Day 48 (1): Mud volcanoes and petroglyphs
Qobustan Travel Blog› entry 70 of 260 › view all entries
May 23rd, 2010 – by: Biedjee
As I had decided to stay a day longer in Baku, I was able to do a little day trip to its surroundings. About 60km south of Baku lies the town of Qobustan. While the city in itself isn't much to look at, there are some interesting sights in the neighbourhood.
With the poor public transport infrastructure I figured the best (only?) way to get there and back was to hire a taxi. Staying with Christiane and Yelena had had a very positive effect on my budget, so I figured I had some extra money to blow. Even so, I wasn't going to blow it all at once. Azerbaijan is an expensive country, but the oil industry makes petrol very cheap.
It turned out he didn't even have a taxi, so he commanded one of his colleagues to drive me but he didn't want to. When he started muttering the first driver got in the taxi as well. Neither of the drivers actually knew where I was going, so it became a boy's own adventure for the three of us. Neither of them spoke much English, but nevertheless we had great fun on the way over.
The first place I wanted to stop was a collection of mud volcanoes, 10km south of Qobustan. They had no dea where to go, so I tried to explain the route using the map and description in my guidebook.
The trip was amazing. As we headed out into the barren hills, following an unpaved road, there was not a single car or person in sight. The last section of the road was a very steep climb and I feared the old Peugeot was not going to make it up the hill. We made it though and once at the top of the hill all of a sudden there were several cars there with other tourists. Where were all these people the past hour when we tried to find this place?
The mud volcanoes are a strange phenomenon. About 20 odd tiny volcanoes are erupting with grey mud.
Well, the last question didn't bother me as much. I was happy to share the place with only a handful people. And getting here had been an adventure. But it was very surprising the place wasn't a little more developed.
What was a little more developed was the other sight I wanted to see. On the outskirts of Qobustan lies a rocky area where over 6000 ancient petroglyphs have been found. These ancient doodles were left here about 12,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers who lived in the area (back then a lush forested area on the shores of the Caspian Sea, the waters of which were at least 80 metres higher than now).
While the petroglyphs itself aren't overly interesting (they are very hard to spot as they have faded quite a bit over the past 12,000 years), the surroundings and the views across the Caspian Sea were absolutely mindblowing.
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