Beşbarmaq Dağ


Atop a supersteep grassy ridge, Beşbarmaq Dağ is a distinctive split crag whose mystical crown of phallic rocks attracts (mostly female) pilgrims. They climb a steep, partially laddered trail from a ridgetop car park, taking around 20 minutes. Pilgrims kiss the stones and sometimes speak in tongues en route, hoping to score spiritual merit, good fortune and/or divine assistance in getting pregnant. Holy men lurk in rocky nooks ready to help out – but only with prayers.

The peak's looming 520m silhouette flips the bird at passing traffic high, high above Km 88 of the Baku–Quba Hwy. At that point, Baku–Xaçmaz and Baku–Quba buses stop outside a stone mosque surrounded by food stalls. From the mosque there is a path to the top, but it's a strenuous multihour climb and requires finding the one single point at which the possible paths cross a concrete-boxed canal.

It's much easier to drive to the ridgetop car park. The 6km access track is unpaved and steep but passable by most cars in dry weather, though the upper section gets very tough after rain. The track starts 10km south of Siyəzən on the 'old road'. Turn beside the long-defunct Karabağ Kafesi where a green sign reads 'Xıdır Zində Piri'.

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