The Republic of Azerbaijan is a Caucasian country located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Also known as the Land of Od, the Land of Fires, it is a sister country in our eyes. A nation where we speak the same language, belong to the same ethnic group, rejoice at the same things and grieve over the same things. We are always together in good times and bad days.
I traveled for 2 weeks in Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, whose name is said to come from the Persian words ‘Azer’ meaning fire and ‘Pāyegān’ meaning guard/protector. I loved both its geography, its traditional and modern character, and its people. In my eyes, it is a country worth seeing with both its culture and its material and spiritual values filtered from its past.
I made my Azerbaijan trip in September 2021. I rented a car for 11 days and traveled the country. I went to Baku by direct plane from Izmir. In the same way, I returned to Izmir. I took the important places of the country and Baku on my route without rushing. The roads are beautiful, pleasant to travel and safe.
I was able to visit only part of Baku and North East route. In order to tour the whole country, I will have to go a few more times with my travel style. For those who are planning a holiday to Azerbaijan, I recommend you to allocate at least 1 week of time. You can find the places to visit in the country below. It’s a good idea to know a little about Azerbaijan first. Because both the country of Azerbaijan and its people are not recognized as they should be in Turkey.
Azerbaijan Travel Guide
Azerbaijan is located in the Caucasus geography, which represents a link between East and West countries since ancient times. Azerbaijan has borders with Turkey, Iran, Russia, Georgia and Armenia. To the east lies the Caspian Sea.
Many kingdoms dominated the vast lands of the Caucasus. The territory of the country has been the residence of many tribes in the historical scene and has been under the domination of many states by being constantly invaded. The fact that the geography is mainly a Turkish homeland coincides with the Seljuk period.
Karakoyunlu and Akkoyunlular ruled Azerbaijan in the 1400s. During this period, the Turkish population increased here. In the 1500s, the Principality of Moscow emerged as a new political power that could change the political balance of the region. The struggle for dominance over Azerbaijan in the 18th century was fought between the Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Empire and Russia.
Azerbaijan, which was attached to Tsarist Russia in the 19th century, was divided into two in the first quarter of the century, and the part with a population of 6 million in the north of the Aras river, the Russian part, the part with a population of 14 million in the south of Aras remained under the administration of Iran.
The country, which was oppressed for many years under Russian pressure, was founded by Mehmet Emin Resulzade and his friends on May 28, 1918, under the name of the National Azerbaijan Republic, the first democratic and secular state of the Muslim world. Unfortunately, the life of this state was not long, but two years later, it was invaded by the Soviet Union again and was included in the Soviet Union in 1920.
The country regained its independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan Turks, who were exposed to the oppression and violent methods of the Russians for about 70 years, declared their independence on October 18, 1991. Turkey was the first country to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan.
They call themselves Azerbaijanis or sometimes Azerbaijani Turks. Azerbaijanis, who belong to the Oghuz branch of the Altai peoples Turkish group, are the second largest Turkish people in the world after the Turks in the Anatolian geography. Only 10 million of the 65 million people in the world who speak the Azerbaijani language live in present-day Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan, which has the strongest ties with Turkey in the Turkish Republic, is a country that has reached very high levels in terms of social and economic development and literacy rate compared to the countries in the similar geography. Great attention is paid to education in the country. The literacy rate of the population is around 99.5%.
There is no official religion in the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan and all the main political forces in the country have adopted the secular nationalist line. In Azerbaijan, 96% of the population is Muslim and generally adheres to the Shiite sect. Apart from this, there are also Sunni, Zoroastrian, Christian and Baha’is.
Azerbaijani Turkish is a central branch of the Oghuz group of Turkic dialects. Apart from Azerbaijan, it is spoken in many parts of Iran, Iraq and Eastern Anatolia. Three colors on the flag; It reflects Turkishness, Islam and civilization.
Nearly 4 million of the 10 million population live in the capital, Baku. The biggest contribution to Azerbaijan’s economic growth is provided by oil and natural gas exports. It is also assertive in terms of mining and agricultural products. Nine of the 11 existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan.
