Key Country Facts
The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku and approximately 10 million people living in this predominantly Islamic country. The official language is of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani. Major exports of Azerbaijan include gas, oil, machinery, food, and cotton.
The largest cave in the country, Azikh Cave, is home to the first known constructed fireplace in human history!
Adventurers should be sure to visit the Old City in Baku, famous for its historic architecture such as The Palace of Shirvan Shahs and Maiden’s Tower. Outside of Baku, on the Absheron Peninsula, one must visit the Burning Mountain. This mountain is a rare natural site and burns year round due to natural gases escaping from the ground. Also of interest is Ganja, the country’s second largest city. Here one can see the Bottle House, a home built entirely of glass bottles. One can also visit the Tomb of Nizami, commemorating the life of the Persian poet of the same name.
Notes about Azerbaijan:
- Center of trade route; Caspian sea; temperate climate
- An absolute gem in Central Asia and a tourist’s dream
- Sleek city streets of shopping, world class hotels – I chose to stay right next to Old City in traditional hotel called the Sultan Inn
Azerbaijan is a tourist’s paradise and this is a country where I would definitely return. Here are the top things to do while here:
- The Old City
- The Hieroglyphics
- Mud volcanoes
- Zoroastrian temple
- New football (soccer) stadium
- Azerbaijan is located on the western shores of the Caspian sea (which is actually a large lake). 10 million, 2 million located in Baku. It has been the center of many conflicts over the past 2000 years, and became an important center of Islamic culture. It became one of the Soviet republics in the 1920s – declared its independence from the USSR in 1991.
- Located in the heart of ancient cultures, Azerbaijan has been fought over and conquered on numerous occasions, including by Alexander the Great, the Romans, Genghis Khan, Russia and the USSR, just to name a few.
Azerbaijan = land of fire; Baku = city of wind
In 1500 BC the Zoroastrian religion was dominant in Azerbaijan. In the 7th century Muslim Arabs invaded Azerbaijan and introduced Islam to the Caucasus.
Since the 1850s the oil industry has been the key industry in Azerbaijan. Alfred Nobel was one of the Azerbaijan oil magnates and used proceeds from his oil wealth to fund his esteemed prizes.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan declared its independence and has spared no expense to modernize the country.
Baku’s city streets are reminiscent of the finest cities in Europe, with wide thoroughfares, gardens, and statues. On swanky “Oil Workers’ Avenue” there are only the finest western shops including Bulgari, Tiffany, Dior etc.
Upscale western hotel chains include The Four Seasons (with a prime location downtown near the Old City), The Fairmont (simply amazing), and a new Trump Towers, which will open in 2016. I chose to stay in the middle of the Old City in The Sultan Inn, which offered huge and modern rooms, and fantastic service.