Azerbaijan was once an undiscovered treasure in the Caucasus region, but things are changing rapidly and its popularity is rising to hit the roof. As a gateway between the East and West, Azerbaijan has its fair share of historical and cultural sites to explore.
Did you know that Azerbaijan is also blessed with several thousand kilometers of the coast making it a great subtropical place to visit this summer? While you pack your bags, let us do a run down of the places you have to visit when you are in Azerbaijan.
Know Your Azerbaijan
Telephone Code: +994
Currency: Manat (₼) (AZN)
Visa: E-Visa for a short stay for tourists.
Azerbaijan can be visited throughout the year and there is always something to see, because of its diverse weather conditions and its diverse topography. There are places where summers can be scorching hot and winters are almost freezing.
Winter: December to March - 2-7°C (36-44°F)
Spring: April to May - 17 °C (62 °F) to 14 °C (58 °F)
Summer: June to August - +27 °C (81 °F) to 22.5 °C (73 °F)
Autumn: September to November - +26 °C (78 °F) to +12 °C (53 °F)
Best time to visit: April to June; September to October
Clothing & Personal Care:
Carry a light coat/scarf when you are in the highlands, it can get chilly even in the summer.
Places to visit in Azerbaijan
The capital city of the country, Baku is a mix of modern buildings studded with LCD screens and old-world charm. An iconic place to visit is the Flaming Towers, three glass tower skyscrapers overlooking the Baku Bay that get lit up beautifully at night. Do not miss the Museum of Contemporary Art when you are around!
Gobustan National Park
The park is one of Azerbaijan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is home to the country’s version of Stonehenge. Gobustan features about 6,000 rock drawings spread over 537 hectares of semi-desert that date back to the Stone Age. You can also find about 300 mud volcanoes in the national park!
Sheki city dates back to 2,500 years and is one of the oldest Caucasus settlements. It was a stop on the famed Silk Route and is very much a bustling city that still offers ornate embroidery and other handcrafts. With stunning castles, mosques, and palaces of Sheki Khans, this city should be one of your must-see places in Azerbaijan.
Palace of ShirvanShahs
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site is The Palace of ShirvanShahs, Baku, which was constructed in the 15th century during the Shirvanshahs reign.
This sandstone palace consists of a palace building, a mausoleum to the royal family, and a memorial to the Sufi saint, scientist, and philosopher Sayid Yahya Bakuvi.
So are you convinced to visit Azerbaijan yet? Pack your bags right away and book your tickets. Let us know how your trip goes!
Must-Do Things In Azerbaijan
Explore the Gobustan mud volcanoes
It is not an exaggeration when they call Azerbaijan the land of fire! The country has more than half of the world’s mud volcanoes, about 300 of them in total. Despite their name, mud volcanoes are not volcanoes but literal gooey mud that looks like molten lava.
These mud volcanoes are not going to erupt, though some do rarely, so it is safe to go near them. And they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, though they are usually black and grey.
Gobustan’s coastal weather dries this wet mud quickly, leaving the ground looking otherworldly. It is a good idea to wear a pair of comfortable shoes and a hat, as the terrain is rough and hot, as one can imagine.
Wander through The Old City, Baku
The Old City of Baku, or Icheri Seher, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a lot to offer. Located in the heart of the capital city, the area is a protected part of the city, owing to its age and its importance in the history and culture of Azerbaijan.
The Old City, or “the fortress”, includes the iconic Maiden Tower (that dates back to the 12th century), the Shirvanshah Palace, and several eclectic cafes and restaurants to keep you from famish.
Enjoy the European-inspired cobblestoned pavements and Islamic architecture from the medieval days! Do not forget to taste some Azeri delicacies while you are there too.
Stroll through the Carpet museum
Azerbaijan and the nearby countries have a rich history with carpet and carpet weaving as a handicraft. It is the textile industry, including carpet weaving, that put Azerbaijan on the map and the Silk Route. Even today, carpet weaving has a significant part in Azeri’s cultural part and daily life.
Set up in 1967, the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum displays over 10,000 artifacts including Azeri carpets, national dress, jewelry, and embroidery ranging from medieval to recent years.
The museum building is one of the most Instagrammable places in Azerbaijan, and it looks like a rolled-up carpet!
Oil Bathing at Naftalan
This might seem a bit whacky, but the small town of Naftalan offers a unique spa treatment - bathing in crude oil. These treatments have been in practice for more than 1000 years and they have been re-popularized by the Russians in recent times.
Naftalan crude oil is said to have healing properties and visitors come here to bathe in the special oil and take other oil-based treatments to cure their ailments. Treatments for pain relief and inflammation are the most popular ones among visitors and tourists.
Even if you are not looking for a particular treatment, you can just enjoy an oil bath and spend a relaxing spa day at the oil resorts.