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The sights of Azerbaijan are of interest to everyone who chooses this country for travel. The tourism business here is a huge part of the country's budget. Suffice it to say that on the territory of this state there are more than 250 beautiful lakes. Many of them are surrounded by mountain ranges, at the foot of which there are many hotels with excellent hotel service. Excursions in Baku will help you get to know the country better.
What to see in Azerbaijan first of all
When deciding where to go and whether you need guides in Azerbaijan, keep in mind that many attractions are located on distance from each other, and for the local population, the observance of traditions plays an extremely important role. The route of the trip should be planned in such a way that you have time to see all the most interesting things and at the same time not get too tired.
1. Gyz Galasy Maiden Tower (Baku)
View of the Maiden's Tower Gyz Galasy
The Gyz Galasy tower is rightly called the most mysterious monument in Baku. It is located on the territory of the Icheri Sheher fortress. The uniqueness of the architecture of Gyz Galasy lies in the fact that the tower is located on a ledge of a large rock. A gray lime cylinder was used as a building material. The height of the fortress reaches 28 m, and its diameter is 16.5 m.
Inside the 5-meter walls there is a spiral stone staircase, and the well goes down 21 meters. The tower was once a fortification. Currently, its purpose is to delight and surprise. She is beautiful and mysterious. No one knows the exact time of its construction. It seems that she has always been on this earth. In the pre-Islamic period, it was a religious building. Historians insist on this version, since ritual wells were found on the territory of Giz Galasy.
What to see in Azerbaijan? Of course, Giz Galasy! December 22, the day of the equinox, the direct rays of the sun fall directly into the central window. Then the sunlight is successively distributed to all the upper windows. It looks mesmerizingly beautiful!
Historians are inclined to believe that Gyz Galasy was erected in the era of the culture of sun worship. There was a purely practical purpose in the history of the tower. For example, until the 19th century it was used as a lighthouse. Currently, the object is included in the heritage of UNESCO.
Official website: http://www.icherisheher
2. Palace of the Shirvanshahs (Baku)
Fragment of the palace of the Shirvanshahs
From the 13th to the 16th centuries, the palace of the Shirvanshahs was built. The sights of Azerbaijan include this architectural complex, which includes a Hamer divan courtyard, a mosque and a tomb. It even found a place for a bathhouse and the mausoleum of Bakuvi.
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs is an integral architectural structure. Geometric proportions are fully observed here, and the carved pattern in the stone can be traced on every detail.
The oldest part of the building is the octagonal hall. In addition, on the territory of the palace there are rooms in the form of incomplete rectangles. Tourists are most attracted by 3 narrow spiral staircases, which are safe and very interesting to climb. Inside the palace there are 52 rooms. During the archaeological work, there were copper utensils, ancient jewelry and a large supply of weapons.
Time also spared Shamakhi carpets, which were carefully restored. They will be interesting to see for those who decide what to see in Azerbaijan.
The Eastern Portal is located on the territory of the Southern Courtyard. The people call it the gate of Murad. The eastern portal crowns the architectural complex as a whole. Its upper part is crowned with an ornate Arabic inscription, from which it is clear that the author of the project is Sultan Murad Khan.
3. Mohammed Mosque (Baku)
In the immediate vicinity of the famous Maiden's Tower is the Mohammed Mosque. Presumably, the year of construction is 471. The work was carried out by order of Muhammad ibn Abubakr.
Why do tourists love the sights of Azerbaijan, and especially this object? It is full of legends and legends. One of them says that the mosque was built on the site where the Temple of Fire used to be. It was here that the locals defended themselves against the aggressive wars of Peter the Great.
The architecture of the mosque is unique. The prayer hall has a luxurious mihrab. It is decorated in accordance with the traditions of that time. The lancet vault decorating the main hall has narrow windows traditional for Azerbaijan. They are decorated with ornaments in stone, and a decorative brick laid out along the vault crowns the composition as a whole.
Like all Baku buildings of that time, the mosque contains a narrow spiral staircase. Under the stalactite belt, you can see traces of Arabic writing. Everything here breathes history. Ancient stones keep the memory of the patriots who once held the line here.
4. Caravanserai (Sheki)
what to see in Azerbaijan? Caravanserais will surprise and interest you.
