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Chirag Castle

Located south of Khachmas, on the main coastal road, linking Baku to Dagestan, the southern Caucasus to the northern, Davachi was founded in the 1930s on the location of an ancient stop for caravans and important market place (If you notice that the name of the town itself means "camel driver", and the previous name was Davachi-Bazar, what else is needed for description?). Today you can stay at a small hotel with very basic services and outside toilets.

If you are driving along the Baku-Quba road, Davachi is a nice stop, where you can enjoy some good tea at and oddly shaped teahouse, with battlements, appropriately known as the 'tea-castle'. The other sight in Davachi is an elegant post-independence mosque, with two tall minarets. The town has a number of old wooden houses and is surrounded by vast areas of greenery doted by small agricultural villages.

Outside Davachi, near the
village of Shahnazarli are located the ruins of the city of Shaberan, a major ancient Azeri city, founded in the 5-th century and razed to the ground in the early 18-th century. The historical museum in Davachi contains the most important findings from the Shaberan site.

Castle Chirag-Gala was built for military purposes and protected North borders of the Caucasus Albania - I century a.d
Just 12 kilometres southwest of Davachi you can also find an important mineral spring at the
village of Gala Alti. A sanatorium was built there, with a good reputation for curing urological afflictions. Besides the sulphurous springs, mud treatments are also on offer, with mud from the nearby Kainarja mud field. The area has vast forests and is used both for vacations and therapeutical stays.  Accommodation is not luxurious but it is abundant, you can rent wooden bungalows at the sanatorium itself, stay at the Gala Alti hotel (private) or rent cabins nearby.

The Gala Alti area is dominated by a mountain, topped by the Chirag castle (meaning lantern). This first fortress was built there in the 5th century, and finished it career in the 18th century as an outpost of the Quba khanate. Built at an altitude of 1200 metres, Chirag is one of the few 'European' looking castles in
Azerbaijan, although large parts of it have collapsed during the last 200 years.

Chirag Castle is believed to date back to the 5th century. Although in serious disrepair, it is one of the bet preserved of Azerbaijan's ancient fortresses. The castle commands a spectacular view of the entire region.

(120 km north of Baku)


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