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      “Ashabi-Kahf” is the most sacred mountain in Nakhchivan area. The sacredness in these places is connected with the legends. It becomes clear from the legends that the holy spirits asleep didn’t move into the cave and they got asleep near the entrance. After getting up they learned the accident and prayed the God to vanish them. So, on the left side of the cave’s entrance, in the place by name “yeddi kimsene” they disappeared. There is not anything about their visits to “Damjikhana” (now it is a mosque) and “Jennet Baghi”.    So, the God realized their dreams on the mountain. The cliffs on the right side entrance of   


      “Ashabi-Kahf” mountains are formed like a mushroom. Other way speaking, the transmitters pass these praying to the God. While climbing the mountain, where the mosque and “Damjikhana” are situated, its peak starts to become relatively oval and cylindrical. The “Jennet Baghi” - the highest peak -is entirely cylindrical. It was very difficult to climb there sometimes before. Only those people, who had serious wishes and sought to get rid of infertility, were climbing to this point; they were praying and erecting the artificial cradles and making the symbols of houses there.


     The narrow passage up to the east is the main place for praying. There are some stones playing the transmittal role and there is lonely standing holy tree-daghdaghan.    It is also interesting that some mountains surrounding “Ashabi-Kahf” are also considered holy: “Nuh tufani” with Hacha dagh (it’s also named as Ilanli dagh), Nahajir, Goynuk mosque and Goynuk mountain. Here can also be encountered the praying houses from the old times. After learning the same subject in “Gamigaya” we found out many cylindrical shaped holy places on the volcanic stones.


       The cliffs surrounding it were very slippery and it was very difficult to get there; these places were unreachable for a long time. The stones are placed sporadically around the area but only here the stones are piled in the oval form. We can meet the similar places of faith and tradition in the area of Julfa district, near the Jamaldin village, in the area of Almemmed mosque.

        This place is called “Duymeguyusu” (Duymeli tendir).    There are several mountains in Nakhchivan that are called sacred; and also the people from other regions of Azerbaijan, Anadolu, Siberia, and Altay-Sayan believe them. Generally the history of mountain beliefs should be traced back to the ancient times. As it comes clear from “Bilgamis dastan, when” shumers were in trouble, lost their way and could not find anyway, they pleaded the mountain to help them. We can meet the mountain cult in “Bilgamis” and “Dada Gorgud” parallels. There are some similar parallels with “Shumer-Dada Gorgud”, which is preserved to our days in some modern Turkey traditions. These faiths are the same by the genetically beginnings. Ancient Turkish people considered the Tian shan Mountain’s sacred. In ancient Turks each part and branch had its own sacred mountain. So, each part was visiting to their own mountain. N. A. Alekseev writes that in Altay every family had their own mountain. There was also such mountain that every family considered it their own sacred place.


      Before visiting to the mountains, Turks in Altayians as it was in “Ashabi-Kahf” did many preparation works. According to the Beltir’s faith, people could go to the Tiger Mountain by riding on animals up to the definite points and then they continued the way by their walking. The women and girls were not permitted to the main praying. (Up to recent years that was very difficult to get to the “Ashabi-Kahf” in “Jennet Baghi” for women and girls. There was somehow prohibition for them.) After praying they prepared some meals from the sacrificed sheep’s meat. As it was found out that there are some idiographic pictures of animals in Nakhchivan’s Gamigaya area; the idiographic pictures and figures of animals were found on mountains, especially on piling stones during erosion; it took place also in some areas of the Middle Asia.     M. A. Devlet- found out the idiographic picture of wild ram on the stone in the passage; and it showed the people’s cult to the mountain goat.

           Author mentioned that such stones were named as “Ovaa dash”.     Making conclusions about Ovaa and Oba M. Seyidov comes to such a point: “Making a resume of all what is said about Oba, we can tell that at the narrow passage of “Bel” mountain, the mountain spirit, the mountain owner and the mountain god are also called on the same way as the flat lying piled stones to commemorate the circle owner.” So both “Oba” and “Bel” represent a mountain spirit, God and owner.   

        The same belief also exists in “Ashabi-Kahf”. The pilgrims gather the little stones to the sides of the way and in the praying places they gather some stones piling. There are the likely cylindrical shaped stone piles in “Jennet Baghi” and “Jennet Babi”. The pilgrims returning from “Ashabi-Kahf” believe the sacred place will protect them from their enemies and illness. Speaking about the protecting abilities of the mountains Abdul Kadir says: According to the Inan Turkish’s legends Chinese were always afraid from Turkish. And they thought that the source of the strengths of Turkish is “Kutlu dagh” mountain and they decided to deprive them from that source.