The country’s currency, the Manat, is tied to a basket of Euros and American dollars. It was about 2.2 TL in November 2017, it became 3.3 TL in April 2019. During my trip, 1 manat was 5 TL. Although almost everything is expensive compared to Turkey because of the exchange rate, food and beverage and fuel are still cheap.
If you are going to stay in Azerbaijan for more than 15 days, you have to go to Miqrasiya (Immigration Office) or “Asan Xidmət” offices and register your address within 15 days after each entry (including the weekend), along with a photocopy of your passport, online, by mail or in person. You can get help from the hotel you are staying at.
When Azerbaijan is mentioned in Turkey, the first and only city that comes to mind is Baku. However, many cities of Azerbaijan, which we call ‘two states, one nation’, can be visited. The northern geography of the country is like our Black Sea. Its summit consists of snow-capped mountains, oak-covered woodlands, deep valleys and rivers.
The roads I crossed on my way from Baku to Sheki in September were amazing! I drove my vehicle among trees that covered the road like a tent in most places. Mountaineering is a beautiful geography for trekking lovers.
The destination cities have not yet been organized enough to handle the large-scale tourist mass. On the other hand, this means that the region still preserves its virginity.
It has satisfactory legacies in terms of history and cultural heritage. It just seemed quite inadequate to me in terms of exhibitions in museums and museum design. Let me also remind you that taking photos is prohibited in many museums.
Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan. According to official data, it has a population of approximately 2.5 million. Towards the morning, I entered the city with the vehicle I received at the airport at around 4 am. It had taken my heart with its very wide roads, European-style buildings lined up along the roads and its sparkling night, with its first impressions.
Baku, the sister city of Izmir, where I live, is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. It is a city that people will easily get used to and love with its very smooth streets decorated with giant plane trees, wide squares and parks that appear in every corner of the city.
The central part of the city consists of modern streets, luxury shops and squares. It was fun for me to even wander these streets randomly. There are long parks, walking paths and shopping malls along the coast. Baku Boulevard is very lively and enjoyable in the evening. Icherisehir, which is a historical region, is worth seeing in every corner.
Icherişehir is the oldest part of Baku that defies time with its historical and cultural riches. It is also the most attractive and wonderful part in my opinion. The 2-storey houses with original architecture, stretching along narrow streets that stretch like a labyrinth, make you feel as if you have been teleported to a past century.
The region, which has a height of 8-12 meters and can be entered through 5 large entrance gates in the medieval period, is also known as ‘Old Baku’. Icherisehir is spread over a very large area on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The region, which hosts many historical monuments such as the Maiden’s Castle and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Icherişehir, surrounded by 12th century city walls, is very beautiful with its labyrinth-like narrow, stone streets and old buildings. Many of the houses have been restored. The craftsmanship balconies, door decorations, and extraordinary windows of the houses, which are striking with reliefs, arches and ornaments, are just as impressive.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs , the most magnificent structure of Icherisehir, is on the UNESCO List. A 15th century palace complex. The palace, which was considerably expanded with additional buildings built from the 13th to the 16th centuries, consists of the divan hane (banquet hall), tomb vaults, a mosque with a minaret, and the remains of a bath, apart from the main palace building. Although the period artifacts exhibited in the rooms are somewhat inadequate, it is necessary to put them at the top of the list of places to visit in Azerbaijan, both to see its architecture and to its historical importance.
Maiden’s Tower is one of the most important landmarks of Baku. It is estimated that the tower structure ‘Qız Qalası’, or ‘Maiden’s Tower’, which once reached the bottom of the Caspian Sea, was built in the 12th century. There are historians who claim that the history of its base dates back to the Sumerians.
Based on the structure of the tower, the purpose of which is unknown, it is thought that the tower is related to the Zoroastrian dahma, the fire temple, the hymns of Mitra and Anahit. It is bright at night, and many souvenir shops and cafes are lined up around it. Maiden’s Tower has been operating as a museum since 1964.
