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Mingachevir: One of the youngest cities of Azerbaijan, Mingachevir, was founded in 1945. Today, this well-groomed flowering city located in a picturesque area on the banks of the Kura River is not only the main energy center of Azerbaijan (65% of all electricity in the country is generated here), but it is of considerable interest from the point of view of tourism development. Mingachevir is also known as a sports forge. In particular, it is here that the well-known KÜR Olympic Sports and Training Center is located, where athletes from different countries come to train. It is worth visiting Mingachevir, if only to taste delicious Kura fish in the shade of cozy cafes, relax on the azure beaches of the Mingachevir reservoir or take a breeze through Kura on a pleasure boat.

Mingacevir 05It’s best to start exploring Mingachevir by visiting the city’s history museum. In the pavilions and the fund of the museum there are more than 15 thousand exhibits that reflect the life and development of Mingachevir from antiquity to the present day. In the period 1946 to 1953, a prominent Azerbaijani archaeologist Saleh Gaziyev in the south of the Bozdag mountain in Mingachevir conducted archaeological excavations, during which about 20,000 specimens of tangible cultural heritage dating back to the III-II centuries BC were discovered.
Fifty of the items found were left in Mingachevir and formed the basis of the exposition of the city’s Museum of History, which was created in 1968. The museum has 2 pavilions: one of them presents the history from the most ancient times to the beginning of the 20th century, and the exhibits of the other reflect the glorious history of the construction of the Mingachevir hydroelectric station.
In the museum you can familiarize yourself with household items and decorations, tools, hunting weapons used by people who lived on this territory in the third and second millennia BC.
Of great interest are the rarest specimens of jug graves common in ancient times in some regions of Azerbaijan: people were buried in large jars of red clay, buried at a depth of 2-3 meters. During the excavations, over 200 such burials and 4 barrows were investigated. According to ideas about the afterlife of people of that period, household implements, food and containers with water were also placed in jars, large domestic animals — bulls or horses — were buried nearby.
Here you can see another sample of ancient tombs - catacombs made of archan tree (in Azeri - arçan), the wood of which has a peculiar aroma, so intense that it survived even after so many years. Such graves were used in ancient times and in the early Middle Ages, for the burial of representatives of the nobility.
In the Middle Ages, Mingachevir was distinguished by a high level of handicraft development. These were mainly pottery, textiles, jewellery and copperware. At one of the stands you can see the tools of labor, household utensils made of copper, samples of national men's and women's clothing, etc.
A separate stand shows the diversity of the flora and fauna of Mingachevir: species of fish inhabiting Kura and animals that were found in the once lush forests here.

Mingacevir 7Enjoy the nature

Mingachevir has a mild subtropical climate, due to which the waters of the Kura River, the largest in the South Caucasus, never freeze over here. Fish is abundant in the river. On the banks of the Kura, there are preserved tugai forests consisting mainly of willow, poplars, and various shrubs in which medium-sized game is found. In addition, hares, partridges, geese, ducks, kashkaldaks (coot), sultan's hen, etc. are found in the mountainous terrain around the city.
Due to the construction of the dam of the Mingachevir hydroelectric power station, a reservoir was formed, often called the Mingachevir sea, which is a favorite resting place of local residents and tourists. In Soviet times, there was a sanatorium of national importance, gathering many thousands of holidaymakers from all over the country during the season. And today, on the numerous beaches of the reservoir (there are about 10 of them along the bays of the left coast) it is always crowded. The beach season here begins in March, and lasts until September, the average water temperature is 23-30 degrees.

Mingacevir 03Take a walk through the parks

Without exaggeration, Mingachevir can be called a city of parks: there are literally several parks at each intersection - one park ends, another immediately follows it. In total, there are more than ten of them here. If you look at the city from a bird's eye view, then it’s all just immersed in the greenery of the parks. Due to the subtropical climate, both the local traditional plant species and the exotic, imported from abroad, get along well here.
Sahil Park, Naberezhnaya Park or Boulevard - the largest park in Mingachevir occupies a significant area of the Kura Embankment: it originates from the Kura Bridge right at the entrance to the city and stretches all the way to the Olympic Training and Sports Center. The park is beautifully decorated, there are original fountains, playgrounds with swings and merry-go-rounds. Also, those who wish can use the outdoor sports complex, which is open only in the morning from 6:00 to 10:00. It presents a variety of simulators, for lovers of physical activity in the fresh air. In the seaside park there are a number of cozy cafes and restaurants.
The Park of Friendship, the former city Park of Mushvig Mirzoyev, which completely changed after reconstruction deserves attention. The park area is 6 hectares, there are 100 lanterns, 100 benches, 2500 trees, 2000 shrubs planted, in the evenings the park is always crowded and has a lively atmosphere. The center of attraction is a beautiful fountain, playgrounds, cozy gazebos and bicycle lanes. There is also a Youth House in the park.

Mingacevir 01To explore the Kur Olympic educational and sports center

Formerly known as the Rowing Base, the Kur Olympic educational and sports center has been one of the symbols of Mingachevir since Soviet times. It conducts training camps of a team of professional rowers from the entire post-Soviet space.
The uniqueness of this base is that there are suitable conditions all year round for training and holding high-class international tournaments in rowing and canoeing. For a number of advantages, namely the presence of open water, a mild climate with a minimum of precipitation and winds, conditions for accommodation and special nutrition for athletes, the complex has no analogues in Europe, as well as throughout the CIS.
The complex includes a swimming pool, a gym, a hotel resembling a ship, a rowing club, a tennis court, a hangar (boathouse) for storing boats, a tower-restaurant "Gullya" and a number of other objects.
The Olympic Center regularly hosts professional tournaments, in particular, the already now traditional international rowing regatta “President’s Cup”, which starts annually in March, or the international “Mingachevir regatta”, which takes place in November.
It is curious that in the territory of the complex poplar grows, planted in 1875, as evidenced by the corresponding plate.

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Ride on a boat

Along the entire river pier in the center of the city a lot of pleasure boats are moored. You can get on a large multi-seat (about 50 people) pleasure boat, which leisurely runs along Kura from the Boulevard to the hydroelectric dam. Fans of a ride with a breeze, it is better to use the services of small 2 and 10-seater high-speed boats. The big circle - from the rowing base of the Kur Olympic sports training complex to the dam, takes about 10 minutes. You can ride and much further - down to the neighboring city of Yevlakh, at your discretion. For safety reasons, all passengers are issued life jackets.