Azerbaijan: City of Julfa, home of Alinjagala castle

By Peter Tase

April 21, 2015

Julfa region of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan is home of the Alinjagala Castle atop of the mountain that carries the same name. The fortress is located on the right banks of Alinjachay.  According to the ancient sources this historic landmark has been identified with the names of: “Erinjag”, “Erinjik”, “Alanjik”, “Alinja”, “Alanjug”.  For Basrad Pashayev, a local scholar and journalist, the name of Alinjagala is related to the old Turkish word “alan” having in mind the meaning of “plain land” that is because of the location where the castle was built which happens to be flat.   “Alinjak” means “taking off your hand”, it is also related with the invincibility of the fortress.  There are various versions about the construction of Alinjagala.

Rui Gonzales Clavico, the ambassador of Henry III, king of Castilla, as a Spanish diplomat to the government of Teymurilar in 1403 – 06 describes Alinjagala with the following: “Alinjagala is situated on a high and precipitous mountain surrounded by walls and towers.  Within the walls, towards the mountain slopes down there are vineyards, gardens, cornfields, springs and pools.   Based to ancient historical sources the castle was built over two thousand years ago.  Other historians explain that the castle was built on the period of Sasani Government during the III and VII centuries.  According to middle age sources, Alinjagala was described as a strong fortification and Alinja was considered as a fortress, mountain and river. Various historians such as Asoghik (928-1019), Sharafaddin Ali Yazdi (XV Century), Evliya Chelebi (XVII Century) and others have widely written about Alinja. The extraordinary view of the Alinjagala (Alanjik) fortress attracts many foreign visitors.  It is the symbol of strength, military strategy and for centuries has been a critical geostrategic castle.  The walls of Alinjagala castle begin from the slopes of the Alinja Mountain and rise until fully embracing the top of the mount…………………………………..

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Also  in Eurasia Review Journal.


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