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center , one of Azerbaijan’s most important modern-day buildings. It was designed by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid as a result of a competition held in 2007. The cultural center with modern, unusual and futuristic architecture took its name from Heydar Aliyev, who led Azerbaijan intermittently between 1969-2003. The center, which was put into service in 2013, has been a beautiful place designed for Azerbaijanis to both present and use their own culture.
The building, which symbolizes the rise of the Caspian Sea and evokes a sense of infinity, looks quite complex from the outside, but inside is incredibly simple and spacious. Inside, there are concert and conference halls, art galleries, a library, concept museums explaining the richness of local culture, an artificial lake and a cafeteria.
If you are going by metro, it is close to Nariman Narimanov metro stop. Haydar Aliyev Cultural Center entrance fee is 15 AZN (75TL). If you want to enter the Classic Car exhibition section, which was under maintenance when I went, you have to pay an additional 10 AZN.
The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is a museum located in the center of Baku, near the Icheri City, and houses the largest collection of world-famous Azerbaijani carpets. In the museum building, which is designed as a folded carpet, centuries-old rugs and carpet weavings are exhibited.
Azerbaijani carpet art, which is in the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO, is well known all over the world. The world’s first carpet museum has already been opened in Baku, and it has a deep-rooted history dating back to 1967. The carpet weaving tradition of Azerbaijan, which dates back centuries, has found its place in the works of many ancient writers from Herodotus to Xenophon.
Since 2019, more than 10 thousand ceramics, metal artifacts from the 14th century, jewelery from the Bronze Age, carpets and carpets from the 17th and 20th centuries according to features such as weaving density, pattern, composition, color harmony and regions have been in this modern but interesting building. rugs, silk embroidery, national clothing and embroidery are on display. Right next to it, there is Little Venice , which consists of canals and you can travel by boat .
Baku Turkish Cemetery is a cemetery overlooking the bay, established in the most beautiful place of the capital. It was built to commemorate the Ottoman soldiers who died in the Battle of Baku. Azerbaijan sought help from the Ottoman government against the occupation of Bolshevik troops and Armenian gangs. More than 10 thousand soldiers were sent to save Baku and other provinces of Azerbaijan from this occupation.
Baku was liberated after 30 hours of fierce fighting in September 1918. 1130 martyrs were given in the struggle for the liberation of Baku. The Baku Turkish Cemetery is located in the Martyrs’ Veil, where the victims of the massacre carried out when the Soviet Army entered the capital Baku on the night of the 19th to the 20th of January 1990. You can also visit the martyrdom, which can be reached on foot from Icherisehir, but the road is quite steep.
Yanardag is the reason why Azerbaijan is called the Land of Fire , reminiscent of our Yanartaş ; a mountain of fire, of which there are only a few in the world, where flames shoot out from the ground into the sky. In Yanardag, a natural gas fire that burns continuously on a slope on the Absheron Peninsula in the Caspian Sea, the height of the flames sometimes reaches 3 meters due to the pressure in the gas source.
Not at many different points as in Yanartaş, but in an area of 10 meters wide, the flames that never go out and burn strong enough to burn you as you approach, rise from an opening under the slope. The surfaces of nearby streams are also said to be easily ignited with a match, as natural gas seeps through the porous layers.
A 500-seat amphitheater for open-air concerts is located directly opposite Yanardag, which used to be a place of worship for the Atheist Zoroastrians from Iran, India and Pakistan. There is also a cafe above where you can watch the view. In the conservation area, there is a museum in Yanardag that gives information about the region and the Volcano Dolmen Stone Exhibition.
Atesgah is one of the 3 Zoroastrian temples in the world, located in the village of Suraxani , 30 kilometers from the center of Baku. One of the ancient temples of Zoroastrianism, one of the deep-rooted belief systems of the Middle East, is as sacred as Mecca according to them. Ateşgah, which was used as a Zoroastrian temple in pre-Islamic times, is a medieval temple, but the buildings you will see now were started to be built in the 1600s and 1700s.
Atesgah has a madrasa-like architecture with a pentagonal complex structure with a courtyard surrounded by rooms with monk cells and an altar with four columns in the middle. There is a building in the middle where there is a sacred fire that never goes out. The cells, which were used for religious purposes in the period along the caravanserai, have been transformed into museum rooms that explain the Zoroastrian belief and how this place was used in the period.
