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The Best Places to Visit in Sum Sum Sumqayit: From Ancient Caravanserai to Modern Museums

Sum Sum Sumqayit: A Guide to the Second Largest City in Azerbaijan

If you are looking for a destination that combines history, culture, nature, and modernity, you might want to consider visiting Sumqayit, the second largest city in Azerbaijan. Located on the coast of the Caspian Sea, Sumqayit is a vibrant and dynamic city that offers a variety of attractions and activities for travelers of all interests and budgets. In this article, we will give you an overview of what Sumqayit has to offer, from its origins and development to its current attractions and amenities. Whether you are looking for a relaxing beach vacation, a cultural immersion, or an adventurous exploration, Sumqayit has something for you.


What is Sum Sum Sumqayit?

Sumqayit (also spelled Sumgait or Sumgayit) is a city in Azerbaijan, located near the Caspian Sea, on the Absheron Peninsula, about 31 kilometers (19 miles) away from the capital Baku. The city has a population of around 358,675, making it the second largest city in Azerbaijan after Baku. The city has a territory of 90 square kilometers (30 square miles) and is divided into 11 administrative districts. It was founded as a suburb of Baku in 1944 and received city status on November 22, 1949, growing into a major industrial center during the Soviet period. The municipality of Sumqayit also includes the settlements of Jorat and Haji Zeynalabdin. It is home to Sumqayit State University.

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Why visit Sum Sum Sumqayit?

Sumqayit is a city that has a lot to offer to visitors who are interested in learning more about the history, culture, and nature of Azerbaijan. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit Sumqayit:

  • Sumqayit is a city that has witnessed significant historical events, such as the development of the Soviet industrialization, the ethnic violence of the late 1980s, and the independence movement of Azerbaijan. You can learn more about these events and their impact on the city and its people by visiting museums, monuments, and memorials.

  • Sumqayit is a city that has a rich and diverse culture, influenced by its location on the crossroads of Europe and Asia. You can experience this culture by watching performances at theatres, listening to music at concerts, tasting local cuisine at restaurants, and shopping at markets.

  • Sumqayit is a city that has a beautiful and varied natural environment, surrounded by the Caspian Sea and the Absheron Peninsula. You can enjoy this environment by relaxing at beaches, exploring parks and gardens, and taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, and boating.

History and Culture

The origin of the name Sumqayit

According to local folklore, the city is named after the . One folk legend tells the tale. Sum eventually manages to kill the monster, but when the river is released he is swept away by the waters and never seen again. After that, his beloved, Jeyran, inconsolable due to Sum's disappearance, would go to the river and cry "Sum qayıt!" (which means "Sum, come back!" in Azerbaijani). So the river became known as Sumgait, after which the city was named.

The development of Sumqayit as an industrial center

Sumqayit was founded as a suburb of Baku in 1944 and received city status on November 22, 1949. It grew rapidly as a major industrial center during the Soviet period, largely on the basis of petroleum from the Absheron Peninsula. Its vast modern factories produce aluminum, steel pipes for the oil industry, synthetic rubber, fertilizers, detergents, and petrochemicals. Sumqayit is also home to the Sumqayit Chemical Industrial Park, which was established by a decree of President Ilham Aliyev in 2011. The park covers 505.64 hectares and includes various sectors such as agro and medicine chemistry, household chemistry, chemistry in building and construction, electronics and automotive industry chemistry, polymers and industrial equipment production. The park offers tax and customs incentives, infrastructure, logistics, and free trade opportunities to its residents.

The Sumgait pogrom and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The violence in Sumqayit was unexpected and was widely covered in the Western media. It was greeted with general surprise in Armenia and the rest of the Soviet Union since ethnic conflicts in the country had been largely suppressed by the Soviet government, which had promoted policies such as fraternity of peoples, socialist patriotism, and proletarian internationalism to avert such conflicts. However, with the policies of glasnost and perestroika that were put in place by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 which relaxed suppression of the Soviet government, it was now possible for ethnic conflicts and ethnic nationalism to rise in the Soviet Union. The massacre, together with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, presented a major challenge to Gorbachev. He was later criticized for his slow reaction to the crisis.

The Sumgait pogrom was a pogrom that targeted the Armenian population of the seaside town of Sumgait in late February 1988. The pogrom took place during the early stages of the Karabakh movement, which demanded the unification of Nagorno-Karabakh (an autonomous region of Azerbaijan populated mostly by Armenians) with Armenia. On February 27, 1988, mobs of ethnic Azerbaijanis formed into groups and attacked and killed Armenians on the streets and in their apartments; widespread looting and a general lack of concern from police officers allowed the violence to continue for three days. On February 28, a small contingent of Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) troops entered the city and unsuccessfully attempted to quell the rioting. More professional military units entered with tanks and armored personnel vehicles one day later. Government forces imposed a state of martial law and curfew and brought the crisis to an end. The official death toll released by the Prosecutor General of the USSR (tallies were compiled based on lists of named victims) was 32 people (26 Armenians and 6 Azerbaijanis), although other estimates reach up into the hundreds of victims. The violence in Sumgait was one of the first violent events of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which escalated into a full-scale war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that lasted until 1994. Attractions and Activities

The Caspian Sea and the Absheron Peninsula

One of the main attractions of Sumqayit is its location on the coast of the Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water in the world. The Caspian Sea is rich in biodiversity and natural resources, such as oil and gas, caviar, and sturgeon. It also has a unique salinity level, which is lower than the ocean but higher than most lakes. The Caspian Sea offers many opportunities for recreation and relaxation, such as swimming, sunbathing, boating, fishing, and windsurfing. The beaches of Sumqayit are sandy and clean, and some of them have been awarded the Blue Flag certification for environmental standards. Some of the popular beaches in Sumqayit are Novkhani Beach, Shikhov Beach, Sahil Beach, and Yeni Sumqayit Beach.

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Sumqayit pogrom of 1988

Sumqayit State University

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Sumqayit is also situated on the Absheron Peninsula, a region that is known for its natural and cultural heritage. The peninsula has a semi-arid climate and a diverse landscape, featuring mud volcanoes, salt lakes, sand dunes, and rocky hills. The peninsula is also home to many historical and religious sites, such as the Ateshgah Fire Temple, the Yanar Dag Burning Mountain, the Mardakan Castle, the Ramana Castle, and the Pir Hasan Sanctuary. The Absheron Peninsula is a great place to explore the ancient and modern history of Azerbaijan, as well as its traditions and customs.

The Sumqayit State Drama Theatre and the Sumqayit State Musical Comedy Theatre

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