Boyuk Zira: 4 Interesting Facts about This Island of Azerbaijan


Boyuk Zira is an almost uninhabited island in the Caspian Sea. The Caspian Sea is also known as the Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Xazar Sea.

It is part of the vastest amount of inland water, often described as the largest lake in the world. It contains a soviet era lighthouse with the cruel past of Stalin and Beria.

Lighthouse in Boyuk Zira
Neftchi at English WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the First World War, many Azerbaijani and Turkish people lost their livers here. I want to discuss something about this place in Azerbaijan.

The country name Azerbaijan is a stunning place located in Central Asia. It exemplifies the beauty perfectly, without any doubt. Let’s know the details about this spot in the Caspian Sea.

4 Interesting Facts about Boyuk Zira

This attractive place in Azerbaijan has a rich history. It is the witness of the cruelty of the Soviet Army. It has many interesting facts to know.

1. It is An Attractive Place

Zira island is the largest island between the Bay of Baku and the sea south of the Absheron Peninsula Zira. It is a beautiful place in the Caspian or Xazar Sea in Azerbaijan.

It is 3.1 kilometers long and 900 meters wide. The northwestern side of this beautiful place of Azerbaijan is sheer and steep.

The Russians and the Cossacks arrived in the Caspian Sea region in the 17th century. And they changed the names of most of the islands in the Baku archipelago.

They also changed the name of this remarkable island. On December 11, 1884, a beacon began to function on this place.

The Soviets constructed the Boyuk Zira lighthouse on the southern tip. It enables ships to navigate towards Baku Bay during nighttime.

A stone residential building makes up the lighthouse. The building has a three-meter tower on its roof. It serves as a beacon with a lamp.

The responsible people lit passage for ships with a kerosene-wick burner. A gas lamp with a fourth-degree light-optic system follows it.

They restored the beacon in 1958, and it is still working. Beacon light is visible from Baku at a distance of 20 kilometers. Solar batteries can charge for up to 7 days.

A diesel generator provides electricity to the beacon. During World War I, Nargin was the site of sad events in the history of Azerbaijan and Turkey.

Russia turned the island into a death camp. During the First World War, Tsarist Russia and then the Soviet Union used the island as a death camp.

The Russians captured over 10,000 people from Turkish-Muslim villages. They captured and brutally tortured the Turkish prisoners.

The Russian archives have documents about the kidnapping of Turkish-Muslim children and adults. These kidnappings occurred in Anatolian villages.

The Caucasian Islamic Army entered Baku in September 1918. They freed the prisoners. But, the bloody history of Nargin prison continued. In 1920, the Bolsheviks took power in Baku.

Afterward, they shot Azerbaijani activists and victims on Nargin and Bulla islands. Azerbaijan regained its independence in 1991.

Scuba divers discovered tortured victims submerged on Zira island. Away from witnesses, someone shot and killed thousands of people.

Visiting this place is an experience you won’t find anywhere else. This island in the Caspian Sea has many beautiful viewing spots.

The Caucasus Mountains can be visible from ths land. There are no major cities on Zira island, but you’ll be able to find a few small fishing communities.

There are plenty of places to stay on this land, but these are not luxurious. Visitors typically stay in yurts, basic tents with a door, or in small guesthouses.

Most tourists visit this place in the summer months between June and August. October and May are also good months to visit.

Zira Island is famous for its fresh and delicious fish that you can eat at the local restaurants. Fishing is a popular activity among visitors.

You can go to the northeastern part of this place to fish. The waters around this place have plenty of fish such as sturgeon, sea bass, and bream.

2. Things to know before you go

Keep your mental preparation for a rugged trip to the island as there are no proper roads. The journey to the island takes at least two hours and costs around $30. 

If you choose to go by boat, keep in mind that you’ll have to navigate through the shallow waters of the Caspian Sea.

The weather in this amazing place of Azerbaijan is unpredictable and changes quickly.  The best months to visit this place of the Caspian Sea are June, July, August, and October.

Visit the island between March and May to see the beautiful view of the Guli-Guli rock formations.

3. Why You Should Visit Boyuk Zira

Azerbaijan is a fantastic place. It is one of the last places where you will find untouched nature. In addition, the community there lives in harmony with it.

This island is free of noise pollution, and the air is fresh. The people here don’t pollute the environment. This place is a rare gem in the Caspian Sea.

You can see several types of marine life around this spot. Some fantastic examples include sturgeon, sea bass, and various birds.

4. What is the price of a hotel on Zira Island?

It is better for you to stay in Baku during your visit. There are many hotels in Baku. These hotels are House Impulse Xazar, Baku Vila, and many more. Its costs may start from fifteen dollars to more.

Some More Important Facts about This Magnificent Place in Azerbaijan

  • You can enjoy the view of the beautiful blue sea from anywhere on the island.
  • You can enjoy a boat tour of nearby islands, such as Gil Island.
  • You can visit the local fishing villages and see how the locals catch and make dried fish.
  • You can explore different landscapes and see various types of flora and fauna.
  • You can see many migrating birds in the spring and autumn seasons.
  • You can enjoy the fresh air and peace that this island offers.
  • You can experience living in a yurt and eating the local food.
  • You can go hiking, biking, and stargazing all year round.
  • You can see the sunrise and sunset from any part of the island.
  • You can admire the view of the Caucasus Mountains and the southern shoreline.
  • You can visit the nearby Guli-Guli rock formations.


Boyuk Zira is a beautiful place, without any doubt. It can offer much more than an astonishing view. We have already discussed that it has a significant history.

This place is home to diverse species of plants and animals. You can explore this diversity by doing many fascinating activities here.

If you visit this incredible island, you will never forget the experience! So, if you live or visiting Azerbaijan, plan a trip to this fascinating site to explore it.

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