The Zoroastrians who came here believed that they would be cleansed of their sins by torturing their bodies in rooms called çilehane. Even today, Zoroastrian visitors from Iran and India are considered holy and visited as pilgrims. The entrance fee is 5 Manat. If you go by Uber, it costs about 10 Manat.
Kobustan National Park is the most important and oldest inhabited area of Azerbaijan, where evidence of the life of people in the Stone Age and later periods is concentrated. I think it should be on your list of places to visit in Baku, which is about an hour away from Baku. The settlement, which was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2007, is dated to the Upper Paleolithic period (5 thousand to 10 thousand BC). It’s that old!
There are more than 6,000 rock paintings called petroglyphs at the prehistoric settlement, which was discovered by Azerbaijani archaeologist Ishaq Caferzade in 1939. Among the interesting rock formations, up to 20 habitats and drawings of game animals and hunting scenes can be seen on the rocks here.
The entrance fee of Kobustan National Park and museum, where you can witness the testimonies of those who lived in the Stone Age and later periods, is 8 AZN (40 TL). I had rented a car and gone. You can go to Gobustan by public transport and take a taxi from there. There is also a distance of about 2 km between the rocky area with the petroglyphs and the museum.
Gobustan Mud Volcanoes is an interesting geological formation located on the ridges of the village of Gobustan, about 60 km southwest of Baku, 13 kilometers from the petroglyph museum. Large and small mud volcanoes, located on a barren hill overlooking the Caspian Sea, are one of the largest formations of mud volcanoes in the world. It is estimated that about 400 of the 700 estimated mud volcanoes on our planet are located in Gobustan, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea.
Some people take a mud bath here, plaster their whole body with mud and then clean in the lake just below. A vehicle is a must to reach the mud volcanoes. Even if 4×4 vehicles are better, if you say that you will go slowly and patiently, you can go with normal vehicles. There are no controls or gates, entry is free.
If you say you can’t do without art , points such as Azerbaijan National Fine Arts Center and Azerbaijan Literature Museum may interest you. Fire Towers , which are also the first skyscrapers of Azerbaijan, shine brightly at night. The Azeri TV Tower with a revolving restaurant inside can be an interesting place to watch the city view.
Sheki is a small but beautiful historical town on the historical Silk Road that will enchant your heart and stomach. The city, which was chosen as the 2016 Turkic World Capital of Culture by TURKSOY , is one of the oldest cities in Azerbaijan with many historical and cultural monuments. Sheki, which is also the center of the Sheki Rayon in the Northwest of Azerbaijan, is a decent city that hosts both historical and natural beauties.
Many different states, from Arabs to Shirvanshahs, from Ildenizler to Georgian Kingdom, and finally from Safavids to Ottomans, have left traces on the historical story of Sheki, which was called Nuxa until 1968. When Nadir Shah was killed in 1745, the Sheki Khanate was established by Haji Celebi, but his life did not last long. It came under Russian rule in 1805 and the khanate was dissolved in 1819.
Sheki, which is like our Black Sea region, is located at the foot of the 2,000-meter Caucasus mountains covered with oak forests, and is surrounded by greenery, about 370 km from Baku. There are many mosques, caravanserais, castles, baths and other monuments dating back to centuries in the city, which is famous for its healing mineral waters and sericulture, which is adjacent to the Kish river. Everywhere except Kish village is within walking distance.
Sheki Khan Palace is a palace that is shown as one of the most important works of Azerbaijan’s medieval architecture and fascinates those who see it. It was built in 1762 as a summer residence by Muhammed Hüseyin Khan Müştag, the grandson of Hacı Çelebi Khan, the founder of the Sheki Khanate. Consisting of two floors, six rooms and two mirrored balconies, the palace is a small structure, but very interesting and fascinating.
