The "Baku Acropolis", "Old City", "Inner City"; all these are the names for Icherisheher, a unique historical monument located right in the center of Baku.
Icherisheher, the heart of the Azerbaijani capital, is the oldest existing part of the city. It was inscribed as the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000.
Sometimes Icherisheher is referred to as a fortress, because its area is fully surrounded with a well-preserved vallum. Icherisheher and its defensive fortresses are symbols of patriotism and a great source of national pride and dignity for the Azerbaijanis.
The recognition of Baku as a sacred land of fire has played a significant role in its history. Christianity, idolatry and fire worshipping spread here before the Arabian conquest in various parts of Azerbaijan. The ancient Baku was also one of the main holy places of fire-worship.
Behind the ancient walls of Icherisheher, there are numerous unique monuments: the Shirvanshahs Palace with a shrine, divankhana, as well as the Maiden Tower, mosques and minarets, the ruins of caravanserais and bathhouses. However, the most interesting and marvelous monument in Icherisheher is Sirataghli.
The Sirataghli religious-architectural complex is located in the northern side of the Maiden Tower and consists of double-storey inns. Previously, this historical complex was known as "Bazar meydani" (Bazaar square). However, research revealed that this side of Icherisheher was used for a different purpose.
The religious-architectural complex was accidentally discovered in the 1960s when old houses surrounding the Maiden Tower were pulled down. Furthermore, two small door thresholds were discovered in the eastern and western parts of the complex.
Scientists believe that this architectural complex is related to the sun worshippers, since the discovered doors were located in the east and west where the Sun rises and sets, and in order to enter the facility one needed to kneel. in the ancient times, it was also used as lodgings.
As a result of archeological excavations, about 50 tombs were discovered under the floor of the Sirataghli complex, most of which belonged to Muslims.
Also, a cylinder-shaped well and a large eight-pointed column were among the discovered items.
Reconstruction and design work relevant to the museum exposition in the Sirataghli religious-architectural complex was carried out by Austrian specialists in 2010. The monuments shown at the exposition covers a large historical period since the beginning of the Bronze Age.
The monuments of the idolatry age differ for their sublimity. According to Arab, Chinese and Central Asian sources, the rock monuments were raised in honor of famous fighters. These monuments were sacred and people worshipped them.
The Sirataghli complex was a temple for various religions that existed in the Azerbaijani territory. According to Azerbaijani scholars, similar monuments exist in numerous countries of the world.
Currently an open-air museum is operating there. Perhaps, when visiting the Sirataghli complex people find tranquility, because this place was a temple in the ancient times. Thus, don't forget to visit the Sirataghli complex when traveling to Baku and Icherisheher.