Azerbaijan Tourism: The Eurasian Melting Pot!
“The Land of Fire” meets the unique “Mud Volcanoes” in Azerbaijan, the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. This amazing country has plenty of fascinating travel destinations and interesting tourism attractions. Azerbaijan tourism offers stunning UNESCO declared cultural and natural heritage sites to see, unique souvenirs and handicrafts to shop for and delicious halal food of Azerbaijani cuisine to gorge on.
Visitors to Azerbaijan can further experience the unique medical spa therapy, witness some of the most amazing mud volcanoes on the planet, or simply taking a stroll in the heritage-rich cities of Baku and Sheki. Adventure seekers and seasoned travellers can take additional activities like skiing at the famous Shahdag Ski Resort, watersports in the Caspian Sea based resorts, nature hike and trek the countryside comprising quaint Azerbaijani villages, towns and sleepy markets.
Azerbaijan travel is fresh, captivating and has a distinct culture, a typical “East meets West” ambience. Azerbaijan offers a lot as a quick weekend getaway destination from the Middle East. The country has a typical European charm coupled with Middle Eastern, Turkish, Iranian and Caucasian cultural elements.
Azerbaijan Travel: The Land of Fire!
One of the largest as well as the most populated regions in South Caucasus, Azerbaijan offers a delightful contemporary European feel coupled with the untouched and archaic imprint of the bygone eras. Baku, the Azerbaijani capital, has rapidly developed into a modern-day cosmopolitan capital city boasting of a mix of UNESCO-listed heritage sites and unique modern architecture.
Things to do in Azerbaijan
Among the various things to do in Azerbaijan, Baku nightlife is something to cherish as the city has several pubs and nightclubs of various kinds. Baku has plenty of sophisticated lounges and bar to enjoy a beautiful evening while the nightclubs ensure all night parties till the wee hours of the morning. Baku’s Fountain Square area has the most popular nightclubs, pubs and bars, including the famed ones such as the Shakespeare, the Clansman, and O’Malley’s. Jazz lovers can enjoy quality jazz music productions and shows at the Baku Jazz Centre. Want to experience classical music and theatre, visit the Azerbaijan State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Azerbaijan State Philharmonic, Russian Drama Theatre and International Mugham Centre. Rock music lovers, check out the Rock Club and families travelling with kids will have a gala time at the Baku Puppet Theatre.
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Azerbaijan is a delightful place to enjoy shopping. The country has no shortages of talented and creative local artisans and craftsmen. The most happening place to enjoy shopping in Azerbaijan is Baku. The city has plenty of contemporary shopping malls, traditional markets and well-established local and global brand stores. Best places to visit in Baku for shopping are Nizami Street, Taza Bazaar and Fountain Square. Things you can buy in Baku while shopping includes leather purses, clothes, perfumes, shoes. Looking for local handicrafts to take home as souvenirs? Check out refrigerator magnets, colourful Azerbaijan’s silk scarfs, regional pottery items like ceramic plates, bowls, etc. Art-lovers can check out crude oil paintings or the “neft paintings” as they are popularly known as. The ‘Neft paintings’ are painted with crude oil from Azerbaijan that depicts oil towers, life in the city in the prehistoric times or even the Flame Towers.
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Azerbaijan Food and Beverages
A holiday to Azerbaijan will remain incomplete without gorging on the delightful Azerbaijani cuisine. Food and beverages in Azerbaijan comprise primarily of meat and poultry features prominently in all the halal food preparations including kebabs, minced meat, among other delicacies. Some of the must try food in Azerbaijan includes Piti (a national soup made of mutton cooked in a clay dish) and levengi (chicken or fish stuffed with minced nuts). Don’t forget to try Plov, Dolma, Qutab and Halva as well! Popular Azerbaijan beverages include Black Tea and Sherbet, a sweet cold drink, made using boiled water infused with sugar, various fruits, berries, mint and added ingredients. Halal food is widely available and served all-around the country. Azerbaijan has also introduced standard halal certifications. Azerbaijani cuisine reflects the regional style and elements of Turkish, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Caucasian cuisines.
