Davachi (Davaçi, Devichi, Divitchi)
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Davachi (Davaši, Devichi, Divishi) - Azerbaijan - location mapLocated south of Khachmas, on the main coastal road, linking Baku to Dagestan, the southern caucasus to the northern, Davachi was founded in the 1930s on the location of an ancient stop for caravans and and important market place (If you notice that the name of the town itself means "camel driver", and the previous name was Davachi-Bazar, what else is needed for description?). Today you can stay at a small hotel with very basic services and outside toilets.

If you are driving along the Baku-Quba road, Davachi is a nice stop, where you can enjoy some good tea at and oddly shaped teahouse, with battlements, appropriately known as the 'tea-castle'. The other sight in Davachi is an elegant post-independence mosque, with two tall minarets. The town has a number of old wooden houses and is surrounded by vast areas of greenery doted by small agricultural villages.

Davachi  was shaken by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in November 25th, 2000 causing some material damage and a handfull of injured people.

Outside Davachi, near the village of Shahnazarli are located the ruins of the city of Shaberan, a major ancient Azeri city, founded in the 5-th century and razed to the ground in the early 18-th century. The historical museum in Davachi contains the most important findings from the Shaberan site.

Chirag Gala / Ciraq Qala - Davachi rayon, Azerbaijan: the castle seen from below - built by the Sassanian Empire - photo by F.MacLachlanJust 12 kilometres southwest of Davachi you can also find an important mineral spring at the village of Gala Alti. A sanatorium was built there, with a good reputation for curing urological afflictions. Besides the sulphurous springs, mud treatments are also on offer, with mud from the nearby Kainarja mud field. The area has vast forests and is used both for vacations and therapeutical stays.  Accommodation is not luxurious but it is abundant,  you can rent wooden bungalows at the sanatorium itself, stay at the Gala Alti hotel (private) or rent cabins nearby.

Chirag Gala / Ciraq Qala - Davachi rayon, Azerbaijan: view from the castle ruins - photo by F.MacLachlanThe Gala Alti area is dominated by a mountain, topped by the Chirax castle (Chirag Gala / Ciraq Qala - meaning lantern). This first fortress was built there in the 5th century by the Sassanian Empire, and finished it career in the 18th century as an outpost of the Quba khanate. Built at an altitude of 1200 metres, Chirax is one of the few 'European' looking castles in Azerbaijan, although large parts of it have collapsed during the last 200 years. The Castle was a key point in the defensive system of the Gilgilchay wall, erected in 5-6th centuries Sassanids. The wall started on Caspian shoreline in the Davachi region, accompanied the Gilgilchay river, and continued in the mountains.

(120 km north of Baku)
 
see also: places, maps, Khachmas, Quba, Siazan, Xizi, geography, photos
 
 
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