Oghuz (Oguz, Vartashen)
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Oguz / Vartashen - Azerbaijan - location mapOghuz is the capital of a small rayon bordering Dagestan (Russian Federation). It's named after the main Turkic group to move to Azerbaijan (the Azeri language is part of the Oghuz, or Western Turkic, group of Turkic languages, together with Anatolian Turkish and Turkmen).  Anyway, the name is recent - Oguz was called Vartashen.

The town's economy is based in agriculture, particularly nut and tobacco production. Today it has an Azeri population with a significant community of Mountain Jews (Tats) and some Lezgin.

Until the Karabakh conflict there was an important Christian community, made of Armenians and speakers of Udi, said to be a descendent of the ancient Albanian language.

Have a look at the impressive newly restaured Synagogue and the more modest mosque. The synagogue, built in 1906, was closed in 1930 under Soviet rule, and then used until the 1990s as a warehouse.

If you feel nostalgia about North Korea and Kim Il Sung you may want to spend some time at the Heydar Aliyev Museum "created to propagate the heritage of outstanding statesman and political figure, genius person Heydar Aliyev and provide benefit of youth of this heritage"*.

South of Oghuz, on the road to Mingechavir there is and interesting Armenian church in Karimli. There are a few architectural monuments (towers, fortresses etc.) dating from the 13 - 15th centuries in the villages of Jalut, Mukhas, Filfili and Vardanli.

*quoted from heydar-aliyev.org
(350 km north-west of Baku)
see also: Mingechaur, Sheki, Qabala, Qax, Tats, Lezgin, maps, summary, places
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