Have you ever heard of the Longevity Museum? It is a place…in Lerik in southern Azerbaijan. Not an official Blue Zone, this part of the world claims to have discovered the secret to a long and healthy life. The Longevity Museum is a two-room building holding more than 2,000 exhibits documenting the lives and memories of the region’s oldest inhabitants.
The museum actually defines “centenarian” as anyone over 90. That being said, today there are 11 people over the age of 100 in a population of 83,800. The current oldest citizen is 105-year-old Raji Ibrahimova. However, Lerik’s real claim to fame is the Muslumov family. Shirali Muslumov was a shepherd who is said to have lived to 168. His passport, found in the museum, states that he was born in 1805. His tombstone says he died in 1973. That information, if true, would make him the oldest person who ever lived. The lack of properly documented birth records does make this information verifiable.
Raji’s daughter, 95-year-old Halima Qambarova, told CNN Travel that while 168 seems like a stretch, she does hope to live to 150 like her grandfather or 130 like her aunt. Clearly, longevity runs in the family. At 95, Halima isn’t letting any grass grow under her feet. She starts her day at sunrise and spends it working in the garden or the house. She sleeps on a thick carpet on the floor with a think blanket, as she has her whole life.
The citizens of Lerik eat meat, but prefer dairy products. According to the Longevity Museum tour guide, “The secret to long life is good nutrition, the minerals in spring water, and the herbs we add to tea to prevent sickness. People don’t have to take any medicine, just using natural remedies.”
Intrigued by this far-away land and it’s super healthy, long-living population? Keep reading.