|Towers and Castles of Apsheron|
By the XI-XII centuries, Baku became a large commercial seaport on the Caspian Sea. For safety reason the Shirvanshakh dynasty’s rulers initiated a large-scale building activity to strengthen the city’s fortification works. The fortress was protected with three rows of walls built around it and also with a deep moat dug near it. Furthermore, the mountains surrounded the city were built up with additional defensive structures in a form of flag towers and small fortresses/All these towers and palaces made up a city’s common defensive system which is located on the Apsheron Peninsula today.
The beginning of the construction of the towers and castles dates back to the XI-XII centuries. They include Sabil fortress, Ramana fortress, Mardakyan fortress and Shikh fortresses. These fortresses were mainly occupied by a military post which was to form the city’s first line of defense in case of attack. In the XI-XIV centuries Baku was subject to attacks of the Turks-Seljuks, Mongols and Russ. In year 1175 Shirvanshakh Akhistan with the help of the towers and fortresses existed by that time, managed to prevent the occupation of Baku by the Russ who had arrived there by 73 ships. These towers, in addition to their defensive function, were used as flag ones. When enemies were approaching the city, its defenders used to burn oil on their tops, thus, warning the city folk about the danger.
In the township of Ramana, near Baku, there is fortress of the XIV century . It was built of white stone. The fortress height is 15 m. Local landmarks include the four-storeyed castle of the mid XIV- th century and the mosque of 1323. The castle has a 1.5 m thick walls and a rectangular tower (9x7.5 m, height: 13 m).The Ramana Fortress was built by Shirvanshakhs’ order for defensive purpose. According to documentary records, in the Middle Ages, there was an underground way running from the Ramana Fortress to the Maiden Tower.
Ramana also spelled Ramany, Romana (Azerbaijani: Ramana, Ramanı), is an urban-type settlement in Absheron Peninsula. The settlement was possibly founded by the Roman troops of Lucius Julius Maximus from Legio XII Fulminata in circa 84-96 AD and derives its name from the Latin Romana. Among the facts that strengthen this hypothesis are the military-topoghraphical map of Caucasus published in 1903 by Russian Administration which spells name of town as "Romana"; various Roman artefacts found in Absheron region and also old inhabitants' referring to the town as Romani.
The second work describes another feature of the settlement, a big reservoir, which is called "the settlement's beacon" due to its height (18 m). The reservoir supplied water to the oil fields in Zagulba, Zabrat and Balakhany. In the Balakhany-Sabunchi-Ramana oil field a new technology for identification of oil thin layers was originally tested.