Baku has a lot of idiosyncrasies. Those idiosyncrasies are most of the time are of unknown nature to us. Why bother? We do not want to know about them, do we? Maybe there are people who do. Maybe I am of those who do not want to know them.
There is a grey hill that pops up in background of Bilajari ‘skyline’. It rises over the sky so high and visibly that you cannot help asking yourself what the hell it is. It might also be the only thing that you would and could enjoy for a while on the way home by bus driving on Baku-Sumgait highway.
That hill is actually a mud volcano, one of the biggest in Absheron. It is also the third most active (after Lokbatan and Shikhzayirli) in terms of intensity of eruption. It has erupted 16 times since 1810.
It is called Keyreki Mud Volcano (Keyrəki). It locates at the edge of Binagadi district, about 12km/40m in distance from Baku.
There are fewer options allowing you to see mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan. The most famous and lively volcanoes are in Gobustan. They are in about 70km/1h20m in distance from Baku.
Most of tour agencies offer quite a price to pay for seeing volcanoes separately or as part of a tour. For instance, 90AZN Gobustan and Mud Volcano tour is offered at baku-tours.com. Tripadvisor.com offers the same tour for 74AZN. Or the most expensive is the one served by discoverazerbaijan.az for 425 azn. Nonetheless, it is still worthy to visit Gobustan no matter what it takes if you can afford.
But those prices are unacceptable for a budget traveller. Yet there is actually an alternative a traveller may take a chance. It is easy and simple for travellers.
Keyreki Mud Volcano, which I just mentioned above, is an alternative. It only takes 30 minutes to reach from Baku International Bus Terminal. And it only costs you 0.40AZN.
Why you should visit Keyreki Mud Volcano?
Keyreki actually allows you step on the centre of crater the opportunity most of mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan deny you. As noted, the latest activity dates back to October 2014. The mud has pretty much solidified. Therefore you can walk over. So you have to have different motive and priority.
You just not only observe the life just outside of Baku, but also dynamic life around the mud volcano. At the top, right on crater of the volcano, Baku, Sumgait, Masazir Lake, Khirdalan and other villages are at the sight. You encounter several populated hilltops around in distance which have volcanic activity yet to erupt regardless of their likelihood.
You meet brave people, a different kind, people who are in deliberate oblivion of danger of death. Nonetheless, Keyreki goes very well with local people. It has let people live in the vicinity. Keyreki has even extended her courtesy allowing people build their houses at the foothill. However sometime she filled with anger so much that she cannot hold but let it out in 2001, 2002 and lately 2014. Despite all these you’ll question what kind of people they are who put themselves in whatever you should find it out yourself.
It is much said about how mud volcanoes linked to oil and gas deposits. At the foothill, you see oil derricks producing oil. As a gift, you may fill up a bottle crude oil right from the well.
How to visit:
- Use Metro to come to Bus Terminal Station. Walk up to the bus stop which is just outside of the International Bus terminal exit in the 2nd floor.
- Get on Bus no. 142. In any case, ask the driver to drop you off by mud volcano (palchig vulkani), the last stop.
- Then you should be able to see volcano hilltop to guide you towards itself.
- This Google map will help to have rough idea about direction.