Lankaran is a subtropical paradise and resort. It is located in the southeast of Azerbaijan practically on the border with Iran. In the east the city is washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea. The nature of Lankaran harmoniously combines high mountain tops, fertile lowlands and pebbly sea coasts.
Territorially and historically Lankaran was a part of different states. In ancient times it was known as Talish area which was included in Smaller Midia or Atropatena. Lankaran was also under the rule of Seljuks, Khulaguids and Timurids.
In the 16th century it was within the structure of Iranian dynasty of Sefevids. In the 18th-19th centuries it became a capital of independent Talish khanate. In the 19th century it was a part of Russia.
The city's major landmark is Lankaran Fortress (18th century) and Kichik-Bazar mosque (19th). 100 km from Lankaran lies one of the most medieval beautiful cities - Khanege where you can see the fortifications (12th -14the centuries), a mosque and the tomb of Pir Hussein, a minaret and other ancient structures.
Right in the city centre there is the House of Mirakhmad khan - one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of Lankaran. The palace was constructed in 1913. The elements of national architecture were skillfully used during the house construction in spite of the fact that it was built by French architects. This three-storey palace is considered he first multi-storey building in the city. Northern and western facades of the cit were made of bricks and white stones the eastern and southern ones - from red bricks. The entrance top is decorated with the figures of mythical animals. The columns support the balcony of the second floor.
Lankaran Fortress (tower) was constructed in the 18th century. It was one of the main fortresses of the city within Talish khanate. In those days according to the evidence of eyewitnesses the fortress made amazing impression with its high castellated stone walls and menacing cannons. Besides, the fortress was surrounded by deep moats which were filled with water in case of oncoming threat.
The battles were fought from two towered fortifications - northern and southern which stood quite far apart from each other. In 1812 after the bloody battle and great losses from both sides the fortress was taken by Russian armies. After the fall of Lankaran fortress Gulistan peace treaty was signed.
The structure of a fortress included two market places: Bigger and Smaller (Kichik).Two mosques were erected on their territories in the early 20th century. These two mosques, which were the biggest in the city, have survived
The mosque and adjoining mausoleum with minaret built in 1256 were the parts of the religious-cult complex of Khanega. The mosque was made of well-dressed stone slabs and covered with a spherical dome. Of particular value is the mikhrab bordered by a graceful gyazha engraving, kufi inscriptions and an ornament, multi-colored tiles. The minaret of the mosque is a harmonious octahedral trunk with a platform for muezzin on top.
By means of small dark passage the mosque is connected to the tomb of Pir Hussein lit by a window cut in one of the walls. The walls of the tomb, the gravestone in its center and the arch of the passage used to be covered with magnificent ceramic face work with the images of eight-beam stars.
Long time ago this place was considered a relic containing the remains of some saint (Pir Hussein). The authority of this sacred place reached far outside Shirvan. The main decoration of Pir Hussein's tomb is 11-meter-long tiled frieze of special value. The tiles of the frieze covered with gilding are painted dark blue and greenish -turquoise. These tiles are regarded as the best in entire Middle East .
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