Introducing 15 Things to see and do in Azerbaijan.
A few years ago I spent a month filming in the beautifully diverse and scenically astounding country of Azerbaijan. It was always my intention to publish this blogpost after the TV show aired on Travel XP but with the country’s conflict breaking hope and hearts, followed by a worldwide pandemic, it has taken me until now to put together a short and sweet round up of the amazing things to see and do in a country that touched my heart.
There will be more to come but I wanted to keep this precise and to the point so that should you wish to travel to Azerbaijan yourself you can put a pin in this handy guide 😉
The capital city of Azerbaijan and the most lively and populated area is Baku. The modern metropolis welcomes and holds onto the majority of travellers with the perfect mix of heritage and happening’. People will often travel solely to here when visiting Azerbaijan. there are lots of opportunities to explore and enjoy so save a few days at least for here alone.
2. Baku Old Town, Caravanserai
The real charm of Baku was for me found in the old town. Here you can wander the streets of yester-year with a unique and almost mystic charm of the Azerbaijan history. Make sure you make a special visit to the markets and the caravanserai, this is where merchants use to travel through via the silk road. There are so many beautiful textures and colours it’s the perfect place to pick a souvenir.
3. The Maiden Tower
This world UNESCO Heritage site offers stunning views of the city whilst feeding you with knowledge about the history of the country of Azerbaijan.
4. Heydar Aliyev Centre
Out of the 60 countries I’ve travelled to over the years the Heydar Aliyev Centre is by far the most impressive modern building I’ve seen. The architecture of the centre itself with t’s wave-like structure is truly breath-taking.
The outdoor space often features a free exhibition like the gallery I was lucky enough to view a few years ago, shown in these photos.
Though the picture below doesn’t quite do Yanardag justice this burning flame is continuous and entirely natural. Named as the fire mountain this unique phenomenon is quite spectacular to see and if you do travel here there are a number of guides that can talk you through not only the history of this mountain but also the incredible importance of fire for the Azerbaijan culture.
6. Fire Temple
The Baku Ateshgah often called the “Fire Temple of Baku” is a castle-like religious temple with Persian and Indian culture references and history. It’s a beautiful and powerful pentagonal courtyard not too far from Baku.
7. The Mud Volcanos
As you start to travel out of to the city the mud volcanoes are a great place to stop off for an hour or so and enjoy the marvel of the bubbling mud piles. Fun fact: Azerbaijan is home to the most mud volcanoes in the world.
8. Gobustan National Park
One of my favourite places to visit in Azerbaijan was Gobustan National Park. The park has over 6,000 rock carvings, some dating back to 20,000 years. These carvings and petroglyphs paint pictures of what it was like living during prehistoric times in the Caucasus. The whole site is fascinating, definitely somewhere to get a guide so that they can show you the interesting details you may miss!
9. Goy Imam Mosque
I’ll let the photos do all the talking here, this mosque is an absolute masterpiece.
10. Goygol Lake
It was here I had to pinch myself to check I wasn’t dreaming! The water is mesmerizingly turquoise and the serenity of the park is unmatched by anywhere else in the country.
You can come here to marvel at the view of the lake itself or birdwatch the thousands of flying species, there’s also a restaurant that showcases the stunning lake from above.
11. Kings Summer Palace
A stunning building which is possible to enter and marvel at the pretty stain glass windows. People travel from far and wide to wander the grounds for it was once the place in which many famous poets including the King himself wrote their most prized poems & literature.
12. Naftalan Spa
A totally unique experience in Azerbaijan takes place in Naftalan. Here you are able to take a 10 minute bath in natural crude oil……..yes you heard it right! The ‘petrol’ bath is said to cure ailments and illnesses with it’s powerful properties enticing nationals to frequently visit for the sought-after treatment.
If you suffer from psoriasis or arthritis, eczema this slippery potent bath is a treatment locals swear by!
13. Sheki Sweet Shop
For those of you with sweet tooth, the region of Sheki is world famous for it’s halva, I sampled them all (for market research properties) and I’m happy to concur with the consensus!
14. Road Trip through the Mountains
The lesser populated North of Azerbaijan is a mountainous expanse of true natural beauty. The earth is rich and the hospitality of the locals is incredible. Driving throughout the area it’s easy to sample both the stunning views and the warmth of the people.
We were even lucky enough to drive by the most authentic restaurant I’ve ever dined in. It was also the best food I ate the entire trip!
15. Xinaliq Village
In the most northern part of the country of Azerbaijan the people have their own way of life in the small remote village of Xinaliq. Visiting here is an amazing way to experience a place that only in the last few years had access to electricity.
There are a handful of guest houses and a small museum here but what makes Xinaliq so special for wanderers is that has been scarcely visited by tourists and in my opinion, that’s what makes it so full of charm.
With number 1 differing so wildly to number 15, there’s my condensed list of things to see and do in Azerbaijan.
Want to see more? Comment on the Youtube Video for another 5 amazing pointers!