Khachmaz

Khachmaz is called a “fruit paradise”. They also joke that you do not need money here, because everyone has all the fruits and vegetables growing in their garden. Among the fruits that form the basis of the district economy, the famous red, juicy, sweet and sizable Khachmaz cherry stands out. Khachmaz residents put their seasonal fruits on sale on the Nabran-Yalama-Xudat road in all seasons and export their products, which are their main source of income, to the Russian market. Khachmaz has been historically engaged in fruit export. The harvest is picked and processed in summer and autumn. Fruits are used for preparing juice, vinegar and other fruit juices. The famous German traveller, Adam Oleari, who visited Azerbaijan in 1636-1638, recorded in his memoirs that the regional population produced fruit juices and made delicious drinks from juice by mixing it with water and vinegar. Dried fruits were also used here. In order to prevent them from getting spoilt, they kept them under the sun or dried them in stoves by placing them in special clay vessels.

Rasa

In Khachmaz, special attention is paid to the production of “rasa” from dried fruits. They thread dried pear taken out of a stove and walnut kernels onto a string. The rasa, which is known as “the beauty of the house and a symbol of wealth”, is served at parties and given to guests. Historically, the rasa has been the beauty of the table and has been exported.

Note

The distance between Baku and Khachmaz is 157 km. It is located in northeastern Azerbaijan, on the Samur-Davachi plain and borders on Russia. The main motorway and the Baku-Moscow road pass through the district. The territory of Khachmaz belongs to the Sahdag National Park. The main local businesses – poultry-breeding, hunting and fishing – are well-developed. Situated on the Caspian coast, Khachmaz is also the most popular sea resort in the country. The district has a moderate, semi-desert and arid steppe climate.
Khachmaz is a small place. Although the sea is slightly far from the district centre, the influence of the sea is dominant here just like in any sea resort. The closeness of Baku and the sea prompt many people to come to Khachmaz, especially in summer. It is possible to acquire detailed information about the region and all kinds of tourist routes from the tourism information bureau located in the renovated and clean city centre.

Historical monuments

Although Khachmaz seems to be a very young city at first sight, it is a very ancient region. A mockup of the gate of the historical Khachmaz Castle is situated where it used to stand. The place which is regarded as the entry into the city is decorated with a new building that resembles the old castle gate. There are about 60 listed historical monuments here. The remains of Bronze Age houses, barrows, stone inscriptions, mosques, the ancient Xudat fortress, the 15th-16th century Shah Abbas mosque and madrasah in the village of Qraqurtlu, and the Sheikh Yusif Mosque (15th century) could be good sites to visit for those who love excursions to historical places. The most ancient archaeological monuments are ancient Bronze Age barrows near the villages of Mollaburhan, Hulovlu, Qaracik and Hasanqala and medieval settlements near Canaxir and Bostanci. The most famous monument inside the district is the ancient Albanian church and the historical railway station.

Khachmaz railway (19th century)

The beautiful building of the railway station located in the centre adds up to the beauty of this resort town. The spacious area of the railway station resembles a small town. All conditions are right for the families of railway staff to live here. The station, which stands out for its architecture, was built in 1898. It is one of the first railroads built in the South Caucasus. It is believed that the Guba province sent a letter to the tsar and asked him to ensure that railways pass through this area. Railways were built in Khachmaz as the terrain was appropriate. The foundations of the Guba-Khachmaz road were also laid at the time. Shells were first scattered on the roads to allow phaetons to drive here. With the development of capitalism in the second half of the 19th century, railways were built here due to the need for an appropriate and fast means of transport to carry natural wealth to Russia from the Caucasus. With the launch of railways, national wealth produced in the country was granted access to the Russian market. All of the seven historical railway stations available in the district have historical monument status. The buildings of the other six railway stations built in the early 20th century (1900-1903), as well as the tower of the water reservoir are still working normally.


Water tower (1903)

It must be noted that this railway was the first to deliver water to the centre and the rest of the district. The tower of the water reservoir, which was built in 1903, attracts attention with its architectural structure. The Absheron peninsula, which was suffering from a shortage of water, and Baku, an oil-rich city which gradually expanded due to the rapid development of capitalism, received drinking water by railway from Khachmaz, a district rich in freshwater springs. The water tower at the station was used as a water reservoir. From here, water was filled into tanks and was sent to the capital by railway.

