The Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe . Tourism history has acquired millennia-long traditions with the evidences proving their age. It would be enough to remember the Great Silk Road where not only trade but also cultural exchanges were held. But surely, interest to the country on the shores of the Caspian Sea flared in the time of the hydrocarbonic reserve search.
Azerbaijan is a territory of 9-out of 11 of the world's climatic zones. Climate of our country enables to organize summer and winter holidays. The country is endowed with picturesque natural landscapes, monuments of culture and modern tourist resorts. The Khudat-Yalama seacoast, bordered by forests, and the seashores of Absheron and Lankaran are fine places for recreation and relaxation. In these places, there are fine sandy beaches with steady water temperatures of 22-26°C for five or more months, which provide for a long swimming season.
The most attractive areas for Alpinism and winter sports are Shamakhi and Gusar. Many types of animals and birds are objects of licensed hunting, and in the reserves they are very easy to watch and photograph. In particular, the Gizilagach reserve, where in the winter months more than one million individuals from two hundred species of birds of passage gather, is ideal for this purpose.
In Azerbaijan are a number of health resorts and spas, creating an opportunity for treatment of many illnesses yielding to natural therapies. Most of the resorts with mineral spas also function as tourist centers. Nakhchievan is especially rich in mineral sources; the only known deposit of medicinal petroleum in the world - Naftalan - is completely unique.
Baku and the Absheron peninsula; Nakhchivan, Guba-Khachmaz, Sheki-Zagatala, and Lankaran-Astara regions; and the historical areas of Shirvan and Ganjabasar are the most attractive for travelers in Azerbaijan. The lovely nature of these places, numerous ancient ruins, wonderful ethnographic variety and the astonishing skills of local craftsmen will leave an unforgettable impression of Azerbaijan upon its guests.
NATURAL MONUMENTS OF AZERBAIJAN
Azerbaijan will surprise you with its nature - there are high mountain ridges and plains, semi deserts and woodlands, seas and rivers. You will be delighted to see the:
- The Greater Caucasus Mountains from the north, the Lesser Caucasus Mountains from the west and south-west and Talysh Mountains from the south-east are stretching in our country. Bazarduzu, Shahdagh, Babadagh, Delidagh and Ilandagh are the highest mountains and mountain tops. The highest mountain top in our country is Bazarduzu. It is 4466 metres high.
- Valleys, as Tanga valley, Nehram valley, Yasamal valley, Girdimanchay valley
- Ancient human habitats as Azykh cave and Keshikchidagh cave
- Mud volcanoes
- Eternal flames as Yanar Dag and Ateshgah
- Lakes and Waterfalls. Azerbaijan has many lakes with beautiful view, such as Goygol, Maralgol and Batabat. Goygol, which has been formed as a result of an earthquake on the slope of Kapaz Mount, is a miracle of nature. Due to the water in the lake being very transparent, anything deep down up to 13 metres can be seen. The lake’s water is comprised of three layers: fresh water layer, transition layer and poisonous sulphur layer. The interesting thing is that these three layers do not get mixed with each other. The lake is surrounded by dense forests.
Tourists relax in resorts of the Caspian Sea; they enjoy diving, go for a drive on water skis, wave runners, boats. Those who wish to improve their shape can visit numerous well-known resorts of Azerbaijan. Owing to the unique microclimate Lankaran and Talysh are considered among the best balneotherapeutic resorts.
HISTORICAL MONUMENTS OF AZERBAIJAN
Azerbaijani territory which has ancient history is rich with more than 1000 historical monuments. Numerous monuments related to the period of Albanian state have been preserved to date.
Yusif ibn Kuseir and Momina Khatun shrines in Nakhchivan, the shrine in Barda, Khudaferin bridges in Jabrail district, the Synyg Korpu in Gazakh district, the Maiden Tower - symbol of Baku, the Shirvanshahs’ Palace Complex, fortresses in Mardakan, Nardaran and Ramany, the Pirsaatchay Khanegah (a house for dervishes), the Palace of Sheki Khans etc. are the best sample of Azerbaijani architecture.
At present, there are 24 historic/architectural, historic/archaeological, historic/cultural and historic/ethnographical reserves in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan co-operates closely with UNESCO's World Heritage Centre, and Baku's historic centre, with the Shirvanshakh Palace and the Maiden's Tower, was included on the World Heritage List in 2000, and Cultural - Historical Reserve Gobustan in 2007. Information on two further monuments (Temple of fire-faith adepts "Ateshgah", and the Mausoleum in Nakhchivan), which are on the preliminary list, has been sent to the Centre.
MODERN ARCHITECTURE OF BAKU
For several years Baku has been experiencing an incredible building boom. They build new hotels, office buildings, skyscrapers, modern art museums. The parks are clean and they look just perfect! Fountains, neat lawns, benches, illumination... It's very pleasant to be there!
The building boom began after the country had won in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Driving around Baku, you see building cranes and building lumber all the time. They have three areas to work on. First of all, they reconstruct old Soviet buildings. Secondly, they preserve the ancient part of city by building new buildings in the same architectual style and limiting the entry. And finally, they build multiple modern buildings of unbelievable beauty.
DELICIOUS AZERBAIJANI CUISINE
Delicious Azerbaijani food is one of the first things tourists want to discover when arriving in the Land of Fire. This is not surprising, given that the local food is famous around the world for its taste and healthy features.
An Azerbaijani cuisine is one of the most interesting ones in the East. It is remarkable by plenty of different meat, fish and vegetable dishes supplemented by flavoured herbs and spices. The most experienced gourmets who visit Azerbaijan have turned into loyal adherents of the national cuisine. Products and dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine are original and unique.
The most of Azerbaijani dishes are made of mutton, beef and poultry. Azerbaijanis like other Muslims do not eat pork but you can easyly find it at some markets, restaurants. The dishes made of chopped meat and, surely, of fish, particularly starred sturgeons are widely spread here. The cuisine of Azerbaijan is famous for plenty of vegetables. Different spices are also used here. Saffron enjoys special popularity in Azerbaijan: this spice is used in over 50 national dishes! Among bakery goods the Azerbaijanis prefer long bread and lavash (flat bread) – the bread baked in tandoor.
The traditional Azerbaijani breakfast consists of sweet butter, various types of white cheese, cream, honey, preserves, tea, and kuku or scrambled egg with herbs. After enjoying local breakfast, guests of Baku should continue their tasty travels by tasting dolma, pilaf, levengi, and of course, kebab.
Dolma – fresh meat and stuffing wrapped in grape leaves or vegetables – is one of the first things one must try while visiting Azerbaijan. Azerbaijanis eat dolma year-round; grape leaf dolma in the spring and winter, vegetable dolma in the summer, and cabbage dolma in the autumn and winter months.
Pilaf, a dish known throughout the world, is a course that is served during any big day in Azerbaijan.
Another mouth-watering dish is levengi – chicken and fish stuffed with walnuts, onions, sweet and sour dried fruit.
In addition, Azerbaijan’s famous kebab is must-taste item here, accompanied with Azerbaijan’s famous fresh, juicy tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and sweet pepper. This dish is eaten at every occasion throughout the year.
While staying in Azerbaijan, tourists must taste “local pizza” or qutab – sugarless flour pancake stuffed with anything from meat, cheese and herbs to pumpkin. Qutab is always served with ayran, a cold yogurt beverage mixed with salt and herbs. Ayran is a perfect healthy drink to overcome thirst.
Azerbaijani sweets are something else. People who try it once cannot forget the taste and even try to cook pakhlavas and shakarbura in their home countries.
Different regions of the country have their own famous dishes. It is a piti (a national soup made of mutton cooked in a closed clay dish in stove), halva (oriental sweet made of sugar, nuts or seeds) in Sheki and levengi (chicken or fish stuffed with minced nuts with spices) in Masally and Lenkeran. You will not find anywhere such bread and gutab (thin half-moon patties made of flour and water paste and stuffed with meat, herbs, pumpkin, pomegranate grains, cheese and onions) like the ones in Gusar!
Those who will do not embark on the culinary journey that is Azerbaijani cuisine during their stay will definitely leave unaccomplished.
We will be really happy to welcome You on our amazing country!