Inaccessibility of the road allowed Khynalyg preserve age-old traditions and language, that does not say anywhere in the world.
Khinaliq village is one of the most famous mountain villages of Azerbaijan which has population about 2000 people. It is located at a distance 65 km west from Quba in the northern part of the Caucasus mountain part of the Greater Caucasus mountain range. The historical and ethnic values represent 220 families.The most important sightseeing – a few villagers of Khinaliq which constitute a unique, separate ethnographic group. A mountainous (2500 m above sea level) settlement Khinalig because of it is rare landscape and unique lifestyle of villagers is compared to the open-air museum. Khinaliq was known as the most isolated village in Azerbaijan with a population of 2000 people which speaks their own distinct language (Ketsh).
Located on one of the peaks of the Caucasus village Khinalig called “Island in the mountains”, it resembles an amphitheater. It is surrounded by mountains Gizil Guy, Shahdag, and Tufandag Khinalig. The village is located in the north-west of Azerbaijan, on the left bank of the river Gudialchay on the cone-shaped mountain top, at an altitude of 2300 meters above sea level. Here grow only grass and shrubs, and even cabbage and carrots with a distinct richness. Colds come here already in the early autumn. The winter is very cold and snowy – temperatures reach -30 degrees. The mountains and the landscape throughout the route fascinate the man, and the higher you climb, the more breathtaking.
Inaccessibility of the road allowed Khynalyg preserve age-old traditions and language, that does not say anywhere in the world. In Khynalyg language – 77 letters: 18 vowels and 59 consonants! Very interesting architecture of the houses, they clustered, built upland hillside. Residents of Khinalig speak an archaic language unrelated to any modern language of the world. The language is highly preserved, although the locals also speak Azerbaijani.
First mention about this ethnic group, for thousands of years living in the Caucasus, was found in descriptions of the ancient Greek and Roman historians. Khynalygs are rudiments of the one of Albanian tribes which relates to the Shakhdagh ethnic group. Reports of ancestors for centuries lived in the Caucasus Khynalyg, can be found in the ancient historian Pliny. Khynalyg speak a completely original, not falling into any language family language. No one but they do not speak the language and does not understand it. Khynalyg themselves call their village “Ketsh” himself – “Kettid” and their language – “Ketsh mitsl”. Top once the ancient Huns and Turkic warrior’s hairstyle is still in fashion.
Built from the rubble and located on the slope of the house resemble high-rise building. Since Khinalig declared a nature reserve, it is prohibited the construction of new buildings. The roof of the house is a yard to the other, which is located above.On the roof – not big holes for extra lighting and hoods. For construction is used adobe bricks. Adobe (manure, straw and clay ) fill a special form and used in the morning. The resulting bricks are dried in the sun and then folded with them a wall. Now here 380 houses. Since the slopes are very steep, the houses are built closely. There are small gardens in the courtyards of houses. The houses are very old – they are 200-300 years old. Everywhere underfoot colorful, decorated carpet patterns, and on the walls hang beautiful tikme-embroidery. There is no furniture in the homes and tables – are made to sit on the floor. In the village there is a more ancient buildings and many ancient ruins. Khinalig retained its architectural style. When approaching the village since the gorge offers a beautiful panorama. A view from the roofs and courtyards simply mesmerizing – you feel like a bird hovering in the sky.
Near Khinalig there is a temple of eternal fire dated to the 9th century. Here natural phenomenon, emergence of fire to the surface of the earth can be observed. Khinaliq offers a fascinating glimpse of mountain life, not a better opportunity for inspirational hiking. The most popular tourist activity in Khinaliq is hiking to Ateshgah small ever-burning natural fire temple.Learn the history and Khinalig ancient artifacts can be Khynalyg historical-ethnographic museum opened here in 2001. In two halls of the museum with a total area of 160 sq.m exhibited traditional dishes, clothes, carpets, utensils objects, coins, weapons, pictures of famous people from the village and other interesting exhibits which also has a distinctive taste.
Khynalyg people preserved their unique lifestyle. Weddings and other ceremonies are held according to the passed on from generation to generation rites. Here there is a rich tradition associated with the rain, agriculture, against some pet, wedding and funeral feasts, observing celestial bodies. Which have become an integral part of everyday life of the local population customs and traditions are closely linked to the phenomena of nature. Since the villagers are engaged primarily in sheep, there is widespread weaving. Woven in Khinalig of wool shawls were famous throughout the Guba district. Nearby the village bought the fabric for sewing outerwear. Once in the villages chukha woolen shawl was the national clothing for the wealthy. It is very common colorful, like a mini-carpets, wool socks, without which it is impossible to imagine Khynalyg winter. One of the main activities of the local population is the collection and harvesting of medicinal plants. These were collected and dried for subsequent use in the kitchen, and sell them to tourists. Tikme and tyakulduz and are one of the oldest forms of folk art. On the white linen cloth colored thread embroidery patterns of different motives. Tikme made only by hand and is considered the main decoration.
In Khinalig eight cemeteries, the total area of which is several times larger than the village. Most of these are very broad and long graves are burial in 3-4 layers. And on tombstones are made in different alphabets. For protection from nomadic tribes in the X century in Khinalig were built fortifications and a fortress in the main tower which housed the temple of fire-worshipers. Elders say that living in this temple priest called Piradzhomyard, he watched the eternal flame that burned there. It is said that this area is associated with Noah. According to legend, when he saw this tall and smooth terrain, Noah is anchored and ordered everyone to leave the ark. According to legend, the survivors of the massive earthquake that devastated located on the hillside village Kyatsh, people settled on the slopes of the mountain dam wall and began to give henna plant. It was since then the village and became known as “Khinalig”. Khynalyg, way of life, wh petrified ich has undergone very little change, consider themselves the grandchildren of Noah. They are convinced that in times of flood their village was located on Mount Kyatsh. Later, when after a strong earthquake there is not a single whole-house, and a large part of the population perished, the survivors crossed the river, climbed on top of relatively low and there is justified current village Khinalig. Locals believe that after the flood, Noah’s sons – Shem and Ham have moved to other areas, but Japheth and his sons stayed, and from them came the Caucasian peoples. A occurring in the territory situated at an altitude of 2300 m. Above sea level, the village remains of shells and petrified fish confirm that once this whole area was covered with water
Prior to the adoption of Islam Khynalyg were fire worshipers. In the XII century, Abu Muslim became spread Islam in this territory, named after him Azhuma-mosque built at the time. This mosque, located on a hill in the center of the village, is considered the mother of all the local mosques. On the right of the entrance to the mosque two boulders 2 m high preserved runic inscriptions. On the set to another mosque Piradzhomyard plank the date of its construction – 1388. In the oldest part of the village, on the site of the temple of fire-worshipers, in the VII century feast “Byurdzh” it was built, which is visited only during religious festivals of Muslims.
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