Old and modern Azerbaijan 8 Days
Day 1 – Arrival to Baku
On arrival at Baku’s international airport you’ll be met by our representative for your transfer to the hotel. After check in there’ll be free time. Overnight in Baku.
Day 2 - Baku - Shamakhi – Gabala (B)
Azerbaijan has a long history, as demonstrated by places such as Shamakhi. It was once the capital of the Shirvan Empire and the base of the Shirvan Dynasty. These days Shamakhi is famous for its winemaking. Visiting this city you’ll have an opportunity to acquaint yourself with the Yeddi Gumbez mausoleum, whose imposing domes rise mysteriously above an almost silent valley. From here there are stunning views back to Shamakhi. Not far away, you’ll encounter the tombs of Diri Baba.
Equally atmospheric, the structures are built into the rock giving the appearance of an eagle’s nest. As we approach, only the front is visible; the other sides are disguised by the cliffs from which they were hewn, giving the impression that the tomb is suspended off the ground. The monument has two storeys: while the lower floor was probably for servants, the upper, reached by stairs, would have been the salon. Whether it is a sacred site or a place of burial is up for interpretation. Then drive to Gabala for overnight. Overnight in Gabala
Day 3 - Gabala - Sheki (B)
Breakfast in the hotel. Start explore Gabala. The country’s most beautiful district is known as a tourism paradise. If it hadn’t been for the Gabala radar station, which affects the local beauty and nature, the place would be ideal from both environmental and health standpoints…The distance to Baku is 225 km. Gabala is located in the Haftaran-Alazan valley and surrounded by the Greater Caucasus. It sits on the right bank of the Damiraparan river 900 meters above sea level. Touching Lahij mountains on one side, Gabala is situated in the country’s north-west at the foot of the Shahdagh mountain.
In Gabala at the area of 16 hectares is located the largest amusement park under the open sky in Azerbaijan – Gabaland. Visitors are provided with family, kids and extreme kinds of attractions, ice arena, carting, sports fields, XD theatre, convenient parking, great food in restaurants and cafes.
Continuing towards Sheki, we stop at Kish. This village is the site of a centuries-old Albanian church. Near the church you’ll find an ancient cemetery where, visible through a glass cupola, you’ll see numerous human remains. These bodies are impressively tall, appearing to be 2.5 metres or more. The Albanians who once resided here were giants with white skin and golden hair, very unlike the inhabitants of the modern Caucasian nations. Overnight in Sheki.
Day 4 - Sheki - Ganja (B)
An excursion to the oldest city in Azerbaijan is a real treat. In ancient times people sold silk here, making Sheki famous among merchants travelling the Great Silk Road. Present day Sheki is packed with sights including a good history museum. The jewel in Sheki’s crown, however, is Khan's Summer Palace with its wonderful façades built from brick, river stones and oak, decorated with floral motives. Inside, the palace impresses even more. Within its six rooms, there are beautiful frescoes painted by talented craftsman; some of them feature flowers, while others depict hunting or battle scenes.
In addition, two beautiful mirrored balconies, ornate decoration using rare colored Venetian glass and exquisite paintings featuring colorful depictions of birds and animals ensure this place does not disappoint the tourist. The first floor of this palace offers clues to Khan’s wealth and power as the murals on the walls of animals and hunting are usually thought of as symbols of nobility. In ancient times the palace was surrounded by beautiful gardens, though nowadays only two large trees survive. Later, you’ll be driven to Ganja where you’ll check into the hotel for an overnight stay. Overnight in Ganja.
Day 5 – Ganja – Goygol - Baku (B)
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Ganja early in the morning.
Ganja – the second city in Azerbaijan. Visit to the mosque of “Shah Abbas”, medieval caravanserai, museum of miniature, “Bottle house”, mausoleum of the Great Azerbaijani poetry Nizami Ganjavi. Visit to the local bazaar. Visit Hanlar and Gol Gol. The area has been cultivated for centuries and a picturesque 12th-century bridge still crosses the river at the precipitous western edge of the village. But the village itself was only founded (as Helenendorf) in 1819 by German winemakers. The village of Xanlar has an unusually agreeable atmosphere. Although no Germans remain, Germanic key-stone inscriptions appear above picturesque gateways, the old church now houses a small museum and several houses on the tree-lined streets are very photogenic.
There was a settlement here as early as the Bronze Age. An extensive cemetery was excavated in the 1990s, with many bronze weapons (swords, daggers, axes), some jewellery (rings, bracelets, necklaces), and clay black dishes with the geometric designs, some of which are on display at the local museum.
