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Tovuz, land of antiquity and grace

09 January 2015 [10:20] - TODAY.AZ

/By AzerNews/

By Mushvig Mehdiyev

Tovuz is located in the western part of Azerbaijan on the border with Georgia and Armenia.

The name of the city - according to the ancient Turkish written sources - descended from the merge of the names of two kindred Turkish tribes - Oguz and Toguz. That is why, it was fixed as a toponym. As one of the ancient regions of Azerbaijan, Tovuz has a rich history and a lot of interesting sites.

Tovuz enjoys a peculiar nature. Mountainous areas are the main landscape of the region. Thick forests spread across most of the region's territory which is covered by various types of trees and shrubs.

Oak, beech, walnut, hornbeam, iron trees and different wild fruit shrubs are the main parts of Tovuz's flora. One of relict trees Eldar shami (pine) is protected in the Garayazi State Reserve in Jeyranchol region of Tovuz.

Alpine and sub-alpine meadows are a common scene across the region. Serving as winter and summer pastures, they contribute to the livestock farming of the district. Tovuz forests and mountains is house to many animal species such as gazelles, roe deers, wolves, foxes, hares, francolins, partridges, etc.

In order to keep hunting traditions in the region, the government officially permits people to hunt mostly hares and swimming birds. Rivers Kura, Akhindja, Tovuz, Zayam run here. There are 586 water springs in Tovuz, including four possessing the characteristics of mine water.

There is a sour water spring in Catakh village. Because of its sour taste, the water is described as Turshsu. It contains various chemical minerals which are used for treatment purposes. In Asrik alone there are 36 water springs. Findigli, Maral, Shalala water springs are among the best-known. There is a restaurant near every water source. The air in all resorts is amazingly clean, the view is fascinating.

Ancient history of Tovuz is reflected in historical buildings preserved in the region territory. Some 64 historical-cultural and archeological monuments are confirmed by Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers. XIX century Haji Bagir mosque located in Duzgirigli village, Yanigli village mosque and remains of Kirzan temple belonging to XII century keep the history they witnessed and don't let it to be forgotten.

Eight-corner sepulchers in Gazgulu village, railway bridge built in 1880, furthermore, XIX century tombs and mosque respectively in Yukhari Oysuzlu and Duz Girigli villages, several dwelling houses of XIX century are among the cultural monuments of Tovuz.

Tovuz is known as one of main and ancient Alban settlements. Alban temple which belongs to 5th century and number of such monuments served as shelters for dervishes who led ascetic lifestyle. The Abdal village of the region takes its name from an ancient tribe. The Abdals were a Turkic-speaking tribe widely spread in Transcaucasia in the 1st-4th century.

It is impossible to imagine Tovuz without saz music. Saz is the national musical instrument of Azerbaijan. It is very popular in Tovuz. Weddings, parties, local or state level ceremonies held in Tovuz are not complete if there is no saz music. It is very normal to meet ashigs (performers of saz music) in the restaurants serving in Tovuz.

The economy of Tovuz is partially based on agriculture, tourism with some other industries in operation. Winemaking is one of the popular fields of Tovuz industry. The history of wine production in Tovuz seems to have begun before the 7th century and according to the archaeological findings, which included vessels for wine storage and remains of tartaric acid, the winemaking was common in the Tovuz and Ganja region during early stages of social development.

Winemaking industry boosted in the city during German settlement. Furthermore, Tovuz became famous for producing cognac, which supplied the entire Russian market. Tovuz Baltiya Ltd. is the main producer and exporter of wine products in Tovuz.

Cuisine of Tovuz presents variety of delicious meals. Khingal is the most famous eating of Tovuz cuisine. 'Tovuz khingali' is something that one can not refuse to eat. Dough meals, meals made from greens and potato take the major part of region's cuisine. Different sorts of pilaf and barbecue, fried vegetables and fresh salads are among the eating which visitors of Tovuz can enjoy to taste. Drinks such as buttermilk, dovga, atlama, fresh fruit juices are served along with meals.

Tourism perspective of Tovuz region is highly appreciated. The natural places of interest attract local peoples as well as foreigners. A number of hotels function in Tovuz as well. Ayan Palace is one of well-known recreation sites of Tovuz. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev himself attended the opening ceremony of the facility in 2008.


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