Gala State Historical Ethnographic Reserve and Open Air Museum, Ateshgah Fire Temple, Balakhani village, Yanardag State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve
Let`s begin our interesting tour around “Land of Fire”! Our excursion will start with visiting Gala village (40 min drive from Baku), which today is the State Historical Ethnographic Reserve and Open Air Museum offering the opportunity to see the original lifestyle of Azerbaijani people dated back to 10th-19th centuries. It is a unique place where you can not only make a tour into the past, but also try to bake bread in ancient oven “tandir”, weave a carpet, smear with clay in a pottery workshop or feed camels and horses.
Our next stop is Ateshgah Fire Temple in the village of Surakhani that for centuries has been attracting crowds of thrill seekers. Built in the 17th–18th centuries around naturally burning flames which were previously worshipped by Zoroastrians, the site then had become an important place of pilgrimage for fire-worshipping Hindus until the 1880s. Today it houses a well-designed open air museum.
Further we will pass through Balakhani village, one of the first places where hundreds of oil wells had been discovered and led to arise of the oil barons in Azerbaijan in 19th century. Virtually, the history of Azerbaijan as an oil country had begun at the moment when the first pipeline Balakhani-Baku was launched. Being an industrial area for more than hundred years has led to a poor environmental situation, but today the village is completely renovated and is ready to tell its story of oil boom in Azerbaijan. The Oil Village has been renewed in the old provincial style with different colorful facades of almost fairytale houses, 3D wall-paintings and fancy floral decorations everywhere along narrow stone-paved streets. A special charm to this place is given by a peculiar souvenir shops and small cafes.
And the final stop of our “fiery tour” is State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve Yanardag (literary “Burning Mountain”), a complex built around the hill located on the top of the natural gas pocket causing continuous flame eruption. Most probably the fire has been burning in Yanardag for over 20,000 years. These natural flames were described by Marco Polo in the 13th century and continue to mesmerize those who visit the site.
Transportation according to the program
Professional guide (English, Russian, Arabic)
Tickets to the museums (per person): Gala –7$ (compulsory), Ateshgah and Yanardag (combo ticket) – 6,50$ (compulsory)
Any tips at the sites
Pick-up time: 10:00
Pick-up / drop-off point: your hotel in Baku
The organizer reserves the right to change the order of the places to visit in case of necessity.