One of the important features of Sheki Khan Palace, which was included in the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO in 2019, is that no nails or any adhesive materials were used in its construction. Each square meter of the grids on the windows consists of 5 thousand interlocking laths and glass pieces. The walls of the living room and rooms are decorated with colorful embroideries, motifs and wall paintings reflecting war scenes.
War and hunting depictions in the rooms add a different beauty to the place. The rarest examples of the geometric patterned handicraft, called ‘network’, made by mounting glass of various colors between wooden laths, adorned the palace windows.
In front of the palace, there is a pool in the garden called ‘Han Bagi’. Two plane trees, one 34 and the other 42 meters high, rise on both sides of the pool, older than the palace, erected in 1530 and called ‘Han Sycamore’ by the locals. The palace is completely surrounded by walls, and behind the fortifications lie mountains covered with forests. The entrance fee is 5 Manat, together with the Khan Palace, the Winter Palace and the Museum of Applied Folk Art.
The caravanserai is one of the two caravanserais of the South Caucasus that has survived until today , with souvenir shops, sweets unique to Sheki, tea houses and other places . This is the liveliest place I’ve seen in Sheki.
Caravanserai, built in the 18th century with brick and tea stone in the architectural style unique to Sheki, consists of three floors, one of which is a basement, and more than 300 rooms. It has two gates unique to Sheki architecture. Don’t forget to visit the large inner courtyard.
The Kish Temple (Holy Yenisei Church) is an Alban church located in the village of Kish, 5 km north of Sheki . The Kingdom of Albania ruled over a large area covering the geography of present-day Azerbaijan and Dagestan and the southern half of Chechen/Ingushya territory. The Albanians, who converted to Christianity in the 3rd century AD , built the Kiş Church in the 12th century.
In the past, an ancient Pagan temple was located on its pedestal. The cult area under the church’s altar dates back to about 3000 BC. A few tombs from the past, with people around 2 meters tall, can be seen from the ground covered with glass. It is claimed that some of the evidence that Norwegians and other Scandinavians trace their roots partially to Azerbaijan relates to this temple. The entrance fee is 4 Manat.
There are many historical heritage sites to see in Sheki. Sheki Khan’s Winter Palace, Mirza Fatali Akhundov’s house museum, Rashid Bey Efendiyev’s house museum and Sabit Rahman’s House Museum are among the places to see. See also the Friday Mosque, a heritage from the 18th century.
Walk to the War Memorial on the hillside, where you can watch Sheki best. Those who have time can add the village of Kish, which is built between forest-covered mountains and valleys, and its attraction center, the lush Garden of Eden, to the list of places to visit in Sheki.
Lahic is a unique village that has still managed to preserve its old historical appearance, and when you wander through its streets, you can hear the voices of the old workshops producing handicrafts. I made a good living from Sheki to Ismailli and from there to Lahij. With its stone houses and streets, neat architecture, polite and friendly people, this is a village that should be on the list of places to visit in Azerbaijan.
At an altitude of 1505 meters above sea level on the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus mountain range, Lahij is a town that has gained fame within a few centuries thanks to the masterpieces of skilled craftsmen. Until the 19th century, merchants from many parts of the world used to visit this village to buy the eye-catching copper products made by the masters of Lahic. Until modern mass production appeared. After the masters who migrated to big cities to earn a living, this art has almost been forgotten here.
One of the oldest settlements in Azerbaijan, Lahij has been striving to revive its historical and cultural reserve since 1980. Craftsmanship has been revived with the work done, of course, it is not the same as before, but the important thing is that the locals have already managed to preserve all the secrets and intricacies of the ancient handicrafts. There are families that still carry on this tradition from father to son.
The village, which has managed to remain unchanged as it was in the past centuries, is like a living open-air museum. Handicrafts such as copper, leather and carpets are flourishing in the village, with the only difference that today your main customers are tourists, not traders. Locals sell a wide variety of spices and herbs in their little shops on the cobblestone streets. In many ways, I would have preferred to stay at least 1 night in this unique mountain village, but unfortunately I did not have the opportunity to stay, now for another visit.
