Administration of State Historical-Architectural Reserve Icherisheher under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Monuments of national value
AGHA MIKAYIL BATHHOUSE
MOLLA AHMAD MOSQUE
HADJI BANI BATHHOUSE
HADJI BANI MOSQUE
MADRASAH – MOSQUE
SHEIKH IBRAHIM MOSQUE
JAME MOSQUE AND MINARET
UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTIONS (WATER RESERVOIR AND UNDERGROUND WAY)
ARCHED RELIGIOUS AND ARCHITECTURAL COMPLEX (MARKET SQUARE)
HOUSE OF BAKU KHANS
WATER SUPPLY AND SEWAGE SYSTEM
MOSQUE AND MOSQUE YARD – CHAPEL
The bathhouse was constructed in southern-west part of Icherisheher, in Kichik Gala street, deemed as one of the main streets, by Hadji Agha Mikayil, inhabitant of Shamakhy, in 18th century. The territory it is located in is called in popular etymology as “settlement of bathhouse attendants”. The entrance of the bathhouse is from Kichik Gala street. The internal structure of the premises differs from other bathhouses with its width. Clothing and washing rooms are quadratic. Owing to the four central supports the rooms aggregate as a great composition. The architectural composition of the bathhouse is expressed with crossing archs and domes. There is a smoke chimney looking like a brave silhouette on the building roof.
The caravansaray named “Small Caravansaray” or “Khan’s caravansaray” was constructed in the late 15th and early 16th centuries. It has quadratic shape in the plan. There is a large quadrangular yard with cut corners inside the caravansaray. It is covered with balconu through the complete perimeter. There are residential premises behind the balcony envisaged for personal usage. The northern and southern entrances of the caravansaray are in portal shape and the main entrance was from seaside in the Middle Ages. The facade of the caravansaray from the southern side is two-storeyed and has appearance of a huge bastion. In the Middle Ages the caravansaray consisted of shops from the side of the trade street not directly connected to the yard. Supposedly, before acting as a caravansaray this building consisted of madrasah of the Jame mosque and the carrells acting in its yard.
Baku city was surrounded by huge double fortress walls from north, east and west in the Middle Ages. According to the sources the city was surrounded by fortress walls also from the south and the Caspian seaside. There were 5 entrance doors to the city through the fortress walls.
In 1868 the military governor of Baku addressed to the Caucasian Military Command regarding demolishing of the fortress walls in order to beautify the city and liquidate the walls as military protective bastion. Two years later demolishing of the second wall outward was permitted. This issue was repeatedly brought up in the meeting of Duma in 1886, and subsequently, the door named “Zulfugar khan’s gate” in the second demolished fortress wall was constructed next to the Shah Abbas’ gate in the first fortress wall. According to the epitaph on the stone funerary monument discovered during restoration works, the fortress walls were constructed upon decree by Shirvanshah III Manuchokhr approximately in 1138-1139.
Due to being often destructed during enemies’ attacks the fortress walls were repeatedly restored. Presently about 600 meter of the fortress walls of Icherisheher the length of which was 1500 meters in middle ages had survived. Plasterboard solution was used as fixing material for masonry of the fortress walls. Presently the width of the wall is 3-3,5 meters and the height is 8-12 meters.
This mosque belongs to the type of settlement mosques of Isherisheher. It was ordered by Nasraddin Gushtasy bin Hasan Hadjibaba and was constructed in early 14th century by architect Mahmud ibn Sad, the author of famous buildings of Absheron as well as the castle in Nardaran village (1301) and the minaret mosque in Bbi-Heybat village (late 13th century). The mosque akhund’s name was Ahmad and, consequently, the mosque was recognized amongst the folk as the Molla Ahmad’s mosque. The mosque has quadratic shape in the plan and consists of a small hall. Its appearance is completed with an inconspicuous asymmetric facade and the accurately profilized entrance as well as two small windows added later. The two-line notice in Arabian language as a line in the upper part of the mosque regarding construction of the building informs in details regarding the architect.
