Azerbaijan - the Country of Fires
Azerbaijan is a surprising country indeed. Everything is unique there - the nature, the culture, the history, the customs and traditions, the architecture and others. Azerbaijan is often called "the country of fires" (from "azer" – which means fire). Even B.C. there lived tribes of fire worshippers. Since those times the most ancient evidence - rock drawings, statues of gods, ancient temples have survived on the territory of Azerbaijan. Besides, the country has been known for its burning hearths - ateshgahs (temples of fire). There is a place on Absheron Peninsula named Yanardag (burning mountain). In Nakhchivan, Kjalbadzgar, Lankaran, Babadag … hot waters follow from under the graoud.
In Surakhany there is eternally burning Ateshgah (temple of fire) which at different times was worshiped by followers of Zoroastrianism, Hindus and Sikhs. Once on the territory of Azerbaijan there were ancient states Atropatena and Albania. Each city of Azerbaijan is peculiar in its own way. The center of ancient Quban khanate - the city of Quba - is known for its medieval fortresses and mosques. One of the oldest cities - Sheki - is well-known for its magnificent palaces some of which have been converted to hotels. Particularly noteworthy are the natural beauties, such as Canyon Tenga, Afurdzhi waterfall and reserve Gobustan included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The old quarter of the Baku Icheri Sheher is also in the list of Unesco. Today the places of shootings are very popular among tourists. Among the tourists from the former Soviet countries places in Baku where episodes of “Brilliantovaya ruka (The Diamond Arm) and “Chelovek - amfibiya (The Amphibian Man)” were filmed are very popular.
Azerbaijan will surprise you with its nature too: there are high mountain ridges and plains, semi deserts and woodlands, seas and rivers. You will be delighted to see the most beautiful landscapes, waterfalls and mountain rivers, springs with transparent water, deep gorges, green meadows, thermal and mineral water springs, the purest mountain air …
Tourists relax in resorts of the Caspian Sea ; they enjoy diving, go for a drive on water skis, wave runners, boats. Those who wish to improve their shape can visit numerous well-known resorts of Azerbaijan. Owing to the unique microclimate Lankaran and Talysh are considered among the best balneotherapeutic resorts.
Well-known Quban carpets, authentic wines, high-quality silk, gold ware and many other souvenirs will always remind you of your journey to this unique country.
General Information about Azerbaijan
Cities of Azerbaijan
Baku, one of the most beautiful cities of the world, is located at the meeting-point of Europe and Asia. The very name of the capital is interpreted as "wind blow”, “windy city” or "hill", “city on a hill”. Port city Baku , a cultural, industrial, political capital of Azerbaijan, is located on the western coast of the Caspian Sea , on the shores of the same name gulf in southern part of Absheron Peninsula rich in oil deposits.
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Ganja is called the mother of Azerbaijan cities. It is one of the most ancient and most beautiful cities of Azerbaijan ; from time immemorial it has been famous for its richest culture, original architecture, magnificent silk and carpets. All this made Ganja a cultural and political center of the entire Middle East. Ganja is the birthplace of the great Azerbaijani poet Nizami Ganjevi. It was there that Mikhail Lermontov wrote his famous Persian poems.
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It is one of major cities in Azerbaijan. It is located 165 km to the north of Baku . The city was founded in the 15th century; in the second half of the 18 th century it was the capital of Quba Khanate. The country's most beautiful city, Quba is especially attractive in spring when its numerous gardens and parks are in blossom. The vicinities of Quba are picturesque. 30 m-high Afurdzhin Waterfall and Tengi gorge are especially popular with tourists.
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Lankaran is a subtropical paradise and resort. It is located in the southeast of Azerbaijan practically on the border with Iran . In the east the city is washed by the waters of the Caspian Sea. The nature of Lankaran harmoniously combines high mountain tops, fertile lowlands and pebbly sea coasts. 100 km from Lankaran lies one of the most medieval beautiful cities - Khanege where you can see the fortifications (12th -14the centuries), a mosque and the tomb of Pir Hussein, a minaret and other ancient structures.
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It is the most ancient city of Azerbaijan . It emerged in the 6th century BC as one of the cities of Caucasian Albania. In the 11th century it became the capital of Seljuk state.
In the 12 th – 13 th centuries it was the capital of Ildigizid state. From 1828 to 1923 it belonged to Russian Empire, after that it became a part of Azerbaijan .
The monuments of medieval architecture are considered as the major tourist attraction of the city: the mausoleums of Yusuf ibn Kuseiyr (11th century) and Momine Khatun (12 th century .) , Gyaur-Kala fortress ( Shahtahty , 2,000 BC) as well as unique Khudaferin bridges across the Araks river.
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The history of this small town began 2,700 years ago. And by right it is considered one of the oldest settlements and cultural centers of Azerbaijan. Sheky is famous for its severe but at the same time impressive nature: stout hills, blue ribbons of mountain rivulets, dark greens of coniferous woods. In the past Sheky had been the capital of Sheky khanate which after its conquest in1805 was included in the structure of Russian Empire. For all its centuries-old history this city was exposed to numerous destructions.
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Only 130 km separates Baku from one of the most ancient and most interesting cities of the country - Shamakhi. In the 9th - 16th centuries this city was the capital of Shirvan and the residence Shirvan Dynasty (before it was moved to Baku ). Standing on the crossing point of caravans routes it was one of the largest centers of commerce and crafts in the Near East.
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