The rich historical, cultural and natural heritage of the country attracts visitors from all over the world. Untouched nature, mineral springs, the world's only oil field treatment - naphthalene, a unique ancient architecture, unique culture, cuisine, and more contribute to the formation in Azerbaijan of all types of tourism: business, sport, medical, cognitive, hunting, exotic, beach and even gastronomic. Azerbaijan is a territory of 9-out of 11 of the world's climatic zones. Climate of our country enables to organize summer and winter holidays. Very common are ecological tours to Azerbaijan, which include visits to nature reservations, trekking and climbing routes. Midday sandy beaches offer opportunities for diving, and swimming season starts in Azerbaijan in May. Tourism sector in Azerbaijan is developing day by day, becoming one of the most important sectors of the economy.
Azerbaijan administratively is divided into 65 regions, in their structure of 69 cities. The capital is Baku.
The capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, has a population of more than 2 million people and is located on the southwest coast of Absheron, a peninsula washed by the Caspian Sea. According to archaeologists, Baku has a history of at least two thousand years. Since ancient times, there has been a seaport here, while the city has also served as the crossroads of caravan routes, including the Great Silk Road. During the reign of the Shirvanshahs, Baku was the capital of the famous Shirvan. In the 19th century it became the largest city in the Caucasus and an industrial and cultural centre. Since 1991, Baku has been the capital of the independent state of Azerbaijan. Today, several large-scale urban development projects are carried out in the capital of Azerbaijan. These include the Flame Towers complex, the Heydar Aliyev Centre, the SOCAR Tower, the Port Baku and White City projects, the Olympic Stadium, the National Wrestling Centre – just to name a few. Baku is also known for its exhibition and concert halls, art galleries, theatres, museums, sports complexes, an extensive network of international hotels, exquisite restaurants and, of course, beaches, where one can sunbathe and swim five months a year. Many talented architects, including those invited from other countries, have worked in Baku. It is thanks to them and, of course, very progressive customers that the city has been adorned with wonderful buildings, many of which are now considered models of architectural solutions. Art critics talk of a special Baku style in architecture, which is quite unique.
It is difficult to find a country with more diverse nature than Azerbaijan. Even a cursory glance at the map will reveal how different nature is from the western coast of the Caspian Sea to the eastern part of the South Caucasus, from the Trans-Caucasian highlands in the south to the Great Caucasus Mountains in the north. In Azerbaijan, the luxurious flora of the humid subtropical south neighbours on glaciers, while lush forests and mountain waterfalls neighbour on sultry steppes. Here the citrus and tea plantations located in Lankaran District turn into Shirvan steppe grasses, and they turn into dry desert areas of Absheron, which are decorated with greenery and flowers. But the endless sandy beaches of the Caspian surrounded by forests and cliffs are especially beautiful, and they stretch for dozens of kilometres. The relief of the country is also diverse. The plains in the central part turn into mountains near the borders of Azerbaijan, thus forming a kind of a vessel, from the neck of which the numerous rivers that literally bisect the country flow into the Caspian Sea.
Fast mountain rivers with steep rapids are a great place for rafting and kayaking competitions. Topographic features are best suited for those who would like to try to conquer the mountain roads in jeeps or ATVs. Off-roading – or else off-road driving – is a very popular sport in Azerbaijan. The same can be said about mountain climbing and hang gliding. Respective sports federations have developed special routes for thrill seekers. And more recently, Azerbaijani diving has been rapidly evolving, and diving takes place both offshore in search of sunken ships and in the hunt for fish, and in high mountains – beautiful, crystal clear lakes.
The world-famous resort Naftalan is known for its healing oil that has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and vessel-expanding effect. The amazing properties of this oil containing sulfur-nitrogen compounds, aromatic hydrocarbons and naphthenic acids have been known since antiquity. In medicine, baths and applications of naftalan on sore spots began to be practiced in 1896 for the treatment of skin and urological disorders, post-traumatic complications and other disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Meeting with the unique nature of Azerbaijan and recreation, as a rule, are accompanied by visits to sights that keep the old history of the peoples who inhabited these lands. For example, having visited the Absheron National Park, you can also see ancient castles built on the peninsula by order of the Shirvanshahs, visit Icheri Sheher and take a tour of Baku
Travelling to Azerbaijan and not to see its national parks is a serious mistake, which few tourists make today. Communication with the unique nature of this vast region, which stands out for a remarkable set of climate zones, and watching rare animals and birds is a truly memorable experience. And there is no need to go to the country only to see this or that virgin corner of mountains or steppes. The network of national parks of Azerbaijan is so vast that even while taking a business trip, it is easy to find the time to briefly call at a nearby oasis of nature.
The least mention of the country's mountains has mountaineers champing at the bit. Within Azerbaijani part of the Greater Caucasus, there is the main Caucasian Ridge with the highest point on Mount Bazarduzu (4,466 meters) and a lateral ridge where Shahdag (4,450 meters) and other peaks are located. The Lesser Caucasus is dominated by the Shahdag (Shahdag – 2,901 meters), Murovdag (Gamishdag – 3,724 meters) and Karabakh (Gizgalasi – 2,843 meters) peaks. The mountains in the southwest turn into a ridge, on the dividing line of which there is Mount Gizyurdu (2,483 meters) and Gomurkey (2,477 meters). Azerbaijan's potential was evaluated by climbers from other countries quite recently. But the number of people willing to climb here is steadily growing. The mountain regions of Azerbaijan are now visited not only by athletes, but by ordinary tourists who would like to see nature untouched by civilization, familiarize themselves with the amazing beauty of these places, the life and traditions of local people and breathe pure healing air. It is also important that the country has established a wonderful infrastructure in the form of good roads, comfortable hotels and tourist bases.
The new ski resort is located in the Shahdag national park, which is known for its healthy air, diverse vegetation, abundant wildlife and amazingly beautiful scenery. The main part of the tourist complex, which will be able to receive up to 10 thousand people per day after the completion of all work, was built at an altitude of 1,640 meters above sea level. But the cable car can take you even higher - to around 2,300 meters, where the ski slope begins. The total area of the complex is more than 2,000 hectares.
For more information about popular tourist areas and hotels, as well as the latest news about Azerbaijan, you will always be able to find on site: www.azerbaijan.az