The bathhouse was constructed in [the] late 15th century. The comissioner of the bathhouse is Hadji Gayib and the architect was Hadji Bani. Subsequently, the bathhouse was named as Hadji Gayib or Hadji Bani bathhouse. As one of the main elements of the Moslem cities this bathhouse is selected with its own huge appearance on the caravan road. The bathhouse had remained underground during long centuries and was discovered during the archaeological and investigation works done in 1964. Entering the bathhouse it’s possible to feel positive energy and see gracious architectural forms.
This caravansaray constructed in 17th century was given to Baku citizen Gasim-bek and his descendants. The caravansaray has two-sided open entrances located along two arrows. Entrance to the caravansaray is possible from side of the shore street connected to marine trade and the trade highway. The main shape of the caravansaray is quadratic and the internal part is octagonal, and the backside has a yard surrounded by balconies with separate premises. Protection with integral angle castles from south-east specifies its protective character in the urban walls system.
The mosque is located near the Complex of Palace of the Shirvanshahs. According to the short epigraphic funerary monument the mosque was constructed by architect Hadji Bani in the 16th century. Its center centre has a dome in the plan. There is a chancel having stalactic tier with large-scale masonry opposite to the entrance. According to another epigraphic epitaph, the mosque was restored in 1320 on Hegira (1902-03).
Reconstruction works were hereby implemented and, vestibule and a special part for women (shabistan) was added. The praying premises is light in double owing the twin semicircle windows.
The interior and exterior of the mosque have kept the traditional architectural styles and motives. Its expressive silhouette, stone conic dome in Absheron type and the corner part in the down direction of the street specify the characteristic features of local architecture.
This mosque was commissioned by the Khanlarov brothers in the late 19th century and constructed based upon architect Mashadi Mirza Gafar Izmaylov’s project near to their accommodation. This small mosque has a tetragonal shape in line with the residential settlements. The entrance is divided into three parts. The central section is completed by arch and the side parts are covered by domes. The interior is rich with patterned motives of botanical characters. It brings might and festivity to the complete system of the internal space. The mosque is one of the last religious monuments constructed in the territory of Icherisheher.
The mosque is located near to the Complex of Palace of the Shirvanshahs. According to the epighraphic epitaph over the entrance door on the facade, the mosque was constructed in 777 on Hegira (in 1375) upon testament by Fazlullаh Imаm Оsmаn Shirvani. Consequently, sometimes the mosque is called with his name. According to the public etimology, the name “Chin” (True) of the mosque is connected to human dreams and desires coming true. The rough and big-size composition of the mosque with asymmetric main facade is underlined with a portal-entrance of the classic type. The mosque portal is the most ancient one among the medieval portals of the city made in eastern style.
The bathhouse was constructed in 17th century near the Salyan door (gate). In the public etymology the bathhouse is called also as “Shirin” (Sweet) Bathhouse because the tea here was given together with sweets. The planning structure of the bathhouse is based upon the traditional methods of local architecture. It consists of a vestibule part, dressing and washing premises as well as the treasure and fire chambers. The dressing and washing premises have crossing domes and cameras in corners. Water supply and the heating system was implemented through the angle pipelines inside the walls and under the floor. The restoration works in the bathhouse were done in the late 1970s and it was turned into “green pharmacy”. Gasim-bek bathhouse is one of the most interesting monuments of medieval architecture and protected by state.
This monument acting mainly as madrasah-mosque is one of the chapels remaining from Jame mosque. These chapels were constructed in the 15th century in the yard of Jame mosque for educational purpose. In connection with the expansion of A.Zeynalli street and implementation of road-constructing works the chapels of the Jame mosque were demolished and one of the surviving chapels was used as a madrasah-mosque. The quality of the construction and pattern works over stone and expression of unknown architect frizzed by skilful masters are very amazing.
It was constructed in late 15th century over the trade highway of Icherisheher. The caravansaray has a quadratic shape and salient portal and, its yard is octagonal. It is surrounded by balconies and personal premises – chapels along the perimeter. The octagonal comfortable yard was a special hall under open sky where travellers and merchants were gathering after daily commercial operations. The crossing arch connected in general style along the full perimeter of the internal space of the yard within direct frame aggregates the main part of the architectural composition. The restoration works implemented in 1964 completely discharged the caravansaray building from the constructions and layers added later and it promoted to discover its large-scale structure on the background of the surrounding buildings.
