Baku. Icheri Sheher.
Baku is one of the ancient cultural, trade and political centers of Azerbaijan. Due to the advantageous geographical location on the crossing of East and West, South and North and confluence of the trade roads the city has been turned into the important populated area. During the reign of Shirvanshahs, Baku had a period of exceptional growth. At the same time it was one of the chief scientific, cultural and art centers. Gyz Galasy (Maiden Tower), the complex of Shirvanshahs`s Palace and fortress walls located in Baku are included into the World Heritage List as the medieval architectural monuments. In the Middle Ages such handicrafts as jeweler’s art, fancy needlework, arms producing and carving on stone were especially developed in Baku
Being a native land of Azerbaijan`s greatest classical poet, Nizami Ganjavi, during the whole history the ancient town of Ganja was one of the most well-known scientific, cultural, art and handicraft centers in the East. Ganja always played a considerable part in the history of Azerbaijan. Thus, at different times it was a capital of several states. The world`s first democratic eastern republic, the Azerbaijan Democratic State, was declared just here in 1918.
From the ancient times Ganja was an important trade and handicraft center as well. The architectural monuments erected here are indicative of high skills of the local builders. Carpets, jewelry and metalwork produced in Ganja were famous not only in Azerbaijan but also in the neighbouring countries as well as in the Near and Middle East.
The land of Gobustan is rich in archeological monuments. For the moment, 30 barrows, about 20 sites of ancient men made of big lime boulders have been discovered.
Our distant ancestors carved drawings on the rocks on the Beyukdash (Big stone) and Kichikdash (Small stone) mountains, as well as Jinghirdag and Yazily tepe depicting primitive men, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars. Gobustan has in excess of 6,000 rock paintings.
The age of the oldest drawings is upwards of 10, 000 years. Among the “stone books” is a big flat stone formed out of 3 supports. Suffice it to touch the object with a small stone, melodious sounds come from it. This is the so called “Gaval dash” (tambourine) uttering sounds like “tam-tam”.
World famous scientists and traveler Thor Heyerdahl indicated his delight with the preserve as follows: “Gobustan is an invaluable treasure house of Azerbaijan”. Heyerdahl paid a special attention to the 2 types of boats – flat-bottomed and curve-bottomed. The latter was being made of cane and bears no resemblance with any world’s models.
Lahij is one of the ancient handicraft centers of Azerbaijan. Even today the question of its establishment date has been often debated among the scientists. This fact, however, is evidence of the ancient foundation of Lahij. Built of the principle of block building, Lahij has a unique charm thanks to its high standard of town-planning. There are not such a number of the cooper workshops anywhere else but in this place. In the Middle Ages the most part of the male population was occupied with the cooper craft. Copper ware made in Lahij was exported to all Eastern countries. Nowadays, these works of art are kept in many world museums as well as in the private collections.
The town of Sheki is considered to be emerged as far back as ages BC. Famed in various fields during the whole history, this town was renowned for its craftsmen. Such branches of handicraft as intricate “shebeke”, embroideries, stucco, pottery, metalwork and mural painting were highly developed in Sheki. A peculiar architectural and decorative style of the town was formed during the centuries. Built in XVIII century, the mosaic-fronted Sheki Khan`s Palace is a beautiful specimen of a aforesaid. Many craftsmen that worked at a decorative design of the palace had created a matchless work of art.
Silkworm breeding was also highly developed in Sheki. Produced by the local masters, the silk articles were renowned far outside the country.
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