May 3, 2015

1560 AZERBAIJAN (Absheron) - Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape (UNESCO WHS)


Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape is a hill and mountain site occupying the southeast end of the Greater Caucasus mountain ridge, mainly in the basin of Jeyrankechmaz River, between the rivers Pirsagat and Sumgait, located west of the settlement of Gobustan, about 64km southwest of the centre of Baku. It covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan, with an outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art. The site also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials, all reflecting an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age.

The rock engravings are an exceptional testimony to a way of life that has disappeared in the way they represent so graphically activities connected with hunting and fishing at a time when the climate and vegetation of the area were warmer and wetter than today. Initial discoveries were made in 1939-1940 and systematic explorations were conducted by I. M. Djafarsade from 1947 onwards. Since 1965, excavations have been carried out in more than 20 prehistoric sites and numerous Bronze Age structures have been discovered. Most of the rock engravings depict primitive men, animals, battle-pieces, ritual dances, bullfights, boats with armed oarsmen, warriors with lances in their hands, camel caravans, pictures of sun and stars.

On the other hand, Azerbaijan and its Caspian coastline are home to nearly 400 mud volcanoes, more than half the total throughout the world (they are not part of the UNESCO site). In 2001, one mud volcano 15 kilometers from Baku made world headlines when it suddenly started ejecting flames 15 meters high. On the average, every twenty years or so, a mud volcano may explode with great force in Gobustan, shooting flames hundreds of metres into the sky, and depositing tonnes of mud on the surrounding area. The appearance of the Zoroastrian religion in Azerbaijan almost 2,000 years ago is closely connected with these geological phenomena, and Azerbaijan's etymology - Land of the Eternal Fire derives from its Zoroastrian history

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series Birds, issued on July 16, 2013:
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater / Merops persicus (0.1 AZN)
European Roller / Coracias garrulus (0.2 AZN) - It's on the postcard
Common Kingfisher / Alcedo atthis (0.3 AZN)
Eurasian Hoopoe / Upupa epops (0.5 AZN)
Eurasian Jay / Garrulus glandarius (0.6 AZN)

The last stamp is part of the series Domestic cats, issued on April 17, 2014.

References
Gobustan National Park - Wikipedia
Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape - Wikipedia

Sender: Liubov
Sent from Baku (Baku / Azerbaijan), on 22.10.2014

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