It is located opposite to the Bukhаrа cаravаnsаrаy. It was constructed in 15th century and acted as shelter for Indian merchants and palmers visiting the temple of fire worshippers in Absheron. Presently Multan is a city in Pakistan. The name of the caravansaray is connected with the frequent visits of fire worshippers from Multan city to Baku. It’s known that they had constructed the “Ateshgah” temple in Surakhany. The monument has quadratic shape and yard and, is constructed over old buildings. The architectural and planning structure consists of the balconies surrounding the yard along perimeter and the separate premises envisaged for individual accommodation located behind these balconies.
It was constructed by master Najaf Ashur Ibrahim in 1169. The mosque acquired its own second name in late 19th and early 20th centuries, in the period of development for the oil industry. It was at that time when workers from Daghistan came to the industrial enterprises of Baku in order to earn money and the inhabitants of Icherisheher showed them this mosque for praying. The workers from Daghistan had prayed here for a long time and subsequently, the mosque was called in the public etymology as “Lezgin Mosque”.
The shape of the mosque is parallelepiped. Later, two small windows were opened in the southern facade. The small entrance in crossed shape in the northeast part of the mosque leads to the one-chamber praying hall. The beautiful crown expressed here as tough divides the praying hall into two parts.
During the archaeological investigations and restoration process in 1970s two semicircle arches belonging to the Sassanid’s period were discovered under the southern part of the building. Two premises with domes were discovered behind the arches. The mosque is supposedly constructed over an ancient fire-worshiping temple. Possibly, the future archaeological investigations will discover the rest of the remaining parts of the ancient building upon which a Muslim temple has located over eight centuries.
This mosque located over the commercial highway changing own direction for reaching the Salyan gate. The epigraphic epitaph on the facade specifies the name of Hadji Amirshah Yagub. Another epitaph specifies that the mosque has been restored by Agha Gafar Hadji Murad. According to the main epitaph, the mosque was constructed in 818 on Hegira (1415-16), in the period of Sultan oglu Sultan Sheikh Ibrahim. Subsequently, the people called the mosque with Sheikh Ibrahim’s name. The mosque has tetragonal shape and is covered with stone dome in crossing form. In 19th century the surface of the facade wall of the mosque was divided into three tetragonal frames and subsequently the facade acquired the European architectural style. Each frame has a window and the entrance is made in shape of portal. Protecting the ancient essence of a national architectural monument, the local and European motives get joined into a single architectural platform.
This mosque located on the medieval commercial caravan road was constructed in the early 17th century. It has a quadratic shape in the plan and the center has a dome. The mosque was constructed by Seyid Yahya Murtuza, one of the famous figures of that period, at his own expense. He acted as the ahong of the mosque. Upon his death, he was buried in the yard of the mosque, according to his testament. Presently his grave is next to the entrance door of the mosque.
The mosque was constructed over yard-stairs in 1301 and it impacted on the architectural and planning style of the mosque. The composition methods and stone elements of the internal space had very beautiful decoration owing to the artistic chapel. The stone crown with tender profile located along the complete perimeter of the mosque obviously express the composition methods. Archeological investigations and restoration of the portal were implemented in the lower floor of the stone chapel in 1988. The mosque was constructed over a fire-worshiping temple.
Gileyli mosque was constructed in two periods i.e. in the Shirvanshahs’ period, in 1309 and the second part of 19th century. The new part additionally constructed to the mosque does not violate the unity of the planning scheme, but in contrary, expands the opportunities for comfortability of the praying hall and repeating the architectural environment of the internal space of crossing shape with dome and arch, becomes an integral part of its composition structure. New forms expressing the European architectural methods have been applied here. It’s apparent mostly in the facade structure.
