Neither Europe nor Asia, Azerbaijan is an incredible tangle of contradictions and contrasts. It’s a fascinating nexus of ancient historical empires. Yet it’s also a new nation finding its feet as it emerges from a war-torn post-Soviet chrysalis on a petroleum-funded gust of optimism. Surrounded by semi-desert on the oil-rich Caspian Sea, the nation’s cosmopolitan capital, Baku, is a dynamic boomtown, where flashy limousines and mushrooming skyscrapers sweep around a picturesque Unesco-listed ancient core.

The most rugged terrain is in the Southeast of Azerbaijan, which of the three Caucasian states has the greatest land area. Azerbaijan is dominated by the shoreline of the Caspian Sea, the Caucasus mountain range, and flatlands in the middle of the country. Landscape is characterized by dramatic elevation changes over short distances, from lowlands to highlands, with nearly half of the country considered mountainous. The word Azerbaijan is a distortion of the Greek word Atropates, given by the successors of Alexander the Great to the region of ancient Iran and inhabited by mysterious people known as the Albans. The word Atropates means “protected by fire,” a reference to the fires in the Zoroastrian temples and to the to natural burning of surface oil deposits. Although the Albans disappeared from history, each and every ethnic group now present in the region claims ties to their ancient heritage.

Citrus fruits, tea, and rice are grown in the lowlands, while the slopes are covered with vineyards and orchards. Besides being a major producer of grapes, Azerbaijani agriculture is known for olives, saffron, pomegranates, nuts, vegetables, figs, and the sesame plant for seeds and oil. The fishing industry is important to the economy, with the catch consisting mostly of herring, carp, and sturgeon roe that is processed into caviar. Agriculture is the second largest industry after petroleum exploration, processing, and transportation, which is the backbone of the Azerbaijani economy.

Yet barely three hours’ drive away lies an entirely different world: timeless villages clad in lush orchards from which shepherd tracks lead into the soaring high Caucasus mountains. Where Baku is multilingual and go-ahead, the provinces shuffle to the gently paced click of nard (backgammon) on tree-shaded teahouse terraces: women stay home, herds of cattle wander aimlessly across highways, and potbellied bureaucrats scratch their heads in confusion on finding that an outsider has wandered into their territory.

Fascinating Azerbaijan has an incredible wealth of scenic contrasts, is famous for caviar and carpets and has curiosities from bizarre mud volcanoes to perpetually-burning fire temples. With amazingly varied landscapes that encompass painted deserts, vineyards, orchards, oak woodlands, snow-capped peaks, iron-wood forests, hilltop castles and magnificent canyons Azerbaijan clearly has a bright tourist potential. But as yet just a few westerners seem to ever heard about the country and can vaguely imagine its approximate location. 

Visiting Azerbaijan without doubt will be an absolutely new experience to you. In many areas you may still be among the first foreign visitors locals have seen in generations. Explore Azerbaijan - the Europe's last tourist dark territory and make the most of this beautiful, varied and under-estimated land.

