Hg2 : The Hedonist


The traditional coppersmiths’ village of Lahij (or Lahic) is around 2 or 3 hours drive to the North West of Baku and easily doable as a day trip from the city. The village lies at the end of a mountain pass, which can be highly precarious in Winter, when iced or snowed up. En route to the village over a chasm to your right, you will pass a terrifyingly vertiginous rope bridge that even Indiana Jones would think twice about. This is the only access to some very remote settlements, whose inhabitants must carry all supplies from the outside world to their homes across this tiny, swinging walkway. A little way beyond this is a rather broken down looking natural spring right by the roadside, which produces some of the purest water in Azerbaijan – well worth stopping to fill a bottle. Lahij itself is very pretty, with an architectural style entirely of its own and a small and rather pedestrian visitor’s centre. Houses here are built in stone, with a horizontal wooden beam every few feet or so within each wall, which acts as a sort of buffer in earthquakes, giving the building some flexibility and preventing a lot of the damage a rigid structure would incur. Many of the houses here are open workshops, where smiths work copper exactly as they have for generations, producing the pretty copperwork that can often be seen in antique shops in Baku, often with quite a high price tag. It is expected that you will wander in and watch the smiths at work and, should you wish to, purchase anything that takes your fancy straight from the worker himself. If you wish to photograph them at work, it is a good idea to purchase something small from them.

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