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Dash Salakhli settlement

Church in Dash Salakhli settlement of Kazakh region of Azerbaijan

Qazakh (Kazakh,) is located in a military sensitive zone, between Aqstafa and the Armenian border. The town was once the capital of the ancient nation of Atropatena (as Gazaka), later the seat of the Sassanid governor. By the 18th century Qazakh was a semi-independent sultanate, being incorporated in the Russian Empire in the early 19th century.  Stalin brought its decline, ceding most of its western territories to Armenia - Qazakh province once reached till the shore of lake Sevan. In typical Stalinist style exclaves were also created: Yukhari Askipara and Barkhudali inside Armenia and Artsvashen inside Azerbaijan. The Nagorno Karabakh conflict dictated the ethnic cleansing of this 3 border abnormalities. Part of the refugees from Yukhari Askipara and Barkhudali are still in Qazakh.

The local economy has an agricultural base, in particular grapes. The war with Armenia resulted in the diversion of the water coming from across the border, leading to the decline of agriculture in Qazakh.

The town is rich in pleasant 18th century architecture reflecting past prosperity. The mosque is elegant, facing the old but still operating baths, with the traditional Turkish style domes. There are two centrally located churches, one Albanian and presently used as a cafe-bar, and a latter Russian Orthodox church, currently serving as a sports pavilion.

The urban space is rather enjoyable with a number of parks (the newest one named after Heidar Aliyev), a house of  culture and a museum with a good collection, located near the Orthodox church. There are a number of monuments to local figures, notice particularly the statue of Samed Vurgun, born in the nearby village of Yukhari Salahli.

Should you want to stay, there are two hotels, both small: a recent central hotel near the city hall and an older hotel above the bus station in the north-west part of town. There are both buses and trains to Baku.

Outside town, on the border area it is worth visiting the 16th century Didivan castle. Have a look also at the Dashsalahli caves and the nearby church.

Early and middleaged architecture of Caucasian Albania presented by some churches of ?free cross? type. By its common character of composition, at the same time they differ by features of planning and spatial determination. The most evident examples of this type - church in Kabizdar settlement (Zakatal region of Azerbaijan), in Orta Zeizit settlement (Sheki region of Azerbaijan) and church on the mountain between villages Alput and Dash Salakhali of Kazakh region of Azerbaijan.

General view of church in settlement                           Frontal view of church in settlement 
Dash Salakhli                                                                               Dash Salakhli

The rear view of church in settlement Dash Salakhli

Side view of church in settlement Dash Salakhli

Later built - in plate

       Third of mentioned above churches, owned to its location, rules over surrounding territory. It is interesting because of its composition, as it consists of two churches (north and south), which have common wall. Besides, near with basic location of churches there is a small chapel.

       North church-right angled in plan of hall, blocked by half cylindrical arch. Praying hall has square form, altar apsida- half compasses in plan (1, pic. 214).

      South, cupola church, with sizes 4, 90x5, 80 m., has right angled outside and cross formed inside plan. The most long, eastern arm of cross has half rounded determination, the rest short arms - right angled.

       Oval in plan cupola props up rectangle (2, 7 x 2, 2 m), formed by half compasses arches

       Although internal composition of southen church?s plan reminds mentioned above churches in Kabizdar and Orta Zeyzit, however, according to external mass it is more related with cupola halls.

The Albanian cross

The Albanian cross - 2

Both churches rise on two steps socle and elevate, most probably consequently. It is known from not coincided by height ranges of laying and joints on eastern wall. Complex is dated X-XI c (2, pic 79). Memory about it is in work of historian V. Bartsaberdtsi connects it with fortress Gag, about which has an information Kirakos Gandzakskiy (3, pic 157). Ruins of serf walls to the south from construction, possibly are remains of this albanian fortress.

       Unfortunately, at present time this monument, as many others unique ones of albanian architecture, are in zone of military actions. As a result of it there are a lot of damages on facades of churches. It is true that these destroyments seem to be trifling in comparison with reconstructions made in 70-80s from the side of armenian scientists with a purpose of falsification of historical belonging of the monument, in result of which church ?acquired? alien to it element - a stone with armenian writing, never existed here before.

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