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About an hour’s drive along the new highway from the district center of the Gubinsky district, on the northern slope of the Main Caucasian Range, at an altitude of 2100-2200 m above sea level, the oldest settlement in Azerbaijan, Hynalyg, was hidden. The villagers themselves call it Kyat, and themselves - kyats - direct descendants of the biblical Noah.

Khynalygu is more than 5 thousand years old. For centuries, this village has been cut off from civilization by inaccessible mountains with dangerous rocky cliffs. Due to such isolation, to this day its residents have managed to preserve a unique language that does not belong to any language group, and traditions and customs that are not found anywhere else.

Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district

About 2 thousand inhabitants live in Khinalig, all of them are indigenous and are divided into 4 genera. Each kind has its own cemetery, its own patterns for carpets and clothes. The Khinalig people profess Islam, and before Islam they were fire worshipers. This is evidenced by the temples of fire and some semi-pagan traditions that have nothing to do with Muslims.

The first mention of kyats can be found in the 1st century. AD in the writings of the ancient Roman historian Pliny and in the famous "Geography" of Strabo. But the most eloquent of all the antiquity of the village is evidenced by its 8 large cemeteries, the area of which is much larger than the territory of Khinalig itself. There are burials in 3, or even 4 layers, and inscriptions in different alphabets are carved on stone tombstones.

The houses of the kyat are built on top of each other: in aggregate, it resembles a multi-story building, the roof of one house serves as a yard for another, the upper one. There are about 360 houses in the village, all of them are very ancient, 200-300 years old, and built of cobblestones. The windows in the houses are closed with plastic wrap, and there is a smoke hole in the ceiling of the house through which the Khinalig people also visit each other. The floors and walls of houses are covered with colorful and warm rugs and blankets, pillows, mattresses, mutyakka woven by the hostesses. This is not only decoration of houses, but also protection in winter frosts. And winter is early and very harsh, the temperature can reach -30⁰ С. The fuel in winter is bricks made from a mixture of straw and manure. They not only burn well, but also give enough heat. Throughout the year, the Khinalig residents harvest and dry such bricks wherever there is a place. Firewood in these places is a luxury, since there are few trees in the vicinity.

Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district

The land is barren and stony, but locals manage to grow onions and potatoes in small plots, and cucumbers and tomatoes, at all, are planted, like home plants, in tubs. From cattle keep undersized cows and goats, poultry, few have sheep. But rams are difficult to keep, because in winter they need to build a corral. Khinalig residents eat simple food: vegetables, chureks (bread), milk, cheese, mountain honey and dried goat meat, which is harvested every autumn.

The Khinalig people are very religious. In the village and not far from it there are many holy places - feasts with the graves of saints, caves and unexplored archaeological sites. Some of them were built in the Middle Ages: the tomb of Hıdır Nebi, the Sheikh Shalbuz mosque, the Abu Muslim mosque (XII century), the Pirjomyard mosque (1388).

Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district Hynalyg settlement, Gubinsky district

In 2006, the life of a unique mountain settlement changed due to the construction of a new asphalt road. Tourists began to come here, and the Khinalig residents themselves were given the opportunity to travel outside the village. Today, many Khinalig residents know the Azerbaijani language, and some Russian, they sell homespun goods and products, bring household goods from the city, offer tourists who wish to get acquainted with an unusual village, inexpensive shelter and food. Khinalig ceased to be isolated from the whole world, although it is still a unique place. In 2007, the village of Khinalig was declared a State Historical, Architectural and Ethnographic Reserve.


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16.09.2019 20:50

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