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Thursday, 14 June 2018 00:00

"Albanian roads" - Sheki

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"Albanian roads" - Sheki photos: Sabit Djodjulu

   Ancient Sakasena, now Sheki, is the oldest city lying on the southern foothills of the Greater Caucasus, about 2,500 years old. The history of Sheki is multilevel, bright, to the 3-5th centuries, which became part of the Caucasian Albania! The spirit of Great Albania still hovers over this ancient and beautiful corner of Azerbaijan, meeting in various settlements and woodlands.To great regret to tell the story of each Albanian monument in the territory of Sheki is not possible, due to scarce data or their complete absence. But to touch Sheki Albania through several of its creations we will try ............

     "The Mother of All Churches" is a unique architectural structure of the times of the Caucasian Albania in the village of Kish. It belongs to the 10th-12th centuries. According to some historians, it stands on the place of the first church founded by the Equal-to-the-Apostles Elisha in the 1st century AD. Thanks to the Norwegian scientist Thor Heyerdahl the artifacts found under the church altar were investigated, showing that this place refers to approximately 3000 BC. Which fully admits the idea that the apostle Elisha may have created only an altar, and the church itself was a kind of pagan construction earlier. On the territory of the temple, ancient burials dating from an earlier period were found, and possibly already existed at the time of the building of the temple.


Albanian temple in Bideiz is located from the village itself at a distance of one and a half to two kilometers. The location of the temple is such that it can be seen from any part of the village and from the main road Oguz-Sheki. It is relatively small, without special architectural delights. It has an altar, and just below the window opening are two holes and something like shelves, apparently intended for candles. All this place resembles a small sanctuary. At the temple, according to the villagers, there were ancient tombstones, in particular, without any inscriptions and symbols, possibly destroyed by time. The territory on which the temple stands and itself contributes to this. The streams during the bad weather in a matter of seconds turn into a devastating avalanche, carrying huge blocks of stone.

     Moving up the path, overgrown with trees from this sanctuary to the top of the mountain, you discover another temple that hid in a dense forest.The villagers themselves are not advised to visit this ancient monument because of the presence around wild animals. But nevertheless this temple is of great interest in itself. It is located on the top, right in the middle between the first Bideiz temple and the next temple in the Bash Küngüt, with the opposite the side of the mountain, to which we will soon come. It has a structure resembling a chimney. This suggests the idea that all the temples are connected and the central one is a signal object in case of disaster.

Continuing its way down the slope, in the direction of the village of Bash Küngüt, you come to a place called Getgayıt, among the perennial stately oaks, which the inhabitants consider sacred. The place is most likely associated with the presence of ancient burial places, which are also almost completely destroyed by time and are visible only to fragments of tombstones. People visit this place, tie ribbons to branches of old oak, leave children's booties or shoes, coins are scattered around. Probably there is a burial of a certain saint who is healed , saves from trouble and give a blessing to those who ask. This place is full of secrets and mysticism, the solution of which would shed light on many, now unknown details for the reconstruction of a clearer picture of a bygone era.




On the approach to the third temple in the village of Bash Küngüt, it seems that it is completely identical to the two previous ones. The temple is almost completely destroyed. But coming closer and looking closer, you notice that it is quite a larger area, unlike the others and is surrounded by a stone wall. The temple consists of several rooms, is equipped with a high ceiling and has a common courtyard. Perhaps this temple played a more significant role in the region and served as a meeting place for parishioners and local clergy.


The village of Bash Küngüt itself is a very ancient settlement, according to legend, named after a certain general named Kungut. "Kut, Gut" from Türkic means "Blessed", and Kühn - the Sun. "Blessed by the sun." Similar names are very common among the Türkic ethnos. For example: Tangut - "Blessed by the Almighty Tengri" or Turgut, etc. The name of the settlement in honor of the commander is not a reliable fact. Perhaps this is connected with pre-Christian worldview of local residents. And hence the name Kyungut - "Blessed by the Sun."


Other variations with the name Bash Kungut are acceptable, but there is unfortunately no exact information. Sheki Albania is a very important and inalienable link in the history of the Great State. Its ancient temple complexes and burials are beacons on the path of a more detailed study of the Caucasian Albania, so unfairly remaining in the shadow .....


Research and photos: Sabit Djodjulu

Author: Ina Babaeva


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