Rena Effendi: Xinaliq village
First decade into the 21st century, Khinaliq, because of its remoteness, still managed to preserve its ancient way of life. There is no running water but the stream nearby, no gas except the natural fires sprouting from the gas-pocked mountains.
The light-skinned and blue-eyed race speaks Khinaluq, a unique and dying out language attributed to the northeastern group of Caucasus languages. The only source of income is sheep breeding – husbands graze their flocks in mountain pastures, women weave traditional carpet designs from wool at home. There are little over 1000 shepherd families living in Khinaliq at an elevation of over 2300 meters above the sea. Before 2006, the village was inaccessible for nine months out of the year, but four years ago, the president of Azerbaijan decided to visit Khinaliq and the government built the new road. This newly asphalted road will surely alleviate the hardships associated with winter and mountain isolation, but it may also threaten the unique culture of Khinaliq.