Kebele (or Gabala) is a city northwest of Baku, 3 hours from the capital, that served as the capital of the former Caucasian Albanian state for 6 centuries. Although very little remains of the ruins of the ancient capital, its location in the middle of the 2500-year-old Silk Road has made the city a popular and important center between Europe and Asia.
Today, as in the past, Kebele is a magnet for international and local events. It can be said that it is the second most popular destination in Azerbaijan after Baku. The city’s 5-star hotels host numerous politician meetings and summits. It has a magnificent view with the densely forested mountains surrounding the city with a river passing in front of it. There are many world-class hotels and resorts.
Nic Village is a small village that I stopped by on my way from Sheki before reaching Qabala. When I visited the Alban Church museum in the village of Kish in Sheki, the director recommended me to stop by this village. I did not see any center of the village full of hazelnut trees. I visited two Alban churches in the village. Both churches are on the road to Nic village. If you are interested in historical places, go, but the place that caught my attention was the Azerbaijan Udi Quarry.
Azerbaijan Udi Quarry is a museum, restaurant and hotel complex that showcases the heritage and traditions of the Udis, the indigenous people of the Caucasus. Udis are a people with a population of approximately 10 thousand, currently scattered in countries such as Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine. They were one of the 26 ethnic communities that made up the historic Albanian state.
They speak the Udi language and belong to the Christian religion. Preserving their language and traditions, this people has a deep-rooted history. Only 4,000 of the Udis live in Nic village. It is worth seeing a 250-year-old house located in the Udi Quarry, preserved as well as many of the belongings of an old Udi. The house where the sister, who is a barber and tailor, lives, is ethnographically very valuable.
There are hotel rooms with very different concepts in the Udi Hearth. Some of them were designed as small bungalows, while others were designed as a house for 10-15 people. I did not stay, but you can also note it as a delicious accommodation option. It would be a delicious choice for families with children in touch with nature.
Çukur Gebele is located 15 km southwest of the modern Gebele region, in the region between the Karaçay and Covurluçay rivers. Here you can see the ancient settlements and castle walls that remained from the historical Albanian state. It consists of 2 different mounds and 2 castle bastions nearby. Excavations excavated from the excavations are on display in the nearby archaeological museum.
Gabala Shooting Center is a shooting range you can stop by on your way to or back from Sheki. If you have never fired a gun, shotgun or shot arrows in your life, this may be a place where you can break new ground. This is a professional facility.
Athletes who come to this most modern and largest shooting range of the Caucasus from many parts of the world prepare for shooting. Again, traditional shooting sports events are held here every year. It has a hotel where you can stay and also a restaurant. Shooting arrows is 1 Manat, a rifle with 16 bullets is 5 Manat.
Tufandağ , with its height of 4,191 meters, is one of the highest mountains in Azerbaijan. Tufandağ Ski Complex, located in Tufandağ, is one of the leading ski resorts of the Caucasus. It serves up to 3,000 people a day. This is the heart of winter tourism in Azerbaijan. It has a ski track of 17 kilometers in length. Tufandag Mountain Resort Hotel is one of the best hotels in the region. Must go and see in winter. I couldn’t go because I didn’t have enough time.
Gabaland is a facility belonging to Qafqaz Riverside Resort Hotel where I stayed. The largest open-air amusement park in Azerbaijan. It is a fun place like a funfair for families with children. There is a seafood and meat restaurant called Caspian Fish Evi .
Shamakhi is an Azerbaijan city that was the capital of the Shirvanshahs state for several centuries. The historical past of Shamakhi, which has a rich nature, is very old. One of the first mosques of the Caucasus, the Friday Mosque (743) with a double minaret, Shahi Handan tomb (15th century), Pirmerdekan tomb (13-14th century), Gulistan castle (11-12th century) ruins are among the places to visit.
Meysari Village is one of the most interesting places in Shamakhi. The name of the village, which is famous for its vineyards, which is 2 hours away from Baku, comes from the name given to the strongest left wing of the army in the Seljuks. It is thought that the name of the village came from here, as soldiers from the Seljuk army settled in this region.
