Ashabi-Kahf is a sanctuary in the natural cave, between Ilandagh and Nahajir mountains, at 12 km distance from Nakhchivan city. Since ancient times, Ashabi-Kahf has been considered as a sacred place, a kind of altar of people who had faith in the Great God. This sacred place was a place of faith for local people and pilgrims for thousand years. Researches show that Ashabi-Kahf cave mentioned in Holy Koran is in Nakhchivan.
By the task and initiative of Heydar Aliyev, national leader, the renovation works were held in Ashabi-Kahf. An inscription dealing with this was arranged at the entrance of the place of pilgrimage. The inscription says: “The restoration and construction works in the place of pilgrimage were carried out by the task and initiative of Heydar Aliyev, president of the Azerbaijan Republic since 1998”. Later years, as a result of restoration-construction Works, very good conditions were created for the pilgrimages, and a mosque was built for them. Today, the pilgrimages, tourists, and guests from other regions of Azerbaijan and foreign countries visit here.
THE TOMB OF PROPHET NOAH
It is an architectural monument of the VIII-XII centuries, in the area of Kohnagala, in the South part of Nakhchivan. In the article “The city of Nakhchivan and the Nakhchivan uyezd” by K.A.Nikitin, a russian educator who lived in Nakhchivan in the 80s of the XIX century, the grave and tomb of his Excellency, prophet Noah was depicted as follows: “The grave of Noah is situated near the remainders of the old fortress, in the South of Nakhchivan city. The today’s image of the grave was restored in the 8th century. Today’s grave reminds the tomb not higher from the ground. Before there was a temple, but then it was destroyed. Today’s tomb consists of the remainders of that temple. The interior of the temple to go downstairs is round and was enforced with a stone pole in the center and is a vault type. According to the legend, the grave of Noah is situated under it. There is no depiction of the images and decorations in the vault. The walls of the vault were whitened, and the names of the travellers and pilgrimagers were written in different languages on the walls”. With the help of local people, Nikitin compelled and wrote the legends about the link of prophet Noah with this land and identified place of grave. While V.M.Sisoyev gives information about “The tomb of Noah” in his work, he states that the sides of the vault were in the octogonial prism form of 2,5m. At the beginning of the XX century, Bahruz Kangarli, the founder of the Azerbaijan realist work of Artist (1892-1922), painted the tomb of Noah from nature in oil paint. Along with the tomb of Noah, the place of tomb was also described in the painting.
There are enough more legends about the grave of Noah in Nakhchivan. According to the legend, during the world storm the ark of prophet Noah struck the Ilandagh which is situated in the territory of Nakhchivan and then dropped anchor on the mountain slope near the top of Gapijig. Naming that place Gamigaya, the existence of the Nabi land summer pasture and very ancient dwelling place named Nuhdaban not far from ground on the reality of the sources resembled in the legend. In the stories connected with prophet, Noah there is information that his and even his sister’s graves were in the city of Nakhchivan. I.Shopen, Dyubua-de Monpere, K.A.Nikitin, V.M.Sisioyev, and other investigators gave information about the tomb of Noah.
It is an architectural building in the South-east part of Nakhchivan city. It belongs to XVI-XVIII centuries and consists of 3 buildings. The core of complex consists of composition-tomb. A building, adjoining the tomb, a little bigger in volume and an entrance door from the west, is the center part of the complex. According to the writing of V.M.Sısoyev, who was in Nakhchivan in the 20s of last century, this part of complex was considered as a mausoleum of Nakhchivan khans. Scientis mentiones that there was a grave of Abbasgulu khan’s son Mustafagulu khan Nakhchivanski who died in 1337 AH (1918). But this and other graves were destroyed over time. There is another tomb in the North, a little bit away from the complex. In comparison with other other tombs, this one is in better condition. However, as there is not any grave or memorial inscription in it, the date of it could not be identified. By being in harmony with each other, the buildings in Imamzadeh have established a complete architectural ensemble. There was a graveyard around the complex belonging to Middle Ages. Some of these graves were destroyed over time, but some still exist there. Tomb inscriptions of XVI centuries found under the ground were investigated. Vaulted tombs built of baked bricks are met here. The place of necropolis changed to the hill near the monument over time. Some members of sufi sects of Middle Ages used complex as a place of living, praying, and remebrance-khanagah. Architectural complex was renovated and restored in 2004.
