AZERBAIJAN 8 DAYS
Group size 10 Start Baku
Countries 1 End Qabala
Reviews 2 Reviews3/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Medium Group
Due to its geographical location, Azerbaijan has always been a gateway between the East and the West, like it was an important trade point on the Silk Road. Looking at the stunning Caucasus Mountains in the north, the green valleys to the south and the large semi-desert between them, it becomes clear that Azerbaijan with its breathtaking landscape scenery is one of the most stunning places on the Earth.
- 7 x nights in 4* hotels: 4 x Azkot 4* (or similar) in Baku, 3 x Hotel Qafqaz 4* in Qabala.
- All-route English-speaking guide.
- Meals: HB.
- Transfer by modern coach throughout the whole trip.
- English-speaking city tours: Baku, Quba, Schamachi, Qabala, Sheki.
- Entrance + guided tour: all sacred buildings according to program, Zoroastrian Maiden tower in Baku; Zoroastrian fire temple in Surachani; dendrological park in Mardakan; Carpet factory in Quba; Palace of Shaki Khans in Sheki; Juma Mosque, Shirvan Palace in Baku; Castle in Ramana; Caravansaries, mosques and baths in Qala; Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain) in Digah; Rock paintings at Qobustan.Other highlights: Multani Caravanserai, Haj Banu-Hamman in Baku; Friday mosque and mausoleums in the cemetery in Shamachi; Artisans Village Lahich; ancient city Qäbälä; the former center of the Albanian Christian church in Nij;the oriental bazaar in Sheki; mud volcanoes in Eilat.
- Visa Fee
- Travel Insurance
- Single Supplement
- Any meals not mentioned
- Any transfers not mentioned (e.g. first and last day)
- Any expenses of a personal nature
- Camera/video permits
- Tips to the guide and driver
Warm welcome in Azerbaijan
Greetings in Azerbaijan, Land of Fire full of contradictions and contrasts! You come to the hotel in Baku, have a dinner and relax after the road. Tomorrow we will start exploring together riddles of Caucasus.
The Caspian jewel – Baku
Our acquaintance with Azerbaijan starts with its capital, where the centuries-old quarters merge with totally modern parts of the city. It is place where rich history mingles with vibrant present. For the western visitor Baku will be a capturing city. The sights line up one after another, all streets are full of fashionable boutiques and cozy pubs. Moreover, large parks, exquisitely restored old town, illuminated fountains and helpful locals create pleasant atmosphere around and an unforgettable image of Baku. The contrasts here have always been impressive, but now the city is also a real exposition of the contemporary architecture. Firstly, we visit the legendary Zoroastrian Maiden Tower of the 5th c. Then we walk to the old bazaar. The entire old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and during our city tour we visit the oldest Multani Caravanserai, the Haj Banu-Hammam (also known as bathhouse of Haji Gaib) from the 15th c., the Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque), which housed the carpet museum in the Soviet times, the Beglyar Mosque, Abu Bakr Mosque with the tower from the 11th c., the Taza Pir Mosque, the Shirvan Palace and the Jewish district. You will be also impressed by the modern district with the three Flame Towers overlooking the city. They look as if they have been thrown from heavens into the city by some fairy tail giants.
On this day we take a trip to the peninsula of Apsheron, that is known as an oil extraction area. Apsheron is not only rich in salt lakes, mineral sources and mud volcanoes but also is famous for numerous historical sites. In Surachani, we visit the Zoroastrian fire temple. Our guide will uncover the main principles of this monotheistic religion and its spreading in today’s Azerbaijan. In Mardakan, we will get a chance to see the medieval fortress towers and the Tuba Shahi Mosque from the 14th c. Then a walk through the local arboretum with exotic plants from around the world will refresh us. Next comes a trip to Ramana with its majestic tower. In strongly Islam- influenced Nardaran, we visit probably the most magnificent mosque in the country. In the village of Qala we see the remains of caravanserais, mosques and bath houses. Finally, we set off to the Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain) in Digah. Looking at the flaming rock, you will witness how the rich oil and gas deposits have led to careless use of the raw materials. In the evening we come back to Baku.
