Mystique Mountain Beshbarmaq Adventure

7 hours

  • About
  • Gallery
  • Things to keep in mind

The dull scenery north of Baku gets an unexpectedly abrupt and dramatic boost with the looming silhouette of 520m Beshbarmaq Dash (Five Finger Mountain).

 

This mystical peak brandishes a rocky fistful of phallic crags atop a super-steep grassy ridge top. It’s well worth climbing to the summit, not just for the fabulous Caspian views, but also to observe first hand Azerbaijan’s unique take on ‘Islam.’

 

How locals seek good fortune

Crowds of locals come here seeking good fortune, a child, or the answer to their problems using a mixture of prayer, sacrifice, chanting and very animist kissing of rocks.

 

Everything comes in threes: take three small stones to the top, sip thrice from a cup of holy water, kiss the sacred rock three times then in-cant your wish…guess how many times.

 

To assist, assorted white-capped holy men lurk in rocky nooks, their pitches marked by a samovar, a few blankets and some photogenically fluttering votive ribbons. Meanwhile, a few old crones, snotty children, and various hangers-on try to cadge money.

 

Visible for miles, Besh Barmaq is a natural fortress. For centuries it guarded the narrowest strip of the coastal plain, and a wall between the crag and the sea funneled all commerce through a controllable gateway near which was a great caravanserai.

About

Things to keep in mind