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Gobustan National Park

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Gobustan State Reserve located west of the settlement of Gobustan, about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of the center of Baku was established in 1966 when the region was declared as a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan in an attempt to preserve the ancient carvings, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region.

Gobustan State Reserve is very rich in archeological monuments, the reserve has more than 6,000 rock carvings, which depict people, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars, on the average dating back to 5,000-20,000 years.

Gobustan State Historical and Cultural Reserve acquired national status in 2006 and were added to the UNESCO World Social Legacy List in 2007.

The rock carvings and petroglyphs at the site display mesmerizing images of prehistoric life in the Caucasus. The well-preserved sketches display ancient populations traveling on reed boats; men hunting antelope and wild bulls, and women dancing.  The controversial Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl returned many times to Azerbaijan between 1961 and his death in 2002 to study the site in his “Search for Odin”.

The language of the ancient population of Gobustan is disputed, but the petroglyphs still give information about the lives of prehistoric people who lived there. More than 4,000 pictures of animals, humans, natural life experiences, hunting, and dancing were carved over a span of thousands of years. Most of the petroglyphs are on large cliffs, divided among multiple ancient residences, and in some cases, they have been carved over older images. The first carvings depicted natural human and animal figures, often irregularly, but over time they began to more closely resemble the measurements and proportions of their subjects, including such details as the foot muscles of people in hunting scenes. The heads of the human figures tend to be small and carved without noses, mouths, eyes, or ears. However, experts do not interpret this lack of facial features as an indication that the Gobustan artists lacked technical skill, since some of the carvings demonstrate a higher degree of complexity and detail. Many scenes from tribal life are depicted among the petroglyphs, and images from the Seven Beauties cave suggest that women may have participated in hunting.

It’s estimated that 300 of the planet’s estimated 700 mud volcanoes sit in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, and the Caspian Sea. Many geologists as well as locals and international mud tourists trek to such places as the Firuz Crater, Gobustan, Salyan and end up happily covered in mud which is thought to have medicinal qualities. Wikipedia

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An image from Gobustan National Park

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Gobustan National Park – Bing images

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