Azerbaijan bills itself as the ‘Land of Fire’ and is a beautiful place of contradictions and contrasts. Neither Europe nor Asia, it is a nexus of historical empires but also a rapidly growing nation transforming itself into a cosmopolitan hotspot. Here’s why Azerbaijan should be next on your travel-list:
Ride the Funicular to the Flame Towers
The Flame Towers of Baku are unmissable. Although the towers don’t have an observatory deck, the funicular conveniently lets you off at Dağüstü Park, the landscaped terraces of which overlook the Bay of Baku and give the best view over the city.
Go late night shopping at Nizami Street
Nizami Street(Nizami Küçəsi) is nicknamed“shopping street” for all the high street shops that line it, which stay open late hoping to lure in casual browsers, but it’s also a destination for late-night snacking. Shop till you drop and then maybe energise yourself with some street-side kebabs here so you can shop some more!
Haggle for a carpet at the Carpet Museum
Baku is an ancient centre of carpet weaving so you can be sure Baku has authentic rugs to sell you. Shop within the Carpet Museum , where the staff can fully articulate the origin, history, and significance of the materials and design of each carpet. Although prices for large rugs Prices for large rugs begin at 1000 AZN($600), haggling is encouraged, especially if you have your eyes on more than one. P.S. it’s the building shaped like a carpet- you can’t miss it!
Marvel at Zaha Hadid’s architecture
The Heydar Aliyev Centre is a stunning and enduring masterwork of world-renowned architect, Zaha Hadid. Entry is 15 manat($9) and for the fee you’ll be able to access an exhibition on Heydar Aliyev, a floor of detailed scale models of Azerbaijan’s most important architectural works, and a small museum showcasing Azerbaijani crafts, customs, and culture. This is also probably the setting of your next Facebook profile photo.
Eat Azeri Cuisine
You cannot leave Baku without tasting Azeri cuisine. Here are a couple of our suggestiongs: the dolma(aubergine, linden leaves, grape leaves, or peppers stuffed with meat, onion, rice, herbs, and mint, then topped with a dollop of cool yogurt), plov(buttery rice pilaf with meat, chestnut, and cooked fruit), and the ubiquitous kebabs. Bon appétit!
See the historic petroglyphs at the Gobustan National Park
The park is an easy day trip from Baku. This natural wonder is made up of boulder and stone formations forming many caves and canopies that were once occupied by prehistoric man. Learn about the history of petroglyphs found in this area and make some music on the Musical Stone of Gobustan- a two metre long stone, that resonates a tambourine-like sound when it is“played” by hitting it with smaller stones. It is assumed to have been used since ancient times to play ritual melodies.
Climb to the top of the Maiden Tower
If you want more captivating views, head to the top of the Maiden Tower. This tapering 29m stone tower is Baku’s foremost historical icon with rooftop views surveying Baku Bay and the Old City.
Have some tea by the Fire Mountain
The natural flames of Azerbaijan can be attributed to its enormous gas reserves. Of the natural fires that burn today in Azerbaijan, Yanar Dağ is arguably the most impressive. A 10m long wall of fire, that never extinguishes, is burning continuously alongside the edge of the hill. It is at its most spectacular at night, when tourists and locals alike view the fire from a nearby teahouse. Local lore states that it was a shepherd that accidentally ignited the fire in the 1950s by tossing a cigarette, and that it has burnt ever since.
Azerbaijan has many more gems to offer, and with our packages to Baku, there’s no reason not to make it a must-see in the near future.
Book your 4 Night Package to Azerbaijan with us for as low as 555 BHD / 5550 SAR PP: