Hg2 : The Hedonist


About a 2 hour drive to the South of Baku, past the impressive Bibi Heybat Mosque and on through strangely photogenic and almost beautiful barren oil wastelands lie the prehistoric petroglyphs of Gobustan, inscribed into the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2007. There is a small park here containing stone carvings that date from the 12th century BC and which are among the earliest and most significant relics of early homo sapiens in the world.The park has been recently smartened up somewhat and now boasts a wellsigned route, taking in the most significant carvings of men, hunters, animals and pregnant women. A small donation is expected at the gate towards upkeep. Nearby, a Roman soldier, garrisoned here in around 75AD, inscribed a rock with his name, rank and number which is now protected by a small fence, but open for the world to see. This piece of graffiti is also the Easternmost trace of Roman occupation ever discovered. Azerbaijan is home to half of the world’s mud volcanoes – who knew? – and near Gobustan is one of the most impressive crops of them, in a rough ring atop a barren and remote plateau, with views over the Caspian in the distance. The sensation of feeling bubbles of mud rise beneath your feet and erupting in the small caldera is indescribable and, for the record, entirely odourless.

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