What to do in Gakh
Gakh District, located in Azerbaijan, is a captivating region renowned for its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Situated amidst lush landscapes and majestic mountains, Gakh offers a picturesque setting for visitors to explore. The district is home to ancient villages, such as the historic Ilisu, where traditional crafts and artisanal skills have been passed down through generations. Gakh also boasts healing mineral springs that provide a soothing escape for those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation. With its diverse wildlife and the Ilisu Reserve, the district offers opportunities for nature enthusiasts to encounter fascinating animals in their natural habitat. Gakh District is a true gem of Azerbaijan, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in its scenic landscapes, rich traditions, and captivating history.
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 is located in the Kurmukh gorge near the city of Gakh, in the Gakh region of Azerbaijan, within the Khornabuji and Eret diocese of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Kurmukh is an ancient Albanian temple that attracts both Muslim and Christian pilgrims. It preserves the historical legacy of ancient Albanian religious structures from the early Middle Ages and serves as a pilgrimage site for followers of various faiths. This temple exemplifies the locals' ability to embrace monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam while maintaining their ancient belief system. The Kurmukh temple was constructed upon the remnants of an early Middle Ages Albanian monastery, with archaeological excavations in 2006 unearthing the remains of ancient buildings within its premises.
With a distance of 345 kilometers from Baku, Gakh welcomes visitors with its idyllic setting. Situated 500 meters above sea level, the city enjoys a pleasant climate, pristine springs with crystal-clear water, refreshing air, lush greenery during the summer, and snow-capped mountains, mountain rivers, and enchanting waterfalls in the winter, creating a captivating backdrop for the Gakh region. At the heart of Gakh lies Icheribazar, an ancient quarter established in the early 18th century. This historic district boasts a collection of tiled houses and two fortress walls, preserving the architectural heritage of the region. Explore the quarter and discover its cultural treasures, including a 300-seat open-air theater, Nasimi Park, and various craft workshops.
Basilica in Gum village
The Gum Village Basilica, nestled on the banks of the Kum-chay river in Gakh, Azerbaijan, is an exceptional architectural gem dating back to the 5th and 6th centuries. This basilica stands as one of the few surviving monuments from the ancient Caucasian Albania, showcasing its historical significance. The basilica's design features a rectangular hall, divided into three naves by two rows of pillars. These elements draw parallels to Byzantine-era structures, adding to its architectural allure. The Kuma basilica impresses with its well-defined layout and striking architectural composition, representing a significant milestone in the early development of basilica-style churches in Transcaucasia.
The picturesque waterfall of Mamirli is located deep within the dense forest on the way to Lekit and Lekit Kötüklü villages in Qax district. It is a rare waterfall, with cascading water flowing over rocks, creating a narrow curtain-like effect. The rocks are covered with lush green moss, resembling a vibrant carpet. The area is densely populated with trees, blocking sunlight from reaching the ground and keeping the place cool throughout the year. The surroundings of the waterfall are ideal for picnics, attracting tourists who visit Lekit and Kötüklü villages to explore this natural wonder.
Yeddi Kilse: Architectural Complex near Lekit Village
Yeddi Kilse is an architectural complex near Lekit Village in Azerbaijan's Gakh District. Recognized as a locally significant heritage site, it consists of several religious structures, possibly mausoleum-chapels dating back to the 4th-5th centuries. These ruins suggest Lekit's historical importance as a possible bishopric center in the Albanian Church. Discover the captivating beauty and rich history of Yeddi Kilse in Azerbaijan.
Ilisu Settlement is a charming village nestled in the Gakh region of Azerbaijan. Surrounded by picturesque landscapes, it offers a tranquil escape for visitors seeking natural beauty and serenity. The village is known for its historic Ulu-Körpü Bridge, which played a crucial role in connecting Ilisu with the lowlands during the Ilisu Sultanate era. With its friendly locals and rich cultural heritage, Ilisu Settlement is a delightful destination to immerse yourself in the beauty of rural Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan boasts numerous captivating waterfalls, and among them, the Ilisu Waterfall (also known as Ram-rama) stands out as the tallest, with an impressive height of 25 meters. Nestled in the breathtaking Caucasus Mountains, this hidden gem is cherished by locals for its awe-inspiring cliff face and stunning mountain vistas. 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 sight, consider visiting during the winter months when the waterfall transforms into a mesmerizing frozen wonderland.
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
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.