While constructing the protective bastions in Baku city these powerful towers were constructed as an integral part of the fortress wall in order to store the firmness and power of the walls and simplify the protection system. According to the medieval authors, Baku city has a tetragonal tower located in 70 semicircle and northern fortress walls. In middle ages, both in peace and war this tower was used as weapon warehouse. This tower was constructed for two purposes i.e. controlling the territory in order to strengthen protection of Baku city from north hereby increasing the might of the fortress walls and use the closed and large tower as weapon warehouse. This tetragonal tower is called also donjon (“donjon” is a French word meaning “a protective tower”).
The mosque was constructed over a fire-worshiping temple. The epitaph on the mosque wall says regarding construction of the building: “Emir Sharaf-ad-din Mahmud ordered to restore this building in Radjab month of 709 (1309-10).”
A powerful crowned minaret with stalactic range functioning as balcony for summoning the believers in the northern wall of the mosque along the praying hall in 15th century. The history of the minaret is before the date of construction of the Jame mosque. The text of label belonging to Mahammad Oljaytu, Elkhani sultan, is engraved on the gravestone in the foundation of the minaret discovered during archaeological investigations.
In late 19th and early 20th centuries Hadji Shykhali Dadashov, one of the rich inhabitants of Baku constructed the new building of the mosque on the place of the ancient monument for charitable purposes. The dome of the mosque having a small diameter is completed with the praying hall in quadratic shape kept on four supports in the central part. Oriental and European classic motives were used while constructing the mosque. The main principles of the Azerbaijani architecture like stone engraving, wide patterns palette, artistic epigraphy, etc. are expressed in the entrance portal. The construction and pattern works on stones have perfect quality. The skilful masons perfectly expressed the thoughts of an unknown architect.
There is a lot of information regarding the existence of covert underground ways constructed in the medieval cities and towers of Azerbaijan. Such information exists also in folklore. The underground ways of cities and towers arouse interest and it becomes evident that these ways are not occasional and connected to real life. While constructing protective bastions in Baku city the underground ways were constructed together with powerful towers as an integral part of the fortress wall in order to store the firmness and power of the walls and simplify the protection system. Namely for this purpose, an underground way was constructed in the internal part of the northern fortress walls lasting till the Gosha Gala Gapilary, envisaged for the comfortable movement of soldiers. The underground way connected to the tetragonal tower (weapon warehouse or donjon) from west and east. Such location of the tower was envisaged for soldiers’ easy reaching to the donjon for the taking of weapons. This underground way still keeps its own strategic and architectural significance. The underground way lasting along the fortress wall from the entrance gate of the “Icherisheher” subway station to the Gosha Gala Gapilary were closed because of opening the entrance doors to Icherisheher. It’s noticeable that the walls of this way lasting in east direction are laid over rock. The water reservoir consisting of several chambers inside this underground construction presently exists. This reservoir is connected to the basin locating nearby. This underground way with flowing water is a part of a big water pipeline. It’s very interesting that the water ways through the rocks were used also as a covert underground way.
Arched monument having an interesting structure was discovered during the archaeological investigations held in the north part of the Maiden Tower in 1964. The monument surrounded with supported arches looks like the saint Mecca. 52 graves were discovered here during the implemented archaeological investigations. Most of these graves are “saved corpses”. Probably, the graves in the territory of monument and under the arches belonged to “saved corpses” brought from other places. According to the Moslem traditions, some people entrusted to be buried in saint places. If the envisaged saint place was far, the corpses were “saved” i.e. buried in the nearest places. The Cylinric well was discovered in the middle of the yard near the graves and, big octagonal column was found in southeast part. The column stays on three-storied octagonal pavement laid with stone. Its height is 1,31 meters and the thickness is 48 centimetres. The discovered cultural monuments and the graves prove the reality of the archaeologists’ thoughts that these places were saintly areas for praying.
The takiya (chapel for dervishes) constructed in the13th century acted mainly as a settlement mosque. The facade of the takiya looks south, at the Maiden Tower. The takiya has a single premise, extraordinary plan, the chapel in quadrate and covered with staired domes system. The takiya was restored in 1970.
