Quba (Guba, Kuba)
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Quba / Guba / Kuba - Azerbaijan - location mapWith 22.000 inhabitants, Quba is a pleasant town located on the north-eastern slopes of the Shahdag range (part of the Greater Caucasus) at a height of 600m above sea level, on the right bank of the Kudyal river, in front of the jewish town of Krasnaya Sloboda. Quba is dominated by the 16th-century Tengialty fortress, but most people go to Quba to see  the hundreds of apple orchards. In the spring, the area is fragrant with the scent of apple blossoms. The town has its own university and is also a centre of carpet making - tour a plant or do some shopping (Azeris will tell you that Quba's rugs are the best in the region).

Quba - coat of armsQuba originated in the village of Kudyal, and only became important in the early 18th century as it succeeded Khudat as the capital of a small but ambitious Khanate. One of its rulers,  Fatali Khan, tried to create a unified Azeri state in the 18th century by annexing the neighbouring Khanates. However the khanate was occupied by the Russian army in 1806 and formarly ceded to Russia by Persia in 1813. Russian influence meant the end of the Azeri state 'project'.

Quba is quite well preserved and still bears a lot of architectural  marks left by the Russians. Besides numerous interesting façades, the town is famous for such architectural landmarks of the 19-th century, as the octogonal Juma-Mosque (Friday mosque), the Mosque of Sakine-Khanum, the Ardabil-Mosque (formerly a church!!), and the baths with their two domes.

Azerbaijan - Quba / Guba / Kuba: Juma mosque - octogonal with a zinc dome (photo by A.Slobodianik / Travel-Images.com)Near the Juma-Mosque, imerse yourself into the local past at the Historical Museum, formerly the residence of the thinker Abbasgulu Bakhihanov (there is a bust), if you are not an history buff, try the place anyway, as it has an excellent view over the river. Also worth a visit is the old cemetery comprising several interesting tombs. For some livelier entertainment try the Nizami Cinema. If  you want to cross to Krasnaya Sloboda there is a bridge near Nizami park, with a grand style stairway. 

Azerbaijan - Quba: Sakine-Khanum mosque - without minaret (photo by A.Slobodianik / Travel-Images.com)The bus station is in the extreme south-east side of the town, near the bazar, by the Baku road. You can stay at the Shahdag hotel, near Nizami park, it has recently received limited renovation but is still quite basic. As an alternative try going south to the nearby agricultural town of Nugadi, where you can rent cabins near the reservoir, or go west to the beautiful forest area of near Qachrash where several hut camps are available. Outside the town there are excellent sports faxilities, the "Quba Olympic Complex", which also offers good quality accomodation.

Azerbaijan - outside Quba: UAZ jeep loses its way in a high pass between Quba and Khynalygh / Xiniliq (photo by Austin Kilroy)In the Greater Caucasus mountains, to north of Quba lies the ancient Caucasian village of Khinalyg (also Khinalugh, Xinaliq). The village is an ancient settlement, going back to the Caucasian Albanian period. Khinalyg is the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan. 

The place used to be well away from the beaten track, but these days it has become a favourite with adventure travellers. Here you'll find a unique ethnic group of 2000 Tats who have preserved the original language, customs and traditions is one of the most interesting components of vivid and colourful image of Quba district. An ancient Zoroastrian (often incorrectly called 'fire-worshippers') temple dated by the 9-th century A.D. can be visited in the village.

Quba: the town and the Kudyal river seen from Krasnaya Sloboda (photo by F.MacLachlan  / Travel-Images.com)In the outskirts of Quba there's a good game preserve, famous for goat hunting! (in Soviet times you could even get a license to shoot bears... nowadays, who knows...); the16th century octogonal mausoleum in the village of Agbil, the magnificent Tengin canyon, a magnificent waterfall at Afurja and the Pirbanovsha cave with exquisite natural sculptures and a mountain spring at Balbulag (other springs at Gyzbanovshy). 
Quba: selling berries by the road (photo by F.MacLachlan / Travel-Images.com)
The town is the centre of an agricultural zone and has a couple of large preserve factories. The rayon is known for its apples, especially a sweet red variety called 'Jir Haji'.

Along with Sumgait, Quba is can be seen as part of a very long day trip from Baku.

(165 km northwest of Baku)

see also: places, maps, Khachmas, Qusar, Krasnaya Sloboda, Davachi, Xizi, Lahic, Tat, history, summary, photos
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