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Located south of Yevlah, Barda today is a small provincial town on the Terter river. Javanshir - the legendary 7th century king of Caucasian Albania, lived in Barda, struggling against Sassanid, Byzantine, Khazar and Arabian armies for the survival of his nation.

For a long period Barda was the seat of both the Albanian kings and the Albanian Christian Chruch as well as an important trading and cultural centre, but it declined after the Arab invasions. Barda is famous for having briefly being invaded by Vikings during the 10th century!

Although still the capital of a 'rayon', centuries of earthquakes and invasions haven't left much of its former glory standing, with the exception of the 14th century tomb of Akhmed Zocheybana, built by architect Ahmad ibn Ayyub Nakhchivani. The mausoleum is a cylindrical brick tower, decorated with turquoise tiles. See also the later Imamzadeh Mosque, with its four minarets. There is a train station.

Juma Mosque in Barda
There are two constructions from the Medieval Barda: the mausoleum built in 1322, and the Imamzadeh Mosque. The mausoleum was built by an architect Ahmad ibn Ayyub Nakhchivani for some unknown person. It is a cylindrical tower of 14 meters height and 10 meters diameter, constructed from bricks and decorated with squared stone and glazed greenish-blue slabs. Its two portals are richly decorated.

The Imamzadeh Mosque is slightly younger than the described mausoleum. Initially it was a mausoleum-pir of somebody known as Imamzadeh Ibrahim. Only in 1868, it was re-constructed and turned to a mosque. They didn't change the main building, but had added several adjoining buildings including 4 high minarets. These minarets are decorated with contoured brickwork of the same style that was used by builders of the "Mausoleum 1322".

It is remarkable that in the Aghdam district (close to the Barda district), in the village of Khachin-Dorbatlyh, there is a mausoleum with size, shape and age similar to the "Mausoleum 1322" in Barda. But this one is build as a twelve-sided prism with a pyramid cupola and presents a lot of details typical for Albanian objects of highland Garabagh. Yet in Aghdam itself there are no constructions older than the Imarat (Palace) and the Mausoleum of Panah-khan (both erected in XVIII).

The Imarat initially consisted from one big room (with ceiling shaped as octahedron cupola with eight arcs in corners) and open
Akhsadan baba mausoleum
gallery before it (at the room's south). Then rooms were added at the Imarat's east and west. The length of Imarat is 24 meters. The Mausoleum of Panah-khan is shaped as an octahedron prism with octahedron pyramid as its top.

Activities of Panah-khan and his sons are presented in architecture also with remains of fortresses, which they had erected in Garabagh. First of them is the Shakhbulagh Fortress. Its remains are located in 10 km from Aghdam. The second is the Askaran Fortress built by Mehrali-khan (the son of Panah-khan) in 1757-1760. That times the fortress was a biggest defensive construction of Azerbaijan. It was built between Khankandi and Aghdam for defending from lowland side. The fortress partitioned the valley of Qarachay River, i.e. the
Akhsadan baba mausoleum
road towards the capital of Garabagh - Shusha - leaving only a narrow passage by the riverbank. This passage was dividing the fortress into two fortifications. At the river's right bank there was a long (250 m) doubled wall with two towers in the middle and rectangular bastions on the ends. At the river's left bank there was a group of forts joined into a fortification unit. Height of the walls reached 9 m while their thickness was 2m. They were built from the river pebble.

Agriculture is the main activity in the area. Local economy is based on the production and processing of cotton, silk, poultry and dairy products. The cease fire line is just a few kilometres west of Barda, near Terter. There are many refugees in the area, as well as relief agencies. As you move closer to the cease fire line expect to be stopped by the police or army.

(260 km west of Baku)

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