Azerbaijan’s secret to long life? Mountain air in the village of Lerik

(CNN) — There are a amount of locations about the earth famed for the longevity of their citizens.
In Japan, Okinawa’s sprightly centenarians have acquired it the nickname “Land of the Immortals.” Campodimele, Italy’s “Village of Eternity,” is testament to the Mediterranean food plan. In the sunny Californian town of Loma Linda, a neighborhood of Seventh-Day Adventists reaping benefits of clean up residing.
You can find one particular prolonged-lived corner of the globe you will never have listened to talked about as substantially, and it can be household to the world’s only Museum of Longevity. That is Lerik in southern Azerbaijan.

The South Caucasus country is dwelling to quite a few regions regarded for creating residents who reside to triple-figure ages, such as Lankaran and Nagorno-Karabakh. But yet another, Lerik, is reputed to have the maximum concentration of centenarians.

In this emerald land significant above the clouds in the Talysh Mountains, achieved by loop immediately after loop of a serpentine street, men and women feel to have found out a secret to a very long and healthy lifestyle.

The Museum of Longevity

The two-space Museum of Longevity, constructed in 1991 and renovated in 2010, retains a lot more than 2,000 exhibits documenting the lives and memories of the region’s oldest inhabitants.

It charts unique lifespans with the residence merchandise that they’ve outlived, these kinds of as 3 generations of apparel irons. There are chests filled with headscarves and shirts, silver pitchers and bowls, fantastically knitted socks, and hand-dyed rugs that are continue to brightly coloured inspite of their age.

And then there are the letters, prepared in equally Azerbaijani and Russian — personalized artifacts so previous that the ink is setting up is fade.

Possibly the most charming features are the portraits of centenarians that address the museum’s walls. These pictures, relationship from the 1930s, ended up donated by French photographer Frederic Lachop.

The museum, and formal Azerbaijan figures, determine “centenarian” more loosely than you would assume: In this article, it suggests anyone more than 90 yrs previous.

Having said that, back again in 1991, there ended up more than 200 men and women in Lerik registered as currently being a lot more than 100 decades aged, out of a population of 63,000.

Numbers have been much less outstanding considering the fact that then, which locals blame variously on radiation from communication towers and environmental decline, but could just as very easily be down to extra rigorous document-keeping.

Right now, there are 11 people today a lot more than 100 a long time outdated, out of a nearby populace of 83,800.

The tale of the 168-yr-old gentleman

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Is this the world’s oldest man ever? Maybe not.

Kamilla Rzayeva

Lerik’s present-day oldest citizen is Raji Ibrahimova, at 105 yrs. That is a wonderful classic, but it pales in comparison to the age apparently reached by area’s most celebrated centenarian, Shirali Muslumov, a shepherd who supposedly lived to be 168.

The yellow internet pages of his passport assert that he was born in 1805 and his headstone states that he died in 1973. If accurate, it would make the the oldest human being to have ever lived.

Regretably, again in the early 19th century, delivery registrations almost never took place in this sort of distant villages as his birthplace of Barzavu, so there is no certifable file of when he was born.

A great number of letters sent from all in excess of the environment on his different birthdays depart no question that he was in fact of a incredibly respectable age, but it is probably greatest to element in a least 20-year margin of mistake.

Among those people corresponding with Muslumov have been Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh, who despatched a postcard greeting him with the endearment, “Expensive Grandpa.”

This longevity gene would seem to operate in the loved ones. His 95-year-aged daughter, Halima Qambarova, tells CNN Vacation that — when she may not are living to 168, like her father — she at minimum hopes to are living to the age of 150, like her grandfather, or 130, like her aunt.

‘Stillness of the mind’

When the climate turns chilly, most centenarians relocate to the kinder coastal climes of Lankaran, but Qambarova was nonetheless in the Lerik village of Barzavu when CNN Vacation dropped by her father’s modest two-tale home, surrounded by huge apple and pear trees (likely contemporaries of her well-known father).

