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Culture in Azerbaijan during Sassanids

Monuments of material culture, construction and decorative applied art represent the level of spiritual development, ideology and artistic taste of the nation. The culture of Azerbaijan in 3rd – 7th centuries was developed in the context of difficult political circumstances. Agricultural development, adoption of Christianity and aspiration of Sassanids to confirm Zoroastrianism also influenced to the culture of that period.

Despite of tight relationships with various nations and states, as well as the cultural exchange with foreign countries the architecture of Caucasian Albania was not changed by foreign influences. But exactly in the coherence with the architecture of foreign countries, by the influence of their artistic and constructive principles there were created significant temple complexes and other monuments of architecture of Caucasian Albania.

The most prominent samples to this architectural monuments can be considered “uzun divarlar” (“long walls”) in the pass of Demirgapi (Derbent, 5th-6th centuries), Chiraggala (6th century), oval Christian church in the village of Lekit (5th – 6th centuries), Basilica in the village of Qum (approximately 6th century), complex of temples in Minghachavir (7th century) and other monuments, which witnessed about the high level of constructive culture of that period. Castles of Beshbarmaq that began from the shore of the Caspian Sea and lasted till Babadagh, and Gilgilchay, which was situated in the territory of contemporary Devechi/Shabran region give the determine evidences about the development of defensive settlements in Azerbaijan.

Activity of art masters in Caucasian Albania was developed in two main spheres: one of them was the creation of artistic products from silver and bronze, the second one consisted of the creation of items from jewellery. Archaeological excavations proved about increasing of jewellery at this period and this sphere could be characterized as one of the most developed art spheres in Azerbaijan during the examined period. It is also important to mention that, because of military-political circumstances jewellery masters were engaged in the decoration of weapons.

The samples of the sculpture was widely extended in the art of Albania at that time. So, in the temple of Minghachavir there were described two peacocks which stayed opposite to each other, on the right and on the left of holy tree of eternal life were one of the significant samples of Albanian sculpture.

There were given the descriptions of deer, lions, as well as oval descriptions on the silver and bronze dishes, which were found in Minghachavir and Torpaggala. In the samples of oval structure, which were concerned to that period there were described men and animal scenes that were related to hunting and religious ceremonies as well. Great interest attracts the plate, belonged to 4th – 6th centuries in the Pre- Caspian shore of Albania. There was described horse-rider in the centre of the plate and the dog pursues him.

Artistic glass of Caucasian Albania was so developed and enlarged during the centuries that, there were shaped its own traditions. So, glass items of that period are quietly distinguished with their constructive forms. Examined types of glass items of Caucasian Albania proved that, they were all made by the methods of moulding and blowing in 1st – 7th centuries.

The most prominent sphere of decorative-applied art of Caucasian Albania was the artistic ceramics.

The period of 3rd-7th centuries was the phase of creating of written language and literature, education and enlightenment. Because of the enlargement of Christianity and the need for the translation of church books into local languages, there was created Albanian alphabet consisting of 52 letters.

In 5th-7th centuries there existed schools inside of church in Albania, where only the children of aristocracy and clergy could study. Moisey Kalankatlu wrote that, by the order of tsar Vachagan there were built schools in Albania due to give education in the spirit of Christianity. Composing of the work of Albanian historian in the 7th century approved about the high level of Albanian population. Sources informed about the learning of books by heart by students in Albanian schools of that time. But these books weren’t protected till nowadays because of criminal intent of Armenian church. The samples of Albanian literature are known only by the epigraphic manuscripts of 5th 10th centuries, discovered in historical territory of Caucasian Albania.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"