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Namerdgala Fortress (Maiden Tower)

In the region of Kedabek (Gədəbəy) – the land of picturesque landscapes and historical monuments – you will find the ruins of the old Namerdgala Fortress. When the brick castle walls suddenly come into view in this difficult-to-pass through mountainous region, on top of a dense forest-covered mountain, it is hard to believe that this is a real structure, erected many centuries ago by human hand. The high altitude location of the fortress, which used to facilitate patrolling and defense of the region, now provides travelers with the opportunity to observe the incredibly beautiful nature and mountain ranges stretching to the very horizon.

History of Namerdgala Fortress

It is not exactly known by whom and when the fortifications were first erected on top of the mountain near the village of Soyudlu, but it can be clearly stated that the age of fortress, called Namerdgala, exceeds a thousand years. According to one version, the history of this castle began during the Sassanid dynasty, in the 5th or 6th century; according to the other version, the castle was built by Caucasian Albanians no earlier than the 7th century. It is said that when a war broke out between the Sassanids and Caucasian Albania over the surrounding lands, which were famous for their rich copper deposits, the leader of the Albanians ordered the construction of a fortress on the mountain located on the Shamkir River, in order to strengthen his position in the conflict. The third and the most popular version claims that the Maiden Tower in the area of Kedabek (Gədəbəy) appeared around the 9th century and in the 12th century it was already one of the greatest defensive constructions of the Ildegizid State, the great Azerbaijani atabegs. (more in the History section)

What to see?

The ruins of Namerdgala Fortress, despite their old age, have been preserved in quite a good condition and look very impressive against the background of dense green forests covering the surrounding mountains. The fortress was built of red fired bricks, and on the outside it is additionally covered with polished bricks. The difficult rocky terrain resulted in a two-storey plan of the fortress, the upper storey of which is situated on the very top of mountain. The lower storey is adjacent to the south side of the upper storey. The semi-circular corner towers in Namerdgal’s heyday reached 15 meters. There were 8 such towers – 4 four on each of the two storeys. The two-layered position of machicolations on the walls of Maiden Tower was intended not only to strengthen the defensive capabilities of the building, but also had a decorative character. The length of castle walls is about 250 meters. Nowadays, the entrances to the castle are practically indistinguishable due to subsidence, but some records state that the castle also had a secret underground passage which enabled descending towards the Shamkir River.

The Namerdgala Fortress Namerdgala can be visited:

round the clock.