It is considered to be the entrance to the Lankaran-Astara zone, hence the name of southern gate. It is the first stop on the Baku-Astara highway. Salyan is the only district which can be covered in 1 hour and 15 minutes from entry to exit. It is the homeland of many prominent personalities who have contributed to the formation of the national ideology and consciousness of the Azerbaijani people, including great thinker of the 20th century Alibay Huseynzada, Hasan Mammadov (people’s artist), national liberation movement activists Xalil Rza Uluturk (people’s poet), Arif Malikov (people’s composer), etc.


The distance to Baku is 126 km. Bordering on the Caspian in the east, the district is crossed by the Kura river. The district was originally established as a caravan stopover and officially set up in 1930. The right bank of the Kura was 28 meters below ocean level and its landscape is semi-desert. There are oil and gas fields in the district. Salyanneft (Salyan Oil) has been in operation since 1963. There is a place described as gazelle paradise on the way to Salyan.

Sirvan National Park (SNP)

The main goal of the park, established on an area of 55,000 hectares in 2003, was to protect the local flora and fauna, in particular the gazelles included on the Red Book. There are about 10,000 gazelles in the SNP now. They are extremely fearful, but have got used to the park staff. On seeing someone from the distance, they hastily run away, which makes it impossible to have a closer a look at them. There are also 34 types of birds, among them 14 included on the Red Book. There are guest-houses for visitors. Researchers also set up tents to stay here for some time. The SNP is bigger than many districts, which is why it is impossible to see it all on foot. For this reason, tourists are provided with horses or vehicles. There are several small lakes looking like swamps. They can hardly be seen due to reeds. Sitting in the reeds are birds, mainly flamingos. They are definitely worth seeing. Despite looking dry and naked, the park is quite tranquilizing.
Salyan is very susceptible to the Kura river floods. For the best view of the river, one should visit the house of the district prosecutor. Despite the Kura’s volatile nature, residents of Salyan have lived here for centuries, putting up with its whims. Salyan is perhaps is the only place where cross-river ferry-boats are still functioning.


It is believed that the name relates to the Turkic tribe Sal which lived here in ancient times. The town is said to have been set up by the tribe. The most widespread theory is that Salyan means “washed by floods”, i.e. emerging by the Kura river bursting banks. Locally made wooden rafts used to be sent from here towards the Caspian via the Kura. It is also said that the word Salyan is derived from the word Sal (raft). Some place-name explanations relate to Kura and Salyan legends. It is said that the founder of the most ancient religion and philosophy in the East, Zoroaster (Avesta), was born in the Salyan village of Azerbaijan. The Great Silk Way, India-Iran-Azerbaijan-Caucasus-Europe, used to pass through Salyan and caravans made a stop here. The wages paid to the guards accompanying the caravans were called “salyana”, hence the present name of the place. Salyana was a Persian word, meaning endowment.


In the middle ages, the riverfront fisheries stretching from Salyan to the sea were known as Salyan fisheries. For some reason, the Khan of Sirvan sold all the fisheries to an Astrakhan merchant for 5,000 gold coins in the late 18th century. The early 19th century was characterized by rapid development of fishing. Fishing tools became more sophisticated as motor-boats were introduced to the industry. Under the existing regulations, rivers and lakes were leased out for three years. With the exception of the district center, there were no urban settlements in Mugan in the 19th century. Most of the highways passing through Mugan in the 19th century converged in Salyan. The south-eastern branch of the main communication road of the Baku province was referred to as the “Salyan road”.

Historical and natural monuments

The mud volcano 5 km from the center is called Babazanin. Most people aren’t aware of its healing qualities. There is a 12th century Umlavar bridge and a 19th century Khanagah complex in the Qubali Baloglan village. There is a modern “Tandirkhana” caravansary restaurant in the district center.

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