Azerbaijan On a Budget
There are different historical facts about Azerbaijan and Azeris. In world history, it is noted that nomadic tribes of Shi'i Muslims living on the territory of modern Azerbaijan were Azerbaijani Turks. Azeri did not have statehood for centuries. The territory was invaded and ruled by Muslim Arabs, Kurds, Seljuk Turks, etc. The territory was occupied by Iran until the Russian Empire established its dominance on the region in 19th century. The collapse of the Russian Empire initiated the formation of nationhood of Azerbaijan.
The greatest value of Azerbaijan is oil. The largest oil-producing regions are located not far from Baku this is why the capital soon got the name of Black Gold capital. Let's skip the details of oil production and its history and say that oil and gas have become a ticket to the world market and made Azerbaijan a strong, powerful and, of course, rich country. The government makes huge investments in the development of all the spheres and mostly tourism.
Top Tourist AttractionsThough there are few historical monuments on the territory of Azerbaijan, natural sights of the country make it quite an interesting tourist direction. The most attractive destination is Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The city presents a mixture of old Caucasus traditions, gray industrial life, and modern technologies. Old town Icheri Sheher is the tourist center of the city with medieval monuments; Maiden's Tower and the palace of Shirvanshahs. One of the most beautiful places in Baku is the city boulevard. In the evening, it is illuminated with thousands of city lights while in the distance you can see bright lights of the Flame Towers.
The most popular tourist attraction in Azerbaijan is the Gobustan national park. An interesting part of the park is mud volcanoes. There are about 800 unique mud volcanoes in the world and half of them are located in Azerbaijan. Some of them are huge and really dangerous to get close. Mud volcanoes of Gobustan are large yet they are absolutely safe to get closer and investigate. Gobustan Park is interesting not only for its mud volcanoes but also rock drawings, the traces of civilization living on the territory more than 40.000 years ago.
There is a magical burning mountain in Azerbaijan and it looks so mysterious. Still, this unique natural phenomenon has a scientific explanation. Yanardag is located on the Absheron peninsula. The slope of the mountain is always on fire due to the natural gas emerging from the earth. Nothing can put out the fire no matter how hard you try.
Top tourist attractions are the beaches of the Caspian Sea. The coast in Baku is not suitable for swimming yet the beaches not far from Baku are turned into modern beach resorts.
We think that if you visit only one country of the South Caucasus during your travel you won't manage to feel deeply the all colors of the region. The best option is to have a combined trip around the whole region. We know that there are some agencies that have achieved success in organizing combined Caucasus trips, as an example you can follow this link - araratour.com/armenia-and-georgia.
Popular FoodsJust like the culture represents a unique mixture of traditions of neighboring countries, national cuisine is also an interesting blend of dishes. You will find familiar tastes in Azerbaijani cuisine with exotic names.
The key ingredient of traditional cuisine is lamb. Pilaf is the king of dishes in Azerbaijan. There are more than ten types of pilaf cooked with differed spices, greens, vegetable, and meat. Saffron, dill, mint, and coriander are the most common spices used in all dishes.
Must-try dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine are traditional lyulya kebab served with onion and greens, different types of kufta (meatballs of lamb), fish dishes, kutab (pita bread stuffed with greens or fruits) and soups with interesting names (dovga, umach, khamrashi, piti etc).
Traditional Azerbaijani tea is served with national sweets and jam. The tea table is decorated with a plate of colorful jams, nuts, honey, and pastry. Some of the names are familiar with the cuisine of Turkey, Iran, and Armenia.