Azerbaijan’s 10 must-see cities for tourists — Beautiful places of Azerbaijan to visit18. февраля 2023
Azerbaijan is now becoming one of the most interesting and increasingly popular tourist destinations. There are many historical sites and nature reserves in this land. In this post I will introduce you to the beautiful cities and their places you should visit in Azerbaijan.
The most beautiful city in the country is of course Baku, which can impress even the seasoned traveller. Like all the cities of Azerbaijan, it has an old part that retains the atmosphere of an ancient city. Icheri Sheher, or Old City, is situated on a hill above the sea and is surrounded by an imposing fortified wall. Many temples, mosques and other ancient buildings, including the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower, are concentrated here. These old quarters are now surrounded by the modern city and provide a unique contrast to the colour of Azerbaijan’s capital.
But Baku is not only interesting with its old architecture. Today Baku is a rapidly developing city and most of its attractions are very recently built. One of the most popular places of Baku is the «Yaşıl Bazar» (so-called Green Market from az. Yaşıl Bazar). The variety of goods presented here is particularly glamorous for customers.
Here is a video about walking tour in Baku
Ganja is 360km from Baku and is considered the second city after the capital. It is easy to get to Ganja, one can go there by train, fly by plane or take a regular bus.
In spite of the fact that Ganja is the second city after Baku, it is quite different from it. It is a provincial, totally non-tourist city. There are not crowds of foreign tourists, heavy traffic, plenty of restaurants, cafes, hotels and hostels. On the contrary, life in the city is measured, quiet and peaceful. No one is in a hurry to get anywhere.
The centre of the city is not huge and can be easily traversed in just 30 to 40 minutes. Among the places of interest one can see the city central square with fountains and Government House, the Juma Mosque, which is considered the biggest and the most honored one. By the way, you can safely check the accuracy of the clock by it. At 12 o’clock sharp the shadow that covers the western part of the building disappears and this is a kind of sign for the worshippers that it is time to perform the daily prayers. It is also worth visiting the Khan Baghi Garden — it has been there since 1700. It was founded in Safavid era, but reached its final size during the reign of last Khan Javad in Ganja, the park is named after him. The park has recently been renovated and now has a modern look, with many lanterns and sculptures, but the main treasures of the park are the ancient trees.
The legendary town of Shaki is the ancient capital of the Shaki Khanate and the cultural centre of Azerbaijan. The Shaki fortress, the Palace of the Sheki Khans and the Upper and Lower caravanserais are a must-see here. You can explore the numerous market streets and explore the process of making the famous Shaki halva, as well as buy authentic and fresh products from the Shaki market.
Construction of the Palace of Shaki Khans dates back to the 13th century. Nowadays, there is a museum in the two-storeyed building, occupying an area of 300 square metres, where history buffs may explore the palace rooms, with Persian-style walls painted on them. In the central hall is a surviving stained glass window, assembled by ancient stained glass artists from several thousand coloured pieces of glass.
Gabala is another fabulous and picturesque city in Azerbaijan. The Ancient Settlement is considered to be the pride of Gabala. Situated as if in the embrace of two mountains, the town is literally immersed in greenery. The general colour of the place is emphasized by a beautiful waterfall. On the banks of Nohur Lake, there are wonderful conditions for tourists.
The Udin Temple, which is located in the village of Nij, has many centuries of history. Earlier in its place there was only a small church belonging to the Udins. At the end of the XVII-beginning of the XVIII century, a temple was erected which has survived until now. Reconstructed nowadays it is open for parishioners of the community and tourists. In the territory of Gabala there is also a ski-resort Tufandag. Its constructors aimed at turning this place into a good ski resort in Azerbaijan. There is a cafe, bar and restaurant on the territory, as well as first aid stations, a school, and an equipment rental. A day’s worth of essentials can cost as little as $12.
One of the most common places for tourists to visit is the so-called ‘bucket market’ in the village of Vandam.
Ismailli is characterized by its multinational culture. For instance, seven ethnic groups live in Ismailli, in particular Azerbaijanis, Lezghins, Russians, Tats, Khaputli (krazy), Kurds and, at one time, mountain Jews.
Ismailli itself is situated 200 km west of Baku, at the foot of the picturesque southern slope of the Greater Caucasus. The town of Ismailli is the administrative centre of the Ismailli district of Azerbaijan. It was established in November 1931. Before that time territory of present Ismailli district partly belonged to Geokchay, Shemakhi and Sheki districts. The must-see places in Ismailli include the Russian village of Ivanovka, the amazing village of artisans Lagich, and the village of Basgal.