Many inns were set up along the Great Silk Road. They bore the original name – caravanserais. For several centuries, these peculiar harbingers of modern hotels have been a haven for wealthy merchants.
Caravanserais have always been full of fragrant spices and fluffy furs. It was a kind of transit point for trading. Most of them have been turned into modern standard hotels. But the caravanserai in Sheki is a happy exception. It houses a museum that gives a complete picture of the hotels of the Great Silk Road.
It was built from especially large and powerful stones. The fortress has only one gate, which was equipped with the most modern mechanism. They almost instantly opened and closed in case of danger. The floor is covered with the same powerful stone blocks. It is always cool inside despite the scorching sun outside: the stones are the best air conditioner.
Oriental flavor can be traced here in the decoration. Many carpets and copper details of the decor echo the traditional stone ornaments that fill many of the sights of Azerbaijan.
5. Surakhani temple of fire worshipers Ateshgah (Surakhani)
Stone composition of the temple of fire worshipers Ateshgah
The temple of fire worshipers was revered by Hindus and Zoroastrians in different time periods. Its composition consists of 4 arches, the view from which opens on all sides. In the center is a place for a sacred fire, which was fed by natural gas.
The triumph of stone – this is how you can briefly describe the temple, which was created between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. At that time, Zoroastrianism dominated here, so their faith was reflected in the design of the temple. However, with the passage of time, Islam was established in Azerbaijan. The fire temples were gradually empty, deprived of the constant service of the Hindus.
Surakhani temple is located on the Great Silk Road, it has always been a place of concentration of believers from India and Persia. It is interesting that in 1858 Alexandre Dumas, the father, was in the temple, who later referred to the magicians (temple servants) as “maji” in his works.
Tragedy broke out in the middle of the 19th century. After the earth layers moved, the gas outlet was closed in this place. The sacred fire went out, which was seen as a punishment from the gods. The last employee belonging to the Hindu faith left the temple in 1880. However, in Azerbaijan they take care of the shrines of the past centuries, so at the end of the 20th century the temple was completely restored. Now it complements the sights of Azerbaijan.
6. Juma Mosque (Shamakhi)
In 1744, the residence of the Arab caliph appeared in Shamakhi. Since then, the Juma mosque has been one of the most ancient in Transcaucasia. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that in the territory of Azerbaijan, with a huge number of various mosques, there are no analogues to this object. The prayer hall is divided here into three separate groups. They, in turn, are connected by stone openings.
Each of the openings has a separate entrance. Historians call the unique three-hall mosque. The material of manufacture was, of course, a massive stone. A heap of powerful stone blocks is not chaotic. Curious tourists will see here their harmony and proportionality of geometric shapes.
This area has been subjected to earthquakes many times, so the mosque was periodically destroyed. However, it has been restored every time. The modern appearance of the mosque has preserved the historical design of ancient architects, as well as other sights of Azerbaijan. It still has three halls connected by narrow passages.
7. Gandzasar Monastery (Nagorno-Karabakh)
View of the Gandzasar Monastery
The Gandzasar Monastery is located next to the silver and copper mines. That is why it was called “treasure mountain”. Presumably, the monastery was built in the 10th century. This is one of the oldest shrines.
The style of the temple corresponds to the era of that time. Its main architectural part is the domed hall. It has two-story limits located at the corners. Ancient architects used stone bas-reliefs as decoration, and their theme was exclusively biblical.
Interestingly, the monastery is still active. It is included in the list of “Sights of Azerbaijan”. Its history is full of hardships and attacks. For example, in the 13th century, the Tatar-Mongols attacked the walls of the monastery. It was practically looted. And later, in the 18th century, the monastery was plundered by Turkish nomads.
He got it in modern times. In the twentieth century, a terrible Karabakh conflict broke out. However, now the monastery lives a quiet life with daily prayers and classical services.
8. Momine Mausoleum – Khatun (Nakhichevan)
Stone masterpiece Momine-Khatun Mausoleum
Momine-Khatun is considered to be the ancestor of the aldehyde dynasty. It was for her that the Momine-Khatun Mausoleum was built in the 12th century. The author and founder was atabek Jahan Pahlavan. He dedicated the majestic building to his mother, Momine-Khatun. The complexity of the decoration attracts specialists and lovers of ancient architecture from all over the world.
