Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wednesday and Thursday, May 11-12th, Sheki, Azerbaijan


On Wednesday, we drove for 324 kilometers, past an old sufi burial mauseleum at Shamakha.  Diri Baba ("Living grandad") was a Sufi mystic whose body, entombed here in 1402, mysteriously refused to decompose, leading to a posthumous declaration of his sanctity.

We then drove to a newer mosque at Bibi Hebat.

And finally to Yeddi Gumbaz (seven tombs) at Shamakha..

Surrounding the tombs were burial stones which looked a lot like the Celtic Runes we saw in France.

On Thursday, we stayed close to the town.  We visited the local markets and a silk worm factory and carpet shop, had lunch in the hotel, drove to the Shah's Palace, and had dinner at a restaurant within a block of the hotel.

Along the way, I discovered that I was actually on another Norwegian family history trip.

Thors Heyerdahl once lectured at the Academy of Sciences about the history of ancient Nordic Kings. He spoke of an interesting notation made by Snorri, a 13th-century historian, which reads: "Odin (a Scandinavian god who was one of the kings) came to the North with his people from a country called Aser." [See "Snorri, The Sagas of the Viking Kings of Norway". English translation: J. Stenersens, Forlag, Oslo, 1987]. Further description of the geographic location of Aser leaves no doubt that it matches the region of contemporary Azerbaijan-"east of the Caucasus mountains and the Black Sea".

Tomorrow, we cross the border into Georgia for our second country in the Southern Caucusus, Azerbaijan has again been a surprising mixture of western and eastern cultures.  Celebrating its struggles with invaders and dominators from all directions, it continues to fight for its existence and identity.  Caspian Sea oil and transcontinental pipelines provide for the future while the old Silk Road Caravansarai marketplaces bring travelers to buy glimpses of the past.

To see the photos taken on Wednesday and Thursday, click on:
Wednesday, May 11th
Thursday, May 12th


Joanruth Baumann said...

Tomorrow I'll be at the Mercur Hotel in Tbilisi. Then I'm off to Armenia. Joanruth

Joanruth Baumann said...

Tomorrow I'll be at the Mercur Hotel in Tbilisi. Then I'm off to Armenia. Joanruth