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Gobustan National Park is a mountain and hill site that occupies the southeast end of the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge. Gobustan is a bridge that connects the past and modern ages. Likewise, Azerbaijan is regarded as a historical, cultural, and economic bridge between Asia and Europe.
It is about 64 kilometers southwest of Baku on the west bank of the Caspian Sea west of the Gobustan settlement. The site covers an area of 537 ha and is part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.
The site covers areas of a plateau of rocky boulders coming out of central Azerbaijan's semi-desert. It has an exceptional collection of more than 6000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40000 years of rock art.
The site features the remnants of burials, settlements, and inhabited caves. These remains reflect an intensive human use by the area's inhabitants during the wet period that followed the last Ice era from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages.
In 1966, Gobustan formally became a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan to preserve gas-stones, mud volcanoes, relics, and ancient carvings in the region. In 2007, UNESCO inscribed Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape on the World Heritage List in the committee's 31st session.
An original tambourine stone, Gavaldash, is another attraction at Gobustan. Tapping them with a small stone, you will get a clear drum-like sound. Gavaldash consists of shell limestone.
It is a flat piece of limestone. The porosity and emptiness of shells are the reason for the distinction of sound. It generates various sounds depending on the density of the shells in the composition of the limestone.
At present, Gobustan is an open-air museum, and thousands of people visit this amazing art gallery every year.
The first archaeological excavations began in the 1930s on the territory of the reserve. After 1947, Azerbaijani archaeologist Isak Jafarzade conducted systematic explorations after initial discoveries in 1939-40. He discovered and recorded around 3500 rock paintings on 750 rocks apart from drawings, signs, human-made pits, and holes in rocks.
Djafarguly expanded this early inventory with further discoveries and excavations. Numerous Bronze Age structures were discovered after excavations in more than 20 prehistoric sites since 1965.
Rustamov conducted excavations of one cave and uncovered a 2-meter stratigraphy covering 10,000 years. It had a fallen engraved fragment, which gave a terminus ante quem for this anthropomorphic figure. Archaeological research was carried out for more than 20 dwellings or shelters and 40 burial mounds.
In 2016, work began to create a digital database catalog for rock arts in the Cingirdag-Yazilitapa area of Gobustan. Around 541 new images were found in the reserve area of Cingirdag-Yazilitapa. The latest number of recorded rock arts has exceeded 7000 on the site.
Norwegian traveler and explorer Thor Heyerdahl visited Azerbaijan and studied the Gobustan petroglyphs to find the kinship of Azerbaijanis and Norwegians. He found similarity of the vessels used by the seafaring Vikings to the ships portrayed on the rocks. He concluded that the Vikings began their journey westward from here.
Gobustan carries outstanding universal value for the density and quality of its rock art engravings. These engravings portray images of lifestyles, flora, fauna, and hunting in prehistoric times and the cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times.
These engravings are an exceptional testimony to a way of life that has vanished. You can see graphical activities linked to fishing and hunting when the vegetation and climate were warmer and wetter than today.
It portrays ritual dances, bullfights, primitive men, animals, warriors with lances in their hands, boats with armed oarsmen, sun, stars, and camel caravans. All of these dates back to 5000-20000 years on the average.
The Jinghirdag Moutain-Yazylytepe hill and Kichikdash Mountain are the most undisturbed and remote landscapes. These areas warrant protection to keep their authenticity intact.
Boyukdash is the most visited place with more disturbances in installations such as stone quarry and prison. It has to be managed as part of the plan.
The knowledge does not extend evenly across the whole rock art reservation. A large-scale survey of the wider environment is desirable to ensure the rock art corpus' overall integrity.
Adequate legal protective measures are in place for the property. Documentation needs to be completed. Technical competence and active conservation measures are required to conduct necessary urgent conservation work.
Timings are subject to change. You will be automatically booked into a time slot as part of the check out process. Please visit the official website to confirm the time slot before your visit.