Saturday, February 23, 2013

Icherisheher - The Old City Baku

In the Middle Ages Icherisheher had two main entrance doors opening to the well (Shamakhy door and Salyan door). Customs Board and bathhouse located next to these doors. Caravans coming to the city via the “Silkway” were sent to the bathhouse. They were permitted to enter the city only upon being cleaned. It proves that sanitary and hygienic requirements were maintained in Baku in the middle ages. One of these bathhouses remains unearthed in the place of the Baku khans’ house, left to the Gosha Gala Gapilary. This nameless bathhouse was constructed during the peaceful period of the Shirvanshahs’ state approximately in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. As all bathhouses of Icherisheher, this bathhouse also was constructed underground in order to keep stability of the temperature. Gradually, the thickness of the earth layer increased and completely covered the bathhouse. Although the bathhouse is underground, according to its surviving walls it’s possible to say that its premises are covered with domes. The domes of the bathhouse are located over the ground surface. Light was falling into the bathhouse through the holes in the domes. Such bathhouse system is typical for Baku and Absheron. Upon complete occupation of Icherisheher by the Russians in 1906 the territory of the present underground bathhouse (in yard of the Baku khans, in bottom of the fortress walls) turned into Russian commandant's office. Namely in this period, the domes of the unserviceable bathhouse with its destroyed part was demolished and covered with earth. Two windows of the bathhouse presently exist in the fortress wall left of the Gosha Gala Gapisy.