Places in Abşeron Peninsula
In summer, fearless local swimmers crowd the grey-brown beaches of the northern Abşeron coast. Though infamously polluted, the Caspian waters do often look temptingly turquoise and there are well-manicured sections of sand near Mərdəkən (bus 341 from metro Neftçilər) and on the pay beaches of Amburan (bus 72 from metro Əzizbəyov).
Nardaran is the closest that Azerbaijan comes to having a centre of conservative Islam, with women scarf-clad (if visible at all). The town’s spiritual heart is the huge 1990s Rehime Khanım Mosque, built above the grave of the 7th Shiite Imam’s sister. A two-minute walk beyond is a genuineif relatively plain castle tower.
Hidden away in otherwise dismal Suraxanı is the unique Ateşgah Məbədi. Part caravanserai, part fire temple, it stands on the site of a natural-gas vent that was sacred to Zoroastrians for centuries, though the temple’s current incarnation was built by 18th-century Indian Shiva devotees.
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