Mountain dwellers along the Greater Caucasus Range are fond of explaining their tapestry of languages with a bit of accidental divine intervention. First, Sherif tells me, God created all the peoples of the world and then set off to distribute their various languages, all of which were kept in a bag. But when the creator flew over the soaring snow covered peaks of the Caucasus and the bag got caught on a particularly high crag. Through this small tear came a stream of languages sprinkled throughout the region.Read More
Should you decide to take in the more-tourist friendly, less rusted-tanks sights of Azerbaijan, here's the next thing I found heading southwest from Baku. First the Gobustan petroglyphs, which the guide said are from 23,000 years ago. Yes, thousand. The internet says, 12-8th century BC, but honestly who even knows? There’s a couple hundred of these and they really cool in real life. Apparently, they put tooth paste inside the crevaces to make more contrast in the photos. I didn't even try to do that - they already demand a 2 AZN fee for taking photos. But here’s a pretty holy site from long before there was an Azerbaijan, an Armenia, a Georgia, a Russia, a Persia – before any of that. Plus, look at that cool boat they made:
Next we have some sheep near the railroad tracks. This is the kind of thing to look for to properly appreciate what’s so lovely about Azerbaijan. In the future I will have a post devoted to animals standing next to concrete blocks.
Finally, after a slow drive on a very bumpy road, you park the car and walk up a large hill. There’s oil coming right out of the ground and not a soul for miles (although there was a cow on the hillside that looked like a deity). In the distance are a couple of lunar looking mounds. They gurgle! And leak! And get mud all over your clothes and camera if you through something at them. What a weird site – it’s like you founding one of the earth’s internal organs.
Tucked into a sidestreet just off an improvised bus terminal along one of the busiest road in Tbilisi is Rezo Gabriadze’s pet project: a three year, three story clock tower that is perpetually falling down. It’s a very young structure in a very old place, made by a world famous puppeteer who cobbled it together himself in the street, brick by brick.Read More
As the summer heat begins to exhaust itself, it is easier to take stock of Baku and Azerbaijan in general. The idea of day trips actually becomes appealing, so I was happy to check things off my sightseeing list when some of our Polish guests suggested a trip to Yanar Daĝ, “the burning hillside.”Read More