Ismailly (Ismayilli / Ismaili)
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Ismailly - locationBeing a rather spread out town, located on the road to Sheki, just after Shemakha, Ismailly surprises the foreign visitor for the vast woods surrounding it, not quite the stereotype landscape you grow to expect of Azerbaijan or the southern Caucasus in general!

Ismailly is the main town of a large rayon that confines to the north with the Quba rayon. It is essentially an agricultural area that's has seen its best days long gone, as derelict farms attest. In a unique phenomenon in Azerbaijan a Kolkhoz still survives, run by Molokan Russians in the village of Ivanovka - visit it if you want to get a sample of Soviet rural life. The population is very diverse, besides the Molokan Russians there are Lezghins, Jews, Lahidzhi (Farsi-speaking) and Khapiti (descendants of ancient Albans).

The people here retain their dedication to ancient crafts. Carpet weaving remains strong (Galadzhig and Tezekend villages), as does the production of copper-ware, tannery, metal engraving...

Ivanovka village - Ismailly Rayon, Azerbaijan: Nikitin Kholkhoz - famous the Ivanovka wine and its dairy products- photo by N.MahmudovaBy no means allow some of the grey Soviet buildings in Ismailly's town centre discourage you from visiting ot staying a while. The nearby area is quite rich in historic heritage and breathtaking landscapes, inviting for long walks.

In the centre near the town hall and the cinema there is a hotel with air conditioning, and a motel in the northern end of the town, by the canal. The bus station is in the southern part of the town, there are regular lines to Baku and Sheki. There is a Regional Historical Museum on Azerbaijan H. Aliyev Avenue.

Azerbaijan - Lahic / Lahuj (Ismailly Rayon): Girdimanchai river gorge (photo by Rashad Khalilov)Among the most interesting buildings in the Ismailly area should be mentioned: north-east of Ismailly the 7th Javanshir fortress near the village of Talystan (you must climb 7km on foot!); the very derelict 11th century 'Maiden's tower' in the village of Khanega near the Akhokh river; the mosque and Turkish-baths in the village of Baskal; the Girdman fortress, close to the settlement of Lahic / Lagich and the mosque at the same settlement, as well as the Fitag fortress near the village of Sulut.

(220 km northwest of Baku)
see also: places, history, maps, Gabala, Shemakha, Xizi, Lahic, geography, summary, images
A to Z of Azerbaijan / A dan Z ye Azerbaycan