The village of Xinaliq is an ancient settlement, going back to the Caucasian Albanian period. Xinaliq is the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan. The village is an ancient settlement, going back to the Caucasian Albanian period. Xinaliq is the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan. So remote, in fact, that they have their own language which has no relation to Azeri or Russian.
An undisputed highlight of all Azerbaijan, this fabled mountain village speaks directly to the soul. Its timeless stone houses are often wrapped in spooky clouds, giving it a haunted medieval feel. Then, when the clouds lift, you realise that you're perched on a mountaintop with stunning 360-degree views of the Caucasus.
Xynalyq's hardy shepherd folk have their own distinct language (Ketsh) and still live much of their lives on horseback. Nowhere in Azerbaijan offers a more fascinating glimpse of mountain life nor a better opportunity for inspirational hiking. The village is amazing. Perched on a hill, surrounded by peaks. The traditional homes are all still stone. However, you should hurry to get here. A new road was built in 2006, tourists are starting to discover this gem and already some homes are starting to sprout corrugated metal roofs.
But life, for the time being remains simple. The majority of people are herders. Sheep, cows and goats make their way to the pastures in the morning, only to return by evening. Even after centuries of isolation, the people are remarkably open to visitor. There are no hotels, so the only place to stay is with a local family in a homestay. There is really not much to do but watch the people watch you. Wandering around the village, it is assured that you'll collect a group of curious children.
Apart from examining the one-room museum and gazing at the hypnotic views, Xynalyq's most popular tourist activity is hiking to ateshgah, a small ever-burning natural fire-vent. The walk takes about two hours (towards Laza then up a side valley) but finding the site without help is pretty much impossible.
View and scenery alone are certainly enough of a reason to come.