Gemigaia Rock-Art, Ordubad region, AZERBAIJAN
- Site: The Cultural Landscape or Gemigaia Rock-Art and Ordubad region
- Keywords: Azerbaijan Cultural Landscape, Nakhchivan, Ordubad, Gemigaia, Gamigaya, rock Art, archaeological remains, paintings, engravings, petroglyphs, Noah myth.
1. OFFICIAL CLASSIFICATIONS AND CATEGORIES
1.1 National and International Classification Lists
Ordubad city is proposed in the Tentative List of UNESCO, with the name “Ordubad historical and architectural reserve”, date of Submission: 24/10/2001, criteria: (i)(iv)(v), and category: Cultural. Submitted by Azerbaijan National. Also, Azerbaijan Goverment declared Ordubad as a medieval city and historical and architectural reserve. The natural Heritage of the region was protected by teh Government as a State Natural Reserve (2003).
1.2. Cultural Landscape Category/Tipology
Organically evolved landscapesRelict (or fossil) landscape
Associative cultural landscape1
1.3. Description and Justification by Med-O-Med
Ordubad rayon is located in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. In this teritory there are some elements which are interesting for this inventory: Ordubab city is the capital of the Ordubad rayon and it is the second largest town of Nakhchivan. The city has a lot of cultural values which have been already considered in the Tentative List of UNESCO. Located 60 km to the south of Ordubad is mount Gemigaia – the second largest after Gobustan place of abundant rock petroglyphs – the fine arts of the Bronze Age (3,000 – 2,000 BC). The site is assessed as a Cultural site by UNESCO, only considering the cultural value of Ordubad city. Med-O-Med has considered appropiate to give another step considering this site as a Cultural Landscape taking into account its natural and cultural heritage, incluiding Ordubad natural heritage and Gemigaia paintings, taking into account the same criteria that UNESCO (UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, Article 1, 1972, Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, 2008) followed to classify The Gobustan Rock Art, in Azerbaijan, as a Cultural Landscape: -Its Natural Heritage Component: Ordubad Natural Sanctuary is a place with important aesthetic, geological and ecological values. Its mountains, including Gamigaya mountain, hills, valleys, caves, natural springs, lagoons and rivers make togehter a magical landscape. -Its cultural Heritage Components: the region is mainly famous because of its cultural value. On one hand, Ordubab city is interesting because of its structure and architectural monuments. The building plan of the city gives the opportunity to get acquainted with the city built culture of the eastern feudals. On the other hand, Gemigaia mountain is the home of thousand of ancient drawings reflecting ancient peoples’ ideas about life. Among these drawings there are images of people, goats, deer, bulls, imaginary animals, leopards, birds. Gemigaia is famous for very interesting drawings in which ancient ceremonial dances, spiritual life and rituals of ancient people of Nakhchivan are pictured. There is also a locals’ legend connected with the name of the mountain. In fact it is a myth about Noah. According to the legend Noah collided with it during the Flood and gave it the name “Kemchi” (Smaller) (Gemigaia is a variant of Kemchigaia). For all these reasons, Med-O-Med, using the UNESCO categories of Cultural Landscapes, classifies Gemigaia Rock art and Ordubad region as an Organically evolved landscape, and also as an Associative landscape, because the territory is strongly connected to human being history since Prehistory.
2. NAME / LOCATION / ACCESSIBILITY
- Current denomination Gemigaia or Gamigaya, Ordubad.
- Current denomination Gemigaia or Gamigaya, Ordubad.
- Original denomination Gemigaia, Ordubad (also, Ordoubat and Ordubat).
- Popular denomination Gemigaia or Gamigaya, Ordubad (also, Ordoubat and Ordubat).
- Address: Ordubad rayon, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan.
- Geographical coordinates: Ordubad: Lat. 38°54' N Long. 46°1' E
- Area, boundaries and surroundings: Ordubad city and Gamigaya are in Ordubad rayon, Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan. Gamigaya traceries are situated in southwest hills of Camisholan, Garangush flats in Gapijig peak, 3907 meter from the sea level (in Nakhchivan AR and in the territory of Ordubad district).
3. LEGAL ISSUES
- Owner: Azerbaijan Government.
- Body responsible for the maintenance: Azerbaijan Government.
- Legal protection: Ordubad is a State Nature Sanctuary.
