Gobustan is an archaeological reserve in Azerbaijan, south of Baku, on the territory of the Karadag and Absheron districts, which is a plain located between the south-eastern slope of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and the Caspian Sea, and a part of the cultural landscape of rock carvings located on the territory of 537 hectares .
The name “Gobustan” comes from the Azerbaijani word “gobu”, which translates as “beam”. Thus, Gobustan is the land of ravines and beams.
Monuments of Gobustan are divided into two groups:
1) rock paintings;
2) ancient sites and other objects.
In 2007, the cultural landscape of the Gobustan cave paintings was included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites.
Gobustan Reserve in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites
How to behave in the reserve
The territory of the reserve in 3096 hectares is a vast low-mountain area between the southeast spurs of the Greater Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. It is crossed by ravines and dry valleys. From the north, Gobustan is bounded by the southern continuation of the Main Caucasus Range, in the west by the Pirsatchay river valley, in the south by the Mishovdag and Kharami mountains, and in the east by the shores of the Caspian Sea and the Absheron peninsula. The length from north to south is 100 km, from west to east – up to 80 km.
Here are the largest in the Caucasus mud volcanoes. The main river is the Jeirankečmez. There are also springs and wells on Mount Beyukdash, fed by groundwater limestone sediments and atmospheric precipitation. The climate within the reserve is dry subtropical, with relatively mild winters and hot summers. Short-term spring and autumn rains are observed, after which the plant and animal life is revived.
Flora and fauna
The flora of Gobustan is typical of desert and semi-desert vegetation. It consists of herbs and shrubs, wormwood and similar perennials. Among the heaps of stones and rocks found wild rose, dwarf cherry, honeysuckle, juniper, wild pears, wild rice, wild pomegranate, grapes and some other types of trees and shrubs.
Over the past decades, Gobustan’s fauna has been very impoverished. The natural inhabitants of Gobustan are now rare foxes, jackals, wolves, hares and wild cats, mountain partridges, wild pigeons, larks, along with numerous snakes and lizards.
Year after year, tourists from all over the world visit Gobustan to see with their own eyes the works of art of our distant ancestors. The walls of the Gobustan caves are decorated with a huge number of rock paintings, where you can see not only animals, birds, reptiles, insects, fish that have lived in this area for thousands of years, but also people – figures of men and women.
These drawings date from the eighth millennium BC, that is, the Neolithic period.
At that time, matriarchy flourished in the tribes. These ancient people worshiped the woman, she was for them the personification of warmth, well-being and continuer of the family. Human figures were depicted in full growth, men – in the clothing of hunters, armed with bow and arrows, women often tattooed.
The figures show that people were then tall, slim and muscular. Of their clothes, only loincloths were depicted on them.
The famous writer and traveler Thor Heyerdahl became so interested in rock paintings in Gobustan’s caves that he repeatedly visited these places.
Having studied various materials, in particular the way the boats are depicted in the drawings in Gobustan, he compared them with the images of boats in Norway. Having found quite a lot in common, he Over time, people evolved and improved and, naturally, this was reflected in their rock art. Changes affected technology images and sizes.
When the Bronze Age came to replace the Neolithic period, the cave paintings significantly decreased, people stopped drawing them in full size.
Stone Tambourine Gavaldash
One of the most interesting sights of Gobustan is the tambourine stone, which locals call “Gavaldash”. It is located in the northeast, at the foot of the mountain Jingirdag.
It is interesting because when it hits it, it makes various sounds. Moreover, it is necessary to strike it with other stones, and depending on the size of the stone, the ringing made by Gavaldash will differ. According to one of the versions, this stone was something like an alarm signal or even just a musical instrument that helps to perform certain rituals.
Mountain Boyuk Dash
The mountain Beyuk-dash is also noteworthy. At its foot in the first century of our era, an inscription appeared in Latin. This is clear evidence that the Roman legions passed here at the time. This inscription looks like this:
Imp DomitianoCaesare avgGermanicL JuliusMaximusLeg XII Ful.
If we translate it into our language, we get the following phrase: “The time of Emperor Domitian Caesar Augustus Germanic, Lucius Julius.