Absheron: Ateshgah Gala Yanardag
Duration: 8 hours
“Ateshgah” Fire worshippers Temple
Witness one of Azerbaijan's most outstanding sights - the extraordinary Ateshgah Fire Temple. Located in 30 kilometers from the center of Baku, in the south-eastern side of the Absheron Peninsula, in the past centuries Zoroastrians who were related to ancient fire worshiping religion considered the natural gas vents as a highest level of their ceremonies. If you planned to gain a knowledge about ancient culture of Azerbaijan, this is the place to visit. You’ll be impressed how much you can learn in one day.
Expanding from China to Europe, but having it's heartland around Persia at the time, this 3,000 year-old religion was quite common within the region. However, once the Hindu's moved in and built the temple we see today, the area lost all traces to Zoroastrianism.
Experts from early explorers to modern historians were unaware of its true history and origin until excavations could be undertaken. To make matters even worse, with the encroaching settlement of the town, increased gas production and diversion of the main gas field to factories nearby, the original flame extinguished in 1969. Today, the museum's fire is fed by mains gas piped in from Baku city. If you arrive early to the site, you’ll have a chance to light the fires with a match!
Burning Mountain – “Yanardag”
Located approximately 28 km from capital Baku – Yanar Dag is the most well-known and popular tourist site which is often called the “eternal flame” of Azerbaijan. When you visit the site, you’ll see that it is rather a hill than a mountain. the fire blames continuously from burning natural gas deposits in the hillside from ancient times. According to local people, Yanar Dag flame was only noticed when it was accidentally lit by a shepherd. Only a few fire mountains exist today in the world, and most of them can be found in Azerbaijan. In azerbaijani language the word "Yanar" means "burning", and "Dagh" - "mountain". This is real a burning mountain - not metaphorically, but literally. Once in Absheron it had been a lot of places where natural gas coming out from the earth to the surface ignited spontaneously, but with the start of mass extraction of oil and gas in Absheron these places started to disappear. At present, it is the only place of this unique natural phenomenon - the output of natural gas to the surface. Burning continuously the view is amazing. If you want to discover natural wonder, it’s definitely worth a visit!
Gala Open Air Museum
The Gala Archaeological and Ethnographic Museum Complex, often called Gala state archaeological and ethnographic museum, is considered to be one of the most visited and unique tourist sites in Baku. Here you can see the petroglyphs demonstrated in the open-air museum. They were found in the territory of Absheron. One can see the burial mounds, tombs, houses, constructions, and water storages, the ruins of an ancient castle, five mosques, three baths and other exhibits in the territory of this museum. All of these exhibits dating back to the period from the third millennium BC to the twentieth century were discovered on the Absheron Peninsula.
This interesting antique museum has large collection of traditional boiling pots - samovars. You’ll also see a small castle here. You’ll need to walk up to its top wall and observe the small village from there. It’s an enjoyable historical place full of colorful artistic items.
Program of the tour
10:00 - Departure to Ateshgah Fire Temple
13:00 - Lunch at one of the local restaurants: Our guide will be pleased to recommend you typical ethnic cuisine at reasonable prices
14:00 - Gala Open Air Museum
16:30 - Yanardag (Burning Mountain)
18:00 - End of tour. Departure to hotel