Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape covers three areas of a plateau of rocky boulders rising out of the semi-desert of central Azerbaijan. An outstanding collection of more than 6,000 rock engravings bearing testimony to 40,000 years of rock art. The site also features the remains of inhabited caves, settlements and burials. All reflecting an intensive human use by the inhabitants of the area during the wet period that followed the last Ice Age, from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. The site, which covers an area of 537 ha, part of the larger protected Gobustan Reservation.
Long time ago the sea waves licked these mountains. Then abandoned them leaving characteristic relief traces on the polished rocks.
Archeologist found in the 30s of the 20th century more than 6 thousand of these unusual drawings (on 1,000 rocks) . Along with them ancient primitive dwellings – caves and sites – and more than 100 thousand objects of material culture .
Gobustan’s petroglyphs are referred to various epochs. They made from the10th -18th centuries BC to the Middle Ages.
The drawings clearly reflect the entire evolution of humans. Here are the scenes of mountain goat hunt, ceremonial dances with spears – the most ancient period of time, mesolite. Now you see the images of horse and unmounted hunting, battles, collective work, harvesting, a woman near the fire. These are the first centuries AD – transition to a new level of social order. Closer to the Middle Ages the drawings decrease in sizes and become more schematical.
Gobustan Rock drawings perpetuated the figures of the animals which lived there for the last 10 thousand years – goitered gazelles, wild goats, deer, wild boars, horses, lions, etc. There are also images of birds, fishes, snakes, lizards and insects.
Among the abundance of drawings a special place is occupied by the images of boats with oarsmen. It is the evidence of the fact that ancient settlers were good seamen. These images attracted attention of the well-known scientist and traveler Tur Heerdal who repeatedly visited this place.
Except for the ancient drawings a remarkable Latin inscription found at the foot of Mount Beyuk-dash in Gobustan. It dated 1st century AD and testifies about the Roman armies stay near Baku .