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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 intriguing, abstract sculptures. Yet despite mesmerising ugliness and a traditionally conservative population, the Abşeron still manages to be the seaside playground of Baku’s playboy elite. 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.