Azerbaijan tourism history has acquired millennia-long traditions with the evidences proving their age. It would be enough to remember the Great Silk Road where not only trade but also cultural exchanges were held. But surely, interest to the country on the shores of the Caspian Sea flared in the time of the hydrocarbon reserve search. Do you know that in the beginning of the 20th century, Azerbaijan held more than the half of the world’s oil extraction? Even then rapidly enriching land was attractive for people from all around the world.
In the 3rd millennium Azerbaijan becomes the center of international tourism. The country with rich ancient history has thousands of places to visit – starting from the capital to the unique villages lost in the clouds. Visitors are attracted by the shores of Absheron. Water of the Caspian Sea, the largest lake in the world, is not that salty as seawater; it is both: pleasant to swim and healing for the skin. In the center of the beach tourism of the Caspian region you can ride a boat, take a trip on the yacht, do some fishing and dive with aqualung. There is a temple of fire worshippers Atashgah on the way to Absheron, in the village of Surakhany, where natural gas has been flaming from time immemorial due to contact with the oxygen.
The country that had been extracting oil for many centuries has dozens of healing hot mineral springs. But the main peculiarity of medical resorts of Azerbaijan is the unique birthplace of non-burning Naftalan oil, that serves as a natural treatment material with great properties.
The oldest village Khinalig was mentioned in the writings of ancient Greek and Roman historians. They have reserved a unique culture; they speak their own language and wear traditional clothes. The highest and most isolated settlement in the mountains of the Big Caucasus had been inaccessible until recently, but now has turned into a beloved touristy spot.
Significant social-economic reforms had placed the downtown Baku in one line with the European cities in terms of hotel standards and tourism infrastructure development. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, combines the architecture of modern European city and historical spirit of the old city. You can see a beautiful Maiden Tower from the skyscrapers of the downtown city; fashionable hotels are neighbouring with narrow streets of Icheri Sheher (The Inner City). The UNESCO World Heritage List has included the following gems of Baku: Icheri-sheher, Maiden Tower and the Palace of Shirvanshahs, a unique architectural and cultural ensemble.
Visitors to Azerbaijan definitely should visit the Gobustan reserve with the territory of 537 hectares where more than 6000 wall inscribed images had been discovered. Cultural landscape of Gobustan wall images has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. You may also see mud volcanoes in the Gobustan reserve; it has half of the world mud volcanoes. From Gobustan, take a trip to Shekhi. The Palace of Shekhi khans is the pinnacle of Azerbaijan medieval architecture. Two-storey palace built in 1761-62 with no nails was a summer residence of Husseyn-khan Mushtad.
Tourism in Azerbaijan is a blue sea, mountains of delicious fruit, exquisite cuisine, hospitable and artistic people and such a varied nature. You will surely want to come back again.
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