      So the King decided to marry his daughter Kivelien with Turkish prince in return for “Kutlu dagh”. Yuluntakin accepted this invitation and Chinese broke the mountain into peaces and carried to their country. After this accident the Turks began to hear the words “Koch-koch” pronounced continuously from mountains, stones, wild animals, and little children. In a moment all water dried and the greens became paled and yellow.    The sacred mountains and caves also exist in spatial religions. The first summon came to Prophet Mohammed in “Hira” mountain. He rescued from the intimidations by using Sivr cave as a shelter. By the will of God the spider put its net at the entrance of the cave and a pigeon also bred there.     The prophet Hazrati Musa also received the first summon in “Turu-Sina” mountain.    The Prophet Hazrati Ibrahim’s act of sacrificing his son- the prophet Ismayil also took place in Mina Mountain.             The cave cult occupied a special place in “Ashabi-Kahf”. As it was evident from information depicted in “Gurani Karim”, the cave existed before.        Before the period of escaping from the oppression it was recommended to be settled at that place, as that location was reckoned as refuge.          There are many sacred caves in the mountainous zone of Azerbaijan. There are some popular and worshipped caves in some regions such as - “Pir Banovsha” (in Guba region), “Diri Baba” (in Shamakhi region), “Agh Kaha”, “Gara Kaha” (in Gubadli region). Among the people they are known as, “maghara”, “kaha”, “zagha”, “kohl”.

    Beliefs related to stones occupy a special place in the worship place. For example, the following beliefs still exist there: to pile stones along the way to the places of worship, to put a stone to the place of so called “Gitmir’s grave”, to throw the enemy’s stone out, to fasten stone on “Yeddi kimsene”, to throw stone to Duldul’s foot tracks, to visit and worship Garadash and also, by making dreams, to put the stones on each other in “Damjikhana” and “Jennet Baghi”, and at last by making dreams to take some small stones home and to return them back to “Ashabi-Kahf” after realization of dreams and simultaneously to sacrifice animal there.     There are some legends related to black stones. One of the legends says that there is a big black stone in Ojagtepe Pir. There is a bit smaller stone in “Ashabi-Kahf”.

        These are sisters. On Thursday the black stone in “Ashabi-Kahf” visits her elder sister in Ojagtepe and goes back.     The collected materials showed that together with “Ashabi-Kahf”, the other worship places also contain the so called black stones. The Isfandiyar or Gash worship places are of cave type situated in Jahri village. Through its entrance is narrow, after some meters there is a big stone in the middle of this saloon. People come to these worship places with various dreams. The historical sources proved that, at the beginning of the XVIII century there had been a highly respectable worship place called Isfandiyar. The cult of stone and vegetation was widely spread at that worship place. The pilgrims used to put a gift on this stone, fasten stones on each other and burn the candles. There are some sayings about the black stones. About bad children: “Better have a black stone born than you.”, “Black stone is better than you”.        According to the existing beliefs among the people, the stones are capable to reproduction. Some stones are said to reproduce up to 40 stones. N. A. Alekseev writes that growing of these stones continues 30-40 years. Sometimes these stones give a birth of “little stones”. Reproduction could be observed after each 40 days.    There exists a variety of beliefs about stones’ capability to carry human spirits. Throwing the enemy’s stone in “Ashabi-Kahf” means that you physically damage your enemy. This belief is peculiar for the all Azerbaijan. People throw the black stone if you wish the undesirable person for you not to return again. By throwing the stone, they think that he will not return back. In some villages of Nakhchivan there is such a tradition that after taking a dead person out of the house they usually put a black stone on his place. After burying the dead person they throw the stone to the yard. There is a tradition of throwing the stone to the graveyard, as well.

    There is a black stone in the worship places in Shahtakhti village of Sharur region and Bananiyar village of Julfa region. If somebody can lift the stone from the ground this will mean his dream will soon be realized. That person says:      “The stone as light, as a straw”    There is a belief among the people that everybody has his own stone. “Don’t let my stone fall on your head”, “My stone is heavy”, “I’m created from stone”, “Let his stone fall on his own head”, etc.    According to the beliefs peculiar to the world Turks: “a person can turn into the stone” and etc.

    There are many legends in Nakhchivan about a man’s turn into stone. By turning a man into the stone you can change his character. Once a person’s character worsens, he quarrels at home and then they say: “as if his stone changed”.

         You can not only change a person’s stone, you can change the animal’s stone, as well. Especially when the cranes’ row is broken, they say, somebody has changed their stones.Magical effect of the stones is connected with their sparkling when we cut them. These stones are called “iron-stones”. Some valuable stones are used in making adoring.     Some stones as, egig-emerald, turquoise treats different illnesses, take an overlook, sends an enemy’s prejudice away.    So a belief of mountain, stone and cave in “Ashabi-Kahf” is historically and genetically connected with Turkey.

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