National Parks of Azerbaijan and their inhabitants (continued)

Baku, February 4, AZERTAC

There are nine National Parks in Azerbaijan, created for environmental, educational, scientific purposes, as well as to promote the development of ecological tourism. In some of them, there are rare species of fauna, such as the persian leopard and the striped hyena.

Goygol National Park

The lake of volcanic origin Goygol and the surrounding forests have long been famous for their natural abundance and beauty. The idea of creating a reserve in this area was first discussed in 1910-1912. The Goygol State Nature Reserve, established here in 1925, became the first reserve in Azerbaijan. Then the reserve was abolished and re-restored at the request of the public in 1965.

On the basis of the Goygol State Nature Reserve in 2008, the Goygol National Park was established in the administrative territory of the Khanlar (the current Goygol), Dashkasan and Goranboy districts. Having received the status of a National Park, the territory of the Goygol State Nature Reserve has expanded from 6,739 to 12,755 hectares.

Goygol National Park is located on the North-East part of Lesser Caucasus, on the North Slope of Kapaz Mountain, on 1000-3060 m high from the sea level and encloses medium and high mountain-forest semizones, mountain forest-meadow, subalp and alpine zones.

The name of the lake Goygol, in Azerbaijani means “blue lake”. And, indeed, in the crystal clear water of the reservoir, as in a mirror, the blue sky and the surrounding forests are reflected.

The principal aim of the establishment of Goygol National Park is protection endemic and endangered flora and fauna species, regulation of the stability of natural complexes, creation of more favourable condition in order to carry out scientific-research works, environmental monitoring, ecological awareness of population and development of ecotourism in the tourist potentially areas.

Cold climate with dry winter prevails in the area. Annual temperature of the weather wavers between 4-10 degrees. Annual precipitation is 600-900 mm.

Rivers flow in Goygol National Park, the longest of which is Agsuchay - the right branch of Kurakchay. In addition to the wonderful Goygol Lake, there are other beautiful smaller lakes in the park, such as Maralgol, Garagol, Zeligol, Aggol, Shamlygol, etc.

The main part of the national park has a rich vegetation cover. The mountain-forest, mountain-steppe, supalp and alpine mountain-meadow vegetation ecosystem are spread in the area.

The mountain forests covering 1100-2200 m height has a very rich vegetation cover and contains 80 trees and bush species. The main part of the forests are represented by oriental beech, oriental oak, Caucasian hornbeam, birch, ash tree, sharp-leaved maple, lime-tree of small-leaved trees, Kokh pine of coniferous. Of shrubs, cornel, barberry, dog rose, spindle-tree, blackberry, of herbs, Caucasian violet, dandelion, bellflower, noble chamomile, fescue, mat-grass and meadow-grass and etc. are met. They are especially spread in sub alp meadows.

Goygol National Park is also rich for its fauna. Of mammals, Caucasian red deer, roe deer, brown bear, badger, forest cat, sable, lynx, hare, squirrel, fox, hedgehog, Caucasian mole and etc., of birds quail, stock dove, wood cock, bearded vulture, black vulture, Egyptian vulture, eagle owl, owl, swan, black woodpecker, golden oriole, wood lark and etc. are spread in the area. Under protection is also a trout that lives in Goygol lake.

The beautiful landscapes, the richness of the flora and fauna of Goygol National Park attract many tourists here.

Zangazur National Park named after academician Hasan Aliyev

Zangazur National Park was created on 25 November 2009 in an area of 42797,4 hectares on the base of Ordubad National Park named after Academician Hasan Aliyev and Shahbuz State Nature Reserve in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. It was named after Academician Hasan Aliyev who is considered as a founder of ecology in Azerbaijan. 

Adjoining to the National Park is Ordubad State Nature Sanctuary with an area of 27870 hectares.

The objective pursued in the creation of Zangazur National Park was to protect different components of the area which has a distinctive climate, terrain and other physical geographical features as well as various animal species including endemics and species of fauna that are typical to this area. The park is also charged with the task to facilitate environmental monitoring and promote education and tourism.

Zangazur range of mountains reaching 3200 meters on average is the highest range of the Lesser Caucasus. The highest peak of the range making 3906 meters is located in the National Park.

The last third part of the Zangazur range is Soyug Dagh (Cold Mountain) which also belongs to the National Park’s area. The height of Soyug Dagh varies within a range of 2000 to 3000 meters.

Zangazur National Park is located in a mountainous area. The climate here is generally cold with dry summer. Annual precipitation is 300-800 mm. The watercourse network of the region is composed of Gilanchay, Vanadchay, Duylunchay, Aylishchay, Ganzachay, Kotamchay, Kilitchay and Ordubadchay rivers. The Araz River forms the border with Iran.

Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is distinguished place in Azerbaijan for the richness of its ornitofauna. There are 217 bird species and subspecies in the region of which 15 species are listed in the Red Data Book. These are Levant sparrow hawk, great white pelican, Dalmatian pelican, white-tailed eagle, lammergeyer, short-toed eagle, great bustard, little bustards and other birds.

Sixty two mammal species and subspecies occur in Nakhchivan. Thirty two of them are found in the Zangazur National Park and Ordubad State Nature Sanctuary. These are blazilius horseshoe bat, southern horseshoe bat, porcupine, manul, bezoar goat, Caucasian muflon to mention a few.

The park is a habitat for a number carnivorous animal such as: leopard, wolf, jackal, fox, stripped hyena, badger, wild cat and other predators numbering 12 species in total.

