discover Khinaliga stunning mountain village
The wonderfully remote and picturesque village of Khinalig sits on a mountaintop 2,350 metres above sea level in the Greater Caucasus Mountains. It’s surrounded by some of the highest peaks in Azerbaijan, including Bazarduzu (4,466m), Shahdag (4,243m) and Gizilgaya (3,723m), and it boasts over 5,000 years of history.
One of the special features is the old stone houses which stand compactly together in a terraced fashion, as if they are a continuation of each other, with the roof of one acting as the balcony of another. The village is also rich with cultural and historical monuments: there are mosques from the 12th and 15th centuries and several historic cemeteries, as well as a large number of shrines, known locally as ‘pirs’. A few kilometres from the village you can also visit an Ateshgah, or fire temple, built over an eternal flame.
The Khinalig people comprise a distinct ethnic group who are believed to be descendants of one of the tribes populating the ancient kingdom of Caucasian Albanians. Their exact origins and language, which is spoken nowhere else, still pose many questions for ethnographers and linguists. And to this day they live a semi-nomadic lifestyle.
Given all these unique features, in 2007 a state reserve was established in Khinalig to preserve the community’s ethnographic, historical and architectural values.