Since ancient times, information about Azerbaijan has been recorded in the works by ancient scholars, travelers and historians. Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy and many others have written about an amazing land located on the west coast of the Caspian Sea in the eastern part of South Caucasus. The cradle of ancient civilization located at the crossroads of geopolitical, economic and cultural interests of many tribes and nations, Azerbaijan has left to posterity the rich cultural heritage: more than 7,500 natural, archaeological, architectural and historical monuments. These include such masterpieces as rock engravings in Gobustan, the mausoleums of Momina Khatun and Garabaglar, the Palace of the Shaki Khans, the Maiden Tower in Baku, the Khudaferin bridges, castles of Absheron, medieval manuscripts decorated with brilliant miniatures, antique carpets, works of literature, art and sculpture. Today, Azerbaijan is an independent and secular state with a dynamic economic, social and cultural spheres. Every year the country implements large-scale international projects, hosts various economic symposia, sporting events, music forums and film festivals.
Azerbaijan has unique natural resources: nine out of 11 main climate zones existing in the world are available in Azerbaijan – from subtropical to high alpine meadows. The average temperature in July fluctuates between +5 C in the highlands and +27 C in the lowlands and in January it ranges from – 10 C to +3 C. The maximum summer temperatures can reach 45 C, whereas in winter temperature in the mountains can drop to – 40 C at night. Annual precipitation is 200 mm on the slopes of the Greater Caucasus to 1,200-1,700 mm in the Lankaran lowlands. The best time of year to visit the country is between April and October.
Welcome to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is visited by millions of tourists every year. But the number is expected to double and most likely even triple in the near future. After all, the country has enormous potential. It includes the ancient history and the rich cultural heritage, the beautiful nature and diverse landscapes, the snow-capped mountain peaks and green valleys, the unique flora and fauna, the warm sea and the endless sandy beaches of the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan is rich in natural resources for Spa treatment and recreation. More than 200 groups of mineral springs that are not inferior in quality or composition to the waters of international resorts are located on its territory. But beyond that, there is naftalan – the healing oil with miraculous properties. Physicians continue studying its endless possibilities, discovering more and more medicinal qualities of the naftalan oil. The Naftalan resort is the only such facility in the world. Travel to Azerbaijan will be a memorable experience for the fans of hunting and fishing, mountain climbers and those fascinated by ecotourism, because there are numerous places where nature has remained untouched since ancient times when man had not appeared on the Earth. Azerbaijan is increasingly taking up the role of a center of business, scientific and cultural activity of the region. Therefore, the government of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been focusing on the development of the tourism industry in recent years. Dozens of world class hotels have been built in the cities of Azerbaijan, in resort areas, in the mountains and on the Caspian coast. Renowned international brands have set up their hotels, created water parks and amusement zones in the country. Azerbaijan receives and dispatches planes from six international airports that are equipped to the latest standard. New bus routes have been established, a major international seaport is under construction near Baku. Each year, a multitude of concert halls, sports facilities, shopping centers, restaurants and cafes, parks and gardens, railways and highways are opened. Immense work is done to conserve and restore the historical and cultural monuments Azerbaijan is so rich in. Visitors are certain to receive an indelible impression, have a good rest and make a lot of new friends in Azerbaijan. Travel to Azerbaijan is also an excellent opportunity to see marvelous nature, touch the history of mankind, get acquainted with ancient culture and modern achievements of this country.
The capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, has a population of more than 2 million people and is located on the southwest coast of Absheron, a peninsula washed by the Caspian Sea. According to archaeologists, Baku has a history of at least two thousand years. Since ancient times, there has been a seaport here, while the city has also served as the crossroads of caravan routes, including the Great Silk Road. During the reign of the Shirvanshahs, Baku was the capital of the famous Shirvan. In the 19th century it became the largest city in the Caucasus and an industrial and cultural center. Since 1991, Baku has been the capital of the independent state of Azerbaijan. Today, several large-scale urban development projects are carried out in the capital of Azerbaijan. These include the Flame Towers complex, the Heydar Aliyev Center, the SOCAR Tower, the Port Baku and White City projects, the Olympic Stadium, the National Wrestling Centre – just to name a few. Baku is also known for its exhibition and concert halls, art galleries, theaters, museums, sports complexes, an extensive network of international hotels, exquisite restaurants and, of course, beaches, where one can sunbathe and swim five months a year. Many talented architects, including those invited from other countries, have worked in Baku. It is thanks to them and, of course, very progressive customers that the city has been adorned with wonderful buildings, many of which are now considered models of architectural solutions. Art critics talk of a special Baku style in architecture, which is quite unique.
