the legacy ofancient fire worshippers
Baku’s extraordinary landscape, rich in oil and subterranean gases, has intrigued travellers since time immemorial and for centuries the Ateshgah Fire Temple in the village of Surakhani has been attracting crowds of thrill seekers. Built in the 17th–18th centuries around naturally burning flames which were previously worshipped by Zoroastrians, the site was then an important place of pilgrimage for fire-worshipping Hindus until the 1880s. Today it houses a well-designed museum and is often coupled with a trip to nearby Yanardag, the Burning Mountain in Mammadli village where a 10-metre wall of flames blazes day and night at the base of a hillside. These natural flames were described by Marco Polo in the 13th century and continue to mesmerise those who visit the site. Today you can learn all about them at the beautifully arranged new museum complex.