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On a road back 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’. 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 hangerson try to cadge money.

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


  • 09:00 —  departure
  • 09:00 – 10:30 – Baku – Beshbarmaq
  • 10:30 – 11:00 – road to a the mountain basement
  • 11:00 – 12:30 – uphill, photo set, downhill
  • 12:30 – 14:30 – Besbarmaq – Baku

Price include

  • Individual transfer
  • Individual guide
  • Bottled water

  • Price for individual group – upon request
  • Price for group tour – $27 per person

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