nabi, Sheikh Shalbuz mosque, caves, and numerous unexplored archaeological sites dating back to the Middle Ages.

The residents of the village of Khinalig rank themselves as a separate ethnic group. Some ethnologists consider that the people of Khinalig are related to the ancient tribe of Uti, who lives in the village of Nij in Gabala and belong to the Shahdag ethnic group.

The people of Khinalig call their village "Ketsh", themselves - "Kyat" or "Kettid", and their language - "Ketsh mitsl". The name "Khinalig" has been used since the '50s and '60s.

Due to the isolation, the villagers were able to preserve their own unique language.

Khinalug is a Northeast Caucasian language spoken by local residents. It forms its own independent branch within the Northeast Caucasian language family.

In 2020, the Khinalig State Cultural-Architectural and Ethnographic Reserve was included in UNESCO's Tentative List.

The document was submitted to the organization by Azerbaijan's National Commission for UNESCO.

In the 20th century, the linguists, who worked here, compiled the alphabet of this language on the basis of Latin script.

In 2020, Khinalig was included in the preliminary list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites called "medieval mountain village".

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State Tourism Agency preserves Khinalig's unique architecture [PHOTOS] - Gallery Image
State Tourism Agency preserves Khinalig's unique architecture [PHOTOS] - Gallery Image
State Tourism Agency preserves Khinalig's unique architecture [PHOTOS] - Gallery Image
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