The geometric ornament in stone is used as the main decorative technique. On it you can see many quotes from the Koran, presented in the form of beautiful inscriptions.
The mausoleum has 9 faces. At the time of the Middle Ages, it was considered a real skyscraper, since its height reached 34 m. The Mausoleum was not spared for centuries, it was many times invaded by nomads and destroyed. Today, its height is only 25 m. When seeing the sights of Azerbaijan, you should definitely get acquainted with the Mausoleum.
Each face is covered with a variety of Arabic scripts. The very burial of Momine-Khatun is located under the mausoleum. There is no entrance to it. The interior of the Mausoleum is more ascetic than the exterior. Inside, it has rounded shapes, and there are much fewer Arabic inscriptions here.
9. Goygol Park (Kapyaz Mountain)
Corner of Goygol Park
Goygol National Park is located on the green velvet slope of Mount Kapaz. The pristine beauty of the mountains and the mirror surface of the lake, framed by green shores, served as a launching pad for the formation of a national park. This park is currently the pride of Azerbaijan. Work ended in 2008. The main goal of the creators was to preserve natural beauty.
The area of Goygol Park exceeds 12 hectares. The biosphere is completely preserved here, which was the beginning of the development of ecotourism in the region. The lake in translation from Azerbaijani means “blue”. In fact, the water here has a crystal blue color. And this is explained not only by the fact that it reflects the bottomless sky. The water is saturated with natural crystals that affect its appearance.
The history of the formation of the lake is interesting. It arose in 1139 as a result of a terrible earthquake. When Mount Kepez collapsed, a huge boulder blocked the path of the Akhsuchay River. Over time, this is where the lake was formed.
Tourists will be interested to know that in the territory of the Goygol National Park there is not only a luxurious green cover. Here you can visit other sights of Azerbaijan, including several other reservoirs.
10. Lagich village
Medieval stone street of Lagich village
The authentic Azerbaijani village has preserved the ancient spirit of artisans. Lahij is a haven of 40 crafts, as they used to say in the old days. Folk craft has developed here for centuries. The village is divided into separate microdistricts, in each of which one craft is cultivated. Currently, about a thousand people live in the village of Lagich. There are countless tourists here at any time of the year.
Surprisingly, the flavor of the medieval urban structure has been preserved here. For example, the streets are paved with stone, the ancient houses also have masonry. The sewerage system that encircles the entire village was built over a thousand years ago.
What sights of Azerbaijan can be seen here? The village has a market for copper utensils and classic Azerbaijani weapons. The art of local masters is known all over the world. It is simply impossible to visit Azerbaijan and not bring something from the copper treasures of the camp. Life in Lahij does not stop for a single minute. There are many workshops here, and work in them continues from morning until late at night.
Sights of Azerbaijan: what else to visit while in Azerbaijan
As you can see, the country has a lot of interesting things for tourists of different ages and with all sorts of preferences, including with children. Excursions in Azerbaijan to the attractions presented in the list below will make the trip as exciting as possible. Each attraction has its own charm, which can only be appreciated through personal experience.
11. Gobustan Reserve
Ancient stones with petroglyphs
The Gobustan reserve is located near Baku. This unique heap of ancient stones keeps a huge number of petroglyphs. Tourist routes passing through Azerbaijan necessarily affect Gobustan.
Tourists with bated breath listen to their story. The fact that the petroglyphs are from 4 to 5 thousand years old is already admirable. Rock inscriptions are located randomly in the stones. They are all systematized and studied. However, there is no clear scientific justification for their origin. Interestingly, Russian scientists knew about Gobustan rock paintings as early as the 19th century.
Another distinctive feature of the reserve is the presence of a desert strip. It extends for 20 km and is characterized by sparse vegetation. There are only thorns and dry grass. In addition, there are interesting ancient sites nearby in the mountains.
Wandering between them and admiring the rock carvings is a real pleasure for those who are looking for something to see in Azerbaijan. In total, the reserve occupies 537 hectares. There are also traces of settlements in numerous caves that cut mountains.
Unique rock paintings are a UNESCO heritage.
Official website: http://whc.unesco .org/en/
12. Azerbaijan Carpet Museum (Baku)
Carpets of Azerbaijan
There are two crafts in the land of Azerbaijan, which are thousands of years old. This is the production of copper utensils and carpet weaving. Throughout the history of the state, it was equated with the great art that the elite owned. Therefore, the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum is revered and loved by the people.
