Temple Ateshgyah

Black City "Akunin is Baku, a city of oil, secrets, secrets and dangers. To fully enjoy the mood of this book and try to imagine the life of the Azerbaijani capital and its environs of the early 20th century can only be found in Surakhani.

"Black City" Akunin is Baku, a city of oil, secrets, secrets and dangers. To fully enjoy the mood of this book and try to imagine the life of the Azerbaijani capital and its environs of the early 20th century can only be found in Surakhani. The village, located just 30 km to the north-east of the capital, has its own "oil" history since the middle of the 19th century.

From the Tat language, Surakhani translates as a "hot house", since long the neighborhood of the village was famous for its abundance of oil wells.

1850 - the starting point for the new village history, when Surakhan touched the oil boom and oil workers from all over the Empire began to come here. Here everything "turned" around the oil, even the children were "sick" by the oil business, and each new deposit was greeted with enthusiastic cries and envious glances. And already in 1857, on the initiative of entrepreneur Vasily Kokorev, the world's first refinery was built here (which, by the way, Dmitry Mendeleev himself worked as a consultant).

But to stroll along the dusty streets of Surakhan, in the vicinity of which there are oil towers here and there, is only part of the exotic excursion. The main goal of tourists here, of course, is the Zoroastrian temple of fire worshipers Ateshgyah. Built on the site of the exit from the ground of combustible gas (local calls it "eternal fire"), the temple attracted pilgrims from all corners of the world for centuries with its unquenchable flame: the years pass and the world changes, and the temple still stands in its place, illuminating the suffering way to God.

Zoroastrian temple Ateshgyah for centuries attracted pilgrims from all over the world with its unquenchable flame: the years pass, the world changes, and the temple still stands in its place, illuminating the suffering way to God.

At different times this sanctuary was revered by the Zoroastrians, Hindus, and Sikhs. However, of course, most of the servants of Ateshgyah belonged to the Hindu faith. The form of the temple - "chahar-tag", is a structure consisting of four arches facing the four sides of the world. The period of creation of Ateshgyah refers to the 2-3 centuries. n. e., the period of domination of Zoroastrians in Azerbaijan.

As the population accepted Islam, the temples of fire began to be empty and dilapidated, and the same fate would befall Ateshgyah. The Great Silk Road passed through the territory of Azerbaijan. It was for him that pilgrims from Persia, India and other eastern countries began to flock to the temple of fire worshipers. In November 1858, Alexander Dumas, the father, visited Alexander Atashgy, mentioning in his memoirs of the temple attendants as "Parsi" (Persians), "gabers" and "maji" (that is, mages).

Over the entrances to some cells of Ateshgah, you can see the tablets, today there are 17 - one Persian (Zoroastrian), two Sicks and 12 Hindu.

In the middle of the 19th century a real catastrophe occurred for the fire temple - the layers of the earth moved, closing the exit of natural gas in this place. Pilgrims took this as a sign - the punishment of the gods: Ateshgyah was emptied, in 1880 the last Hindu, alone remaining within the walls of the temple, left him and went to India. Only in 1975, after restoration work, Ateshgyah was again opened for visiting, becoming a museum complex, which was taken under the protection of UNESCO.

Coordinates
Address: Absheron peninsula, Surakhani district, Surakhany village.

Opening hours: 9: 00-18: 00.

How to get there: from Baku by bus No. 84 to Surakhani to the final stop, then go to the railway and after 300 m there is the necessary Zoroastrian temple.