Travel with me around Azerbaijan: Ateshgah

Hope you’re having a great day, my lovely readers!

I decided to start a new series of posts, called Travel with me. I love exploring new places, learning about different cultures and ancient buildings, tasting new food and having a little adventure and I want to share this magic with you.

I decided to start with my beloved home country, Azerbaijan and today I’m taking you on a trip to Ateshgah, the Fire Temple.

Ateshgah is a castle-like religious structure located 30 km away from Baku in Surakhani. Our adventure started right after departure as neither I nor my friend been there before and we had to lay down a route through Google Maps. Except for few wrong turns (sometimes what looks right turn on Google Maps may actually turn out to be left and few roads that we came across that weren’t on the map) we made it safe and sound. Here is Ateshgah on Google Maps.

Ateshgah was built in 17th – 18th centuries, but the history of this place dates even further back when local people worshiped at this site because of the “seven holes with burning flames” and thus the name of Surakhani – “holes with burning fountains”.

Ateshgah consists of the temple and tetra-pillar altar in the middle and pentagonal monastery complex with the courtyard around the temple. Ateshgah means “home of fire”. The name refers to the fact that the complex was built atop of natural gas field that produced spontaneous flame from gas seepage (gas coming out of the ground comes in contact with oxygen and creates a flame).

At different times the temple welcomed Zoroastrian and Indian worshipers.

After 1883 the flow of natural gas to this area stopped due to heavy exploitation of the field by petroleum plants nearby and the temple was abandoned. In 1975 the complex was turned into museum. Today, the fire in Ateshgah is fed by the mains gas piped from Baku.

Interesting facts:

  • Avraham Firkowicz, a Karaite collector, wrote about his meeting in Darband in 1840 with fireworshiper from Baku. Firkowicz asked the worshipper “Why do you worship fire?” Fireworshiper replied that they do not worship fire at all, but the Creator, which is not a person, but rather a “matter” (abstraction) called Q’rţ’, and symbolized by fire. Term Q’rţ’ (“kirdar”) means in Pahlavi and Avestan as “one who does”, “creator”.
  • There is an exact replica of this eternal natural gas flame temple on a smaller scale in India at Kangra valley Himachal Pradesh. This Indian temple is called Jwalamukhi, Jwala meaning a natural fire and Mukhi meaning mouth in Sanskrit. There the fire is considered an incarnation of the goddess Durga.
  • In 1858, the great French novelist Alexander Dumas (“the father”) (1802-1870), who is remembered for writing “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Three Mousketeers,” visited the Caucasus. On his nine-month journey throughout the region, one of the places that captured his imagination was Atashgah. Here is how he described the place:

 

“Great tongues of flame soared in the air from the hundreds of tiny round fissures in the ground. The wind would scatter the flames, curve them and then straighten them, spreading them along the ground and then lifting them up to heavens again. But it was impossible for the wind to extinguish them.

There was a big quadrangular building which also was lit by a fire. Reflections of the flames danced on the walls of the building, making it seem like the building itself was moving.

There was a white washed temple, surrounded by little ovens again filled with tongues of flame. The gas burned with such loud noise that each of these little ovens sounded like a big furnace. On the roof, great tongues of flame were emitted from each of the four corners of the big cupola.”

Information in this post is based on Ateshgah on Wikipedia and Ateshgah in Azerbaijan International by Farid Alakbarov.

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App of the day: Baku Airport

Azerbaijan Airlines ATR-72 (4K-AZ64) at the He...
Azerbaijan Airlines ATR-72 (4K-AZ64) at the Heydar Aliyev International Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Baku Airport is a good app to get the information about arrivals, departures, delays and cancellations, terminal and other useful things.

It comes in very handy if you’re planning to pick someone up from  GYD airport.

You can also subscribe to notifications and then you’ll get the info right on your phone once the selected flight has landed, entered the baggage claim, etc., but I wouldn’t solely rely on this info as they tend to come a bit later than in reality. Hopefully, app developers will fix it soon.

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Lady in the hat by Natella Mammadova – Art Print

Lady in the hat Art Print Society6

If you want to get a print of this beautiful lady, you can do it on Society6 website! 🙂

Order now and get  free shipping – offer is valid till May 11, 2014 at Midnight Pacific Time.

Have a beautiful day!

Love,

Natella

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Thought of the day: Miracles are just around the corner

Some time ago I saw a beautiful blooming purple tree while driving  in the neighborhood. I really wanted to take a picture for use in one of my future drawings and few days ago we decided to walk there with my Dad. How much was I surprised to find not just one, but so many other purple blooming trees and flowers and even a waterfall built-in the wall of the park.

We took so many beautiful pictures, that now there is enough material for many more paintings and just had a lot of fun.

Spring is so beautiful and I’m living such a happy life and it all starts with gratitude. When you look on the bright side, when you find things to appreciate and be grateful for (and there are plenty in any situation!) and the more you love God and the Universe, the more it loves you back and shows you miracles all around you, that you didn’t see before! 🙂

Have a fantastic awesome super happy day! I know I’m having one!

