Pre-ICM programme will be held on 23th of March in our magnificent city of Azerbaijan – Baku. During the Pre-ICM programme, you will have a chance to visit historical places, which are significant for not only Azerbaijan but also the world: the Baku Ateshgah and Yanardagh. Later, the amazing hours will be followed by traditional Azerbaijani night in which you will taste national food and drinks accompanied with live music.
The Baku Ateshgah - often called the "Fire Temple of Baku" is a castle-like religious temple in Surakhani town, a suburb in Baku, Azerbaijan. Based on Persian and Indian inscriptions, the temple was used as a Hindu, Sikh, and Zoroastrian place of worship. The pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetra pillar-altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was abandoned in the late 19th century, probably due to the dwindling of the Indian population in the area. The natural eternal flame went out in 1969, after nearly a century of exploitation of petroleum and gas in the area, but is now lit by gas piped from the nearby city.
The Baku Ateshgah was a pilgrimage and philosophical center of Zoroastrians from Northwestern Indian Subcontinent, who were involved in trade with the Caspian area via the famous "Grand Trunk Road". The temple ceased to be a place of worship after 1883 with the installation of petroleum plants at Surakhani. The complex was turned into a museum in 1975. The annual number of visitors to the museum is 15,000.
The Temple of Fire "Ateshgah" was nominated for List of World Heritage Sites, UNESCO in 1998. On December 19, 2007, it was declared a state historical-architectural reserve by decree of the President of Azerbaijan.
Yanardagh (Azerbaijani: Yanar Dağ, meaning "burning mountain") - is a natural gas fire which blazes continuously on a hillside on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea. Flames jet into the air 3 meters (9.8 ft.) from a thin, porous sandstone layer.
Unlike mud volcanoes, the Yanardagh’s flame burns fairly steadily, as it involves a steady seep of gas from the subsurface. It is claimed that the Yanardagh flame was only noted when accidentally lit by a shepherd in the 1950s. There is no seepage of mud or liquid, which distinguishes it from the nearby mud volcanoes of Lokbatan or Gobustan.
The cost of the programme is 40 euros. It includes an exhibition and small concert in International Mugham Center of Azerbaijan and programme prepared for the evening – traditional Azerbaijani night.