Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ateshgah Temple of Fire Worshippers

On Saturday we visited the most famous fire temple that can be found on the Absheron peninsula, some 20 kilometers east of the Baku city center. The original building of Ateshgah Temple was build on a spot where natural oil and gas was errupting from the earth causing "ever burning fire". The spontaneous flames coming from the ground probably inspired Zarathustra when some 2600 years ago formulating Zoroastrianism, the first major monotheistic religion, having the fire as the metaphor for the mysteries of God. The historians have not really agreed on the date when the temple was build. The earliest estimation goes back to the 6th century.

When Islam came to Azerbaijan many Zoroastrian temples and documents were destroyed and a lot of Zoroastrians escaped to India. The ties with India were kept thanks to merchants and masons, who in the 17th century rebuild the temple. There were cells built in the thick walls surrounding the temple that offered accommodation to pilgrims who were coming to visit the fire temple from India. The pilgrimage slowly ceased in the end of 19th century when the natural gas was exhausted and the fires expired.

Today the temple was turned into a museum. There are still two fires burning (fed by fuel, of course) but the four "towers" do not burn and I think that is a big shame. The museum was ok to visit but nothing extraordinary. And I am afraid the trip did not justify the loss of a driving licence when we were stopped by police on the way to the temple. :o(

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again Martina.

Well I am finally in Europe (which apparently included Azerbaijan) after about 32 hours travelling. I then was a bit silly and joined my mate on a pub crawl around Hammersmith. Not the smartest move I can tell you. Sunday I was sporting a rather nasty hangover.

I can see you have been very busy blogging. Where do you find the time to write so much detail? Im picking you can probably type quickly and use all your fingers rather than just 2 like me.

There has been another incident on the london underground this afternoon in London and another explosion on a bus. No casualties as yet and there are rumours that they were nail bombs or similar that where left on some tubes. I think its real crap that these idiots are doing this and when they get caught they should be beaten to within an inch of their life and then locked up and throw away the key. This latest lot doesnt appear to be a terrorist attack, but it has acheived pretty much the same result.

well I better not bore you with my ramblings, take care over there, and I shall post you more comments soon.

I will remember some treats for Prince the MAF dog, however when I get back I have volunteered for Customs to use me for training of their drug dog. They will meet me off the plane and give me some bags with samples of drugs and then let the dog try and find me amongst all the other passengers. Should get a few interesting looks from others...

Bye for now.

Dave (in London)

5:40 PM, July 21, 2005  
Anonymous Regina said...

it looks like all the Czechs leave comments in english anyway (what is this world coming to?, i mean, really look at it :-)), prolly so that all those who don't speak czech yet can read them as well, although they are meant for you...
Well, so I'll go w/ the crowd and write in english too, just a few words, so that you know that somebody reads (and appreciates!) your blog... I like it! I will be leaving for my vacation trip next Thu, see if I get to encounter any i-cafe to write short messages from right there. If not, expect an email right afterwards :-)
I hope you're having a good time in azerbaijan,
take care!

6:31 PM, July 21, 2005  
Blogger Mart'a said...

Hi Dave,

I just read about the bomb attacks in London (actually in Russian :o)))... so good to hear that you are fine and was not around the place where it happened.

I am nasty enough to say that if you drink too much the hangover is what you deserve ... but I won't say it cause I intend to be nice :o)), so imagine the sentence is not there :o))).

I definitely look forward to hearing some more news, it is really great you get to travel around Europe and so now I will be all excited to see what is the next place where you go.

And regarding The Customs Dog, I hope he will not bite you, cause that would hurt... so in case get ready the lolly pop. :o)

All the best for your travels and I guess be careful in London.

3:41 PM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger Mart'a said...

Ahoj Regi,

I know it is funny to write in English... but at least I am forcing all of you to practice your skills :o).
So I assume you got the visa?! And still not revealing the country... now I am REALLY REALLY curious. So, of course, looking forward to getting a message from you to find out. :o))

But no matter where you go, have a great stay and BE careful, cause I bet the country is really crazy one (co jineho, podle toho jak te znam :o)).

And it was really good to hear from you! Take care. Talk to you soon,

3:45 PM, July 22, 2005  
Blogger Mart'a said...

oh, and yes, I type with all ten :o) (you should be a detective, Dave... you have a good sense of deduction... like the old good Sherlock :o))

3:47 PM, July 22, 2005  

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