Göygöl

Village in Gəncə

For a surreal slice of transplanted Teutonic history, take a 20-minute, 20q bus ride south of Gəncə to this agreeable small town founded as Helenendorf by German winemakers in the 1830s. Stalin bundled the Germans’ descendants off to permanent exile in Kazakhstan during WWII. However, the tree-lined town centre has been extensively reworked with wooden house-frontages to rekindle the Germanic flavour. The old Lutheran Church houses a small museum.

South of Göygöl are numerous woodland restaurants, then after Hacikənd the road emerges onto a ridge with magnificent views of the Lesser Caucasus range, crowned by the beaklike peak of Mt Kəpəz. Further still is the idyllic lake Göy Göl for which Göygöl is named. The lake had been out of bounds for two decades but reopened to visitors in late summer 2015. Entrance to the park area costs AZN2 per person, a taxi from Göygöl costs around AZN30 return. Continuing 7km further to see even lovelier and less-visited Maral Göl costs an additional AZN20 return because of the poor state of the track.

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