A guest by mountain Jews
This day we leave the peninsula and drive through the Caspian Sea to Quba, the most important town in the northeast of Azerbaijan. Quba is traditionally known for carpet-making and apple-growing. We do a walk through the center of the city, look at the beautiful mosque, fortress and an old bath (old hammam). Then we visit one of the most famous carpet factories in Azerbaijan where we learn secrets of this local craft manufactory. Later at the lunchtime we explore the suburbs of Quba, Red Sloboda or Kasbaw, known as the only settlement in the world with a compact settlement of mountain jews (there are only about 50 thousands mountain Jews around the world). We get to know closer with history, origin and current place of this people in society. We also visit the local synagogue. In the evening we return to Baku.
Through the oil fields and mud volcanoes
This day we drive in the southern direction, to the regions with several oil fields, which ensure all the luxury in the capital. Driving along the coast the Caspian Sea is like a time travel through the industrial area. Notable industrial landscapes of an abandoned oil field, such as the Bibi Heybet oil field, alternate with new fields. In the semi-desert near Qobustan we see thousand-year-old Stone-Age rock paintings. Despite their impressive numbers, they were discovered only in the 30s of the 20th century and turned in a National Park only in 2007, when these petroglyphs were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In Eilat we also see the mud volcanoes — another landscape peculiarity. We gradually leave the steppe landscape and approach the former main city of the Shirvan Khanate. Earlier, the town of Shamachi was one of the most significant crafts and trade centers on the edge of the Silk Road. The city has a long literary tradition as the most famous Azerbaijani poet Nasimi was born here. This made the city a symbol of Azerbaijani identity. We also visit here a Friday mosque and the impressive seven mausoleums in the cemetery. In the evening we reach the city of Qabala and stay there for three more nights.
Capital of the ancient Albanian Kingdom
Early in the morning we take a walk through the downtown Qabala. We leave the city and in case of good weather admire a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, including the highest mountain in the area Bazardüzü (4466 m). Just in front of it you will see the “problem child” of the local (and not only) authorities – operated by the Russians radar station, used to monitor satellites and rockets. The ruins of the ancient city of Qabala, which history dates back to the 4th c. BC and discovered only in the first half of the previous century, lie 15 km away. Up to the 12th c. before Persian conquest, Qabala used to be a capital of the ancient kingdom of Albania. Besides the beautiful mosques, we also see the Imam-Baba Mausoleum of the 18th century and the fortress tower from the 9th c. The city wall with battlements, gates, watchtowers, residential buildings, smelting furnaces and cemeteries were unearthed on a 25 acres. Then we take a trip to Sundlu where we experience the authentic village life. In the nearby village Nij we explore the former center of the Albanian Christian church. More over, this village is the original home of the Udi, an ancient people, whose beliefs, history and language you will learn about. The Udi Muslim beliefs have been recently risen among the Azerbaijani people.
Silk production and oriental bazaar
Our next destination is Sheki, the former center of silk production. As the Silk Road was intimately connected with the trade, first of all we pay a visit to a market square, that is local, oriental-style bazaar, which is beloved highlight among travelers. The most popular are spices, which turn out to be quite unusual for the Western taste. Do not forget to try halva, made here according to traditional recipes. Then we visit the legendary Palace of Shaki Khans (Khan Summer Palace), built in the end of the 18th c. in the Ottoman style and is distinguished by its stunning frescoes and stained glass windows. In the late afternoon we arrive in the mountain village of Kish, where we see the legendary oldest church of the Caucasus. In the evening, we come back to Qabala where we stay overnight. Back on the way we still see an imposing synagogue of the resident mountain Jews in Oguz. In the evening we return to our hotel in Qabala and enjoy the farewell dinner in the national style.
On this day, our journey comes to an end. Time permitting, you may still have a few hours for a pleasant stroll down the city with its numerous shops and boutiques. You will take home unforgettable memories as well as the feeling of having experienced something special. We have spent time in Azerbaijan discovering its rich new culture, traditions and nature very intensively and eventfully. There’s still so much more things to explore and it would be no wonder if you would like to come here again. We are always glad to help you with planning your next trip!
If you have purchased a package tour, which implies the related services, you should be able to contact the tour operator, responsible for control of your trip. Besides that, we would recommend you to write down the contact information of your relevant country’s embassy in Azerbaijan, and make copies of all of your documents and ID cards for recovery in case you lose it.
Tourism related information can be acquired by calling the Information Center of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (+99412 147), as well as the Tourist Information Centers in Baku and some of the regions (the contact information is available in the relevant regions’ pages of our website).