Alinjagala – Alinja, Azerbaijan - Atlas Obscura

Alinjagala

Alinja, Azerbaijan

In the foothills of the lesser Caucasus, a centuries-old fortress still stands. 

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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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