In the foothills of the lesser Caucasus, a centuries-old fortress still stands.
Atop Alinja Mountain in Azerbaijan sits an impressive fortress known as Alinjagala or Alinja Tower. Though the exact details of its origins are not known, historical evidence points to a fortification at this site dating back to the first century, established by the Armenian lords of Syunik.
The mountaintop fortress had dozens of buildings, including barracks, warehouses, a bathhouse, stables, kitchens, an arsenal, treasury, and the ruler’s palace. It is surrounded by thick stone walls, and accessible by a steep hiking path.
Over the centuries, multiple families of lords came and went, but the imposing fortress stands still on its sloped foundation in the slope of a mountain in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, a large exclave of Azerbaijan. From its position overlooking the Alinjachay, it has withstood many attacks. A common story holds that, in the 14th century, the fortress survived a 14-year siege.
In 2014, Alinjagala was recognized as a historical and cultural museum-reserve.
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