Spring 2005 (13.1)
Legends from Azerbaijan
Legend about the Rose
to the article
Left: Chirag Castle is believed to date back
to the 5th century. Although in serious disrepair, it is one
of the bet preserved of Azerbaijan's ancient fortresses.The castle
commands a spectacular view of the entire region. Often legends
are created to explain some aspect of a castle's construction
or history. The castle is located north of Baku on the way to
Guba, not far from Siyazan and Davachi.
Photo: John Connor.
Told by Isa Musa oglu, 90, and Yasaman Aliyeva, 78, both from
Toghana Village in the Khanlar region. According to this legend,
the original name of Kapaz Mountain was Arzu Mountain, which
means, "Wish". After an earthquake there, the name
of the mountain was changed into Kuhipas Mountain (Burning Mountain).
According to ancient Turkic sources, Kapas means bridal crown
and, in fact, Kapaz Mountain does look like a bridal crown reflected
in Goy Gol Lake.
Once there lived a very rich man who had no children. This made
him very sad. A very old, wise man advised him to go to Arzu
(Wish) Mountain and ask for a child.
So the man took his wife and went there and pleaded with the
mountain to give him a child. After a while, his wife gave birth
to a very beautiful girl. They called her Gizil (Gold).
Gizil grew up and with each passing day, she became more and
In the neighboring village, there lived a poor man who had an
only son whose name was Bulbul (Nightingale). Bulbul had a charming
Bulbul and Gizil fell in love with each other. Bulbul's voice
grew to be even more charming. He asked his father to go and
ask for Gizil's hand. But Gizil's father was concerned about
what Bulbul did for a living. Bulbul's father replied: "He's
a lover. He strengthens the heart with his magnificent songs."
Gizil's father laughed at these words: "Songs are not bread.
I won't let my daughter get married to a poor man. If your son
wants to marry my daughter, he has to be rich and have a means
of earning an income."
Bulbul became sad with this news, but he agreed with the terms
set forth by Gizil's father. He said "Goodbye" to Gizil
and headed off to a faraway land. Gizil promised to wait for
him and not marry anyone else.
Much time passed but no news came about Bulbul. Gizil's father
arranged the engagement of Gizil to a wealthy young man. Preparation
was being made for her wedding. They even put henna on Gizil's
In desperation, Gizil made her way to Wish Mountain and with
hennaed hands begged the mountain. "Dear Wish Mountain,
I was born because you granted my parents' plea. Now I am in
mourning, so you must mourn, too."
Wish Mountain understood the girl and caused a fire to consume
All her relatives died in the fire. That made Gizil very sad
because she lost both her mother and father. She went again to
Wish Mountain and asked it to turn her into a flower that would
be a symbol of love. And so the mountain transformed her into
a rose that blossomed in the garden of Bulbul's father. Since
that time, Gizil had blossomed as white flowers with love to
One day Bulbul returned. He started to look for Gizil but couldn't
find her. He became suspicious about the white roses because
their fragrance smelled just as Gizil used to smell. That's how
Bulbul's relatives came to tell him the story of what had happened
This made Bulbul depressed. He circled several times around the
white flowers and then he thrust his sword into his heart. The
blood ran down the fresh white blossom petals of the rose dyeing
them red. But Bulbul's relatives did not allow Bulbul to kill
Then Bulbul decided to pay a visit to Wish Mountain. He told
the mountain: "I have no will to live longer. Turn me into
a bird so that I can fly around my lover's head and sing songs
forever to her."
And that's how Bulbul's wish came true. He was transformed into
a bird with such a sweet gentle voice. Since that time, roses
have blossomed with red flowers.
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