Love and light,

Natella

One of "Flame Towers"
One of “Flame Towers”

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Video of the day: Mimi’s of LuxyHair Braided Chignon Hair Style

I’ve followed Mimi on Instagram and YouTube for a while now and I’m absolutely in love with her hair tutorials, her beautiful hair and smile and sweet personality. Oh, and the fact that she’s from Azerbaijan makes me really proud! 🙂

This hair tutorial is inspired by Dolce & Gabbana SS 2014 runway show and I love everything Dolce & Gabbana! This hairstyle looks very feminine and chic and I can’t wait to recreate it!

Now, here’s the video:

 

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Bird’s-eye view Azerbaijan

Few days ago I stumbled upon gorgeous bird’s-eye view photos of my homeland, Azerbaijan. It’s truly amazing how familiar places can look so different when you change the angle and your perspective!

Icheri Sheher, Baku
Icheri Sheher, Baku

Images are courtesy of Gapp.az and Bakcell.

Flame Towers, Baku
Flame Towers, Baku

I go to sleep and then I wake up in a strange and beautiful dream. I open my eyes and I see that the sun has lit my room and painted all things in bright colors. There’s so much light everywhere around me! It must be a warm and sunny day. I get up and I walk to the living room. It’s is also illuminated by the light. I open the door and now I’m standing on the porch smelling the flowers and filling the lungs with fresh air.

To this day I never felt this way before! I feel life running through my veins! I see myself as strong and gentle being, passionate and calm at the same time. I’m going with the flow of the Universe, trusting the Divine. I feel lightweight. In fact, I feel so light that I can easily take off the ground and touch the sky, fill the sky and be one with it. In a flash of light, I remember my childhood dreams. I was sitting on the balcony watching birds. How they slowly flap their wings to gain height and then glide so gracefully, so effortlessly, like they are one with the sky.

Is it possible? Can my childhood dream come true? Cautiously I climb on the balcony railing and I feel wings on my back. I spread the wings and I push off the ground. Flying seems so natural! As if I was meant to! As if I always knew how to fly, just haven’t used this gift for a while! Gliding and rising above the trees and roads I watch people, cars and buildings become smaller and smaller.

I head towards the sea. Then I fly above the city. Everything seems so different from above! Then I head even further toward the mountain tops. I watch the rivers and roads framing the beautiful green land. Such a masterpiece! Creator is the greatest artist! Earth as a canvas, I imagine him mixing  colors, letting them flow one onto another, creating steady strokes, carrying over passion and love upon the painting and smiling at the beauty of his creations.

Like an eagle, I swirl effortlessly, one with the wind, I pause only to notice how all the problems, concerns, everything that seemed so large and important is nothing more than a dot in the vast Universe. I remember that infinite happiness I felt when I was a child. I remember my true self, my infinite nature and limitless capabilities. I will wake up from this dream, but I will always remember.

National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
International Mugam Center, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
Fountain Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
National Flag Square, Baku
Georgian church
Georgian church
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Ismailli
Ismailli
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Kurkosa island, Neftchala
Zaqatala
Zaqatala
Nabran
Nabran
Mingachevir reservoir
Mingachevir reservoir
Neftchala lake
Neftchala lake

For more beautiful pictures, please visit azerbaijan.gapp.az

“The rule of thirds” is one of the basic rules of composition. The main object of your photo shoot will look more interesting if it is not centered, but closer to one of the corners. iPhone camera has the built-in grid feature which will make your life easier. Prior to ios 7 you could turn on the grid right in the Camera app. Now in ios 7 the grid is hidden in the General Settings.

In Settings select Photos & Camera
In Settings select Photos & Camera

Slide the finger to turn the Grid on

Slide the finger to turn the Grid on
How to turn on the grid - 3
Now you can see the grid lines when you take a photo!

If you want to learn more about ‘the rule of thirds’, visit iMore’s How to make your iPhone photography more striking with the “rule of thirds” or look at Business Insider’s Rule of Thirds and lots of other tips on how to make iPhone photography better.

Natella’s view: “The rule of thirds’ was very useful. I went out and tried to compose my pictures using the rule and was pleased with the result most of the times. But, as they say, rules are meant to be broken, and some objects looked better when centered like the big flowerpot in one of my pictures below. “

So. here are the pictures using and breaking ‘the rule of thirds’. All of them are black and white, because it suited my mood, but I will add more color photos later. All photos have been done in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Rule of thirds - 3Rule of thirds - 2Rule of thirds - 1Rule of thirds - 6Rule of thirds - 4Rule of thirds - 5

Hope you found the info useful and if you decide to try using this rule in your photos, I would love to see them.

 

Azerbaijani National Costume drawing

I was organizing my book shelves and found “Azerbaijani National Costume” book. I decided to do my own illustrations inspired by the book, so here is the first one.

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photo 3 photo 4

photo 3photo 2

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photo 1photo 2

photo 3photo 5

photo 4photo 2

photo 1