Pirallahi – the forgotten island

 

boat

Image: news.az

A few facts 

Pirallahi, a small island situated some 45 km east of Baku, is the eastern-most point of Azerbaijan. This flat, low-lying land used to be a sacred spot for Zoroastrians (fire worshippers) who decided to build there a temple. During the times of the Russian Empire the name of the island was Svyatoy (‘’the holy one’’). Another interesting fact about Pirallahi is that an undersea booty from a 17th century battle between Persians and Cossacks still lies in the waters north of the island.

Oil

The island was among the first, if not the first, oil extraction areas in the country (petroleum was extracted in Pirallahi already in the early 19th century) and it still remains an important oil drilling zone – currently the volume of oil deposits in the northern part of the island is estimated at 1.2 million tons.

pirallahi

Source: panoramio

Why visit?

The island is only 11km long and 4km wide but offers some of the most unique landscapes in the peninsula, and as it might not be enough to fill a day trip, it will certainly complement any tour of Absheron. When entering Pirallahi by the bridge connecting the mainland and the island, visitors will be greeted by a small, rusty, half-sunk ship wreck that stands out from the light blue waters of the Caspian Sea. On the island there are a few houses resembling fishermen huts but majority of the buildings come from the Soviet times. Arguably, the most interesting place awaits the visitors at the end of the island, in the SOCAR-owned area (State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic) scattered with tens of both active and abandoned oil wells, some smallish oil platforms and rusty ships that have certainly seen better days. Mind you – taking pictures in that zone is forbidden and you might get yourself into some unpleasant conversations if you get caught breaking the rule!

Lighthouse next to Pirallahi Island. Source: gomap.az

Lighthouse next to Pirallahi Island. Source: gomap.az