Curious about Azerbaijan? This Caucasian nation is a beautiful country with much to offer to visitors. Learn the top reasons to visit Azerbaijan during your next trip.
Azerbaijan is a hidden gem that remains off most tourist maps. Located in the southern Caucasus, it offers a mix of Eastern and Western architecture, culture, and food.
Azerbaijan is indeed a beautiful country with several natural and man-made attractions, but it is also home to a very warm and welcoming local culture, a former Soviet republic that blends Russian and Muslim traditions.
It is also an extremely affordable destination that can offer the adventure of a lifetime for a very small price tag.
Wondering about Azerbaijan for your next trip? Find all the information you need to make a decision in this article.
How to Visit Azerbaijan
Even though most people do not know this, Azerbaijan actually encourages international tourism. For example, the government launched an electronic visa processing system in 2017 that allows holidaymakers to get their visa without having to visit an embassy.
Travelers can complete the online Azerbaijan visa application from the UK, EU, US, as well as all other eligible countries.
There are several international airports in Azerbaijan and foreign passengers can arrive by plane or ferry since the capital Baku sits on the Caspian Sea. In general, Azerbaijan is easily accessible and well served due to its privileged position on the Silk Road.
What Is Azerbaijan Famous for?
There are plenty of reasons to visit Azerbaijan. Here are some of the country’s main attractions:
The capital city Baku
Baku sits on the Caspian Sea, with a beautiful century-old waterfront promenade. Visitors can enjoy and take gorgeous pictures of the sunset as well as the city skyline.
In Baku’s old city, history lovers can admire the 12th-century Maiden Tower and the 15th-century Palace of the Sirvanshahs, and relax while shopping for souvenirs in the many old shops specializing in carpets and ceramics.
Ganja, the second-largest city
Ganja is not only a major city but also one of the oldest urban centers in the Caucasus. Due to the different powers that have ruled it over the centuries, its architecture is extremely interesting.
Ganja boasts several monuments and museums as well as the famous and peculiar Bottle House, built in 1967 by Ibrahim Jafarov in memory of his brother and all World War II fallen soldiers. The walls and other parts of the house are made of 48 thousand bottles.
The area around Ganja is also worth a visit due to its gorgeous vineyards, lakes, and forests.
Gobustan National Park
This area southwest of Baku was declared a national historical landmark in 1966 to preserve its many treasures.
The Park features half of the world’s mud volcanoes and is home to over 6 thousand petroglyphs (ancient stone carvings) dating to 10,000 B.C. They depict war scenes, ritual dances, animals, boats, constellations, and more. Geologists and nature lovers alike come here — the bubbling mud is believed to have therapeutic properties.
Shaki and the Silk Road
Shaki is a town nearly 2.5 thousand years old in northwestern Azerbaijan. It was a very important trading center on the Silk Road and the Palace of Shaki Khans and downtown Shaki have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019.
Visitors can admire old buildings, mosques, and castles as well as the breathtaking landscapes offered by the mountains of the southern part of the Caucasus range.
Lankaran sandy beaches
Lankaran, in the southern part of the country and right on the Caspian Sea, offers one of the warmest climates in Azerbaijan.
In Lankaran, you will find sandy and pebble beaches as well as a vast area of national parks with great biodiversity.
The Culture of Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, traits of East and West, Slavic and Mediterranean cultures blend seamlessly. The result is a place where you can order your tea like a Turkish or Iranian during the day and drink vodka to celebrate like a Russian at night.
About 97% of the Azerbaijan population identifies as Muslim. At the same time, Azerbaijan is also considered the most secular Muslim-majority country. It was the first Muslim country to declare itself a secular republic in 1918, a definition that still applies today.
One of the many reasons why Azerbaijan is a beautiful country, its culture embraces visitors in a respectful yet welcoming manner — you will find yourself at home while being able to observe traditions and customs from different parts of the world.
Just like ancient and futuristic architecture coexist beautifully in Baku and soviet relics can be found next to mosques, you will taste food from Turkey, Georgia, Iran, Ukraine, and Russia. There is something for every palate and taste in Azerbaijan.