See this place
Throughout my life, I have seen many things. This has ranged from gigantic mountains to deep seas, to my friend Doug nearly getting into a fight after he cut the entire bathroom line in a Russian bar (long story). Therefore, it takes a lot to amaze or surprise me. But the historical site of Gobustan in Azerbaijan absolutely did just that, exceeding my wildest expectations (and my expectations are often quite wild).
Located just about an hour outside the city, I made the trip with my friends Zinyat and Nadir. Together, we took a bus to the city limits and then a taxi from there. As we went, the urban atmosphere slowly changed to open planes and large hills until we reached one particular place that seemed a bit different from the rest. Standing a bit away from the others, a large hill with gigantic stones protruding out of it loomed on the horizon. Our driver turned and drove in that direction. It was our destination.
Not know what to expect, I stepped out of the car and was immediately overwhelmed by my surroundings in the most amazing way possible. It was as if I'd entered into a different era in time (except for a single sign with an arrow reading 'toilet'). We walked forward, eager to explore the place in front of us. Following the trail, we entered the first of the cave-like caverns. The rocks were so close we could just reach out and touch them (although the signs commanded us not to). That's when I noticed it. All around us were images of animals and people, etched into the rocks. These were the ancient petroglyphs the site was known for.
I meandered my way all over the site in a complete state of awe, staring at scenes of celebrations, dances, hunts, and herding from thousands upon thousands of years ago. As someone with a fascination in history, this was like finding a gold mine for me. And aside from the numerous caverns with thousands of images, there were several large stones that were hollowed out for drumming (presumably for rituals way back when), which were just sitting there for you to hit with a rock. So naturally, I did... several times. And as an added plus, the whole place was situated in just a way that provided an incredible view of the open planes and Caspian Sea below. Anyways, I'm struggling to think of the right words to describe the place, so I'll just take the easy way out and use pictures. Please enjoy.