Written By Tinatin Bujiashvili

People go when they are ready to go, not when you are. We are all just travelers on the same river, grandparents, parents, sons and daughters. We all have our time on the river. We do what we can before we disappear.

Alexander Duma

The kingdom of Hereti was a kingdom in the medieval Caucasus on the Georgian-Albanian frontier. Nowadays it roughly corresponds to the southeastern corner of Georgia’s Kakheti region and a portion of Azerbaijan’s northwestern districts.

It was Giorgoba Day, November 23 when we decided to visit Hereti, one of the historical parts of Georgia. There are Georgian villages there populated by the Georgians. And the trip was really a great experience as we had a chance to see Georgian historical monuments, meet the Georgians and share their sorrows and happiness. As we knew Georgians living in the territory of Azerbaijan didn’t have Georgian books, we bought some for them.

So, we started early as usual. We had to go to the customs so we had already prepared our passports. Unfortunately Niniko, our youngest tourist had some problems with the documents so we had to wait until the problem was solved. We, others, became busy with taking photos…

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After an hour and half waiting  we saw happy faces of Eka and Niniko, her daughter,  we, already tired of waiting, got in the mini-bus and started…So it was not an only problem…We had been driving nearly for half an hour when we were stopped by the police. This time our driver had some problems with his documents. So we had to wait for an hour at the police station and again became busy with taking photos. Nearby the police station there was a mosque. So we visited it to take some photos. When everything ended peacefully we went to Qurmukhi, Qax.

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Qax or how we Georgians call it Kakhi is a capital city of Qax region in the north of Azerbaijan, near the Russian border.

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We wanted to attend the liturgy at the St George church of Qurmukhi though when we reached it the liturgy had already been finished. We were very disappointed as Georgians are allowed to have a liturgy only on Giorgoba Day-on November 23 and May 6. Though we sang Mravaljamier there.

Qurmukhi is situated in the south-east of city Qax, Hereti (historical Saingilo). The church of St George of Qurmukhi was built in the 13th -14th centuries.  There is 2 km from Qax to Qurmukhi. It is considered as a holy place for both Georgian and Muslim population. In 2004-2005 the ministry of culture of Azerbaijan restored the church. The distorted dome of the church was restored. The windows, walls and doors also were restored. Before the restoration the Cross was taken down and it should be placed in its place after finishing the restoration, though The Protection of Monuments refused to raise the cross again. Only after protest rally locals were able to raise the cross in its place…

There is a legend about Qurmukhi church. According to the legend on Easter Day St Virgin Mary opened the door of a cave and combed her hair with a golden comp. This time a golden cock crowed cock-a-doodle-doo. One day as usual St Mary Virgin was combing her hair when a Tatar tried to sneak her, but his hand became rigid. He prayed for help to Mary virgin and was cured. He became a Christian then.

After that we went to the village Alibeglo, one of the Georgian villages. There is a church of St. Nino with its  beautiful garden and unusual saint trees.

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There are many bridges under the name of Queen Tamar in Georgia, but Qurmukhi Bridge is famous for its architecture. It was raining hard but still managed to take a photo of the bridge.

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Before visiting another Georgian village we had a rest with a Georgian folk song.

As I have told you we had bought some books for Georgian populations so we went to the nearest village Meshabashi. There we met local Georgians who were very happy to see us. We visited the Georgian school which was in a terrible condition. These photos don’t require any comments.

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We got very sad after leaving the Georgian village. It was time to go back to Tbilisi again. On the way back to Georgia we stopped at the Great Caucasian Wall. This great historic wall was built to keep out the boards of savage Caucasians who lived in the inhospitable region in the caves and hillsides of that Caucasus area. Its ruins are on the territory of Azerbaijan.

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When we were already on the territory of Georgia, we had a little “feast”. We came back to Tbilisi late at night…

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.

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