Last weekend we traveled to Goychay for the annual Pomegranate Festival. We were so looking towards it, especially since two years in a roll we weren’t able to go, and that was our last chance. (Next year we’ll be attending festivals in Bulgaria.)
What is the Pomegranate Festival?
The Pomegranate Festival in Goychay is a way to celebrate this very special for the Azeri people fruit. Goychay, itself, is considered the capital of pomegranates in Azerbaijan, since that’s where dozens of pomegranate varieties are being successfully grown. With their fiery color and crown, those fruits remind of fire, which is an emblematic symbol for Azerbaijan. The country is often called “land of fire” due to the many everlasting fires here. The people cherish highly their pomegranate harvest, as well as that of other fruits, like apples, quinces, persimmons, etc. The climate in Goychay is perfect for growing them and they’re exceptionally delicious and sweet.
When is the Pomegranate Festival celebrated?
Pomegranates are harvested in autumn, so the Pomegranate Festival is celebrated in the end of October or beginning of November. This year it was the first weekend of November.
How is the Pomegranate Festival Celebrated?
The weekend of the Festival is a very busy time for the city. People from all over the country gather here on this day to witness the celebrations and buy good quality fruits. There’re so many stands with pomegranates, that you can’t even count them! They offer different varieties of the fruit in different sizes: from very little ones to huge, over 1 kilogram (!!!), ones! They’re really really big. There’s even a contest for the biggest pomegranate of the season!
Apart from the fruit-selling stands, there’re also those with delicious and beautifully prepared sweets, pastries and other meals. You can try them, buy them or just marvel at them. I love how the locals have taken the time to display their harvest in the most pleasant way possible. There’re also many hand-made goods, cosmetics, souvenirs, costumes, and other items typical for the Azerbaijani culture and lifestyle.
While you’re here, don’t miss the opportunity to try the traditional Azerbaijani lyulya kebab. It’s grilled all over the place and its aroma can make you hungry in a second. 🙂
Stages are placed all over the city center. On them you can see traditional Azerbaijani dances, as well as listen to concerts and national music performed by kids and other musicians.
You can also take a photo with Miss Pomegranate who is chosen every year on a contest during the festival.
What else to see in Goychay and around?
There’s a historical museum in the city, as well as historical monuments like an underground bath from the 18th century, the Abulfaz lil Abbas Mosque from the 19th century (in the nearby village Karaman), and the Surkhai Fortress from the 12th century. In order to visit the last two, you can take a taxi from Goychay and ask it to wait for you and then return you back to the city. Otherwise, finding a taxi in the village can be a bit problematic.
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