The basin is constructed in portal shape and has a lot of downstairs directed to the water reservoir. The contact of the basin and the bathhouse is seen from the lateral vestibule. The basin was accidentally discovered during the archaeological investigations in the low part of the shah’s bathhouse in 1954. The basin was supplied with water from the mountainous part of the city through underground lines.
Baku khans used to live in the palace located in the territory left of the Shamakhy gate. Upon occupation of Baku by Russian soldiers in 1806 the Russian military garrison was located in the khan’s palace. Military police administration was also located here until recent times. This territory used to have a garden with pool and flowers. Presently only the entrance portal and restored small mosque have survived from this huge palace. The underground rathhouse in the low part of the fortress walls in the territory of the khan’s palace still remains unearthed. Khan’s garden and khan’s palace existed also far from the fortress walls in the late medieval period. Archaeological investigations were implemented in part of the territory of the khan’s palace in 1985-86. Besides a lot of cultural samples water supply system and underground architectural constructions also were discovered here.
During the earth cleaning operations implemented within the archaeological investigations held under the supervision of O.Ismizade and F.Ibrahimov in the yard of the ancient arched monument in 1964, an interesting underground architectural construction made of faience was discovered. Considering that this arched monument is a saintly place of religious significance, this ancient waterline may belong to a more ancient period. This water system located in the northwest and south direction and lasts towards the Maiden Tower. Subsequently to the archaeological investigations held under the supervision of archaeologist Sisoyev in 1924, it was determined that this waterline passes to north from the Maiden Tower for several meters.
This house constructed in the late 14th century located in the Boyuk Gala street and used to consist of one-storied shops. The second storey of this building was constructed as caravansaray in 15th century and acted upon destination until the late middle ages. Large premises belonging to the ancient period still remain in the lower part of this house (supposedly, these premises are oil bunkers). This house was used as dwelling house in the 18th century and was restored several times.
In the Middle Ages Icherisheher had two main entrance doors opening to the well (Shamakhy door and Salyan door). Customs Board and bathhouse located next to these doors. Caravans coming to the city via the “Silkway” were sent to the bathhouse. They were permitted to enter the city only upon being cleaned. It proves that sanitary and hygienic requirements were maintained in Baku in the middle ages. One of these bathhouses remains unearthed in the place of the Baku khans’ house, left to the Gosha Gala Gapilary. This nameless bathhouse was constructed during the peaceful period of the Shirvanshahs’ state approximately in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. As all bathhouses of Icherisheher, this bathhouse also was constructed underground in order to keep stability of the temperature. Gradually, the thickness of the earth layer increased and completely covered the bathhouse. Although the bathhouse is underground, according to its surviving walls it’s possible to say that its premises are covered with domes. The domes of the bathhouse are located over the ground surface. Light was falling into the bathhouse through the holes in the domes. Such bathhouse system is typical for Baku and Absheron. Upon complete occupation of Icherisheher by the Russians in 1906 the territory of the present underground bathhouse (in yard of the Baku khans, in bottom of the fortress walls) turned into Russian commandant's office. Namely in this period, the domes of the unserviceable bathhouse with its destroyed part was demolished and covered with earth. Two windows of the bathhouse presently exist in the fortress wall left of the Gosha Gala Gapisy.
In order to investigate the religious complex near the Maiden Tower more precisely, archaeologist F.Ibrahimov implemented excavations (1990-93) and a mosque belonging to 9th century was discovered north of the Tower.
Short-term archaeological investigations implemented in this territory in 1998 discovered the existence of two premises. There is a kufi epitaph consisting of two words written in ancient Arabian alphabet on the mosque chapel. This epitaph was read by Mashadikhanym Nemat, an epigraphic scientist. The epitaph says: “Power belongs to the God”. The investigators consider this epitaph to belong to 8th- 9th centuries according to comparative analysis and handwriting style. The mosque, adjacent premises and the arched monument cause supposition that they include a single complex. Considering that the city was located on the commercial caravan way it’s possible to suppose the existence of a khanagah here. Historian and archaeologist F.Ibrahimov assumes that this mosque used to belong to Bаbа Kuhi Bаkuvi, famous theologist and religious figure living in Baku in this period.