Top Ten Azerbaijani Attractions

Top Ten Azerbaijani Attractions


        Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea, Russia, Georgia, Armenia and Iran. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, the first democratic and secular republic in the Muslim world, was established in 1918, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. Azerbaijan regained independence in 1991. Shortly thereafter, during the Nagorno-Karabakh War, neighboring Armenia occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, its surrounding territories and the enclaves of Karki, Yukhary Askipara, Barkhudarly and Sofulu. The Nagorno-KarabakhRepublic, which emerged in Nagorno-Karabakh, continues to be not diplomatically recognized by any nation and the region is still considered a de jure part of Azerbaijan, despite being de facto independent since the end of the war. Azerbaijan, a nation with a majority Turkic and Shia population, is a secular and a unitary republic with an ancient and historic cultural heritage. Azerbaijan is one of the six independent Turkic states as well as the active members of the Turkic Council and the TÜRKSOY community. It is one of the founding members of GUAM and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and in December 1991 the country became a founding member of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On May 9, 2006 Azerbaijan was elected to membership in the newly established Human Rights Council by the United Nations General Assembly. A Special Envoy of the European Commission is present in the country, which is also a member of the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the NATO Partnership for Peace program. Azerbaijan is a correspondent at the International Telecommunication Union and member of the Non-Aligned Movement and holds observer status in World Trade Organization. Being one of the five most developed countries among CIS members, Azerbaijan has the 67th highest human development level in the world. In 2009 the country had an unemployment rate of 6% and a low crime rate compared to other CIS and Eastern European countries.

  1. Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower
    Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden TowerWalled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower1Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower2Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower3Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower4Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower5Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower6Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower7Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower8Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace and Maiden Tower9
    Palace of the Shirvanshahs is the biggest monument of the Shirvan-Absheron branch of the Azerbaijan architecture, situated in the Inner City of Baku. The complex contains the main building of the palace, Divanhane, the burial-vaults, the shah’s mosque with a minaret, Seyid Yahya Bakuvi’s mausoleum, Murad’s gate, a reservoir and the remnants of the bath-house. The palace is depicted on the obverse of the Azerbaijani 10,000 manat banknote of 1994-2006, and of the 10 new manat banknote issued since 2006.Nearby, the Maiden Tower or also known locally as Giz Galasi located in the Old City, Baku in Azerbaijan is an ancient tower with cultural affinity corroborating the presence Zoroastrians, Sassanians, Arabs, Persians, Shirvanis, Ottomans and Russians. Built in the 12th century, as part of the walled city of Baku, the Maiden Tower, with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace dated to the 15th century, are an ensemble of historic monuments. It is one of the most noted landmarks and Azerbaijan’s most distinctive national emblems and is thus featured on Azeri currency notes and other official letter heads. The Maiden Tower houses a museum, which presents the story of historic evolution of the Baku city. The view from the roof takes in the alleys and minarets of the Old City, the Baku Boulevard, the De Gaulle house and a wide vista of the Baku Bay. In recent years, the brazier on the top has been lit during the nights of the Novruz festival. Consequent to the receding of the sea shore line of the Caspian Sea, a strip of land emerged. This land was developed between the 9th and 15th centuries, when the walls of the old city, the palace including the huge bastion of the Maiden Tower were built.
    Links: Palaces, Top Ten Towers,,,,
  2. Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape
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    Gobustan National Park, officially Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, is a hill and mountain site occupying the southeast ending of the Big Caucasian Ridge, mainly in the basin of Jeyrankechmaz River, between the rivers Pirsagat and Sumgait. It is located west of the settlement of Gobustan, about 40 miles (64 km) southwest of the centre of Baku on the west bank of the Caspian Sea. The territory of Gobustan is cut up with numerous, sometimes rather deep ravines (in Azerbaijani: gobu). That is a suggested origin of the Gobustan geographical name. In 1966 Gobustan was declared a national historical landmark of Azerbaijan in an attempt to preserve the ancient carvings, relics, mud volcanoes and gas-stones in the region. The mountains Boyukdash, Kichikdash, Jingirdag and the Yazili hill were taken under legal government protection. These mountains are located near the Caspian Sea, in the southeast part of Gobustan. In 2007 Gobustan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be of “outstanding universal value” for the quality and density of its rock art engravings, for the substantial evidence the collection of rock art images presents for hunting, fauna, flora and lifestyles in pre-historic times and for the cultural continuity between prehistoric and medieval times that the site reflects.
    Links: National Parks, Top Ten Cave Paintings, Top Ten European Cave Paintings,,
  3. Bibi-Heybat Mosque
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    The Bibi-Heybat Mosque is a historical mosque in Baku, Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990’s, is recreation of the mosque with the same name built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, which was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936. The Bibi-Heybat Mosque includes the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad) and today is the spiritual center for the Muslims of the region and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture in Azerbaijan. It’s locally known as “the mosque of Fatima” which Alexandre Dumas using the same name, described the mosque during his visit in the 1840’s.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, Top Ten Domes, Top Ten Dome Interiors,,
  4. Ateshgah “Ancient Eternal Fire Temple”
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    The Baku Ateshgah or “Fire Temple” is a castle-like religious structure in Surakhani, a suburb of greater Baku, Azerbaijan. “Atash” is the Persian word for fire. The pentagonal complex, which has a courtyard surrounded by cells for monks and a tetrapillar-altar in the middle, was built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was abandoned after 1883 when oil and gas plants were established in the vicinity. The complex was turned into a museum in 1975 and now receives 15,000 visitors a year.
    Links: Temples,,
  5. Khinalug
    Khinalug or Khinalugh is an ancient Caucasian village going back to the Caucasian Albanian period. It is located high up in the mountains of Quba Rayon, Azerbaijan. It is also a municipality in Quba Rayon, which consists of the villages of Khinalug and Qalayxudat. It is located just north of Quba in the middle of the Greater Caucasus Mountains that divide Russia and the South Caucasus. Khinalug is also the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan and among the highest in the Caucasus. The weather changes dramatically during summer and winter, ranging from −20 °C to 18 °C. Khinalug has a population of about 2,000 people. This small group of people speaks the Khinalug language, which belongs to the Northeast Caucasian language family, although many speak Azerbaijani as well. The place is of great antiquity and holds remnants of the once rich Hindu and Buddhist past of Azerbaijan. Because of the high altitude and remoteness of Khinalug it managed to survive and withstand many invasions. There are also some other historical places such as a 12th century mosque, a 15th century mosque, several ancient cemeteries between the mountains, as well as many ancient holy caves of early humans. Because of its location, scenery and relative isolation, the village is considered one of Azerbaijan’s premiere destinations for hikers and adventure travelers in such travel guides as Lonely Planet. On October 7, 2006, the Azerbaijani president announced plans to modernize the educational buildings, infrastructure, governmental buildings and other resources of Khinalug.
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