Six best museums in regions of Azerbaijan

Visiting Historical and Local Lore museums should become a mandatory point of your trip to Azerbaijan. The collections of these sometimes inconspicuous academic institutions contain such unique exhibits that will force you to take a Fresh Look at the history of various cities and regions of our country. An inquisitive visitor will be able to use the exposition of these museums as a time machine to make an unforgettable journey through the brightest pages of Azerbaijani history.

Khachmaz – ancient burial mounds and 40 keys

The Historical and Local Lore Museum in Khachmaz has a large number of exhibits reflecting the history and cultural heritage of the region and the country as a whole and of interest to tourists.

Founded in 1981, the museum, in 2013, moved to a new modern building. According to the director of the institution, Agil Alisultanov, at present there are about 5000 exhibits, more than 2000 of which are exhibited, and another 2800 stored in museum funds.

On the first floor of the museum there is a section dedicated to the history of Azerbaijan’s independence, which reflects the history of Azerbaijani statehood in different periods.

The rich historical information is given by exhibits related to the period of the Second World War. It is known that in those tragic years 8739 people left Khachmaz for the front. Of these, 2,800 people were killed: only in the battles for the defense of Moscow fell 124 Khachmaz. The museum displays badges, medals and orders that belonged to the battles participants, as well as the Maxim machine gun, which was used in battles in 1945. This section also contains exhibits related to the events of January 20 and to the participants of the Karabakh war, when as a result of the military aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan 226 Khachmaz people became martyrs, and one of whom was awarded the title of National Hero.

On the second floor of the museum there is a historical and ethnographic department. Miniature models of blacksmith’s and pottery workshops, residential buildings and other exhibits, clearly demonstrate the way of life of Khachmaz people in different historical periods.

Khachmaz is inhabited since ancient times. During the archaeological expeditions in the Khachmaz region, 28 ancient burial mounds were discovered, the age of which is 4 thousand years. In the halls of the museum you can see a porcelain jug, belonging to the I millennium BC, discovered during excavations in the territory of the village of Ledjet, Khachmaz district. It is supposed that it was intended for storage of products.

Among the exhibits of the museum are also a bronze tip, bone needles, stone tools, clay jugs of the 1st century BC. and the next century after it, relating to the Albanian period of history. Attention is drawn to the clay ritual object of the period of Zoroastrianism, copper dishes, a large number of ceramic products of the 4th-5th centuries, faience ware of the 12th-13th centuries, “sarpush” (the lid for Plov) of the 19th century, etc.

The corner of numismatics also attracts visitors, where samples of coins and bills of different historical periods are collected: the Great Atabeys of Azerbaijan of the XII century, the Shirvanshah Manuchehr of the XII century, the Ganja XVII centuries, etc.

In the section of culture works of art are shown, in particular carpets and ornaments. Noteworthy is silverware of small dimensions, called “40 Achar” (“40 keys”), on which the craftsman engraved in the Arabic language forty different Muslim prayers.

There is also a department in the museum dedicated to the nature and forests of Khachmaz, the area of which is 28 thousand hectares.

In general, the exposition is updated at regular intervals twice a year, often held thematic exhibitions on numismatics, military years, painting, etc.

Mingachevir – catacombs, archan and peacocks

To begin acquaintance with Mingachevir is best from visiting the city museum of history. The pavilions and the museum fund contain more than 15 thousand exhibits reflecting the life and development of Mingachevir from antiquity to the present day. The director of the museum from 1992 to this day is Nofer Mammadaliyev.

According to Mr. Mammadaliyev, during the period from 1946 to 1953 the prominent Azerbaijani archaeologist Salekh Gaziev in Mingachevir on the south side of the Bozdag mountain conducted archaeological excavations, during which was discovered about 20 thousand samples of material cultural heritage related to III-II centuries BC. Fifty of the items found were left in Mingachevir and formed the basis of the exposition of the City Museum of History, which was established on January 11, 1968.

There are two pavilions in the museum: in one of them there is history, from the ancient times to the beginning of the 20th century, and the exhibits of the other reflect the glorious history of the construction of the Mingachevir hydroelectric station.

In particular, a separate installation in the first pavilion is devoted to the lives of ancient people – Neanderthals, who lived in caves and used primitive tools of labor. It is interesting that their life expectancy reached 30 years for men and 35 years for women.

Further here you can get acquainted with objects of everyday life and decorations, working tools, hunting weapons used by people who lived on this territory in the third and second millennia BC.

Of great interest are rare examples of pitchers buried in ancient times in some regions of Azerbaijan: people were buried in large jars of red clay buried at a depth of 2-3 meters. During the excavations, over 200 such graves and 4 burial mounds were investigated. According to the notions of the afterlife of people of that period, household tools, food and water containers were also put in pitchers, and large domestic animals such as bulls or horses were buried nearby.

Here you can personally see one more sample of ancient burials – catacombs made from the Archan plant, the wood of which has a peculiar aroma, so strong that it is felt even after so many years. Nowadays, the trees of this breed have survived only in the forests of Gabala. Catacombs were common in ancient times and in the early Middle Ages, for the burial of representatives of the nobility.

In the Middle Ages, Mingachevir was distinguished by a high level of development of craftsmanship. Basically it was pottery, the production of textiles, jewelry and copper products. On one of the stands of the exhibition you can see the tools of labor and household items made by a master of copper.

In the museum you can get acquainted with the monument of the Albanian period discovered during excavations, which, apparently, was part of an ancient cult structure. On the obverse of the monument, made of soft yellowish stone, there is a symbolic image of two peacocks facing the flower, above which is carved an Albanian inscription of 52 letters, the meaning of which has not been deciphered so far.

