Azerbaijan is often called the ‘country of fires’: the area is rich in oil and gas deposits lying close to the surface and often forming gigantic torches when breaking through it. The natural landscapes of this country are highly contrasting, while its climate makes it possible to experience all four seasons at the same time! Intricate architectural forms, grandiose sky-scrapers and original modern urban buildings performed in the European style go hand in hand with various old constructions and ancient palaces and fortresses.
The first humans inhabited the territory of present-day Azerbaijan over 1.5 million years ago. To this day we can find traces of ancient people: the Zoroastrian Ateshgah temple, the city of Shamakhi, Chukhur Gabala, Sheki and, certainly, the Gobustan archaeological reserve, famous for its numerous rock paintings, whose age ranges between 4 and 5 thousand years!
You can see an absolutely different life in Baku, the beautiful capital of Azerbaijan, the largest city in the Caucasus and the biggest Caspian port. The city abounds in attractions and historical places: the Baku Boulevard, which one cannot pass without admiration; the National Flag Square with the world’s second tallest flagpole; the Old City (Icheri Shakher) with old constructions; the Flame Towers – the tallest buildings in Azerbaijan resembling in appearance three tongues of flame; the Heydar Aliyev Centre, a most up-to-date centre for culture, whose design was recognized as the world’s best in 2014; and many others.
The amiable and friendly Azerbaijani people are hospitable, open and always willing to help, while the indescribably delicious Azerbaijani cuisine is very good for the health at that: the Caucasians are well-known to rank among the planet’s longest living peoples.
Welcome to the ‘fiery’ and amazingly contrasting Azerbaijan!
One of the world’s most ancient nations – the nation of Azerbaijan – has the right to feel proud for its history, material and cultural monuments, literature, arts and music heritage.
Wonderful nature, climate, natural resources of the country produced a significant impact on artistic thinking and creation skills of Azerbaijani people as well. In spite of a long and difficult way undergone by different types of arts in Azerbaijan, they still represent a unity and provide outstanding opportunities for the creation of a full idea of fine arts of Azerbaijan. The folk arts of Azerbaijan are multi-colored, complete and rich, as its natural resources. The folk art is connected with daily life of people and daily life occupies a very special life in the fine arts as well. Folk arks cover a long period from ancient times to nowadays and including a variety of products from garments to housing goods and decoration.
Quite obviously, the style of life, aesthetic tastes, the national image and qualities, are strongly reflected in folk arts. One can easily come across numerous wonderful models of Azerbaijani folk arts in the world’s largest museums. The pieces of arts created by the skillful hands of Tabriz, Nakhichevan, Gandja, Gazakh, Guba, Naku, Shaki, Shamakhi and Nagorny Kharabakh can be found in large museum collections of Victoria and Albert of London, Louvers of Paris, Metropoliten of Vashington and Vienna, Rome, Berlin, Istanbul, Tehran, Cairo museums.
Every city, every corner in Azerbaijan has something special to offer. The centre of ancient Quba Khanate – city of Quba, is famous for its medieval fortresses and mosques. One of the oldest cities is Sheki that is well known for magnificent palaces some of which are today transformed into luxurious hotels.
Azerbaijan will amaze you with its natural conditions: there are seashore and rivers, mountains ranges and plains, semi-deserts and forests on the territory of the country. You will see the most beautiful sceneries, waterfalls and rivers, springs with crystal clear water, deep gorges, green lawns, thermal and mineral springs, and pure mountain air. Special attention should be paid to Tengi canyon, Afurjin waterfall and the Gobustan reserve included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Tourists rest in the resort areas of the Caspian Sea, enjoy diving, do waterskiing, biking and boating. Those who wish to improve and strengthen health may choose one of numerous sanatoriums of Azerbaijan. Through its unique microclimate, Lenkoran and Talysh are considered one of the best balneological resorts.
Azerbaijan sights will satisfy the most demanding traveler. You will see rock inscriptions and mud volcanoes of Gobustan reserve, The Maiden Tower and Primorskiy Boulevard in Baku, visit the shores of Absheron and the temple of fire-worshippers Ateshgah, be delighted of the richness of Sheki Khan Palace and the rigidity of Khinaliq settlement. As the memory of the trip to this unique country, you will have famous Quba carpets, inimitable Azerbaijan wine, high quality silk, gold jewelry and many other souvenirs.
The cuisine of Azerbaijan is one of the ancient, rich and delicious cuisines in the world. “The cuisine of Azerbaijan” is not only dishes, the technology of their preparation, but a part of material culture as well. The cuisine of Azerbaijan is the harmonic unity of culture, history, philosophy, table psychology, traditions, physiology, hygiene, chemistry, equipment, ethics, aesthetics, poetry and poetic aspects of the cuisine, as well as practical habits created by Azerbaijani people in the territories where they lived in harmony with the environment.
The main factor influencing formation of and development of the cuisine is the climate. The territory of Azerbaijan Republic is under the influence of 8 climate zones that causes variety and richness of flora and fauna of the region and form favourable conditions for life and development of all animals and plants. This is the main factor of rich cuisine.
Agricultural production is important for further development of the society alongside with wild animals, birds, fish and plants. Thus people should have high culture of cultivation and animal-breeding.
For example, complex dishes made of paste and grain might appear in the case only if agricultural production dominated the requirement to bread or its substitute. Experimenting and formation of compound dishes was possible only if there was some need to preserve the remains of grain for a long period of time. The process continued for ages and thus appeared new dishes. The existence of “cheten”(archaic form of colander) proves that dish -making from grain and paste, dates to the 5th-6th century B.C. and stable crop in its turn points to high quality cultivation.
Great amount of grain production points to the culture of cultivation, irrigation systems development of animal-breeding etc.
All the abovementioned is not possible without sedentary life.
All the abovementioned was the result of natural process. Local people settled in and used productive lands before other nations appeared. This fact is proved by Armenian scientist G.A.Yezov in 1908: “New land did not accept Armenians cordially, for it had very few free lands.”
Information gave by the voyagers, scientists, merchants, diplomats and others, as well as archaeological digs prove that great amount of grain, rice, kunjut, soy plants, beet, melon, water-melon, grape, apple, pomegranate, quince and other garden and melon plants cultivated on those lands.
Local people and population of neighbouring and foreign countries supplied with the abovementioned products, as well as fresh drained fish, hard-roe, honey, butter and animal products. It is true that the Caucasus had for centuries been provided with animal and cultivation products by Azerbaijanis. Y.D.Angabadze and N.G. Volkova wrote basing on information given in book “Old Tiflis”: “Osetins and Azerbaijanis brought cheese to the markets of Tiflis and sell it there with Borchalis (Azerbaijanis-T.A.). There was great demand in Tiflis market for salmon brought from the lake Goycha (after the surrounding of the lake added to the territories of Armenia the lake is now called “Sevan”-T.A.) in Azerbaijan.”
Thus Azerbaijanis were the main people in Thanscaucasia able to create and develop rich cuisine who possessed enough good base for it.
This fact caused that majority dish names of Armenian, Georgian, Persian and other cuisines relate to Azerbaijan Turks.
The second factor influencing the cuisine is fire. For instance, majority of sweet buns, and dishes cooked in water and stewed dishes of Slavonic and particularly of Russian cuisine as appeared thanks to Russian stove. Creation and development of Azerbaijan cuisine related with different varieties of high heat open and closed fires such as tendir(clay oven with a whole), kora, bukhari(fire-place), kulfa(brick oven for baking), chala ojag (hollow fire), saj(iron disk for baking bread), mangal (brazier) and others.
Crockery and kitchen equipment also had some king of effect on our cuisine. Even today our women use different crockery made of animal skin, stone, wood, clay, glass, metal, etc.
Soft white water used in preparation of food and beverage foods. Weeping willow always grew on the banks of the rivers, irrigation ditches and canals. Roots, branches and other parts of this tree have antibacterial peculiarity and thus it purified water. For this purpose branches of weeping willow were always put into plates full with water. Sometimes silver thing or apricot pip put into the boxes filled with water.
Another important factor influencing the cuisine is historical-geographical location of the people and relations with neighbouring people.
Ancient trade caravans and military roads crossed the territory of Azerbaijan had some affect on our cuisine. Reference to common Turkic ethnos caused appearance of dishes with the same name or root and still Azerbaijan cuisine may be called the peak of that of common Turkic. From the point of the taste Azerbaijan is more close to Anadolu cuisine.
Long time relations with Arabians presented coffee to our cuisine and the historical “Silk Way” brought us tea. From Russian cuisine we took “shi” and “red-beet soup” (known among people under the general name of “red-beet soup”) and got acquainted with cuisine of the Europe faultily changed by Russians. Thanks to the development of oil industry at late 19th and early 20th centuries we are directly introduced with the cuisine of the Europe (the process is still on) that influenced only the cuisine of the restaurants and got people used to aluminium equipment. Such kind of interference had only negative influence on the health of the people and brought nothing positive into national cuisine.
Religion and faith of the people also have definite influence on the national cuisine of Azerbaijan. Zardushtism (Zoroastrism), fire-worship, Avesta found their reflection in philosophical psychology and the mind of Azerbaijan people and its cuisine. We suppose that respect to the fire that is the main assistant of cooker comes from the abovementioned fact. Table traditions and dishes formed under the influence of fire and light still exist. For long time Christianity existed and still exists in the territory of Azerbaijan that also affects our cuisine. The people of Azerbaijan are Moslems for more than a millennium. Rejection to use gold crockery and pork, alcohol and other informs about strong influence of Islamic traditions. Different holidays, ceremonies and fasting also influence cuisine.
Kitchen traditions, prohibitions and advices relating to the religion are the objects of particular investigation. The requirements of religion, especially that of Islam about the food have serious scientific base. For instance, Islam does not advice to eat fruits and grain their without peel. The fact that main part of the vitamins and microelements diluted in water gather in peels of the plants only recently invented.
Khodjali av. 20/22, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 480 21 12
Rashid Beybudov str. 41, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 493 02 62
Flaq square Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 51 350 57 51
Q.Rzayev str. 9 Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 492 31 76
Kichik Qala 124, Old City, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 505 22 26
ул. Д. Алиевой 214. Baku. Azerbaijan
+994 12 408 38 21
+994 50 726 24 21
The residents of the capital are big fashion-lovers: anyone who follows fashion will find here a lot of interesting things, regardless of the budget.
Connoisseurs of luxury brands can safely head to Neftchilar avenue in the city center: a section of the street opposite the Seaside Park is literally packed with boutiques of the world’s leading fashion brands. A large number of luxury brand stores are also concentrated in the shopping center Port Baku Mall.
Those who prefer less expensive brands will spend more than one hour in the largest shopping centers of the capital, offering a wide selection of clothing, accessories and perfumes of famous international manufacturers. In such popular malls as Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, Metropark or Ganjlik Mall, you can not only buy a new thing, but also a snack on the “food court” floor, watch a fresh blockbuster in the cinema or have fun in the amusement hall.
Neftcilar av. 151, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 599 00 97
+994 12 599 00 98
Neftcilar av. 92, Baku, Azerbaijan
Azadliq av. Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 (012) 404 48 00
+994 (012) 404 82 20
Tebriz str. 44, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 (012) 566-96-83
+994 (012) 566-96-84
Fatali Khan Hoyski str. 14, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 (012) 499 89 88
Do not miss the chance to get acquainted with Azerbaijani carpets and souvenirs with national color, in one of the many shops in the Old Town – Icheri Sheher. Don’t forget to bargain there – sellers usually make concessions.
Rəşid Behbudov str. 104C, Baku, Azerbaijan
+994 12 447-66-55
+994 55 778-01-33
Rzayeva Khaqiqat str. 9, Baku, Azerbaijan
Zarifa Aliyeva str. 23/37 Baku, Azerbaijan
Asaf Zeynalli str. 67, Baku, Azerbaijan
Numerous products of traditional crafts – scarves made of silk, copper utensils and other art objects are easy to find in small shops all over Azerbaijan.
The following festivals and memorable dates are officially celebrated in Azerbaijan:
New Year – January 1,
International Women’s Day – March 8,
Novruz-Bayram – March 20-21,
Victory Day – May 9,
Republic Day – May 28,
Day of national salvation of the Azerbaijani people – June 15,
Day of the armed forces of the Republic of Azerbaijan – June 26,
Independence Day – October 18,
Day of the national flag – November 9,
Constitution Day – November 12,
Day of national revival – November 17,
Day of solidarity of Azerbaijanis around the world – December 31.
Azerbaijan – the most stable and secure country in the region. Crime is almost non-existent, cleanliness and order prevail in the streets. Azerbaijanis are very law-abiding and friendly people, with respect for other people’s traditions and customs. Probably for this reason, the tourists feel in our country at home and come back here again.
Speaking about the weather in Azerbaijan, we can confidently say that this region is a unique climatic phenomenon. In this small mountainous country there are from 5 to 7 different climatic zones. Here you can see how diverse they are in the transition from the temperate to the subtropical.
Because of the great climatic diversity, it is difficult to talk about the average temperature indexes. Spring here is very different, depending on whether it is a mountain or a plain area. In the mountains, as a rule, it is very cold, and the arrival of the pores of warmth and awakening from the winter here is almost invisible. But in the flat part of the country, by April, the temperature can reach 15-20 degrees.
Approximately the same can be said about the summer. In the majestic kingdom of the mountains, even in the hottest month of the year, the average temperature indicators do not reach +10, and sometimes they remain at a five-degree mark. At the same time, at the foot of the mountains, the thermometer bars keep close to +25 or even +30 degrees, and sometimes they reach the sultry +40. Here it is worthwhile to say at once about the winter, since it acts as a kind of antipode to fly. Since in the mountains the temperature can drop to -40, and in the plains it is kept about -5 degrees.
Autumn is perhaps the most beautiful time in Azerbaijan. It really can be called golden. Temperatures in the plains are kept within a comfortable 15-20 degrees, and everything around (except for the palm trees, of course) is painted in golden colors.
The national currency of the Republic of Azerbaijan was put into circulation on August 15, 1992, and from January 1, 1994 by the order of the country’s leader Heydar Aliyev, manat was recognized as the only legal tender throughout the country.
Today, banknotes worth 1, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 manats are circulating in Azerbaijan.
The manat is equal to 100 gopikas. In circulation there are metal coins in denominations of 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 and 50 gapiks.
In Azerbaijan, banks work from 9.00 – 9.30 to 17.30, and some banks continue their work until late in the evening. According to the exchange rate, 1 US dollar is equal to 1.7 Azerbaijani manats, 1 euro is equal to 2 Azerbaijani manats. This course lasts from 01.01.2017