Shirvan Wines , located in the village, is one of the newest wine producers in Azerbaijan. For now, there are only three wine varieties made from a blend of only French grape varieties, but I have been informed that the product range will expand when the vineyards of newly planted Caucasian seedlings mature. The grapes in its vineyards are hand-picked and 100% organic wine is produced. 3 red, 2 white and 1 rose wines are produced.
Abqora Restaurant , with its Mediterranean architecture reminiscent of Tuscany, is a 200-seat restaurant where Şirvan Wines offers its guests the most exquisite flavors and wines. If you are going from Baku to Ismayilli, Gebele, Sheki or Ağsu, you can add Meysari to your route as a stop on the way.
Sakitgöl is one of the favorite summer resorts of the region. There is also a hotel on the lake, built by Italian architects, in harmony with nature. Unfortunately I didn’t get the chance to stop by. Maybe you want to go.
What to eat in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan has a very rich and delicious cuisine. You will not go hungry in Azerbaijan! Even me, who is not very fond of eating and drinking, has whetted my appetite for Azerbaijani dishes. Specialty meats are already very famous, because you can feel the real delicious meat taste that we forgot. Stuffed, wrapped and pilaf are like miss.
Meat dishes have an important place in Azerbaijani cuisine. Fish from the Caspian Sea also attract attention. Meat is usually consumed in the form of kebab. The most famous are Piti soup and Lüle kebab . I ate the famous Piti soup in Sheki. Chickpeas and tail are made from fatty meat. I never consume lard in my life, but I ate it in Sheki and tried it.
One of the most famous dishes of Azerbaijan is Shah Pilaf . Made from rice, lamb, dried apricots, prunes, chestnuts and raisins, this dish is the staple of Azerbaijani cuisine. Mrs. Şems, one of the managers of Park Inn By Radisson Baku Hotel, had it specially prepared for me. I can’t thank him enough. On the first day of my trip to Azerbaijan, I had the opportunity to get to know and taste the most delicious dishes of the country’s cuisine.
Dusbere , which is made of tiny ravioli stuffed with beef or lamb, is another popular flavor of Azerbaijani cuisine. It is eaten with garlic sauce and vinegar. Another favorite dish is the pistachio leaf wrap , in which the leaves of the pistachio tree are used instead of the grape leaves .
Azerbaijan pancake Kutab ; Dovğa soup , which I eat every chance I get, made with yogurt, rice, chickpeas and vegetables ; Keep in mind the Lüle kebab , which is made from minced lamb with finely chopped onions, as the delicacies you should taste.
Tea is also frequently drunk in Azerbaijan. In most places, when tea is requested, black tea with oregano comes with it. There is definitely a jam called Mürebbe, which is served as a sweetener next to the tea. Tea is served in a teapot and various kinds of jam are placed on the table together.
Take a cherry and pear mortar with you, but it sounds too sweet for me to say. One of the 2 coasters brought to the table is for you to take the liquor on your plate. You can also choose Pear soda, which is made from French-originated duchess pears, in meals.
Where to stay in Azerbaijan
➤ Park Inn by Radisson Baku Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★ ★), one of the best hotels in the city, I stayed at the hotel for 3 nights. Centrally located, 10 minutes walking to Baku Icherisehir. There is a big shopping mall opposite the hotel. A 100-year-old promenade stretching along the beach in front of the hotel is perfect for evening walks. Rooms are spacious and modern.
From the reception to all the staff in the cafe and restaurant are very friendly and professional. The hotel restaurant does scrumptious local Azerbaijani food, it was all incredible! Room cleaning is excellent, I paid particular attention. A good choice both to stay and to eat.
➤ The Four Seasons Hotel Baku (★ ★ ★ ★ ★) occupies a magnificent French-inspired building, characterized by elaborate ornamentation with Gothic and Renaissance elements, just a few steps from the Inner City. I had the opportunity to stay for 2 days. One of the best hotels in Baku. The french balcony of my Deluxe Caspian Sea-View room was facing the endless Caspian Sea.
