Caught between Europe and Asia and bordered by countries with a rich cultural history, Azerbaijan is a perfect place where you can experience the best of many worlds. As Azerbaijan stands at the crossroads of these civilizations, the country is home to a mishmash of cultures and a vibrant history.
It has been a popular tourist spot since the 1980s, but the tourism industry was affected by the fall of the Soviet Union and a territorial conflict. It slowly recovered in the 2000s, and Azerbaijan is more than ready to accept eager tourists who want to feel the breeze from the Caucasus while exploring the country’s enchanting attractions and vast landscapes.
10 it is a land of fire
The name Azerbaijan is derived from the Persian word for fire, hence its nickname as the Land of Fire. The nation is rich in gas and oil, so the nickname fits. One of its most popular attractions is Yanar Dag, which means the Burning Mountain. This natural gas fire has been burning for many years, attracting tourists from all over the world. Another must-see is the Ateshgah, also known as the ‘Fire Temple’, a religious site related to Zoroastrianism and Hinduism, where a natural flame continues to heat a temple. Azerbaijan is an attractive destination, literally and figuratively.
9 beautiful baku
The capital, Baku, looks expensive but cozy. It is home to many impressive modern and old places, attracting tourists of different tastes. Its charming Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden’s Tower. Meandering along these attractions will take tourists back in time. The city is also dotted with shopping areas, parks, and entertainment districts. It even has the pristine Shikhov beach for those who can’t get enough of Baku’s fire and want more of its sun.
8 Architectural wonders abound
Baku has an interesting mix of architectural styles, from the Old City to its port. Tourists should imagine this: after being in the presence of ancient Islamic structures, they will see from afar imposing buildings that exude modernity, such as the Flame Towers. Alongside these eclectic buildings are structures designed during the Imperial Russian and Soviet eras, such as the Seyid Mirbabayev Palace and the Gulustan Palace. Its theaters, museums, libraries and other public buildings do not want to go unnoticed either. In Baku, wherever tourists lay their eyes, they will be amazed.
7 Mud volcanoes are majestic
Aside from Yanar Dag, other must-see attractions in Azerbaijan are its mud volcanoes. The country has the largest number of mud volcanoes in the world, impressive locals and tourists since they appeared in 2001. There are more than 400 mud volcanoes in the country, with Boyuk Kanizadag and Toraghai among the largest on the planet. According to NASA, the structure of these natural wonders is similar to that of the highlands of Mars, a tempting reason to visit these out-of-this-world Azerbaijani treasures.
6 The food is good
Azerbaijan is a big fan of beef, lamb and fish, so lovers of this food will enjoy the country’s delicacies. Joining a culinary tour in Baku or beyond is an adventure for the stomach. From breakfast to midnight snacks, there is something for everyone in Azerbaijan. In the morning, tourists can eat a thin dough called gutab, a stuffed chicken called levengi for lunch, piti soup for dinner, and sweet halva for dessert. Add a wine to the mix, and it’s pure bliss.
5 It has an oil spa
Bathing in crude oil is a thing in Azerbaijan, so much so that there is a resort dedicated to it. The oil that comes out of Naftalan has a high concentration of naphthalene, which is used in alternative medicine. As such, Naftalan Resort tapped into “black gold” by offering spa services where guests will soak in a tub filled with crude oil. Naphthalan oil is also used for other skin treatments, great for those who don’t want to immerse themselves in it. This oil bath is perfect for tourists who want to try something new.
4 Home to World Heritage Sites
Aside from the splendid Old City, Azerbaijan has two other World Heritage Sites: the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape and the city of Sheki (more on this in the next post). The first is located in the Gobustan State Historical and Cultural Reserve, an area full of archaeological wonders. There are more than 6,000 rock carvings in the destination, depicting animals and human activities dating back thousands of years. The petroglyph and the rocks themselves are a sight to behold. Rocks of Gobustan, literally and figuratively.
3 It has a City-Silk Road
Azerbaijan is an important part of the ancient trade network called the Silk Road. It has the humble city of Sheki, one of the oldest towns in the country. The city center is praised for its well-preserved traditional houses and merchant houses influenced by its ancient architectural traditions. The highlight of the city center is the Khan Palace, which was a major trading center on the Silk Road. The majestic place is like a giant work of art, perfect for Instagram moments. Sheki is a tourist hotspot, indeed.
two The Caspian Sea is fascinating
To the east of Azerbaijan is the Caspian Sea, the largest inland body of water in the world. Thanks to its water that is not as salty as the sea, this lake is a favorite place for swimming and a paradise for sun worshipers. The Caspian shores are dotted with resorts offering water sports. For quiet moments, tourists should visit the pristine beach of Zagulba, while Mardakan is ideal for watching the sunset. There are many more beaches, all accessible and offering the serenity that only the Caspian Sea can give.
1 Has Nine Climate Zones
When it is said that Azerbaijan stands at a crossroads of history and has the best of many worlds, it is not just a PR stunt, but a reality. Because? The country has nine of the world’s 11 climatic zones. As such, nature lovers will enjoy visiting its many climate-lush landscapes. The country is a hotspot of tourist activities, from the windy Caucasus to the subtropical areas of the south. Wherever tourists go, Azerbaijan is welcoming from start to finish.