Hotels in Azerbaijan
Altstadt Hotel
Altstadt HotelCity: Baku2Cost: $70.00
Altstadt Hotel is a small privately run hotel in the heart of Baku's historical centre - Old City (Icheri Sheher)...
Azeri hotel
Azeri hotelCity: Baku3Cost: $85.00
Azeri hotel is located in the heart of Baku's historical centre - Old City. This is a budget hotel that would suit those tourists that care about budget but need decent accommodation...
Atropat Hotel
Atropat HotelCity: Baku4Cost: $175.00
Atropat Hotel enjoys a very central location and is positioned in historical Old City within walking distance to main tourist attractions of Baku: Maiden's Tower, Palace of Shirvanshahs, Caspian boulevard, etc...
Austin Hotel
Austin HotelCity: Baku4Cost: $140.00
Four stars AUSTIN HOTEL is located in heart of Baku city centre within close proximity to Baku'a highlights such as Fountain Square, Malakan Gardens, Caspian sea Boulevard, also within easy reach of the Old City and Maiden’s Tower...
Tours
3 Days Baku tour
3 Days Baku tourDays: 3Cost: $420.00
Day 1 Beginning of excursion in Old Town - 'Icheri Sheher'. You will see the highlights of Icheri Sheher including the Palace of the Shirvans (the most striking example of the medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of 15th century); Maiden's Tower (the ancient, eight storey fortress originally built as a fire beacon); visit Dzhuma Mosque, antiques and carpet shops...
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From Georgia across Azerbaijan
From Georgia across AzerbaijanDays: 6Cost: $1090.00
Day 1 Meeting at Azeri-Georgian border point near Lagodekhi (Georgian side) / Balakan (Azeri side) at around 14:00 and transfer to Sheki. Accommodation in Karavan Saray Hotel. Lunch. After short rest start your tour in Sheki...
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Azeri craft tour
Azeri craft tourDays: 4Cost: $760.00
Day 1 Meeting at the airport. Transfer to the hotel. After a short break start the tour in Baku and pay a visit to city's main landmark - Icheri Sheher (Old City). You will see the highlights of Icheri Sheher including the Palace of the Shirvans (the most striking example of the medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of 15th century); Maiden's Tower (the ancient, eight storey fortress originally built as a fire beacon); visit Dzhuma Mosque, antiques and carpet shops...
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Baku hotels
28 May hostel25.00City Palace Hotel100.00QafQaz Park Hotel125.00
Altstadt Hotel70.00Caspian Business Hotel100.00NUR Baku Hotel125.00
Old Baku hotel75.00Safran Hotel100.00Old Gates Hotel130.00
Xudaferin Hotel75.00The King Palace Baku105.00Premier Hotel130.00
Qaradag Hill Hotel85.00Nemi Hotel105.00Sun Rise Hotel130.00
Boyuk Gala Hotel85.00Olimpik Hotel105.00Monolit Plaza135.00
Azeri hotel85.00Comfort Inn Hotel105.00Kichik Gala Hotel140.00
Avand Hotel85.00Diplomat Hotel110.00Riviera Hotel140.00
Old City Walls Hotel85.00Azcot Guest House110.00Austin Hotel140.00
AEF Hotel90.00Egoist Hotel110.00The Golden Coast Hotel140.00
Mont Inn Hotel90.00Ambiance Hotel110.00Hale Kai Hotel150.00
Ariva hotel95.00High Park Hotel110.00Ganjeli Plaza Hotel 150.00
Baleva Hotel95.00Miraj Inn Hotel110.00AYF Palace Hotel170.00
Empire Hotel95.00Irshad Hotel110.00Yacht Club Hotel170.00
Fawlty Towers Hotel100.00Karat Inn Hotel110.00Lake Palace Hotel175.00
Gallery Hotel100.00Royal Park Hotel110.00Atropat Hotel175.00
Gallery Hotel Lux100.00Rigs Home Hotel110.00Crown Hotel175.00
Business Place Hotel100.00Aysberq Hotel110.0012inn Bulvar Hotel180.00
Bosfor Hotel100.00Amber Hotel110.00Museum inn Hotel 180.00
Ambassador Baku Hotel100.00Alp Inn Hotel115.00Qafqaz Point Hotel185.00
Neapol Hotel100.00Caspian Palace Hotel115.00Grand Europe Hotel185.00
Noahs Ark Hotel100.00Atrium Hotel120.00Panorama Lux Hotel190.00
Horizon Hotel100.00Central Park hotel120.00Sultan Inn Hotel200.00
Icheri Sheher Hotel 100.00Modern Hotel125.00Ramada Baku Hotel210.00
Happy Inn Hotel100.00East Legend Panorama Hotel125.00Meridian Hotel230.00
Old City Inn100.00Balion Hotel 125.00Chirag Plaza Hotel240.00
Royal Hotel100.00Anatolia Hotel125.00Respublika Luks Hotel250.00
Sea Port Hotel100.00AF Hotel Aquapark125.00Boutique Palace Hotel280.00
New Baku Hotel100.00Qafqaz Baku City Hotel125.00Park Inn Azerbaijan Hotel290.00
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