Known as 'the country of fire', Azerbaijan is both a country of ancient empires and a country of the present as it is enjoying the riches of its oil reserves. Tourism is fairly new but the government has big plans to boost tourism, so now is the best time to visit Azerbaijan!
The ultimate east-meets-west destination, Azerbaijan is blessed with an astonishing variety of natural landscapes which includes snowcapped mountains, gorges, deserts, subtropical forests, waterfalls and mud volcanoes. Where is Azerbaijan? Situated in the Caucasus, it lies over both Europe and Asia and borders Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Iran.
The population is 9.7 million and the capital city of Azerbaijan is Baku, which homes around a quarter of the national population. With its UNESCO core and dazzling 21st-century architecture, it is a city of contrasts. It intends to become the Dubai of the Caspian Sea and with its growing number of skyscrapers, it is on its way!
Situated on the Silk Road, and lying between the borders of great empires, Azerbaijan history has come under the influence Perian, Russian, Turkish and Arab rule and has a rich, diverse culture as a result. The majority of the population are Shia Muslim, though many are secular. It is a tolerant, liberal country where Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians live together. In 1918 it became both the first Islamic democracy in the world, and the first to give women the vote.
Things to do in Azerbaijan
There are many things to see in Azerbaijan. Baku is home to many world heritage sites, mosques, museums, art galleries, and theatres. There are also a growing number of popular tourist attractions in Azerbaijan aimed at children including playgrounds and parks which makes it a family holiday in Azerbaijan fun, comfortable and accommodating.
Hiking in Azerbaijan is very popular due to its varying terrain which homes a vast range of wildlife including bears, wolves, leopards and countless species of birds (especially in the mountains in the Caucasus which reach 4,466m. Uncharted territory for most tourists, Azerbaijan offers a sense of real adventure. Beaches in Azerbaijan are beautiful, sandy and peaceful. Beach season kicks off in June and carries through to September.
Food in Azerbaijan is characterized by fresh ingredients and large portions. Due to its unique history, it is an interesting mix between Turkish, Iranian, Caucasian and Mongolian cuisine. Kutabi (stuffed pancakes) are very popular with tourists and locals, they are typically stuffed with pumpkin, vegetables, and meat. Grapes have been growing for thousands of years in Azerbaijan and some excellent wines are produced in the country's vineyards.