Wonders of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is a country rich in history and culture. Explore it by going through our must-see list!
Azerbaijan is one of the countries that do not make waves when it comes to go-to places for a holiday. It is mostly a mountainous area located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea. Only 7% of their land is arable and the Kura River Valley is their major agricultural zone.
But this quiet former Soviet country has so much to offer if you just look closely to see the beauty of this mountainous country. This year, in April, the country will host the first ever European Games
in its capital, Baku. Tourists are expected to flock to the capital to witness the inaugural games during this time.
It seems that 2015 is the year for Azerbaijan to be in the spotlight because of the attention it is getting lately with the recent state visit from Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, and for being one of the destinations for the film of the Fast and the Furious (“Fast 7”) franchise.
When to go?
Azerbaijan is named by several main news agencies as one of its travel destinations for 2015. With the coming of Spring, the weather is still cool in the Land of Fire with the highest of temperature for May being around 25 degrees celsius. Spring is said to be the best time to explore this beautiful country.
How to go?
If you are going to Azerbaijan from Dubai, the air travel will only take you (3) three hours. On average, the cost of a round-trip ticket will be around AED 1,440 including taxes.
Where to go?
Azerbaijan has plenty of places for tourists to explore. From museums, natural wonders, to historical structures recognized by UNESCO.
1. Carpet Museum
The Carpet Museum is located in the capital, Baku. It boasts of a collection of 1000 rare carpets that are mostly from Azerbaijan but there are also collections from Iran and Dagestan. The museum was mainly established for researching, displaying carpets and various related items to it, and is considered to be the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets in the world.
The museum was set up in 1967 and opened to the public on 1972. There are more than 10,000 objects as its collection ranging from antiques from the Bronze Age, metal works, ceramics and carpets as well as other carpet items. It is listed by the UNESCO as one of the Silk Road Sites.
How to Get There: Land
Address: Mikayil Useynov Ave, 28, The Seaside Boulevard, Baku, Azerbaijan
Phone: +99(412)4930 501, +99(412)4936 685.
2. Palace of the Shirvanshahs
In the Middle Ages, this palace was the seat of northeastern Azerbaijan’s ruling dynasty. The structure was restored in 2003. Listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, this Walled City of Baku was where cultures of Zoroastrian, Arabic, Sasanian, Persian, Shirvani, Ottoman, and Russian thrived. “The Walled City” or Baku was once known as the major centres of oil production in the world.
How to Get There: "Icharishahar" Metro station
Location: Baku (Baki) , Azerbaijan
Telephone: +994 12 4921073
Prices: admission/guided tour AZN2/6
Opening hours: 10am-6pm
3. Maiden’s Tower
Maiden’s Tower is Azerbaijan’s architectural icon and one of the top picks for must-see sites in the country. It is a 29m stone tower whose date of construction is much debated about. However, experts can agree that the structure appears to be 12th century. Its local name in Azeri is Qiz Qalasi, which means “maiden tower”. The Maiden’s Tower happens to be a subject of various fairytales and one of which tells a story of a king who fell in love with his daughter. The daughter asked for the tower to be built with a specific request that it must overlook the king’s domain. Once the the tower was completed, the princess jumped off the tower and killed herself in order to avoid being wed to her father.
Tourists will find a museum, inside, a souvenir shop and a costume photography opportunity for a price. The highlight of the tour is a rooftop viewing area overlooking Baku Bay and the Old City.
How to Get There: land
Location: Baku (Baki) , Azerbaijan
Prices: adult/student/child AZN2/60q/20q
Opening hours: 10am-7pm
4. Explore Greater Baku
Don’t forget to make a day out of exploring Greater Baku. Just by hiring a driver, you can explore the fascinating Qobustan petroglyphs, which is around 60kms south of Baku and near the famous mud “volcanoes”. If you are a James Bond fan, you can head over to the “James Bond Oil Field” featured on "The World is Not Enough"). During sunset, head over to Ateşgah Fire Temple, where people like to spend sunset taking beautiful photos of the area.
Described as Europe’s Highest Village, Azerbaijan boasts of this historic site as the holy grail of Azerbaijan tourism. It houses ancient stone houses of the Xinaliq origin and form a stepped terraces village up on the mountains. There is a museum up there and a breathaking view. The Xinaliq has preserved their culture, speak their own language and still pretty much move around on horseback.
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History buffs will surely be charmed by Azerbaijan. Staying in the capital of Baku alone will give a traveler a lot to ponder on with the city's mesmerizing historical architecture and cultural heritage. So if you're looking for an adventure that does not involve your usual places to travel to, Azerbaijan is the place that should top your must-see list.