The Gakh region is located in the northwest of Azerbaijan and borders on Georgia. The climate varies from region to region: the climate in the mountains is temperate, while in the south it is subtropical and dry. The unique nature is the wealth of this region: there are an incredible number of waterfalls and mountain rivers. By the way, it is here where you may see Ram Rama waterfall, the highest and the most picturesque one in Azerbaijan. There is very rich fauna in Gakh region. One can meet here mountain goats and bears, wolves and wild cats, jackals and boars.
At the moment there are 56 architectural monuments in Gakh region, about 35 tombstones and 10 archaeological monuments. A distinctive feature of the historical monuments is their complex architecture. There is Albanian temple, church temple of Kurmuk, several ancient forts, the most ancient dwelling of people from the Middle Ages.
Another former ancient capital, but of the Khanate of Guba, is the town of Guba (also Kuba), situated on the slopes of Shahdag Mountain. Guba is rightly considered one of the most beautiful towns in Azerbaijan, and its apple orchards with selected varieties stretch for kilometres. The city features such works of art as the Juma Mosque and the Sakina Khanum Mosque, both of which were built in the 19th century. Also in Guba, one can see the historical red-brick Chukhur Hamam and the arched Gudialchai Bridge. There are a variety of ways to reach Guba from Baku. The first way is by private car. The second way is by driving from the town of Shemakhinka with the help of so called freeloaders, who charge 10 manats per passenger. The third is by bus from the international station, which departs every 30 minutes. The ticket price is only 4 AZN. The distance from Baku to Guba is 165 km.
One of the most interesting places in Guba is the village of mountain Jews — Krasnaya Sloboda.
Shusha is the «Jerusalem of the Caucasus». Its fortress walls are the «Wailing Wall». And the Yukhari Govhar-aga Mosque is the «Al-Aqsa of the Caucasus», its «Mecca» and «Kaaba».
Shusha for Azerbaijanis is like Westminster Abbey for Englishmen, the Statue of Liberty for Americans, Sergiev Posad for Russians, Salzburg for Austrians, Versailles for Frenchmen, Forbidden City for Chinese, Vatican for Catholics. It is the centre of Azerbaijan’s spiritual culture, its soul. That is what Shusha is. The city is also called «the conservatoire of Azerbaijan» because of the number of composers, singers and ashugs it has produced.
Lankaran is considered to be one of the oldest cities in Azerbaijan. It is situated near the shores of the Caspian Sea. Based on earlier archaeological excavations, it became known that the first human settlement appeared in this place back in the heyday of the Bronze Age. Many merchant caravans passed through this beautiful land. The main feature of the town is its location near the sea, which made it an important trading port in the ancient times. The city’s most renowned attraction is the local brew, tea, which is on par with the more famous tea brands of the world. The city is also famous for its excellent climate. Not far from the city tourists can find thermal springs. Locals draw healing water from the springs for recreational purposes.
Coming to Lankaran tourists should do a few basic things, namely:
Taste the local tea that is grown in the plantations of Lankaran. They should also have their photo taken with a big samovar that tourists can easily find in the central part of the city.
Dance to the national music of the country with a dance group during the celebrations. Climb to the highest point of Lankaran Citadel.
The biggest part of the city is located on the shore of the Caspian Sea, so it is easy to find a place to stay overnight. The most popular hotels in the town are Palmlife Lankaran Resort, Lankaran Springs Wellness Resort, Luxe Lankaran Hotel, and Khan Lankaran Hotel.
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Ds02006" title="User:Ds02006">Ds02006</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, Public Domain, Link
Nakhchivan is one of the oldest cities in Azerbaijan, believed to have been founded by the biblical Noah. It is famous for its fortresses, mausoleums and bridges over the Araks River. Located near Nakhchivan are the popular balneological resorts of Badamli and Vaikhir. Nakhchivan is an enclave so it is more convenient to travel from Baku by plane. The Mausoleum of Momine Khatun, the Alindjala Fortress, the Khan Palace, the Jalil Mammadguluzade House Museum, the Noah Mausoleum, the Kehna Gala, the Gazanchi Fortress etc. are the must-see sites in Nakhchivan.