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Hidden world - Khinalig

KhinalugKhinalugh, or Khinalig is an ancient Caucasian village going back to the Caucasian Albanian period. It is located high up in the Greater Caucasus mountains. 

Khinalug is also the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan, as well as highest mountain village in whole Europe (with its altitude of 7,710 ft Khinalig is higher than famous Ushguli village of Georgia which is 7190 ft). The weather changes dramatically during summer and winter, ranging from −20 °C to 18 °C. Khinalug has a population of about 2,000 people. This small group of people speaks the Khinalug language, which is an isolate within the Notheast Caucasian language family, although many speak Azerbaijani as well.

Because of its location, scenery and relative isolation, Khinalug is considered one of Azerbaijan's premiere destinations for hikers and adventure travellers in such travel guides as Lonely Planet.

Khinalug is among the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world, with a history spanning over 5,000 years. Because of its high altitude and remoteness, Khinalug managed to survive and withstand many invasions. There are also some other historical places such as a 12th-century mosque, a 15th-century mosque, and several ancient cemeteries between the mountains. There are also many ancient holy caves of early humans.

The houses, made of cobblestone and stretching up the hill, resemble multi-storied buildings. Currently, the village has 380 houses. The roof of each house serves as a small courtyard for another one built at a higher level. These houses were built densely together because the hills are very steep. Tiny gardens are built inside the courtyards. The houses are 200–300 years old, and there are many ruins of older buildings in the village.

The inhabitants of Khynalyg have preserved their traditional way of life. Weddings and other ceremonies are held in strict conformity with the rites inherited from one generation to another. This area abounds with the richest traditions linked to rain and land cultivation coupled with a special attitude to domestic animals, weddings and funerals, as well as to celestial bodies.