Mingechaur

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Mingechaur

 

a city in the Azerbaijan SSR, on both banks of the Kura River. It is connected by an 18-km railroad branch to the Mingechaur railroad station (on the Tbilisi-Baku line). Population, 46,000 (1973).

Mingechaur arose in 1945 in connection with the construction of a hydroelectric complex, including the Mingechaur Hydro-electric Power Plant; it became a city in 1948.

Manufactures include road-building machinery, cables, fiber-glass, industrial rubber articles, electrical insulation, reinforced concrete structural components, panels for prefabricated housing, and wood products. The city has a machinery repair shop, a textile combine, and a meat-packing combine. Mingechaur also has a polytechnical school, a medical school, and a museum of local lore.

Mingechaur, a city with tree-lined streets, squares, and boulevards, is dominated architecturally by the power plant (1954, architects V. M. Perlin and E. M. Popov) and the drama theater (1953, architects R. Goltukhchan and S. Datiev).

The most important archaeological complex in Transcaucasia is located near Mingechaur. It includes four settlements and three large burial grounds dating from the third millennium B.C. to the 17th century A.D. The complex was first studied in the late 19th century. Systematic excavations were conducted between 1946 and 1953 under the direction of S. M. Kaziev.

The earliest remains are the lowest level of settlement no. 1 and burials of the third millennium B.C., belonging to the Kura Araks Aeneolithic culture. The next group of finds includes the middle level of settlement no. 1, a flat-grave burial ground, and barrows, which belong to the Khodzhali-Kedabek culture (end of the second and the beginning of the first millennium B.C.). Dwellings, grain pits, pottery kilns, and more than 200 burials have been studied. Musical instruments (pipes or flutes) made of bone have been found.

The early Iron Age (eighth to the second century B.C.) is represented by the upper level of settlement no. 1 and numerous burial complexes. Of special interest are the more than 300 burials in jars; these finds have enabled researchers to study the Jar Burial culture in Transcaucasia, which has been dated by means of coins to the second century B.C. through the first century A.D. Archaeologists have also found more than 30 pottery kilns and more than 200 catacomb burials of the first to the eighth century A.D., which had been unknown in Transcaucasia before that time. The articles found in the burials include clay, glass, and silver vessels; jeweled rings with various representations; iron weapons; gold earrings and other ornaments; Armenian Arsacid and Graeco-Roman coins; and Sassanid seals.

Mingechaur’s medieval monuments include settlements nos. 2 and 3 (third to the 13th century), settlement no. 4 (14th to the 17th century), Albanian churches of the fifth to the eighth century, and Christian and Muslim burials. The stone base for a cross and fragments of ceramic candlesticks with Albanian inscriptions are of particular interest.

Mingechaur’s remains, covering a period of 4,000 years, constitute important sources for the study of the cultural-historical and socioeconomic development of Azerbaijan and its neighboring countries.

REFERENCES

Kaziev, S. M. “Arkheologicheskie raskopki v Mingechaure.” Materiarnaia kul’tura Azerbaidzhana, vol. 1. Baku, 1949.
Kaziev, S. M. “Arkheologicheskie pamiatniki Mingechaura kak istoricheskii istochnik dlia izucheniia istorii Azerbaidzhana.” Izvestiia Akademii nauk Azerb. SSR, no. 7, 1950.
Aslanov, G. M., R. M. Vaidov, and G. I. lone. Drevnii Mingechaur. Baku, 1959.

R. M. MUNCHAEV

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