Monday, October 02, 2006

Bow down to the five fingers!

For a thousand years, fire worshipping Zoroastrians had a great reverence for the Five Finger Mountain, known as Beshbarmag, a half hour drive north of Baku, at Sumgayit. (aka Sumqayit/Sumgait), the country's third largest city, which is essentially a suburb of Baku, built in the 1950s, with a population of around 300,000.

(Hopefully somebody will eventually explain how Azerbaijan has a population of 8 million. Baku has 2 million, Ganja 300,000, Sumgayit 300,000, Nakhchivan 300,000, which leaves about 5 million others - where exactly are they?)

The mountain is right on the highway and it's quite breathtaking when you drive by. I was seriously tempted to climb it, but I had a people to meet, places to see. There's a bunch of stores at the bottom that sell ice creams and other stuff with various cattle wandering about as well.

The name Sumgayit, means "Sum! Come back!" Who is Sum, you ask? He's the lover of Jeyran. When the river ran dry Sum had to go up to the top of the hill and fight a monster who had lodged a huge boulder, stopping the water from flowing into town.

Sum went up and kicked that beast down, strangling him in the process, but when he moved the boulder, he was swept away and drowned and to this day his five fingers stick out of the ground in rock form.

Jeyran drowned in her tears. The town's water reservoir is called Jeyran Batan, which means, The Place Where Jayran Drowned.


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8:39 AM  

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