Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

hidden europe 8


It is World Cup year. Football is everywhere. Even at the very end of Europe, in Azerbaijan, where we run across the tale of a great Azeri football hero.

article summary —

When Claudius Bombarnac, Jules Verne's imaginary hero in The Adventures of a Special Correspondent, arrives at the Absheron peninsula on the shores of the Caspian he is appalled by the pollution. And he is intrigued by the bare and arid soil. Only one plant survives in this parched land: the wormwood with its bitter greyishgreen leaves from which absinthe is made. Bombarnac is more positive about the naphtha that seeps out of the ground:

"A marvellous phenomenon indeed! Do you want a light or a fire? Nothing can be simpler; make a hole in the ground, the gas escapes, and you apply a match. That is a natural gasometer within reach of all purses."

Jules Verne died a hundred years ago, and the landscape of the Absheron peninsula has scarcely improved in the intervening century.

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About the authors

hidden europe

and Susanne Kries manage hidden europe, a Berlin-based editorial bureau that supplies text and images to media across Europe. Together they edit hidden europe magazine. Nicky and Susanne are dedicated slow travellers. They delight in discovering the exotic in the everyday.

This article was published in hidden europe 8.