The green book of Azerbaijan
It is difficult to find a country with more diverse nature than Azerbaijan. Even a cursory glance at the map will reveal how different nature is from the western coast of the Caspian Sea to the eastern part of the South Caucasus, from the Transcaucasian highlands in the south to the Great Caucasus Mountains in the north. In Azerbaijan, the luxurious flora of the humid subtropical south neighbors on glaciers, while lush forests and mountain waterfalls neighbor on sultry steppes. Here the citrus and tea plantations located in Lankaran District turn into Shirvan steppe grasses, and they turn into dry desert areas of Absheron, which are decorated with greenery and flowers. But the endless sandy beaches of the Caspian surrounded by forests and cliffs are especially beautiful, and they stretch for dozens of kilometers. The relief of the country is also diverse. The plains in the central part turn into mountains near the borders of Azerbaijan, thus forming a kind of a vessel, from the neck of which the numerous rivers that literally bisect the country flow into the Caspian Sea.
Room for thrill-seekers
Fast mountain rivers with steep rapids are a great place for rafting and kayaking competitions. Topographic features are best suited for those who would like to try to conquer the mountain roads in jeeps or ATVs. Offroading – or else offroad driving – is a very popular sport in Azerbaijan. The same can be said about mountain climbing and hang gliding. Respective sports federations have developed special routes for thrillseekers. And more recently, Azerbaijani diving has been rapidly evolving, and diving takes place both offshore in search of sunken ships and in the hunt for fish, and in high mountains – beautiful, crystal clear lakes.
The world-famous resort Naftalan is known for its healing oil that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and vessel-expanding effect. The amazing properties of this oil containing sulfur-nitrogen compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons and naphthenic acids have been known since antiquity. In medicine, baths and applications of naftalan on sore spots began to be practiced in 1896 for the treatment of skin and urological disorders, post-traumatic complications and other disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
History in stone
Meeting with the unique nature of Azerbaijan and recreation, as a rule, are accompanied by visits to sights that keep the old history of the peoples who inhabited these lands. For example, having visited the Absheron National Park, you can also see ancient castles built on the peninsula by order of the Shirvanshahs, visit Icheri Sheher and take a tour of Baku
to visit azerbaijan and not to see its national parks is a serious mistake, which few tourists make today. Communication with the unique nature of this vast region, which stands out for a remarkable set of climate zones, and watching rare animals and birds is a truly memorable experience. and there is no need to go to the country only to see this or that virgin corner of mountains or steppes. the network of national parks of azerbaijan is so vast that even while taking a business trip, it is easy to find the time to briefly call at a nearby oasis of nature.
Land of mountains
The least mention of the country's mountains has mountaineers champing at the bit. Within Azerbaijani part of the Greater Caucasus, there is the main Caucasian Ridge with the highest point on Mount Bazarduzu (4,466 meters) and a lateral ridge where Shahdag (4,450 meters) and other peaks are located. The Lesser Caucasus is dominated by the Shahdag (Shahdag – 2,901 meters), Murovdag (Gamishdag – 3,724 meters) and Karabakh (Gizgalasi – 2,843 meters) peaks. The mountains in the southwest turn into a ridge, on the dividing line of which there is Mount Gizyurdu (2,483 meters) and Gomurkey (2,477 meters). Azerbaijan's potential was evaluated by climbers from other countries quite recently. But the number of people willing to climb here is steadily growing. The mountain regions of Azerbaijan are now visited not only by athletes, but by ordinary tourists who would like to see nature untouched by civilization, familiarize themselves with the amazing beauty of these places, the life and traditions of local people and breathe pure healing air. It is also important that the country has established a wonderful infrastructure in the form of good roads, comfortable hotels and tourist bases.
The new ski resort is located in the Shahdag national park, which is known for its healthy air, diverse vegetation, abundant wildlife and amazingly beautiful scenery. The main part of the tourist complex, which will be able to receive up to 10 thousand people per day after the completion of all work, was built at an altitude of 1,640 meters above sea level. But the cable car can take you even higher - to around 2,300 meters, where the ski slope begins. The total area of the complex is more than 2,000 hectares.