Introducing Abşeron Peninsula
The Abşeron confounds easy definition. Agricultural land is blanched by salt lakes, sodden with oil runoff and poisoned by pesticide abuse. Platoons of rusty oil derricks fill horizons with abstract metallic ‘sculptures’. And where ever you look, new boxy houses are filling up the remaining areas of former sheep pasture. Yet despite mesmerising ugliness and a traditionally conservative population, the Abşeron still manages to be Baku’s seaside playground. Meanwhile several historic castle towers peep between the dachas, fires that inspired Zoroastrian and Hindu pilgrims still burn, and beneath the cultural surface lie some of Azerbaijan’s oddest folk beliefs. It’s a perversely fascinating place.