Rock paintings of the Paleolithic era in Azerbaijan
One of the most amazing ancient sights of our planet is in Azerbaijan, where a plain with an area of about 537 hectares is located south of Baku. In the Absheron and Karadag regions, on three sites of a rocky plateau in the 30s of the last century, by pure chance, rock paintings were found.
In addition to ancient painting, caves and sites of people from the Paleolithic era have been preserved in the reserve, but the most interesting are the images located on the mountains Kichikdash, Beyukdash and Kanizadag.
Cave paintings of Gobustan clearly demonstrate the natural and animal world of the area. Among 6 thousand paintings there are images of wild and tamed animals – goats, deer, gazelles, lions, pigs, horses, snakes, lizards, fish, birds, insects.
Of great interest to scientists is the fact that individual figures of women were depicted in loincloths and were decorated with tattoos, which is completely atypical for Central Asia. Previously, such drawings were found only in Oceania. In addition, there are many images of horse and foot hunting, reaping, other scenes of collective labor, ritual and ceremonial dances, battle plots.
According to the drawings of Gobustan, one can study the life of people from the Mesolithic to the Middle Ages. Interestingly, the figures of people and wild bulls are depicted in full size. And the images of boats say that ancient people were sailors.
The Museum of Petroglyphs, as Gobustan is called, is a mountainous place in the southeast of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range, located about 60 km from Baku. It was here that the ancient sites of primitive people were found, leaving behind a lot of rock paintings – petroglyphs. These primitive monuments of art reflect the culture, economy, worldview, customs and traditions of ancient people. Once the sea splashed right at the foot of these mountains, but then receded, leaving characteristic relief traces on the polished boiling rocks.
After quite by accident, in the 30s of the XX century, unusual patterns were discovered on the rocks, more than 6 thousand of them were revealed. Also found ancient primitive dwellings – caves and sites, more than 100 thousand items of material culture. Gobustan petroglyphs belong to different eras. Basically, they date from the periods X-XVIII thousand BC. e. until the middle ages of our era. But scientists suggest that among these drawings are more ancient, more than 20 thousand years BC. e. From these figures, one can clearly trace the entire evolution of man. Here are the scenes of hunting a mountain goat, ritual dances with spears – this is the most ancient period of time, the Mesolithic era. Here appeared images of horse and foot hunting, battle plots, scenes of collective labor, reaping, women at the hearth. This is the first centuries of our era – the transition to a new level of social order. Closer to the Middle Ages, drawings are reduced in size, becoming more schematic. Cave paintings forever captured the drawings of animals that have lived here for the past 10 thousand years – gazelles, wild goats, deer, wild pigs, horses, leopards, lions, etc. Also, there are images of birds, fish, snakes, lizards and insects. Among the many drawings, the images of rowing boats attract attention, which indicates that the ancient settlers were good sailors. These images interested a famous scientist and world-famous traveler – Tour Heyerdahl, who visited here several times. In addition to ancient drawings, a Latin inscription, found at the foot of the Boyuk-dash mountain in Gobustan, is noteworthy. It belongs to the 1st century A.D. e. and testifies to the presence of the ancient Roman troops near Baku. Since 1966, the territory of Gobustan was declared a reserve. Today it is a real open-air museum. Every year, this stone art gallery is visited by thousands of people from all over the world.
The unique inscription found on the rocks of the reserve is written in Latin and reports that in the first century AD, Roman legionnaires visited Baku.
Gobustan’s drawings are recognized by UNESCO as part of the World Cultural Heritage.