Caucasus Travel1 tours available
More About Azerbaijan
For those choosing Caucasus Travel you'll find it's a good place for travellers to begin their trip around Eastern Europe and into Asia. Found on the borders of Europe and Asia, the Caucasus is a region that blends old medieval worlds with Soviet modernism and emerging identities in a cosmopolitan society. Azerbaijan, also know as the Land of Fire, has been known since antiquity as the land with hillsides that burn due to a phenomenon of seeping gas. These days, the wealth from that gas gives the country an economic engine fuelling it to an independent prosperity.
In ancient times, Azerbaijan was inhabited by various empires including the Sassanids, Safavids, Umayyads and more. Each dynasty, empire and caliphate left behind a unique blend of cultures found within this country. Places such as Sheki is one of the most ancient settlements and architectural centers of Azerbaijan founded more than 2,700 years ago.
Azerbaijan tours focus on Baku, the city of winds, with its old town including the Palace of the Shirvans, the most striking example of the Medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of 15th century. Equally as impressive is the Maiden's Tower, the ancient, eight storey fortress originally built as a fire beacon.
Many attribute the obsession with fire with an association with Zoroastrianism, especially at sites such as the Baku Fire Temple, known locally as the Atashgah. This is presumably based on a misunderstanding of the term 'Atashgah.' In Azerbaijani this is literally any fire-place, but in Zoroastrianism it is synonymous with Middle Persian Atashdan, the technical term for the altar-like repository for a sacred wood-fire.
Azerbaijan tours also showcase the rich Islamic history within the country. In Sheki, the mosaic-fronted Khan's Palace is a beautiful piece of Islamic architecture. About 98% of the population is Muslim, however, politics remain secular and despite the percentage of those identifying as religious, religion is routinely thought of as a lesser important part of daily life.
Within the country's borders are small towns such as Shemakha, an important trading port in the past. Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea and holds the dramatic Caucasus Mountains soaring in the backdrops of the scenic and small villages with lush orchards and vineyards. The agricultural basin of Azerbaijan is the largest in the region, with over 50% of the land dedicated to farming.
The landscape encountered on our Azerbaijan tours is that of incredible diversity. From the shores of the Caspian to the highest peak of 4,466 meters at Bazarduzu peak, nearly every type of climate zone can be found in between. The mountains feed a river system of over 8,000 rivers and streams which become the lifeblood of the Caucasus' most biodiverse country in the region.
A trip to the Caucasus is one that treats the intrepid traveller. Few foreigners are found in the picturesque countryside, hospitality and food products are memorable, ties to the Silk Road will intrigue the history buffs and the rate of change is impressive. Released from the Soviet shadow after 1991, Azerbaijan is a country to explore now before the tourists discover it.