The room’s bathroom is one of the most perfect hotel bathrooms I’ve ever seen. In the boutique design, the toilet, shower and bathtub are in separate places. There is a TV in the bathroom glass, you can set the lights to dim and watch TV from the bathtub. Offering the usual Four Season comforts, its magnificent bed is incredibly cozy and comfortable. It has a great indoor pool, the SPA is very good.
Breakfast was very diverse and stylish, it is served as a la carte. The hotel staff is extremely courteous and helpful, as a full Four Season classic.
➤ Hilton Baku Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★ ★) is a clean and comfortable hotel right in the middle of the city, within walking distance of popular streets. I stayed here for 2 nights when I first came to Baku. When I opened the curtains of my room on the 20th floor, which I entered after midnight, the bright view of Baku was magnificent.
Rooms are very clean and comfortable. The in-room Wi-Fi service was uninterrupted and incredibly fast. Whether you stay at the hotel or not, make sure to go out to the roof bar on the terrace. Panoramic view of all Baku under your feet. There are swivel seating areas separated by glass panels that cut through Baku’s strong winds.
➤ Qafqaz Riverside Resort Hotel (★ ★ ★ ★ ★) is one of the famous hotels of the region where I stayed in Gabala on my way back from Sheki. I stayed in a room with great forest and mountain views. Due to the end of September and the pandemic process, the hotel was very quiet. It has all the beliefs of big 5 star hotels. All employees compete for the best service. The breakfast is very good and varied. There was a dinner with live music in the evening, but I couldn’t see it because I was busy exploring the geography. The Gabaland theme park right next to the hotel has many activities for those traveling with children.
➤ Old Town Sheki Boutique Hotel is the place to say that I found my car in the parking lot of the hotel while I was looking at many places when I was wondering where to stay in Sheki, but I did well. I enjoyed my stay for 2 nights. I already like possible boutique hotel concepts, this has become a place to stay in peace.
An old historical stone building, inside is like a museum, you feel the spirit of the building. The rooms are spacious and have very high ceilings. The decoration is simple. The most beautiful part of the hotel is its very pleasant courtyard. There was live music every night of my stay. Mostly Turkish songs were sung. The breakfast was nice. I also ate dinner here. The food was delicious, the prices were reasonable. If I go to Sheki again, I will stay here again.
where is Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan is a Caucasian country neighboring Turkey’s eastern borders. More than 50% of Azerbaijan, which forms a transition area between the Anatolian and Caucasian mountain systems, is mountainous. To the west of Azerbaijan is Armenia, which cuts the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic of Azerbaijan like a wedge.
In the east of Azerbaijan lies the Caspian Sea, which gives life to Azerbaijan. It has a short border with Turkey in the southwest. In the south, it borders with Iranian Azerbaijan. The Aras river defines its border with Iran. It is bordered by Dagestan, which is part of the Russian Federation in the north, and Georgia in the northwest.
How to get to Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan used to require a visa, a visa was obtained at the door. With the bilateral agreement, the citizens of the Republic of Turkey can travel to Azerbaijan without a visa for 90 days, using their new type chip ID cards, without the need for a passport. Do not forget to pay 50 TL as international departure fee.
Both negative PCR and vaccination card are required for entry into the country. Entry and exit stamps are printed on the bilingual “Entry-Exit Form” when leaving Turkey. Do not lose this card. If you are traveling to the country with an ID, have another ID card with your photo on it. You may need it if you lose your identity.
Azerbaijan Visa and how to get to Baku There are more detailed information about both visa and going to Azerbaijan in my blog posts.
If you intend to stay in Azerbaijan for more than 15 days, you must fulfill the address declaration requirement on time. It is necessary to make an address statement to the Azerbaijan State Migration Administration . You can get information about this from the hotel you are staying at.
Turkish Airlines, Pegasus, Azerbaijan Airlines (Azal) and Buta fly direct from Turkey to Baku. I went to Baku from Izmir with Pegasus, and on the way back I took Buta, the low-budget airline of Azerbaijan. The Izmir-Baku flight took 2.5 hours.
If you buy tickets early, you have a chance to get a reasonably priced ticket from Buta, but it even asks for money for hand luggage. For this reason, you can choose the ticket that gives 10 kg just like I did.