Along with the diverse flora and fauna the Zangazur National Park is the place where there are a lot of natural and historical monuments.

Aggol National Park

Aggol Lake is the most famous steppe lake ecosystem in Azerbaijan an oasis for the thousands of birds that breed, rest during migration or come from the north for winter time. The first attempt to protect the lake was taken in February 1964 when a sanctuary was established here in an area of 9173 hectares.

In March 1978 the water body of the lake was given a status of a strictly protected reserve, the area of which accounted for 4400 hectares. Since July 2003 Aggol Lake has become a national park, the area of which was extended up to 17924 hectares.

The objective in establishing the National Park is to ensure the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems and endangered species as well as carrying out environmental monitoring, education and ecotourism. In the past, the lake was the part of the huge floodplain in the Kura lowland. Now, it is the part of the complex irrigation system which was established after the construction of the Mingachevir Water Reservoir. Aggol is a shallow lake with brackish waters the depth of which ranges from 0, 5 to 2, 5 m. It is surrounded by a broad belt reed beds.

As a typical steppe lake its water level declines during the hot season reaching the lowest point in the late summer. The National Park area encompasses not only wetlands but also adjacent typical steppe and semi-desert landscapes. The main reason for the protecting the lake system is its international significance as a refuge for endangered bird species included in the IUCN “Red List” and the “Red Data Book” of Azerbaijan Republic.

These are lesser white-fronted goose, white-headed duck, marbled duck, ferruginous duck, little bustard, little cormorant, as well as flamingoes, pelicans, all 7 species of herons and a variety of species of ducks, geese, rails, waders and others. For at least 3 species Aggol comprises up to 10 percent of the world’s population.

Until early 1960s goitered gazelles of Azerbaijan occurred in the steppes around the Aggol lake. Wolf, jackal, fox, hare, a lot of bats are found here and in the reed beds there is a robust population of rare and amazing reed cat. Visitors of the National Park can easily observe most of these animals.

Hirkan National Park

Hirkan National Park was established in 09 February 2004. The National Park is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the southeast of Azerbaijan. By the Decree dated on 23 April 2008 of the President of Azerbaijan the area of Hirkan National park was enlarged to 40358 hectares. The park encompasses a virgin part of the Talish Mountains which are distinguished for its unique natural components. The mission of the National Park is to ensure the conservation of relict and endemic plant species of the Tertiary period, the protection of typical flora and fauna representatives of this area listed in the Red Data Book of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the implementation of environmental monitoring, public environmental education as well as creating conditions for research, tourism and recreation.

The "hirkan" word comes from the ancient name of the Caspian Sea and the name of the tribe that inhabited this area. Most of the park’s area is covered by forests and is composed of mountains extending from northwest to southeast. The park is rich in plant species. The vegetation cover is mainly represented by trees and shrubs that form forests here. The type of forests changes distinctly as it moves from east to west towards the mountain peak. Forests in the lower part predominantly comprise chestnut-leaved oak, ironwood and hornbeam together with black locust, Hirkan fig, Caucasian persimmon, etc.

As you climb upper ironwood and chestnut-leaved oak decline and get replaced with beech forests. Of 435 tree and shrub species occurring in Azerbaijan 150 ones grow in the Hirkan forests while 36 of them are endemic. While tropical forests are made up of four tiers, subtropical Hirkan forests are three-tiered. The climate in the park is humid. Summer is dry, autumn is moist and winter is moderate.

The hottest temperature is 22-25 0 C and the coldest weather is 1-3o C. The richness of the region’s plant kingdom has provided habitat for many animals here. Persian leopard, lynx, wild cat, badger, wild boar, roe deer, sika deer, raccoon are found among. Persian leopard is threatened with extinction and protected under the Red Data Book of Azerbaijan and IUCN list. The ornitofauna of Hirkan National Park numbers over 118 bird species. 16 species including black stork, osprey, Northern goshawk, imperial eagle, Talish Caucasian pheasant, black francolin are listed in the Red Data Book of Azerbaijan.

The proximity of Hirkan National Park to the Caspian Sea and main highways, its beautiful corners of nature provide favorable conditions for the development of ecotourism and promotion of environmental education.

Altiaghaj National Park

Altiaghaj National Park was established in August 2004. The National Park is located in Khizi and Siyazan regions. It was created in an area of 11 035 hectares on the base of Altiaghaj State Natural Reserve and adjacent state owned forest lands.

The main objective in the creation of the National Park is to ensure the conservation of basic components of the natural landscape of the southeastern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, the rehabilitation of flora and fauna species, the implementation of environmental education along with tourism and recreation.

The climate here is moderately warm and dry both in winter and summer. The largest river in the area is Atachay. Taking its origin at a height of 1870 meters in Dubrar Mountain the Atachay river flows into the Caspian Sea. The major part of the park is composed of areas covered with forests. The main tree species are Caucasian oak, Caucasian hornbeam, oriental beech, ash and birch. Shrub species occurring in the area include hawthorn, dog-rose and blackberry.

Roe deer, brown bear, wild boar, lynx, raccoon, hair, fox, squirrel, wolf of mammals and pheasant, partridge, eagle, thrush, goatsucker, ring-dove of birds are found in the National Park.

Emil Eyyubov

© Content from this site must be hyperlinked when used.
Report a mistake by marking it and pressing ctrl + enter


Fields with * are required.

Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.
Letters are not case-sensitive.