Imamzadeh tomb is the main part of Imamzadeh Complex. There is a grave inside the tomb which is visited by people. As there is not an epitaph, tombstone inscription on it, it is impossible to talk about its affiliation. However, as the old population of city says, the 8th imam of Shiites, Rza’s son is buried here. According to the epigraphic scientist I. Azimov’s writings in the 20s of the last century, there was a script with handwriting written in Arabic on the North-west part of the tomb. It drew the attention of Russian scientist N.V.Khanikov, and he published the content of script and its translation in Russian. It is written in the content of the script: “This mansion was built by the order of Excellency Rufai, The great sultan, ruler, respectable amir, judge of arabs and ajams, philanthropist of his time, Haji Fulad bay’s son, whose sins were forgiven during the reign of Abu Sultan Muzaffar Shah Badir Tahmasib”. Although the date was not mentioned in the script, according to the words “during the reign of Abu Sultan Muzaffar Shah Badir Tahmasib” , the date can be determined. Abu Sultan Muzaffar Shah Badir Tahmasib is the son of Safavi ruler Sultan Huseyn. Known as II Tahmasib in history, this man was in power during 1722-32 years. This means that the tomb was constructed in the 20s of the XVIII century. Today, the content of than script was copied to a new Stone based on I.Azimov’s reading and put in its previous place. Second tower walls of Nakhchivan city belonging to ancient period and middle ages were discovered near the tomb,and crafts were found there.
ASNI SACRED PLACE
This is a sanctuary to the north of Garabaglar village, Kangarly region. The source of the Asni river is pilgrimaged by people as a sacred place. Three different legends about the Asni river were stated. One of the legends says that a man exchanges all his wealth for gold and fills it into his stick. The very man from Daralayaz drops his stick into the spring. The water delivers the stick to Garabaglar. A shepherd finds the stick. The stick holder reaches this village looking for it. The man sees that the shepherd is holding his stick. When explained the secret of the stick he gets back it from the shepherd. The waterly spring spurting out of the rocks was considered holy by the people and became a sanctuary. Before there was a square shaped building built of mortar near the sacred place. At present a monumental architectural monument has been built instead of that building. Inside the sacred place there are two graves about the Middle Ages. On the grave chest Stones, there are inscriptions written in Arabic. For the inscriptions, the grave monuments are about XIV century. But the history of the sacred place dates very back to the Azerbaijan Turks in connection with their mountain, water and tree belief. The sacred place may be related to 1st millenium B.C.
ARMAMMAD SACRED PLACE
A cave, situated to the west of high mountain, at about 4-5 km distance to the from Jamaldin village, Julfa region, was registered as a sanctuary in 1974. As a result of chance discoveries, stone labour tools, various tablewares characteristic for Mustye culture were discovered. The discoveries are expected to belong to about 50-40 thousand years ago. The sacred place, sometimes named Almammad sacred place by people, consists of one room surrounded with big trees. There is a grave on the left side of the entrance door. There is another grave in the building too. The main pilgrimage object in the sacred place is that grave. Both graves there are pilgrimaged. As on the graves there were not epigraphic paper-inscriptions, to identify their personality and time was impossible. There are different legends about the sacred place among people. The sanctuary-sacred place belongs to the 3-1 millenniums B.C and Middle Ages.
It is located in the Khanliglar village of Sharur. “Imamzadeh” was registered as a historical monument which reflects the moral values, religious views and imaginations, beliefs, ethno-psychological and moral relation system of Azerbaijani people. Parchi Imamzadeh has high craft and architecture characteristics.
Imamzadeh consists of entrance, hall, and a room. According to researchers, Imamzadeh belongs to XVI century. There is a grave inside the building. Before, there had been a script on it. In 1928, researchers identified that “Ibrahim Musa oglu” was written in Arabic alphabet on the script on the grave. Local people think that after 7th Imam Museyi Kazim’s death, his son Ibrahim came and lived Sharur. After his death, his grave turned to a sanctuary. Then a tomb was erected on the grave.
According to the decree by the Chairman of Supreme Assembly of Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, restoration Works were carried out in Imamzadeh in 2015-16.
It is located in Tananam village of Sharur. Piri-Suleyman tomb consists of simply constructed vault and dome building. There is a grave in the vault. The monument is visited as a sanctuary for a long time. Although there was a script on the entrance door of the sanctuary, it does not exist now. Researcher think that a sufi sect was here in XIV-XV centuries, and Suleyman was its leader.
“Piri-Suleyman” tomb is people’s belief place, sanctuary, and an important monument.
NUSNUS SACRED PLACE
It is a sanctuary of Middle Ages in the Nusnus village of Ordubad region. It is located on the ground floor of a historical- architectural mosque building which is situated in the west part of village, in a relatively high area. There is not exact information about who is buried in the simple shaped grave, in the yard of mosque. It is said that grave belongs to Dahyanus (Mountain Yunus) period, the same period with Ashabi-Kahf. There is a stone column in the center of mosque, which height is 5m. One legend says that it had been destroyed several times, but appeared again. The entrance door of sacred place is made of solid walnut material widespread in Ordubad. Nine-line inscription in Arabic with smooth handwriting is engraved on the door. The content of inscription makes it clear that the mosque was built by the order of Elkhani ruler Abu Said Bahadir khan’s (Oljaytu Muhammed Khudabende’s son) guard Sedr bin Sarim bin Senjer bin Aytekin during the reign of Abu Said (1316-1335). The construction ended in 4 Ramadan, 726 (04.08.1326). The sacred place - pir and the mosque on it was renovated by the initiative and funds of local people. Koranic verses and religious sayings are written on the walls, the holy places are also painted on them.