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Best Time to Visit Azerbaijan
The delightful weather all-year round has ensured that Azerbaijan tourism has witnessed an upswing in the recent years. Slowly and steadily, Azerbaijan has carved a niche for itself and for the residents of Middle East, especially Dubai; this unique country is merely 3 hours (approx. flight time) away! The best months to enjoy Azerbaijan are April and October. Climate is temperate with a marine influence. Azerbaijan is the only country where 9 out of 11 climate world climate zones are found.
Citizens of United Arab Emirates can get Azerbaijan visa on arrival! Azerbaijan visa on arrival grants 1 period of 30-day stay for Emiratis at any of the country’s international airports at a cost of 50 USD (184 Dirhams). The visa on arrival fees is tentative and is subjected to change and revision by the Government of Azerbaijan.
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Why You Should Visit Azerbaijan?
If the intriguingly exotic name was itself not enough: here are a host of other reasons, why you should be packing your bags away and leaving for a holiday trip to the ‘Land of the Fire’ this year!
- You will reach Azerbaijan in almost no time: It takes approx. 3 hours to reach Baku from Dubai.
- Easy, hassle-free Visa norms: Azerbaijan visa procurement is a hassle-free. Visas are arranged by HolidayMe in advance of travel, and stamped on arrival at the airport.
- Calm your minds and relax your bodies: A perfect destination for comforting your mind, body and soul, the unique Naftalan oil resort (Naftalan oil has unique healing qualities having no analogue in the world) is a great place to heal.
- Perfect weekend destination: A perfect destination with great heritage sites to see, and souvenir shopping to do.
- Pleasing sunny weather: Though, 9 out of the 11 world climatic zones are found here, a nice, crisp sunny weather awaits you in December.
- Plenty of halal food to gorge on: Meat and poultry features prominently in all the food preparations such as kebabs, minced meat, etc. while pancakes, soups and bread form a major part of the daily Azerbaijani cuisine. Apples, cherries, grapes, melons, raspberries, plums and peaches are the prominent fruits grown here while sweet black tea or Azerbaijani sherbet is a very popular drink.
- Largest Sea, Errr Lake in the world is here: The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the World. Its huge area spanning 3, 71,000 square kilometres with a maximum depth of 1025 metres and its ocean-type earth crust allows us to call it as “the sea”.
- It is the Land of Fire: In the bygone eras, Azerbaijan was known as the Land of Fire. The Absheron peninsula is extremely rich with oil and gas. Burning gas outlets at the surface were considered a divine secret and have been attracting tourists from around the world.
- Heard of Mud volcanoes: More than 350 out of the 800 mud volcanoes in the world are located here! Thousands of tourists visit Azerbaijan every year to see this impressive eruption of the mud volcanoes.
- The unique capital city, Baku: Wonderful landscape design, shadowy alleys, comfortable cafes, and many amusement arcades for children and adults.
- Unique modern architecture: Ever heard of Flame Towers! Yes, three towers shaped like roaring flames define the modern-day architecture of Azerbaijan.
- Sheki city, Azerbaijan’s silk capital: Sheki has been well-known as the city of craftsmen and tradesmen since old times. Merchants and staplers of the Great Silk Road countries came here from all parts of the world.
- World-class Skiing at the Shahdag Ski Resort: Several ski slopes suitable for different experience levels await the adventurer seekers at the Shahdag Mountain Resort, at a breathtaking height of 2500 metres above the sea level. Experienced private instructors are also available. Snowboarding, snow mobiling options are also available for the thrill seekers. The kids can engage in quad biking, bouncy castles and snow tubing winter fun activities, too.
Azerbaijan Facts: Did You Know?
- The magnificent Palace of Sheki khans (the 18th century) is considered the pearl of the architecture of Sheki and the whole Azerbaijan. It is said that not a single nail was used in the construction of the palace which has luxurious wall paintings and filigree windows.
- 9 out of the 11 world climatic zones are found here. From dry and humid subtropical (in Lankaran) up to mountain tundra (the Big Caucasus highlands), everything is found here.
- Azerbaijani dishes are laced with mutton, beef and poultry. Saffron enjoys special popularity here and is used in over 50 national dishes! The Azerbaijanis prefer long bread and lavash (flat bread) in bakery dishes.