About Gamigaya Mountain: The world archeological updates indicate that the human society was originated 2.5 -3 million years ago. The archeological investigations had proved that the first residential settlements in Nakhchivan were in the Middle Paleolithic age. It is clear that there is no any necessity to use the legend of Nuh for artificial rising the historical age of Nakhchivan. And also the history of this legend goes to some 7-6 thousand years back. From other side the flooding that happened in Mesopotamia did not cover Azerbaijan and during V-IV eras before our age (B. D.) there was a prospering culture. Basing on the legend of Nuh, and calling Gamigaya drawings be the most ancient drawing works, is not right. As it is mentioned above this legend comparing with the origin of the universe is much younger. From other side we should note that the people never created the art works. The archeological excavations proved that the emergence of art was closely connected with appearance of Homo sapiens. We can encounter the drawings belonging to the last period of Paleolithic age in Altamira- Spain, in Lyasko-France, in Lena valley-Siberia and in other places. In Azerbaijan the most ancient drawings belonging to Mesolithic age were discovered in Gobustan. A majority of drawings in Gamigaya belong to the Bronze Age. But their exists a possibility that in future there also can be found much older drawings. About Ordubad city: Ordubad was one of the most important trade cities, with caravans passing from China, Europe and India. Many fruits, agricultural products and, of course, silk were taken out from Ordubad. On the left bank of Ordubadchay, in the XV century, on the Ambras top, was founded Gala city, which was the feudal residence. In spite of fact that the Gala was the center of Ordubad, on the right bank of Ordubadchay the city began to develop due to the trade. In the XVII century on the left bank of Ordubadchay the new trade centers were formed. Taking into consideration that the development of the city passed o the right side, Gala residence lost its importance. So, in Ordubad in the XVII-XVIII centuries on the right shore the new districts and trade centers were established
- Oldest initial date /building and inauguration date: Geologists up to 1965 have not discovered Gamigaya illustrations.
- Authors: In 1968 first paintings were discovered. During the research works a large parts of the illustrations photos were taken and later they have been published. 1993 the investigator Vali Aliyev invest finalized all these researches by publishing his analytical book dedicated to this.
5. GENERAL DESCRIPTION
5.1. Natural heritage
- Heritage: Archaeological
- Geography: High Mountain
- Site topography: Natural
- Climate and environmental conditions: No iformation available.
- Geological and Geographical characteristics: Gamigaya traceries are situated in southwest hills of Camisholan, Garangush flats in Gapijig peak, 3907 meter from the sea level (in Nakhchivan AR and in the territory of Ordubad district). The main area where the Gamigaya drawings are located is Garangush flat. The illustrations, which are located on gray and black parts of cliffs, are mainly in pink view.
Land uses and economical activities:Tourism.
Summary of Landscapes values and characteristics:
Ordubad region is composed by hugh and beatiful mountains that make an unequalled landscape. Inside this region, Gamigaya mountain is home of thousands of paintings, engravings, petroglyphs and other ancient vestiges since Prehistory. Ordubad city, the capital of the rayon, is very interesting because of its cultural value: its monuments, gardens, and ancient remains.
5.2. Cultural Heritage
A) Related to current constructions, buildings and art pieces in general
Architectonical elements /Sculptures:
Ordubad city: In the XVII century the city was reconstructed and again there was used a structure of feudal ‘city building. So the new formed trade squares in that blocks were bigger and the mosque, springs, bath-houses developed even more. One of the most ancient buildings – the mosque and its environs – can be considered the main sights of the city. The medieval market square in the center of Ordubad is a model of that period. The ancient streets, which leads to the center’s glass mosque complex were preserved as architectural constructions. Not far from the glass mosque there were caravan sheds and large market, where silk and dry fruits were taken out in European Eastern countries. At the first sight, it may seem that old streets, in the general plan, refer to a chaotic structure, but in reality they submit to a radial law. The streets, which look like a fan near to the center, unite the block squares with the central street, which repeats the river form. Depending on the relief, each street has big or small squares, which is inherent to Ordubad. Like in all other feudal cities, in Ordubad with the help of the streets, this city was divided into districts. Ordubad divided into 5 districts: 1) Ambaras 2) Kurdtatal 3) Mingis 4) Sar sheher 5) Uch Azerbaijan Goverment declared Ordubad as a medieval city and historical and architectural reserve.
In the case of gardens: original and current style:It is not the case.
B) Related to ancient remains
- Archaeological components:
Gamigaya rock carvings are dated to the 4th-1st millennia BC including the Bronze and Early Iron Ages in the territory of Ordubad Rayon, not far from Nəsirvaz village’s border and Azerbaijan’s border with Armenia. Gamigaya traceries are situated in southwest hills of Camisholan, Garangush flats in Gapijig peak, 3907 meter from the sea level (in Nakhchivan AR and in the territory of Ordubad district). The main area where the Gamigaya drawings are located is Garangush flat. The illustrations, which are located on gray and black parts of cliffs, are mainly in pink view. The drawings had been performed by means of carving and stone chipping techniques. But some few drawings are done through scraping techniques. Among these drawings there are images of people, goats, deer, bulls, imaginary animals, leopards, birds. Gemigaia is famous for very interesting drawings in which ancient ceremonial dances, spiritual life and rituals of ancient people of Nakhchivan are pictured. The locations of drawings are topographically very complicated. The on rock illustrations are in-group shape and they are mainly located on the nearby distance of water sources. We can encounter the likely groups in 5-6 places on the northeast part of Dali bulag. But there exist some illustrations, which go beyond the groups. Fathering from these sources, the illustrations become less. Near the on rock drawings we can meet the small and primitively made shelters for the cattle and horned cattle. Some of the cattle station places are in a circle shaped form. Some walls partially reach to 0.7-1 m height. The ethnographic materials prove that the likely stations were designed for horned cattle. The similar constructions preserved in Garangush flat belong to medieval ages. The nearby-located graveyards also prove it. There is no doubt that, in the ancient period there had been the seasonal residential settlements. In order to discover them we need to carry the archeological excavation works. Utensils belonging to the Bronze Age had also drawn the attention of foreign investigators. They were left by farming and cattle breeding tribes which lived on this territory. The surface of the rocks has been polished to mirror shine by landslips and glaciers. This surface stores thousands of carved drawings reflecting ancient peoples’ ideas about life.
