What to do in Gakh

Gakh District is one of the most beautiful, naturally and culturally gifted regions of Azerbaijan. The scenery unfolding before your eyes the moment you enter the region is astonishing and memorable, with lush forests stretched out across mountain slopes and springs running wild among the ancient trees. It is also fair to mention, that the district has been famous with the healing mineral springs that not only strengthen your medical condition, but also bring the calmness and relaxation, some sort of escape from the life full of stress and difficulties. Gakh is surely a tourist paradise, that is capable of keeping any visitor hooked.

But the region’s center, the Gakh city itself, is not the only place, that can catch anyone’s attention, the district is the homeland of ancient villages, that has been existing for many centuries. Ilisu, the heart of traditional crafts and artisanal skills, is an important historical spot. The region bursts out with wildlife as well, a place where you can just exist and explore the nature without the interference of human hand.

In today’s article, we will be exploring the rich landscapes and historic monuments that Gakh is loved and cherished for.


Kurmuk Church

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The Church of St. George, also known as the Church of Kurmukh, is a cathedral dedicated to the Holy Great Martyr George the Victorious. It’s located nearby the city of Gakh, in the gorge that carries the same name. This church is a temple, the construction of which dates back to the ancient country of Albania, therefore it attracts Christians as well as Muslims. Besides its majestic appearance, the Kurmuk church is also a part of historical legacy that was left of ancient Albania. It showcases the religious structures from early Middle Ages, therefore attracting all kind of people with all kinds of beliefs.

It is a standing proof of traces the Christianity left on these lands and culture of people, who lived there. Locals, while maintaining their ancient belief system, were open-minded enough to embrace new monotheistic religions as Christianity and Islam.

Gakh City

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Finally, after a long journey, 345 kilometers away from the capital of the country, we reach the city of Gakh. This place truly consists of everything there’s to want for a small getaway. The pleasant climate, crystal-clear waters from springs, the refreshing air, the absolute delight of seeing the snow-covered mountain peaks from afar. Few kilometers away and you’re suddenly met with waterfalls, cascading down, somehow safely hidden behind the greenery of lush forests. Natural landscapes so astonishing and mesmerizing, moving on from them seem to be impossible.

But the most pleasant surprises meet us inside the city, the Icheribazar that is nested right in the heart of Gakh, is an architectural monument that has been established since the early 18th century. This district is a homeland to a number of tiled houses as well as fortress walls, that are another important bit of this country’s rich cultural and historical heritage. This place is a hidden treasure to explorers. Only there you’ll be able to pay a visit to unique places, such as 300-seat open-air theater, Nasimi Park, and various craft workshops.


Basilica in Gum village

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This Basilica is probably one of the most important spots, that carry the unbelievable amount of cultural impact not only regarding the history of Azerbaijan, but also for the whole world’s history, as it is one of the only remaining traces of ancient Caucasian Albania, that are narrowed down to in-between of 5th and 6th century. The Gum Village Basilica is situated nearby the coast of the Kum-chay river, not far away from the Gakh itself. Design of this place is no less magnificent with rectangular hall, that is masterly divided into three naves by two authentically crafter rows of pillars. This can be interpreted as a call to a Byzantine-era structures.

This impressive constructure is a representative of the development that the basilica-style churches went through in Transcaucasia, with its well defined layout and architectural composition.


Mamirli Waterfall

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Waterfalls are one of the nature’s most fascinating wonders. So, its obvious that visiting a natural district such as Gakh is and not taking a journey to the beautiful waterfalls it possesses is not an option. The Mamirli waterfall is located in the picturesque forest on the way to the way to Lekit and Lekit Kötüklü villages. The whole scenery around it is also worth a mention, with greenery surrounding the crystal-clear ice-cold forces of water cascading down, creating an interesting curtain-like effect. Every part of the surroundings, even the rocks, are all covered with emerald-green moss. You couldn’t really come up with the place more suiting to have a family picnic there, but at the very least, if you ever think about travelling to Lekit or Kotuklu villages, the small trip to Mamirli waterfall will be definitely worth it.


Yeddi Kilse: Architectural Complex near Lekit Village

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Yeddi Kilse is a complex of architectural monuments, dating back to 4th century. It carries an important religious meaning, as it is considered to be the remains of religious mausoleum-chapels. The ruins of this once magnificent sights are situated nearby the Lekit Village in the outstanding place. The cultural impact doesn’t end though, as this constructed are rumored to be bishopric center in the Albanian Church.


