On the shores of the majestic Caspian Sea lie the Azerbaijani lands, which were the cradle of another religion – Zoroastrianism. It is here, on the Absheron peninsula, that the most amazing cultural and religious motifs intertwined with each other, which closely connect the ancient past of Azerbaijan with its present day.
If you look at the map, you can see that Azerbaijan on it looks like an eagle in its outlines, Absheron peninsula – on the head and beak of a bird that ducks into the ancient Caspian Sea from the west and as if seeking shelter from the constantly blowing strong in these places Northern winds. The very name “Absheron” means “salt water” in translation, because this peninsula was always famous not only for its oil richness, but also for the presence of a large amount of salt in the soil.
On Absheron peninsula, several three-, five-storey rectangular and round towers in the suburbs of Baku – Mardakan, Nardaran and Ramana were preserved. They were built in the XII – XIV centuries. These buildings have a two-meter wall thickness, on each floor there is only one room. Now around these towers there are resort villages. For example, in the now popular recreation area – Mardakian’s ambassador – there is an ancient castle with a height of 22 meters.
A lot of interesting and unusual can be seen in the village of Gala, which in translation means “fortress”. Here in the XIV century, a powerful citadel was built, from which only part of the fortress walls and Juma mosque were preserved. Houses in this village were erected with deaf fences made of large stone blocks. Inside, massive threshing boards for processing wheat were installed. Heavy stones were attached to them, and the planks were dragged along by the horses scattered on the ground. Underground water, people in Gala were collected for household needs in the so-called oedans, the oldest of which were built in the 15th century.
In the 11th-12th centuries, during the reign of Shirvanshahs, many fortresses, towers and castles were built on the territory of Azerbaijan. They were scattered, primarily for purely defensive purposes, throughout the Absheron peninsula.In this case, unlike the classical medieval castles of Western Europe, on Absheron the castles did not have a courtyard, but around the towers, there was a space surrounded by a fortress wall. All this was usually carried out for the territory of the fortress walls, and the towers served as signal towers (at their peak the oil was burned, notifying the local residents of the danger if the city was approached by enemies), as well as shelters for local feudal lords. In total, on Absheron peninsula there were about 30 defensive towers that served as shelter and protection from the enemy.
Near the village of Ramana, in the 1st century AD, legions of the Roman Empire camped. And on an adjacent hill, already later, in the 16th century, an impressive castle was erected. Signal lights were traditionally lit on its 15-meter tower in four tiers, and along with other watchtowers and fortresses in the villages of Shagan, Nardaran (this tower was built in the XIV century and has a height of 12 meters), it played an important defensive role on Absheron.