"Life goes on in Sumqayit" Sumqayit Sahari by josephescu

Sumqayit Sahari Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 15 photos

What can man do....

The third largest city in Azerbaijan, Sumqayit lies just at the outskirts of Baku, aprox. 40 km northwest in the Abseron peninsula.

The town itself is an expressive example of a city resulting from the enormous industrial development effort unchained by Stalin. Until the 40s there was only village with 4000 souls. Re-founded in 1944 as an industrial centre to support Soviet engagement in World War II and further on “the victory of communism”, Sumqayit quickly became a major site for chemical, petrochemical and metallurgical industries, benefiting from the local availability of oil and gas, its proximity to railway hubs and the sea natural harbour.

With such a vast industrial portfolio, Sumqayit remains today a fine example of a grim, Soviet-style industrial city. It's worth seeing if only to grasp the staggering damage to the environment wreaked by the Soviet authorities. The impact on the health of the population was also dramatic and once Sumqayit held records for infant mortality (a visit to the children's cemetery will illustrate this dramatically).

On top of man's damage, nature also took its toll, and Sumqayit was shaken by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake in November 2000 causing some material damage and a handful of fatalities.

Sumqayit became notorious in the recent history of Azerbaijan, as on February 29, 1988, the town was the scene of killings against ethnic Armenians that set off a series of killings involving Azeris and ethnic Armenians. The events surrounding the Sumqayit attack remain hotly debated and help deepen the rift between the two countries.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:friendly locals
  • Cons:depressing
  • In a nutshell:life finds a way even here
  • Last visit to Sumqayit Sahari: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated Sep 10, 2006
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josephescu

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