Ilisu Village

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The next place we will be discussing is a perfect getaway for those tourists, that are seeking the natural wonders. Nested amidst the mountain slopes with the river running wild right beside it, the Ilisu Settlement is a small charming village. With mesmerizing views and landscapes, it offers, as well as hospitality of this village’s people, it appears to be a perfect place to take on a quiet journey of falling in love with the absolute beauty of Gakh region.

As much as this settlement might be enjoyable based on only its appearance, it is not where the whole charm of Ilisu village ends. It is also quite important because of the historical meaning, as these are the lands where the Ulu-Körpü Bridge is situated. This bridge played a crucial role in connecting Ilisu with the lowlands during the Ilisu Sultanate era. All in all, we can argue, that this friendly village with cultural significance to it as well, is a delightful destination who wish to immerse themselves to the core culture of Azerbaijan.



Ilisu Waterfall

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Ilisu Waterfall is another fascinating example of the beauty Azerbaijan’s lands possess. For some people it’s also known as Ram-rama. Its uniqueness stands out as it is considered the tallest waterfall on the territory of Azerbaijan, reaching over 25 meters height. Its location is also quite alluring to visitors, as it is situated in the Caucasus Mountains, hidden away from prying eyes and adored by locals and those who actively seeks this majestic scenery out. And what a sight it is to behold! The wild streams of ice-cold and crystal-clear water falling down the rocky mountain cliff with everything around it bursting with colors and life. But in winter it becomes no less beautiful, as everything about the already mesmerizing scenery seems to adopt to a completely different aesthetic, transforming into a captivating frozen wonderland.

To reach the waterfall, visitors can embark on a scenic hike, approximately an hour long, featuring a moderately steep ascent. Alternatively, the welcoming villagers in Ilisu offer 4x4 rides up the rocky terrain for those who prefer a more convenient option. For a truly captivating sig ht, consider visiting during the winter months when the waterfall transforms into a mesmerizing frozen wonderland.

Ulu Bridge

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Ulu Bridge, also known as Ulu-Körpü, is a historic bridge situated on the Kurmukhchay River in the Gakh region of Azerbaijan. Located just two kilometers away from the village of Ilisu, this bridge played a vital role during the era of the Ilisu Sultanate as the sole connection between Ilisu and the surrounding lowlands. Crafted by the skilled artisans of Ilisu, whose identities remain a mystery, Ulu-Körpü Bridge has withstood the test of time for over three centuries, bravely enduring the relentless force of the river. Today, it stands as a significant landmark, providing a vital crossing for the local community. Over the years, the bridge earned its name "Ulu," meaning old or ancient, paying homage to its rich history and remarkable resilience.


Sumug Gala Fortress

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Sumug Gala Fortress, dating back to the 17th century, is an awe-inspiring sight perched atop a small hill, offering breathtaking vistas that stretch for kilometers. The fortress is encircled by a low fence, while its tower is adorned with captivating battlements. The path leading to Sumug Gala is paved with charming paving stones, adding to its allure. Today, the fortress houses a branch of the Gakh Local History Museum, showcasing the captivating "History of the Ilisu Sultanate." The tower's name holds intriguing historical significance, with legends attributing its construction to the Ilisu ruler, Sumu Khan. Furthermore, Sumug Gala gained fame throughout the former USSR for its appearance in the beloved film "Don't be afraid, I'm with you." This musical adventure, directed by Yuli Gusman, features renowned Soviet pop and film stars like Polad Bul-Bul Ogly and Lev Durov.

We recon, that visiting Gakh is one of the most fulfilling and pleasant experience you can go through, if you land your foot on the Land Of Fire. It is an extremely important in all, historical, cultural and natural, meanings tourist spot that will certainly leave you stunned and wishing to see even more of the fascinating culture this country is nurturing. We, as a reliable and professional company, can help you not only visit and learn more about Gakh district in our Gabala-Sheki-Gakh tour, but also immerse yourself in the heart of two other insanely important regions of Azerbaijan. Contact Azerbaijan Travel International today and be sure that your visit to Azerbaijan will go as enchanting and pleasant, as it can ever go.


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Martin S
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