- Historical routes:
Ordubad city was one of the most important trade cities of Azerbaijan, with caravans passing from China, Europe and India. Many fruits, agricultural products and, of course, silk were taken out from Ordubad.
- Traces in the environment of human activity: Ancient remains.
C) Related to intangible, social and spiritual values
- Population, ethnic groups: Ordubad has a population of around 10,400 people.
- Lifestyle, believing, cults, traditional rites: Gamigaya drawings are not connected with nomadic and semi nomadic animal breeding. Emergence of on rock illustrations is not connected only with semi nomadic life of the people, but as well with humans system of beliefs. A repertoire of Gamigaya illustrations also confirms this idea, because the described wild animals fish, snake and insects' descriptions have not a direct connection with animal breeding. These are connected only with humans' beliefs. The existence of the legend of Nuh and the fact of Gapijig Mountain's location on the highest peak of the Small Caucasus, and also the existence of Garangush lane in Bibgatal worship place, which are related to Gamigaya once again, could serve as a testimony to these thoughts. From this viewpoint the existence of on rock illustrations namely at the nearby of worship places - the idea which is put forward by some researchers, is quiet relevant to reality.
Condition: environmental/ cultural heritage degradation:The ancient remains found in Gamigaya requires the join efforts and combining all scientific knowledge in the field of archeology, folklore, mythology and ethnography. From on side a difficult character of these sciences and from other side the deficiency of mythological investigations had created some obstacles in study of Gamigaya monuments.
Quality of the night sky, light pollution and possibility to observe the stars:Silence and solitude are total in this site when night comes.
Perspectives/Views/ Points of interest/Setting:
-Ordubad State Nature Sanctuary, with all its naturla components. -Gamigaya site: pintings, engravings and other vestiges. -Ordubad city: its monuments, narrow streets and beatiful gardens.
Authenticity:The richness of the cultural heritage of Ordubad city and the rock art and archaeological vestiges found in Gamigaya, together with the natural diversity of the ecosystem, fauna, flora and wetlands of Ordubad Natural Sanctuary, fully reflect Outstanding Universal Value. It is vulnerable to deterioration caused by climatic phenomena, and to damage caused by visitors.
Universality:The Cultural Landscape or Gemigaia Rock-Art and Ordubad region has outstanding universal value for the quality and density of its rock art engravings, for the substantial evidence the collection of rock art images presents for hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyles in pre-historic times and for the cultural continuity between prehistoric and mediaeval times that the site reflects. Also because of the cultural significance and architectonical value of Ordubad city. Considering the UNESCO criteria described for Ordubad city (i, iv, v), in addition to those that Med-O-Med has considered appropiated to include refering Gamigaya site (using Gobustan as an example): i) The impressive array of paintings and rock engravings of various periods gives world recognition to the property. The representations of ancient religious practices and social life are a masterpiece of human creative genius. Also, the particular architectonical desing of the streets and quarters of Ordubad city are considered. iii) The rock engravings are an exceptional testimony to a way of life that has disappeared in the way they represent so graphically activities connected with hunting and fishing at a time when the climate and vegetation of the area were warmer and wetter than today. iv) Ordubad city is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates a significant stages in human history. v) Ordubad city is is also an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use representative of a feudal ancient culture, or human interaction with the environment. vii) With the eroded stones, the mountains, and the mud volcanoes, the property is of remarkable scenic interest. viii) The geological conformation of Gobustan and all the fossils found in the area including animal's bonesm are of great paleo-geographical and paleo-ecological interest. We can encounter the drawings belonging to the last period of Paleolithic age in Altamira- Spain, in Lyasko-France, in Lena valley-Siberia and in other places. In Azerbaijan the most ancient drawings belonging to Mesolithic age were discovered in Gobustan. A majority of drawings in Gamigaya belong to the Bronze Age.
Values linked to the Islamic culture and civilisation:The architecture of Ordubad city, the mosque, narrow streets, main square, etc, come from the Islamic culture. Also the way of farming or gardening has islamic influence. Some beliefs are related to the Islamic religion.
Historical and graphical data (drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, literary items…):
*** The Cultural Landscape or Gemigaia Rock-Art and Ordubad is one of all of the cultural landscapes of Azerbaijan which are included in The Cultural Landscape inventory runned by Med-O-Med.
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Compiler Data: Sara Martínez Frías.