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Cyclops, mummies and the rest: a different kind of sightseeing in Azerbaijan

14 March 2014 [17:45] - TODAY.AZ
Azerbaijan is not known as a tourist destination catering to those seeking chills or extreme sports, or adventure.

For the most part the main attractions are Baku's Icheri Sheher - the old city, the seafront promenade known as Boulevard, and a few either old or modern buildings, such as the "Flame Tower," a large tower that at night appears to be borrowed from the movie set of Towering Inferno.

Or for the travelers who venture outside the cities, it can be the beauty of the regions with nature as it was meant to be enjoyed, in its purity. Or yet the serenity of the Caspian Sea.

However, if you've already seen it all that, how about seeing some mummies? Yes, mummies in Azerbaijan. Although they're not exactly the same as those in Egypt, nonetheless they are worth checking out. And where might one find mummies in Azerbaijan?

Enter the Anatomy Museum of Azerbaijan that was established in 1919. Today the museum exists and functions in the capital city as part of Azerbaijani Medical University. The university itself was established shortly after the 1917 Russian October Revolution. Within the university in Baku, the department of human anatomy was created as well.

So, if you're looking for something different - consider visiting the Anatomy Museum. The question is - how do you get in?

First of all - it's free, however there are some rules that have to be followed. The museum, being an integral part of the university can only be accessed through the university itself. Permission to visit the halls of the museum must be obtained at the Department of Human Anatomy. There are also guides that will show you around. The museum is open five days a week.

The museum has several halls, each with its own exhibits, such as human anomalies (including siamese twins, cyclops, and so on).

"In Soviet times the museum was regularly updated with new exhibits, today much less so," Head of Department of Human Anatomy of Azerbaijan's Medical University, professor, honored scientist, Vagif Shadlinskiy says.

The museum today is mostly updated with plastic body parts which are manufactured in Baku, specifically for students of the university. The museum is rarely empty, as students hold studies there several times a week.

In 2007 it was reported that there are about 7,000 body parts taken from the bodies of deceased people. And yes, there are real body parts in the museum that are exhibited with permission, if the body is unclaimed and if it has some sort of pathology.

Despite some beliefs, there was only one man, since the establishment of the museum, who bequeathed his body to for the museum - doctor of medical science, professor Konstantin Malinovsky (1876-1926).

When he passed away, it was revealed that he had some pathologies, thus some organs were used for exhibitions in the museum.

So, in any case, the anatomy museum can definitely be added to the places which you can visit in Baku, especially if you're a tourist. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's worth checking out. Just make sure to check your stomach at the door.



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