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Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

The Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders emanating from the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock carvings, testifying to 40,000 years of rock art . The site also contains the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials, all of which indicate an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period, from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages after the last Ice Age. The site, which covers an area of ​​537 hectares, is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.

Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is a national park in Azerbaijan that forms a bridge connecting past and present, a reserve official told Anadolu Agency (AA) in an interview.

“Just as Azerbaijan forms an economic, cultural and historical bridge between Europe and Asia, Gobustan also stands as a bridge between ancient and modern times,” said Fikrat Abdullayev, deputy director of the reserve.

Gobustan, a mountainous and mountainous site at the southeast end of the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge, is about 65 kilometers (40 mi) southwest of the capital Baku on the western shores of the Caspian.

Abdullayev said Gobustan hosts a series of rock engravings depicting images of hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyle of the ancient inhabitants of the area. The park was declared a Historic Landmark of Azerbaijan in 1966 in the hope that the status would preserve the region’s ancient carvings, remains, mud volcanoes and gas-stones for future generations.

He said that in 2007, Gobustan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the 31st session of the World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch, New Zealand. The UNESCO World Heritage Center stated that the site offered an outstanding range of more than 6,000 rock engravings that span some 40,000. “The reserve also includes previously inhabited caves, sites of old settlements and burial mounds, all of which reflect an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period, that is, after the last Ice Age, the Upper Paleolithic period. from the Middle Ages,” according to UNESCO. UNESCO also refers to Gobustan as having “outstanding universal value for the quality and density of its rock art carvings”.

In 2019, rock images from the site were included in the Islamic World Heritage List at an extraordinary meeting of the Islamic World Heritage Committee held in Rabat, Morocco. Abdullayev said the open-air museum, which covers an area of ​​more than 4,500 hectares, is one of the places where the earliest examples of painting, music and dance culture were made.

“Nowadays, we can find motifs of Gobustan rock art in various fields of art, such as sculpture and carpet weaving,” he said, being a full member of the International PRAT-CARP Association – a European rock art group – allowed We have partnered with museums around the world for greater resources to preserve Gobustan.

Abdullayev said that the number of tourists visiting the reserve grows every year. “The reserve recorded over 130,000 visitors in 2019.” He said the reserve welcomes over 1,000 tourists a day during the busy summer season. Abdullayev said that visitors come from different countries around the world, including the US, UK, Russia, India and so forth. He said that many famous Azerbaijani films have been set in the region.

Ongoing research for rocks

Noting that the first archaeological excavations in the area began in the 1930s, Abdullayev noted that in 1939–1940 Azerbaijani archaeologist Isak Jafarzadey discovered 3,500 rock paintings, drawings and signs, as well as man-made pits and holes in the rocks at Gobustan. Of.

Since 1965, a special scientific expedition has been engaged in investigating rock engravings of the site, where archaeological research of more than 20 dwellings and shelters was carried out, and more than 40 burial mounds, Abdullayev said.

In 2016, work began on a reserve area to create a digital database catalog for rock art in the Singirdag-Yazilitapa area of ​​Gobustan, he said, as a result, all illustrated stones in the area as well as the newly discovered gold rock, documented has been done.

“Some 541 new images were discovered in the Jinhirdag Mouten-Yazilitepe hill, assessed from the first 877 recorded images, and 440 new images were discovered on already documented boulders, while the remaining 101 images were used for the study. There were 18 new stones found during the area,” Abdullayev said. He said the latest number of rock art recorded at the site has exceeded 7,000.

The official said that in 2019, the park’s research team, along with experts from the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, conducted archaeological excavations along the lower slopes of the Boyukdash mountain region, revealing a medieval rock. There appears to be a village and a religious site that was built in the Bronze Age.

Stone “gavaldash” tambourine

The Gavaldash is an ancient tambourine, which has the sound of a musical instrument. Rahima Mehdieva, an excursion guide at the Gobustan Open Air Museum, demonstrated that by tapping on the gwaldash with small stones, one can obtain various clear sounds reminiscent of a drum.

She explained that the Gawladash consisted of shale limestone and was flat, where it was tapped and that the composition of the limestone produced different sounds depending on the density of the shells. Mehdieva said its uniqueness emerged from the emptiness and porosity of the shell.

He also emphasized that petroglyphs – images created by cutting, pecking, carving and scraping part of a rock surface – mostly depict oxen and women.

The larger the petroglyph, the earlier it can be dated, she said, noting that during ancient times images were drawn at its original size and shape, while images from more modern eras were drawn in a schematic, scaled manner.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

Q. What type of prehistoric art is found in Gobustan?

A – Collection of rock art images for hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyle in pre-historic times and for cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times Outstanding universal value for the quality and density of rock art carvings near Gobustan Is.

Q. How old is Gobustan?

A – Gobustan is located near the city of Baku. It is more than 15 thousand years old.

Q. Where is Gobustan located?

A – Azerbaijan, Gobustan is also famous for its mud volcanoes. About 300 of the world’s 700 mud volcanoes are located near the Caspian Sea in this part of eastern Azerbaijan.

Q. What are petroglyphs?

A – Petroglyphs are rock carvings (rock paintings called pictographs) that are created by pecking directly at the surface of the rock using a stone chisel and hammer. When the desert varnish (or patina) was cut away on the surface of the rock, the lighter rock beneath was exposed, forming a petroglyph.

Q. How do you get to Mud Volcano Baku?

A – Located a 1.5-hour drive from Baku, the mud volcanoes in Dashgil near Gobustan Reserve are among the most popular to visit. Admission is free, although a short taxi ride from Gobustan Reserve can cost around 20 AZN.

Q. How old is Gobustan Rock Art?

A – More than 6000 rock carvings have been found in Gobustan and bear witness to a 12,000 year old civilization that once lived along the Caspian Sea.

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