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Neft Dashları – A Once Bustling City Built on Oil Platforms in the Caspian Sea

People have been temporarily living on oil platforms ever since they were created, in the early 20th century, but Neft Dashlari, a giant oil platform complex in the Caspian Sea, roughly 40 miles east of Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, serves as a permanent residence to around 1,000 souls. Known as the largest and oldest offshore city in the world, the Soviet-era structure was built in 1949, after engineers found vast resources of oil in the region, thousands of feet beneath the sea floor.

The original foundation consisted of pillars mounted on seven sunken ships, including Zoraster, the world’s first oil tanker. The poles were erected around a central hub, a 17,300-acre artificial island where the main oil wells were located. Between 1952 and 1958, the city grew in size to include 2,000 drilling platforms, joined by a 300-kilometer network of bridge viaducts, spread in a 30-kilometer circle.

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Yanar Dag – The Eternally Burning Mountain of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, a small nation located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, is well known for its rich culture and history. The country is a great tourist destination, with a unique cuisine, ancient monuments, modern architecture, and mud volcanoes. And the most well-known of its volcanoes is Yanar Dag, also known as ‘Burning Mountain’. True to its name, the mountain has been burning for as long as anyone can remember, and the fire isn’t showing signs of going out any time soon.

Situated on the Absheron Peninsula, 25 kilometers northeast of the capital city of Baku, Yanar Dag is a 116-meter hill located on top of a pocket of natural gas that constantly erupts into flames. These flames jet out at least three meters into the air, through a porous layer of sandstone. Unlike the other mud volcanoes of Azerbaijan, Yanar Dag has no seepage of mud or liquid, so the fire always burns.

A 10-meter long wall of fire continuously burns alongside the edge of the hill. This makes for the most spectacular view, especially at night. The air around this open fireplace is always thick with the smell of gas. The heavy Absheron wind, twisting the flames into bizarre shapes, adds to the mystery of the region. Tongues of fire also rise from the surface of the streams located around the hill. These streams are called Yanar Bulaq, or ‘Burning Spring’.

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Azerbaijani Parking Attendant Turns Dusty Cars into Awe-Inspiring Works of Art

For most artists, any surface can be used as a canvas, as this Azerbaijani man beautifully demonstrates by creating complex urban landscapes in the collected dust on cars. He discovered his talent and passion for drawing in dirt at his job as a parking attendant which he has been doing for over 10 years.

During work hours on one of the busiest streets of Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, parking attendant Rafael Veyisov wipes off the dust on cars with his fingers, slowly contouring the shapes of tall buildings and flying birds. In his artwork, he generally illustrates real towns to educate people about other countries, but sometimes he also lets his imagination run wild and produces impressive original works. Surprised by his talent, the car owners who regularly leave their vehicles in Rafael’s care, often leave them dirty just to give him an excuse to play around, and take photos of his beautiful artworks.

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