Here you can learn about the most diverse technologies for the production of carpets. In addition, the museum presents the history of the school of carpet weaving. And, of course, the most interesting things in the museum are the exhibits. There are no carpets here!
The administrative team of the museum is fanatically devoted to the preservation of Azerbaijani carpet weaving. Under the auspices of UNESCO, seminars and round tables dedicated to the art of carpet making are held here every year. The museum exhibits its expositions in different countries.
In particular, the collection of carpets and technological tools has already visited 50 countries. In our time, the museum has become a scientific center for the study of applied art. The most magnificent exhibit in the museum is the Palace in the form of a complex carpet.
Official website: http://azcarpetmuseum.az/front/en
13. Fiery towers (Baku)
Architectural ensemble Flame Towers
Flame Towers are a symbol of light and warmth. They will be of interest to everyone who does not know what to visit in Azerbaijan. These are the tallest buildings in Baku. They are made in the form of three flames. The architectural ensemble covers an area of more than 200 thousand square meters. The unique buildings were put into operation in 2012.
The lighting system of the towers seems amazing to tourists. The fact is that their facades are covered with screens capable of displaying an imitation of the movement of fire. The uniqueness of the Flame Towers project lies in the fact that three skyscrapers seem to be blazing at night. Visually, the project is associated with the coat of arms of Baku, it also has three flames.
Functional purpose of Flame Towers: apartments and business center. The tallest tower is 182 meters high. The owner of the unique complex is Azinko Development MMC. But for tourists, the visual effect is more interesting than all the technical characteristics of the complex.
Some of them tend to see sails rather than tongues of flame in the architectural solution. The light show here starts every night. Like the famous fountain in Dubai, the Flame Towers delight every night with an extravaganza of light and fire.
14. Palace of the Sheki Khans (Sheki)
Facade and courtyard of the palace of the Sheki Khans
There is a museum in the city of Sheki, which was previously the residence of the Sheki Khans. Currently, it is a monument of world history and culture. The Palace of the Sheki Khans is part of the Yukhari Bash nature reserve. If you have not yet decided what to visit in Azerbaijan, this palace will be of interest to you. The history of the architectural complex goes back to the 18th century. It was then that the first stone of the building was laid, which, according to the plans of the architect, should have had a Persian style.
The palace rises surrounded by fortress walls. It has a length of 30 m and consists of two floors. The facade is painted with thematic inscriptions and drawings. Looking closer, here you can see military sketches and hunting scenes. In addition, the ornament in stone, which is so rich in Azerbaijani architecture, contains many elements of floristry.
In the center of the facade is a stained-glass window composition. This is a real masterpiece of modern architecture. Multi-colored glass mosaic sparkles in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow. At the same time, the design of the stained-glass window is a unique stone lattice. Palace architecture of the 18th century is reflected in this unique complex. The palace is included in the UNESCO heritage list.
15. Bibi-Heybat Mosque (Baku)
Evening view of the Bibi-Heybat mosque
Thinking what to visit in Azerbaijan? Pay attention to the Bibi-Heybat Mosque. It was built in the 18th century, but was periodically completed and rebuilt. In 1936 the mosque was completely destroyed. This sad fact is characterized by a period of struggle against religion in the Soviet Union. Today, the external and internal appearance of the mosque is as close as possible to its historical counterpart.
The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a complex that includes not only a mosque, but also several tombs. Famous people of Azerbaijan found peace here. Previously, the mosque was called the mosque of Fatima. Famous travelers visited it at different times: Alexander Dumas, Nikolai Kalmykov, Boris Dorn. The building corresponds to the classical style of Azerbaijani architecture. This is a play of stone and light, mosaics and graceful ornaments.
Two domes located between two towers are decorated with the finest writing in Arabic. Guides in Baku draw the attention of tourists to fragments of colored mosaics that echo the stone decorative filling. The mosque is beautiful, excursions are regularly held in it.
While in Azerbaijan, be sure to visit Armenia, a neighboring country, because the beauties of the Caucasus are inimitable and unique in every country in this region! Read about the sights of Armenia and get inspired for your further journey through the countries of the Caucasus.