The original ‘East-meets-West’
destination, Azerbaijan sashays between space-age cityscapes and
Arabian Nights exotica, taking in some of the most extraordinary
landscapes in Caucasia en route.
Sitting at the crossroads between Europe and Asia, this former Soviet
Republic is marginally bigger than Ireland, yet boasts an astonishing
variety of natural wonders – from snow-capped mountains and bubbling
mud volcanoes to sandy deserts and subtropical forests.
The northern hinterland is arguably
the prettiest region thanks to the Caucasus Mountains, which rise to
the misty heights of 4,466m (14,652ft). These lofty peaks are home to
bears, wolves and leopards, not to mention nomadic shepherds, who move
their flocks up and down these mountains in search of fresh pastures,
as they have done for thousands of year.
Meanwhile, along the boulevards of downtown Baku, nouveau riche
residents butterfly between expensive boutiques. The capital’s
exclusive shops, modern architecture and luxury hotels – spoils of
Caspian Sea oil – jar somewhat with the UNESCO old town, not to
mention the poorer communities outside Baku. Visitors may feel the
black gold bounty is not benefitting everyone.
Though oil has transformed the economy in recent years, Azerbaijan has
always been of strategic importance. Nestling on the shores of the
Caspian Sea, the camel caravans of the Silk Road once passed through
the land, which, over the centuries, has been incorporated into the
Persian, Turkish and Russian empires.
Today Azerbaijan is a sovereign state and, although Islamic, the mood
is determinedly secular. Alcohol is not only readily available, but
proudly produced; grapes have been cultivated here for millennia, and
local vineyards are developing some excellent wines. Azeri cuisine is
also enjoying a renaissance thanks a profusion of new eateries popping
up in downtown Baku.
Sounds like the next big thing, then? Not quite, but the government
has ambitious plans to boost tourism to Azerbaijan. Go while it’s
Location and Geography
The Azerbaijan Republic covers an area
of 33,891 square miles (86,600 square kilometers). It includes the
disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is inhabited mostly by
Armenians, and the noncontiguous Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which
is separated from Azerbaijan by Armenian territory. Nakhchivan borders
on Iran and Turkey to the south and southwest. Azerbaijan is on the
western shore of the Caspian Sea. To the north it borders the Russian
Federation, in the northwest Georgia, in the west Armenia, and in the
south Iran. Half the country is covered by mountains. Eight large
rivers flow down from the Caucasus ranges into the Kura-Araz lowland.
The climate is dry and semiarid in the steppes in the middle and
eastern parts, subtropical in the southeast, cold in the high
mountains in the north, and temperate on the Caspian coast. The
capital, Baku, is on the Apsheron peninsula on the Caspian and has the
Azerbaijan Travel & Tourism
& Culture of Azerbaijan
& Geography of Azerbaijan
to See & Do in Azerbaijan
& Nightlife in Azerbaijan
& Drinks of Azerbaijan
& Visa Requirements for Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Visa Information
Azerbaijan Satellite View & Map
Star Holidays will soon launch Azerbaijan Tour Packages,
Contact us for inquiries.