In the first pavilion, you can also trace the evolution of the human dwelling – first these were dugouts, which were gradually replaced by houses of a modern type. You can see samples of national men’s and women’s clothing, etc.

A separate stand shows the diversity of Mingachevir’s flora and fauna: the species of fish inhabiting the Kura and animals that were encountered in the once lush forests here.

Finally, you can get acquainted with the biography of the participants of the most memorable archeological expedition, and see their personal belongings.

Ismayilli – ancient butter and a meteorite

Ismayilli Museum of Local History, which has been operating since 1980, moved to a new building in 2009. The museum collection includes more than 1000 exhibits, among which there are many unique ones. For example, the oldest surviving samples of butter. It was discovered in the old amphora in the village of Mollaisagli during the construction of the Oguz-Gabala-Baku water pipeline. Specialists of the capital’s museum of archeology conducted an examination and found out that the origin of butter is related to the III-I centuries BC.

Also in the village of Mollaisagli, inhabited by Khapit – one of the ethnic groups of Caucasian Albania, many samples of pottery were discovered, bronze ornaments, burials of people dating back to the II-I centuries BC.

These and many other finds are also on display in the museum. It is impossible not to mention the stone that is stored here, presumably a meteorite, which landed from the depths of the cosmos. The unusual molten surface of the stone, large weight with small dimensions leaves no doubt about its origin.

Ganja – from the Neolithic Age to the Golden Age

It is also better to get acquainted with the history of Ganja with a visit to Nizami Ganjavi Museum of Local Lore, in its eighteen rooms, exhibits reflecting the history and culture of Ganja from ancient times to our days are demonstrated. Collections of the museum, founded in 1924, number more than 30 thousand items. In the current building, the museum settled in 1972. By the way, originally this historical building belonged to the grandchildren of Javad Khan – the last ruler of the Ganja Khanate – Ismail Khan and Adil Khan Ziyadkhanov.

The oldest artifacts are those found in the vicinity of Ganja (Gillikdag), stone hoes, earhooks, hammers, axes and various plate tools, flint knife plates and scrapers made from obsidian in the Neolithic era. The period of the Eneolithic (II millennium BC) is represented in the museum with tools of labor, weapons, ornaments, dishes, objects of funerary culture, etc.

Among other exhibits of the museum are samples of ceramics and sculptures, ancient national clothes, Ganja carpets, silver jewelry, household utensils, musical instruments, ancient weapons, ancient manuscripts and other samples of culture from the heyday of the Ganja Khanate.

Shamkir – stone lamp and national costumes

In the Shamkir Museum of Local History, located in the building of the city House of Culture named after Ahmed Javad, about 5,830 exhibits reflecting the history and culture of these places were collected.

Here you can see ceramic painted and copper utensils, jugs, oil lamps, decorations, weapons, embroidery, archeological artifacts, coins and bills, early samples of musical instruments, knitting and spinning tools, etc. The oldest of the museum exhibits dates back to the Neolithic VII -V millennium BC is a small stone lamp. The museum also features a variety of stone tools – a hoe with stone teeth, a threshing stone, etc. The period of the Eneolith includes dishes made of different kinds of wood and clay, bronze ornaments, etc.

Of great interest are the finds discovered during excavations in 1970 on the left bank of the Kura River. Here, on the top of the mountain, a burial was discovered, where nine graves were concentrated on an area of only 5-6 square meters, in which over 35 jars, churn, belts, women’s jewelry, various utensils for drinking, etc. were found. Bones of animals were found in jars. On the right bank of the Kura, 17 copper coins of the 10th-12th centuries were found.

Quite a lot in the museum exhibits of the period of Caucasian Albania III-IV centuries. His exposition also shows bright examples of Azerbaijani national costumes, women’s headgear, caskets and much more.

Shamakhi – mysterious pitcher and the keys to the city

The museum, located directly at the city gate of Shamakhi, opposite the central bus station was founded in 1945, and in 2008 it underwent a thorough reorganization. Currently, in the beautifully decorated rooms of the museum and the stock vault contains more than 9000 valuable exhibits.

Here you can see interesting finds made during archaeological excavations in the territory of Shamakhi and in the vicinity. Among the most valuable is a glazed pitcher with six faces molded on its surface, the works of an unknown genius of the Shirvanshahs era. The rarity was discovered during excavations in the village of Hynysly.

The lamp of amazing shape, of the Middle Ages attracts attention. Its central reservoir is surrounded by ten jar-shaped vessels, each of which simultaneously through special channels received oil, used for lighting as fuel.

Visitors will not be indifferent to the padlock with the keys from the main gate of Shamakhi, made in the XVII century.

According to the director of the museum Filgiya Zamanova, the most ancient exhibits date back to the early Bronze Age (35-33 centuries BC) – these are ceramic dishes, jugs and tools of labor found in stone tombs. In the museum you can also see oil lamps, swords, armor, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, carpets and other items from different eras. Here are exhibited and many photographs of the devastating earthquake that occurred in Shamakhi on January 31, 1902.

On separate stands there are medicinal plants of Shamakhi region, of which there are more than 50 species, silk kelagai, which the Shamakhi were famous for in previous years, and other exhibits.

In the courtyard of the museum visitors are greeted by a gallery of busts of famous natives of Shirvan: astronomer Feleki Shirvani, poets Khagani Shirvani, Izzeddin Shirvani, Nasimi, Seid Azim Shirvani, Sabir, Mohammed Hadi, Shirvanshah Ibrahim I and many others.

Source: AZERTAC