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They are saying he lived to be 168. Here is how

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(CNN) — There are a variety of locations around the globe famed for the longevity of their residents.
In Japan, Okinawa’s sprightly centenarians have earned it the nickname “Land of the Immortals.” Campodimele, Italy’s “Village of Eternity,” is testomony to the Mediterranean weight loss program. Within the sunny Californian city of Loma Linda, a group of Seventh-Day Adventists reaping rewards of unpolluted dwelling.
There’s one long-lived nook of the globe you will not have heard talked about as a lot, and it is residence to the world’s solely Museum of Longevity. That is Lerik in southern Azerbaijan.

The South Caucasus nation is residence to a number of areas identified for producing residents who stay to triple-figure ages, together with Lankaran and Nagorno-Karabakh. However one other, Lerik, is reputed to have the best focus of centenarians.

On this emerald land excessive above the clouds within the Talysh Mountains, reached by loop after loop of a serpentine highway, folks appear to have found a secret to a protracted and wholesome life.

The Museum of Longevity

The 2-room Museum of Longevity, in-built 1991 and renovated in 2010, holds greater than 2,000 displays documenting the lives and reminiscences of the area’s oldest inhabitants.

It charts particular person lifespans with the home items that they’ve outlived, equivalent to three generations of clothes irons. There are chests full of headscarves and shirts, silver pitchers and bowls, superbly knitted socks, and hand-dyed rugs which can be nonetheless brightly coloured regardless of their age.

After which there are the letters, written in each Azerbaijani and Russian — private artifacts so outdated that the ink is beginning is fade.

Maybe essentially the most fascinating options are the portraits of centenarians that cowl the museum’s partitions. These pictures, courting from the 1930s, have been donated by French photographer Frederic Lachop.

The museum, and official Azerbaijan statistics, outline “centenarian” extra loosely than you’d count on: Right here, it means anybody over 90 years outdated.

Nevertheless, again in 1991, there have been greater than 200 folks in Lerik registered as being greater than 100 years outdated, out of a inhabitants of 63,000.

Numbers have been much less spectacular since then, which locals blame variously on radiation from communication towers and environmental decline, however may simply as simply be right down to extra rigorous record-keeping.

As we speak, there are 11 folks greater than 100 years outdated, out of a neighborhood inhabitants of 83,800.

The story of the 168-year-old man

For story about Azerbaijan's Museum of Longevity

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

Kamilla Rzayeva

Lerik’s present oldest citizen is Raji Ibrahimova, at 105 years. That is a tremendous classic, however it pales compared to the age seemingly reached by space’s most celebrated centenarian, Shirali Muslumov, a shepherd who supposedly lived to be 168.

The phone book of his passport declare that he was born in 1805 and his headstone states that he died in 1973. If true, it might make the the oldest particular person to have ever lived.

Sadly, again within the early 19th century, delivery registrations not often happened in such distant villages as his birthplace of Barzavu, so there isn’t any certifable document of when he was born.

Numerous letters despatched from everywhere in the world on his numerous birthdays go away little doubt that he was certainly of a really respectable age, however it’s maybe greatest to think about a minimal 20-year margin of error.

Amongst these corresponding with Muslumov have been Vietnamese communist chief Ho Chi Minh, who despatched a postcard greeting him with the endearment, “Expensive Grandpa.”

This longevity gene appears to run within the household. His 95-year-old daughter, Halima Qambarova, tells CNN Journey that — whereas she may not stay to 168, like her father — she no less than hopes to stay to the age of 150, like her grandfather, or 130, like her aunt.

‘Stillness of the thoughts’

When the climate turns chilly, most centenarians relocate to the kinder coastal climes of Lankaran, however Qambarova was nonetheless within the Lerik village of Barzavu when CNN Journey dropped by her father’s modest two-story residence, surrounded by huge apple and pear bushes (most likely contemporaries of her well-known father).

Sitting by the window, wrapped in a scarf, she speaks with a slight accent, switching typically to her native language of Talysh, a dialect spoken by simply 200,000 folks and labeled as “weak” by UNESCO.

She reveals off her passport, which does not listing a month or date of delivery, solely the 12 months: 1924. She could also be 95, however she is absolutely current, interacting along with her great-grandchildren, and demonstrating her energetic humorousness. When requested her age, she cheerfully replies, “15.”

“Stillness of the thoughts is a part of their secret,” the museum information says. “They keep away from stress, excited about life fairly philosophically, dwelling in the future at a time, with out a lot planning or fear for the long run.”

Good vitamin and pure cures

For story about Azerbaijan's Museum of Longevity

Halima Qanbarova is a younger factor of 95. Her grandfather is alleged to have lived to 150, her father to 168, and her aunt to 130.

Kamilla Rzayeva

Qambarova’s day begins at daybreak; she would not let herself sleep in. “I stand up as quickly as my eyes open,” she says.

She spends the entire day working within the backyard or round the home. Her room is small, with a thick comfortable carpet and pillows on the ground. Many individuals right here want sleeping on the bottom, with only a skinny blanket as an alternative of a mattress, because it’s believed to be the healthiest option to relaxation the again.

Opposite to common perception, the centenarians of Lerik do eat meat, however they inherited a desire for recent dairy merchandise equivalent to shor (cottage cheese), butter, milk and the yoghurt drink ayran from earlier centenarians, for whom the abstinence from meat was extra as a consequence of financial circumstance.

Qambarova’s daughter-in-law brings in a giant plate with pears and apples from their backyard and a few fragrant tea.

It is natural, floral and refreshing. Again on the museum, the information reveals a desk with the varied herbs native to Lerik.

“The key of lengthy life is sweet vitamin, the minerals within the spring water and the herbs that we add to tea to forestall sicknesses, so folks do not need to take any medication, solely utilizing the pure cures,” says the information. Certainly, Qambarova insists she’s by no means taken any medicine.

Generations dwelling aspect by aspect

Past her home windows, it could appear that the village is quiet and nonetheless. However the bodily work that villagers put in on daily basis is immense. From dawn till sundown they work in gardens and fields in addition to round the home. They sew and knit and care for large households.

Such was the approach to life of Mammadkhan Abbasov, a 103-year-old from Jangamiran village. Sitting on the carpet, throughout from the window, the centenarian has nearly fully misplaced his sight and may barely hear his son telling him that friends have arrived, however when he lastly catches it, he begins singing, providing prayers and good needs.

At Abbasov’s aspect is his nice grandson — a century hole between them.

Identical to Qambarova, Abbasov has been a busy villager his complete life, working within the fields till about seven years in the past, when his imaginative and prescient deteriorated.

‘No matter God provides’

For story about Azerbaijan's Museum of Longevity

Lerik is testomony to the advantages of recent mountain air.

Kamilla Rzayeva

“He has at all times been man and lived his life correctly,” his son says.

By way of meals, he eats “no matter God provides” with only one restriction — he by no means drinks alcohol.

Abbasov attributes his lengthy life to every day bodily exercise, to not the purpose of exhaustion, however sufficient to problem the physique.

Together with the great vitamin from the farm merchandise, he additionally used to drink liters of ice-cold spring water, which is wealthy with minerals mentioned to contribute to longevity.

The headache-inducing altitudes of mountains may be an element.

The ages of a few of these celebrated centenarians should still be disputed, however right here in Lerik their legacy lives on by means of the folks that also abide by the straightforward secret of Lerik’s longevity: bodily exercise, good vitamin, a number of water and an perspective to life that claims: We solely stay as soon as, but when we do it proper, as soon as is sufficient.

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

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