Amazing Sites to Visit in Azerbaijan
Published: 25 June 2015
Azerbaijan, a country located in the Caucasus on the Caspian Sea between Iran and Russia, and bordered in the west by Armenia and Georgia is a former Soviet Republic (not to be confused by the Azerbaijan region in Iran). Home to a hospitable and extremely polite people, a rich culture and beautiful attractions, it’s a great place to consider if you’re looking for off-beat European holidays. The wonderful architecture and fascinating archaeological sites of the country are exceptionally noteworthy. Here are some of the best sites you can visit during your Azerbaijan holidays:
Palace of the Shirvanshahs:
Baku in Azerbaijan is the capital of the country and its political, economic and cultural centre. One of the most popular things to do in Baku is to visit its walled inner city of Icheri Shekhar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within its boundaries lies the famous Shirvanshakh Sarayi or Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a masterpiece of medieval architecture that dates back to the mid-15th century. This remarkable structure with imposing domes, intricate carvings and patterned windows provides a true visual feast. Spread over the highest hill in the inner city, the palace complex houses residences, official structures, mosques, mausoleums and an incredible bath-house.
Another amazing attraction that you can find within the walled inner city in Baku is the eight-storied Maiden Tower. The first three storeys of the tower date all the way back to 6th or 7th century BC and are believed to have been used as a Zoroastrian fire temple. According to legend, there was once a beautiful maiden who lived in the tower. When she was forbidden from marrying the man she loved, she flung herself from the tower in despair, and fell to her death in the Caspian Sea. Today, the Maiden Tower has been converted into a museum and you can climb all the way to the top to enjoy a breath-taking view of the city. A great visit to remember your holidays to Azerbaijan by!
Located about 60 kms to the south of Baku is the UNESCO rock-art landscape of Gobustan. The rocks in the area hold up to 60,000 mountain carvings – providing a visual timeline of history, with the oldest carvings dating back to 14 millennia BC. Some of the carvings depict hunters with dogs, others depict boats similar to that of the Vikings, while others still depict caravans and camels. These images have led experts to believe that civilisation existed in Azerbaijan at least 126,000 years ago, that Scandinavian ancestry can be traced back to the country and that it was part of the famous historical Silk Route.
While there are many sights to see and things to do in Azerbaijan, you must make sure you don’t leave the country without visiting these fascinating archaeological and architectural wonders.