The colorful Baku with open arms attracts its guests with an abundance of historical and modern attractions that reflect the centuries-old cultural values of Azerbaijan. Staying in the capital will allow you to take a trip to interesting and fascinating places in the South Caucasus. Tourists who are thinking about where to go from Baku for 1 day on their own are offered various options for traveling. Unusual natural phenomena, beach resorts of the Caspian Sea, protected places with enchanting landscapes and atmospheric settlements – all this is fraught with many surprising discoveries.
Gobustan National Park
A few tens of kilometers from the capital of Azerbaijan is the archaeological reserve – Gobustan. This is an open-air museum complex with an impressive collection of priceless historical artifacts that characterize the cultural foundations and traditions of primitive tribes. The atmospheric place is conducive to a leisurely stroll and study of the traces of life of ancient people living in the Stone Age.
The picturesque area of three thousand hectares housed bulky boulders with unique drawings, rocky fortresses, community settlement sites, once inhabited rocky sites and caves. Numerous petroglyphs and archaeological finds create a special contemplative mood. In total, there are about 6,000 plain cave paintings.
The drawings show the economic life of men and women, species of wild animals, hunting scenes, ritual dances, religious rites and various symbolic signs. Tourists can go to closed pavilions equipped with the attributes of modern technology. Expositions dedicated to the ancient ancestors, as well as the flora and fauna of the local land are exhibited in the halls. Interactive screens provide information on petroglyphs collected from around the world.
An interesting natural attraction is the mud volcanoes. Natural geological formations are associated with the location of oil and gas deposits, which is famous for the land of Azerbaijan. In the vicinity of the city of Baku, among the desert and lifeless landscape, low volcanoes rise. Under gas pressure, volcanoes spew out a cold mixture that can be touched without harm to health.
Lava bubbles in the craters, gurgles, boils and even hisses, which is a curious sight. Leaking out of volcanic rock, a thick mud mass forms winding paths. NASA geologists have concluded that the local volcanoes resemble the heights on the planet Mars.
Ateshgah temple in the village of Surahani
Among the religious buildings of Azerbaijan, the Ateshgah temple, which is under the protection of UNESCO, attracts the attention of tourists. The ancient sanctuary of Absheron was revered by the apologists of Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and Sikhism. They endowed fire with special magical properties. For several centuries, pilgrims rushed here to bow to the unquenchable flame.
The temple complex is a stone building with an arched portal and an altar, where a unique well is located. Natural gas escapes from the bowels of the earth and, combining with oxygen, always burns with a bright flame. Around this sacred place, fenced by a battlement, cells, chapels and caravanserais are placed. Staying on the territory of the temple, the pilgrims indulged in prayers and spiritual cleansing.
Their main food was vegetables and plant grains scorched by the sacred fire. Near the sanctuary there is a museum where tourists can see ancient dishes, ritual clothes, jewelry and a lot of materials on the history of Ateshgah temple.
Burning Mountain Yanardag
From time immemorial, Azerbaijan has been referred to as the “land of lights.” The land here is replete with sources of oil and gas, which are actively seeping to the surface of the earth. Very close to the Caucasian capital is one of the famous attractions of the Absheron Peninsula – Mount Yanardag. On its slopes a mesmerizing fiery performance unfolds. Through the upper soil of the base of the hill, streams of natural gas seep.
When it interacts with oxygen, meter-long unquenchable flames of flame arise. Scientists suggest that the fire on the mountain was lit about 4000 years ago. Since then, it has not faded under any weather conditions. Numerous crowds of travelers from all over the world come to see this unique natural phenomenon. The fiery strip reaches ten meters wide. With the onset of dusk, the mountain becomes particularly colorful when the flames are more clearly visible on a burning hill.