Niyazabad port

It is another historical-strategic site in Khachmaz. Beginning from the 16th century, the port started to play an important role in establishing relations between Azerbaijan and neighbouring countries by sea. Despite disagreements between states, the Volga-Caspian trade route expanded trade relations with northern countries. The region exported silk, crafts and dried fruit to northern countries. A significant innovation in Caspian trade was that Shirvan established extensive trade relations with Western European countries, which also involved Genoese and Venetian merchants.

 

Place-name

Locals interpret this name as “khach almaz” (those who reject the cross). Legend has it that although the local population was known for breaking the cross, this claim has no scientific proof. The name “Khachmaz” derives from the name of a tribe that formed part of an alliance of Hun tribes in this area in the past. Then its pronunciation underwent changes and acquired its modern form. According to scientists, the place-name is linked to the name of the Khachmatak or Khachmat Hun tribe that arrived in this sphere in the past. They mixed with the local population. It is interesting that one of these Turkic tribes subsequently migrated from Khachmaz to Oguz District and founded a village and then a castle called Khachmaz. There is a village called Khachmaz in Oguz District.

History

The name Khachmaz, which was mentioned by Herodotus and Strabo in their works, has also been mentioned in various sources since the middle of the 7th century. Occupiers who invaded and raided the states that existed on Azerbaijani territory passed through Khachmaz. The Iron Gate fortifications built in the 8th-6th centuries BC were an obstacle to these occupiers. Under the Sassanid Shah Yezdagird in the 5th century, en enormous stone wall was built at the Darband pass to repel invasions. The Scythians, Alans, Huns, Sabirs and other tribes who managed to overcome this system of fortifications entered Azerbaijani territory in this way. During archaeological excavations in Khachmaz, graves, working and hunting tools, domestic belongings which belong to the Bronze Age and traces of Neolithic human settlements were discovered.

Sixlar village

It is located at a distance of about 15 km from the centre. The village has two historical monuments – a 16th century mosque at an ancient graveyard and the 13th century Sheikh Movlana Yusif Baba sepulcher. It is a shrine that is often visited by the local population.

Sheikh Yusif sepulcher

Sheikh Movlana Yusif lived on the Muskur plain in the 15th century and was a prominent philosopher and tribal leader. Abbasqulu aga Bakixanov recorded in his work “Gulistani Iram”: Sheikh Molla Yusif of Muskur was born in the 8th century of the hijrah. After receiving his preliminary education in Muskur, he visited Sheikh Yahya Bakuvi, studied sciences and received his blessing. After returning to Muskur, he promoted his teaching and then handed over leadership to Sheikh Muhammad. The village where the sheikh’s grave is situated and his family lived is called Seyxlar. His only work that survived to date is Bayan ul-Asrar (Explanation of Secrets), which he wrote in Arabic, and its focuses on human spirituality and morality. Seyid Yahya Bakuvi was one of the leaders of the Khalvatiyyah Sufi denomination and made great efforts to spread it in the Middle East. One of his followers and great philosopher, Sheikh Yusif made great efforts to spread the Khalvatiyyah denomination in the Guba-Khachmaz zone.

Xudat

It is a village and station in Khachmaz. It used to be a road used by nomadic tribes on the Dagestani border. In order to repel their attacks, a Caspian littoral defensive fortification was built, stretching to present-day Khachmaz. One of these castles was Xudat. In the early 18th century, Xudat was the capital of the Guba Khanate. After Fatali Khan’s residency was moved to Guba in 1735, Xudat lost its importance. The word Xudat means “God’s gift”. Since it is a very old settlement, people called “Old Xudat”. Although it is a provincial town, Xudat is well-developed and is known as a “modern village”. There are great drinking water reserves here. In 1904, discussions began on the building of a water pipeline from the local village of Sollar to Baku…

Sollar water pipeline

The 175 km long pipeline is listed as a historical monument. The famous water pipeline, which was put into operation in 1917, comes from the village of Sollar near Xudat. Since this source at the foothills of Mount Sahdag provides underground spring water, there is no need to purify it, because there are no infectious bacteria in the water. No serious repairs or reconstruction work have been carried out on the pipeline so far, because most of the water pipeline was laid under the ground. In the 100 years of its operation, not a single accident has occurred on the Baku-Sollar pipeline which was built from solid clay. The construction of the pipeline has a very interesting story. The population of capitalistic Baku, which started growing rapidly from the middle of the 19th century, was suffering from a shortage of water. The shortage of water caused various epidemics. Due to the growing demand for water in the city, the Baku millionaire and philanthropist, Haci Zeynalabdin Tagiyev, invited William Lindley, a famous British engineer who had built water pipelines to several European cities, from Frankfurt on Main and asked him to find a spring. Lindley arrived in Khachmaz which was rich in freshwater resources. He drilled a well in the village of Sollar and discovered a source of water fed by the snow and glaciers of Sahdag. After long disputes and discussions, the construction of the pipeline began in 1904 and was completed in 1916. It is believed that when the city was first supplied with water, Baku people were so happy that they sacrificed sheep, camels and bulls and distributed free food. The Baku-Sollar pipeline, which is located in a large forest in Xudat, is guarded by a special regiment. Entry is banned here.