Sitting down by the window, wrapped in a scarf, she speaks with a slight accent, switching usually to her indigenous language of Talysh, a dialect spoken by just 200,000 men and women and categorized as “susceptible” by UNESCO.

She shows off her passport, which does not checklist a thirty day period or date of start, only the calendar year: 1924. She might be 95, but she is totally existing, interacting with her excellent-grandchildren, and demonstrating her energetic sense of humor. When requested her age, she cheerfully replies, “15.”

“Stillness of the intellect is component of their mystery,” the museum guidebook suggests. “They continue to be absent from stress, considering about everyday living rather philosophically, living 1 day at a time, without a great deal planning or worry for the future.”

Great nourishment and natural remedies

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Halima Qanbarova is a young detail of 95. Her grandfather is reported to have lived to 150, her father to 168, and her aunt to 130.

Kamilla Rzayeva

Qambarova’s day commences at dawn she does not allow herself sleep in. “I get up as quickly as my eyes open,” she claims.

She spends the whole day operating in the garden or all-around the property. Her space is small, with a thick comfortable carpet and pillows on the ground. Numerous men and women here want sleeping on the floor, with just a slim blanket rather of a mattress, as it can be thought to be the healthiest way to rest the back again.

Contrary to preferred belief, the centenarians of Lerik do take in meat, but they inherited a desire for fresh dairy goods such as shor (cottage cheese), butter, milk and the yoghurt drink ayran from previously centenarians, for whom the abstinence from meat was a lot more owing to financial circumstance.

Qambarova’s daughter-in-law provides in a huge plate with pears and apples from their garden and some fragrant tea.

It truly is organic, floral and refreshing. Back at the museum, the guidebook exhibits a desk with the various herbs native to Lerik.

“The magic formula of lengthy lifestyle is good nutrition, the minerals in the spring h2o and the herbs that we add to tea to stop health problems, so folks don’t have to consider any medicine, only using the all-natural cures,” claims the guide. Certainly, Qambarova insists she’s under no circumstances taken any medicine.

Generations living side by facet

Beyond her home windows, it might appear to be that the village is quiet and continue to. But the bodily perform that villagers place in every day is enormous. From dawn until eventually sunset they function in gardens and fields as properly as all-around the house. They sew and knit and get treatment of major families.

These types of was the way of life of Mammadkhan Abbasov, a 103-calendar year-old from Jangamiran village. Sitting on the carpet, throughout from the window, the centenarian has practically wholly lost his sight and can barely hear his son telling him that guests have arrived, but when he lastly catches it, he commences singing, featuring prayers and fantastic needs.

At Abbasov’s aspect is his great grandson — a century gap among them.

Just like Qambarova, Abbasov has been a busy villager his whole lifetime, doing the job in the fields till about seven many years ago, when his eyesight deteriorated.

‘Whatever God gives’

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Lerik is testament to the benefits of refreshing mountain air.

Kamilla Rzayeva

“He has constantly been a great man and lived his everyday living properly,” his son claims.

In terms of food, he eats “whatever God gives” with just just one restriction — he by no means beverages liquor.

Abbasov attributes his lengthy everyday living to everyday physical activity, not to the position of exhaustion, but plenty of to obstacle the system.

Along with the fantastic nourishment from the farm solutions, he also employed to consume liters of ice-chilly spring drinking water, which is loaded with minerals said to lead to longevity.

The headache-inducing altitudes of mountains may also be a variable.

The ages of some of these celebrated centenarians may possibly nevertheless be disputed, but here in Lerik their legacy lives on by means of the folks that still abide by the straightforward top secret of Lerik’s longevity: physical action, good diet, plenty of water and an frame of mind to everyday living that claims: We only reside when, but if we do it appropriate, when is plenty of.

Museum of Longevity, 22 A.Asadullayev avenue, Lerik, Azerbaijan (025) 274-47-11

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