Xanlar has a small history museum (usually closed) and an attractive music school. The simple 1854 German church has been converted into a volleyball court, sit in the organ loft to watch the game. If he's sober enough, one of the delights of a visit is encountering octogenarian Viktor, Xanlar's last ethnic German inhabitant. His house is an unkept but delightful shrine of 1930s Europhilia. The German population was deported, 1935-1941, to Siberia on Joseph Stalin's orders. Traces of the German settlement can be seen in the school buildings and the parish church built in 1854.
Hotel Koroglu, housed in Herr Forer's typical balconied wooden house, looks attractive but has no heating or hot water and has yet to repair bullet holes fired into the ceiling by some unruly guests back in 1993. The town was renamed to Khanlar in 1938 in honor of the Azerbaijani labor organizer Khanlar Safaraliyev. It was renamed in 2008 after a nearby lake, Goygol. Drive to Baku. Overnight in Baku.
Day 6 – Baku Old City Tour (B)
Today, we begin our discovery of the city of Baku, enjoying a sightseeing tour of Baku’s most absorbing sights. We’ll visit to the city’s main monumental, historical and architectural attractions before climbing to the city’s highest point at Upland Park for an impressive panorama of the Azeri capital and its bay. From there we’ll descend to the old city, known locally as Icheri sheher. This was all there was of Baku until the mid-19th century when, as a result of the oil boom, a growth spurt caused the city to spill beyond its defensive walls.
This tiny area measures just 22 square hectares and yet it contains so many significant sights, including the Shirvanshakhs Palace, the Maiden Tower and the Karavansaray, once the place of merchants’ rest. Today, just 1300 families call Icheri sheher, this city within a city, home. It’s a delightful place to take an evening stroll through the maze of streets to the gathering place of Fountains Square. There are also plenty of opportunities for shopping, should you wish. Overnight in Baku.
Day 7 – Baku - Gobustan - Yanar Dag – Baku (B)
Today after breakfast our guide will be waiting to collect you for your included excursion to Gobustan National Park. Situated in East Azerbaijan, this archaeological reserve borders the southern slopes of the Major Caucasus ridge to the north, the Harami and Mishov Mountains to the south, Pirsaat River to the west and the Caspian Sea and Absheron peninsula to the east.
Gobustan is a culturally significant landscape of myriad rock carvings. Over 6000 petroglyphs have been discovered here together; that’s not all - there are also many ancient caves and archaeological sites within the reserve. Incredibly, some have been dated to as early as the 18th century BC. Together, they offer a fascinating insight into the development of human activity in this area, with scenes of mountain goat hunts, ceremonial dances and even maritime imagery as this place used to be by the sea. On our way back to Baku, you’ll stop at Yanar Dag.
This intriguing natural phenomenon is called the Burning Rock, so named because it is fuelled by seepage of natural gas. Flames up to three metres high regularly shoot from the sandstone hillside. Many believe that Yanar Dag is the reason Azerbaijan acquired its nickname, the Land of Fire.
Today’s excursion is a guided tour to Ateshgah. The temple of fire worshippers, Ateshgah is located on the Apsheron peninsula on the outskirts of Surakhani village just thirty kilometres from the center of Baku. It was revered in different times by Zoroastrians, Hindus and Sikhs. The current temple building dates from the 17th century, but far more ancient artefacts have been excavated here. This pentagonal complex has an open courtyard with an altar in the centre which was a place of pilgrimage for worshippers.
This open air museum has been recently restored and by the decree of the President of Azerbaijan, Ateshgah was declared a State historical-architectural reserve. Our final stop today will be an excursion to the fortress of Ramana. Ramana Castle is estimated to date back several centuries. The height of the fortress’ main tower is an imposing fifteen metres and is built of stone. It is assumed that it was built to protect a palace and was used during the reign of Shirvanshahs.
Having returned to Baku, we will visit some of the sights associated with modern Baku: the waterfront area of Baku Boulevard behind which rise the famous Flame Towers skyscrapers, the carpet museum, Heydar Aliyev Cultural Centre (from outside), Shopping Mall 28th May and Park Boulevard, a mall situated on the main promenade.
Azerbaijan located in area with 9 climatic zones. And that is why here we have a lot different kind of vegetables and fruits all year. Visit Baku green bazar. Overnight in Baku.
Day 8 - Baku (B)
After breakfast, you’ll transfer to the airport for your flight home.