Azerbaijan – The Land of the Fire

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1 fairmont_hotel_baku_36Azerbaijan, meaning Land of the Holy Fire, is the largest country in the Caucasus and borders Russia to the north, Iran to the south, Armenia to the west, the Caspian Sea to the east and Georgia to the north-west. The country is divided into the regions of Talysh, Sheki, Southern Azerbaijan, Northeastern Azerbaijan, Nakhchivan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Ganja and Baku Region. Azerbaijan is home to three magnificent mountain ranges, the Talysh Mountains and the Greater and Lesser Caucasus.
Mount Bazardüzü is the highest peak and almost half of all the mud volcanoes on earth are in Gobustan, Azerbaijan. The Burning Mountain or Yanar Dag is located on the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian Sea and its natural gas fire blazes continuously. The country also boasts a historic and ancient cultural heritage.
Some of the Azerbaijani art dates back to between the 1st and 4th centuries BC and includes one of the oldest art objects in the world. Carved rock paintings with images of goats, deer, snakes, dogs, bulls and birds were found in the territory of Ordubad Rayon. The Petro glyphs at Gobustan include people and carriages.
Among the architectural treasures in Azerbaijan is the Quadrangular Castle in Mardakan. Mardakan is named after a tribe called the Mards and is one of the oldest villages of the Absheron peninsula. The tower of the castle was built in the thirteenth century and was used to warn the population of approaching attacks.
Explore the Capital of Azerbaijan – Baku

AF Beach Club, Novkhani

AF Beach Club, Novkhani

For an amazing day at the beach, you can visit the AF Beach Club, Novkhani, phone: 994 12 448-30-30, a great complex offering five swimming pools, fast food, disco, restaurant, game hall and beach volley and football. The Amburan Beach Club, Bilgah, phone: +994 12 453-86-85 offers three swimming pools, fast food outlets, restaurant and water sports.
A must see is the Palace of the Shirvan Shahs, a medieval palace and the highlight of the Old City. Ensure to visit the Maiden’s Tower, a mysterious tower that was built somewhere between the eighth and twelve century and used as a defensive fortification or Zoroastrian temple.
On the Absheron Peninsula, just outside the city, there are several interesting sites that are easy to reach via public transportation. If you take the Baku Electric train from the central station to Suraxani station, you are in close proximity to the Atashgah Fire Temple.
You can take bus 217 from Koroglu metro station and get off at the last stop if you would like to visit Yanar Dagh, a mountain that has been continuously on fire for one thousand years.
Another amazing site to visit is the open air Archeological and Ethnographic Museum at Qala. Next to the museum is a new build fortress offering a magnificent view of the city.
Baku is home to great museums and galleries, including:
• The Azeri National Costume Museum, phone: +994 12 493 66 85;
• Taghiyev History Museum, 4 Tagiyev Street 4, phone: +994 12 493 36 48;
• Latif Karimov Carpet and Applied Arts Museum, 123A Neftchiler Ave and
• Home of Jafar Jabbarli, 44, S. Gutgashinli Street.
Hamam Mehellesi

Hamam Mehellesi

Inside the walls of the old city near the Icharishahar, is the oldest public baths called Hamam Mehellesi. Certain days are for women and other days for men. Once you entered the gate to the old city, you turn right and walk down the street. The public baths are a few blocks down. You can also visit the Teze Bey Hamami in the old town. This public bath is more expensive than the other public baths in Baku.
Azerbaijani Cuisine
Azerbaijani cuisine is reflected in their national dishes such as Saffron-rice, fish from the Caspian Sea, beef and mutton. The traditional dishes are famous for an abundance of vegetables and fresh herbs such as dill, mint, chives, parsley, marjoram, watercress, thyme and tarragon.
Plov – Azerbaijani cuisine

Plov – Azerbaijani cuisine

Popular dishes include dushbara (dumplings filled with meat), gutab (fried turnover with a filling of minced meat or greens) and bozbash (lamb soup with vegetables). Bread is a staple throughout the country. Kajpuri and borsh have become common among the locals. Kajpuri is mouth-watering cheese-filled bread.
There are many great restaurants in Baku, but for delicious and cheaper meals you can visit:
• Onassis, 3, Inshaatchilar Avenue, Phone: +994 012 439-17-34
• L’aparte, 51, Istigaliyyet Street, Phone: +994 012 497-77-79
• Lebanese, 12, Z. Taguyev Street, +994 012 493-78-49
• U Dali, 5, M. Ibragimov Street, Phone: +994 012 494-93-56
• Half Way Inn, 6, 28 May Street, +994 012 598-09-05
For a night out and something to eat you can visit Finnegan’s, 4 A. Alizadeh Street (phone +994 012 498-65-64. The pub offers the biggest choice of beer in the city and you can enjoy fresh Caspian shrimps, Nurenberg sausages or delicious pies while being entertained by live music. Room 103 located at 103 Neftiçilər Prospekti is an upscale cocktail bar and offers a live jazz band every night of the week.
Azerbaijani Music and Dances
5 azeri_girl_lovely-daisy2011The national clothes of Azerbaijan are well preserved within the national dances. There are a number of folk dances which are usually performed at celebrations. The Ağır Qaradağı is popular in Zaqatala and Shaki. The Avari dance is very popular in Azerbaijan. At first it is slow, and little by little becomes faster, and at the end part it changes to the quick rhythm of the Lezginka music. Music in Azerbaijan dates back to almost a thousand years. Songs often consist of storytelling, poetry and dancing.
Visa Requirements for Azerbaijan
The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the expiry date of the Azerbaijani visa applied for. If there is less than 3 months for the expiry of a foreign citizen’s passport, a visa will not be granted. Visas are issued in at an embassy or consulate of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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