About sight: Maiden Tower

The Maiden Tower is rightly considered the most interesting tourist attraction of Baku. It is located near the embankment in the center of the old town Icheri Sheher. It can be seen from the walking alleys of the Oilmen's Avenue going along the Bay of Baku.

The date of its construction has long been disputed. Originally, it was believed that the Maiden Tower was erected in 12 century, according to the plate at the entrance of the tower, but, then there appeared serious suggestions as to the plate being added at later time.

Most probable is a hypothesis that the tower was built in two stages. The first stage falls on the period of 6-8 centuries, that is, the pre-Islamic period, when Zoroastrism was widely spread over the Absheron Peninsula due to pilgrims to the Ateshgah Temple. And the upper section of the Maiden Tower was built in 12 century. So, you can acknowledge that the Maiden Tower is the most ancient structure of Baku.

The proven fact is that the Maiden Tower could hardly been used as a defence fortification. Its windows and passages absolutely aren’t suited for military purposes, and you could place no cannons on its roof. But according to the versions of some Azerbaijanian scientists the tower could be used for ritual purposes.

Firstly, there are ritual wells around the tower. Scientist Abbas Islamov made a curious discovery that at the time of winter solstice, on December, 22, the rays of the rising sun first penetrate exactly the central window of the tower, and then, in a certain order, the other windows. In connection with this discovery you may suppose that the Maiden Tower was related to the cult of fire worshippers for whom light was a visible realization of the God on the Earth.

Besides visiting interesting tourist attractions around the Maiden Tower, you must ascend onto the rooftop viewing platform of the tower. From there you can see most part of the Icheri Sheher. As well, from the viewing point you can see the Oilmen's Avenue in all its splendor and the embankment stretching for several kilometers along the Bay of Baku.

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