WHY TO VISIT AZERBAIJAN
Although not yet really opened to tourism, Azerbaijan is definitely a country to discover.
Bakou, the Capital, has nearly 2 million inhabitants and has some lovely monuments worth a visit: The Fine Arts Museum, the Opera House, the Shirvanshah Palace dating from the 15th Century, the Synyk-Kala built in the 11th Century and also the old town with its outstanding fortress.
The Caucasus Mountains and the various villages in this area are also worth a visit.
WHAT TO SEE IN AZERBAIJAN
Best places to visit in Azerbaijan are:
- Garasu Volcano
- Naftalan Oil Resort
- Yanar Bulag
WHEN TO GO TO AZERBAIJAN
Best period to visit Azerbaijan is from June to September.
The climate is temperate with a marine influence therefore a constant marine breeze. There is a great range in temperatures: The winters are cold and even somewhat rigorous in the mountains, summers are hot and the other seasons are quite marked too.
Fairly heavy rain falls in the hills and mountains and the area of Lenkoran although the rest of the country is fairly dry.
Following a list of typical festival and celebrations of Azerbajian.
- Gurban Bayram (Festival of Sacrifice): Also known as the "Festival of Sacrifice", this day is very important in Muslim tradition, as it marks the end of Haji pilgrimage and the readiness of Abraham to forgo his son for God. In Azerbaijan this day is known as Gurban Bayram where a goat or camel is sacrificed to God in remembrance of Ibrahim (Abraham). According to the Quran, Allah was pleased with Ibrahim's (Abraham's) willingness to sacrifice his son and therefore ordered him to sacrifice a Ram instead of his son.
- Novruz Bayram: Novruz Bayram or the Zorastrian New Year is now a public holiday in Azerbaijan. The novruz table is decorated with sweets, candles, dried fruits and colored eggs. In some places the table is filled with food items starting with the letter "S", such as sib, sonbol, sabzi, serkeh, sir, sumakh, sekkeh and saat. A bowl of goldfish is placed in the centre of the table, as it is believed that the fish will turn north as the clock strikes New Year.
- Ramazan (Ramadan) Bayram: As the month of Ramazan comes to an end, Muslims all around the world celebrate the last day as Eid Ul Fitr. In Azerbaijan this day is known as Ramazan Bayram. Those who have fasted the whole month with pure heart, break their fast after seeing the full moon. Families and friends come together to celebrate this festival by exchanging gifts and sweets and donating money to charity. Prayers are offered at mosques and later everybody greets each other with "Id-Mubarak".
- International's Women's Day: March 8, is marked as a special day to honor the spirit of women all around the world, and also for women's equality, progress and standing of a woman in a man's world. Azerbaijani's also celebrate this day, to give thanks to their women.
- Victory's Day: May 9 is celebrated in Azerbaijan in honor of the victory of Soviet Republic over Germany during World War II and as a mark of respect for veterans who lost their life during the war.
- Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijani People: On June 15 Heydar Aliyev, returned to his position as the leader of the country which lead to many major economic and social changes in the life of Azerbaijani people bringing stabilization in the country. This day is marked as a state holiday.
- Solidarity Day of World Azerbaijanis: Every year December 31 celebrated in the harmony that Azerbaijani people felt when the borders in Nakhchivan on the USSR-Iran borderline fell on December 31, 1989. The day has been inspired by the destruction of the Berlin Wall which paved the way for German reunification.
- International Baku Jazz Festival: Jazz is a much loved music form in Azerbaijan and every year through various festivals and concerts jazz lovers pay their respect to the growth in jazz music in post Soviet Azerbaijan. At the Baku Jazz festival, various groups, bands and musicians get together to celebrate their love for jazz music by participating in this festival.
- International World of Mugham Festival: (http://www.mugam.az/) is an annual music festival of Azerbaijani mugham music held in march.
- Gabala International Music Festival:(https://www.gabalamusicfestival.com) is an annual festival of classical music held every summer in Gabala.
- Baku International Tourism Film Festival: (http://bitff.az/) is an international film festival in Azerbaijan. It is a non-profit cultural event that takes place every year.
- Day of National Salvation of Azerbaijani People
HOW TO REACH AND TRAVEL THROUGH AZERBAIJAN
Travel within the country can be undertaken using the trains, which are somewhat old and a little decrepit but frequent.
by plane, main airports are:
GENERAL INFORMATION ON AZERBAIJAN
country entry requirements: passport + visa (check your visa requirements)
health tips & vaccination: drink only bottled water and avoid ice
local currency: Azerbaijani Manat
local time zone: GMT+3
electricity: tipe C and F (220 V, 50Hz)
mobile phone operators:
WHAT TO DO IN AZERBAIJAN
typical food in Azerbaijan
- Lule kebab: Spiced, minced lamb pressed on to skewers and grilled.
- Dograma: A milky potato, cucumber and onion soup served cold.
- Piti: Mutton and chickpea soup – a Sheki speciality.
- Kutab: Pancakes stuffed with spinach, herbs or meat.
- Badimjan dolmasi: Lamb and herb-stuffed trio of aubergine, tomato and green pepper.
- Dushbara: Soup made with mutton stock containing small pieces of pasta.
- Toyuk lavangi: Chicken stuffed with nuts and dried fruits.
- Shirin plov: Meat and rice pilaf with nuts and dried fruit.
- Monastirski: Chicken or lamb topped with melted cheese and pomegranate sauce.
- Choban salatasi: Finely chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumber and herbs.
- Xirdalan: The favoured local beer.
- Shabat: A soft iced drink made of sugar, various fruits and herbs.
- Chai: Tea, served black in a glass with lemon and sugar to taste.
- Darchin chai: Tea, flavoured with cinnamon, ginger and, occasionally, rosewater.
- Su: Mineral water from the mountains available either naturally carbonated or still.
souvenirs from Azerbaijan
- woolen or silk carpets
- earthenware pottery and ceramics in blue shades
- Armudy, glasses in the shape of a pear
- crude oil paintings
- kelagayi women's head scarves
- wooden hand made backgammon sets
- silk and painted scarves
- men's traditional hats
- white cherry jam
- tablecloth with Buta pattern
- copper cookware
- silk items
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