Guba-Khachmaz zone

This zone, where the Guba Khanate was located, is one of the most picturesque corners of the country. Scenic mountains, forests along the beach and rich nature have turned the area into a tourist paradise. Khachmaz is also one of the main stopping points included in the country’s northern tourist route. There are seven tourism regions in Azerbaijan. The Guba-Khachmaz tourist region is on the Baku-Khachmaz route in northeastern Azerbaijan.

Northern route: Khyzy-Siyazan-Davachi-Guba-Khachmaz-Nabran-Gusar

The length of this route, which passes through these districts, is 270 km. The Baku-Khachmaz tourist route is different from others for many of its advantages. For example, in Soviet times, bases of Trade Unions were opened for the public here and they are still operating. The thick forest which stretches to the beach in the district is home to eight rivers, three artificial lakes and freshwater reserves, including thermal and mineral springs. Among the numerous mineral springs, the most famous one is the Istisu fountain.

Yalama forest

Captivating Yalama, which is situated in Khachmaz at a distance of 200 km from Baku, is the only forest that stretches to the Caspian coast. Since it is the only forest washed by the sea, it is called Yalama. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, it is planned to set up a national park based on the Yalama woods. The unprecedented natural-geographical landscape and healthy climatic conditions in the Yalama-Nabran region open great opportunities for the development of tourism in this region. Nabran is the most popular tourist centre in the Guba-Khachmaz zone.

Nabran

The first thing people think of when they hear about Nabran is the sea and the beach. In fact, Nabran, one of the quietest villages in Khachmaz, was first discovered as a resort in the 1960s. On the initiative of the then Trade Unions, boarding houses were built for factory workers here in order to provide them with a holiday destination. The Xazar tourist base was opened in Nabran in 1963 and Dostluq in 1975. In the second half of the past century, this area was visited by people from elsewhere. In the 1990s when the road to popular resorts such as Susa and Kalbacar was closed after the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nabran became even more important.

Surrounded by a beach and coastal hotels and with its views of the sea and forests, Nabran is known as the most popular and expensive holiday destination in the country. When compared with other areas, the tourist infrastructure is more developed here. There is everything necessary for a perfect summer holiday here: clean air, sea, sand, sunlight, woods, beaches on the daytime and discotheques that open on the beach in the evenings make a holiday in Nabran even more entertaining. Tourist bases, boarding houses, recreation houses and hotels with different prices have been built in this area where beaches merge with forests, and this makes Nabran the biggest tourist base in the country. The growing demand for this place results in local villagers gradually leaving Nabran. Falling for very attractive offers made by businessmen who invest in the tourist sector, they sell their houses and move out of here. Those who still remain here open their doors to tourists in summer. Those who cannot find accommodation in hotels and boarding houses can ask Nabran residents for help.

Place-name

It is believed that it is derived from a Russian word. It means “collected”. Numerous small rivers are flowing into the Caspian here. The Caspian coast is full of freshwater leaks. The Nabran coastline resembles leaks from water wells. Since the underground freshwater leaks increase food for fish in those areas, fish come together for food here. Throughout the year, sturgeon, goldfish and in spring, kutum and Caspian herring are available here. Local residents call all the local rivers “yalama” and Nabran a pearl of the Caspian.

Tel village

Located at a distance of 6 km from Nabran, this village is one of Khachmaz’s historical villages. The Second Sahargah settlement, which is one of the area’s important historical-archaeological monuments, is located in lowlands one kilometer west of Tel. Located on an oval and steep hill, the territory of this settlement is being used as a sowing area. During land cultivation work, remains of burnt and raw walls can be found under the ground. The Tel forest, which surrounds the village, is one of hunters’ favourite places in autumn and winter. Here you can hunt various species of birds and have a picnic in a boundless forest. The village of Tel, whose only historical monuments in a 19th century mosque, also has a mud volcano. Villagers say that those who have skin problems recover as they spread this mud on their sore point. Restaurants in the Tel forest, which has numerous cold water springs, are regarded as the best bet for holiday-makers.

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