Khizi colored mountains
In the suburbs of Baku, the colorful Khizy mountains rise along the main highway. Amazing low hills covered with multi-colored wavy stripes will not leave anyone indifferent. Yellow, red, brown and green layered patterns externally create the illusion of a placer of semiprecious agate stones. Spectacular mountain landscapes resemble Martian landscapes. The natural phenomenon of a mountain spectacle attracts tourists who want to get an unforgettable experience from the contemplation of striped cliffs.
Ethnographic Museum-Reserve “Gala”
The excursion to the “Gala” ethnographic museum-reserve will significantly enrich the cultural program of your stay in Baku. This fascinating educational event invites guests to feel the atmosphere of past eras. Tourists will get acquainted with the exhibits of the museum complex, which will present the life, traditions and culture of the ancient ancestors of Azerbaijanis. In the open air you can see the yurts of nomad shepherds, craft workshops, typical dwellings of peasants, religious buildings for religious ceremonies, various archaeological finds, stone idols, a farmyard and much more.
Visitors to the Gala Reserve are given the opportunity to get acquainted with how Azerbaijanis kept their households from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Tourists will personally try to mold clay pots, make horseshoes in a forge, bake bread and learn the art of carpet making.
The museum has several pavilions that display ancient household items, dishes, weapons, jewelry, clothes and other utensils. The modern glass building exhibits original art objects. The creative material for creating works of art was garbage (wires, disks, light bulbs and other unnecessary things).
The urban-type village of Mardakan is one of the pearls of the Absheron peninsula. At the end of the 19th century, this picturesque place attracted Baku oil magnates, who undertook to build luxurious villas with wonderful parks and pools. In a short time, the arid region turned into a blooming fragrant garden. Thousands of cubic meters of fertile black soil was delivered here on barges by sea to create a wonderful magnificent oasis.
During the Soviet era, Mardakan was listed as an all-Union health resort, annually hosting about 200 thousand people. Today, the resort’s cozy village is famous for its sandy beaches, an arboretum and two ancient fortifications with tall towers of various shapes.
An indelible impression is left by the Mardakan Botanical Garden, where more than two thousand representatives of the kingdom of flora, gathered from around the globe, grow. Well-groomed shady alleys, sprawling tree crowns, exotic flowers make for a pleasant pastime. In the green area it is nice to hide from the sun. Near the park is the museum of Sergei Yesenin. The poet dedicated his famous Persian motifs to these places.
The popular resort of Bilgah attracts vacationers with a developed tourist infrastructure. People of Baku metropolis and numerous travelers from all over the world come here to spend time relaxing from everyday hustle and bustle. A favorable climate, healing sea air and well-groomed golden sandy beaches contribute to a comfortable stay on the coast of the Caspian Sea.
In Bilgah there is a well-known sanatorium where guests are provided with a wide range of services to improve the cardiovascular system. Around the complex is a well-kept park with fountains, sculptural compositions and sports fields. In its secluded green corners are located pump-rooms of mineral healing springs.
The resort is famous for its elite sites for active and measured relaxation. The beach “Amburan” is very popular. On its territory there are several pools, bars, a water park and a cinema. The sandy coast is filled with sunbeds, changing rooms and showers.
The main local attraction is the five-star Jumeirah Bilgah Beach Hotel, where the realm of luxury reigns supreme. The majestic architectural complex rises above the coastline. At the disposal of tourists is an abundance of all kinds of entertainment for every taste. It offers luxury apartments, a private beach, spa centers, drinking establishments, beautiful gardens, concert venues and much more.
The resort village of Zagulba, located one hour drive from Baku, is famous for its beach areas. The local coast has a rocky bottom, which is why the sea water is striking in its crystal clearness. The fertile place of Zagulba surprises vacationers with a wonderful sandy coast, equipped with all the necessary infrastructure. Pleasantly pleases tourists with the variety of entertainment on offer for every taste and age. Restaurant pavilions, bars, pools, playgrounds, water scooter rentals and boat trips fill in a serene pastime.
The refined atmosphere is created by musical groups performing instrumental and vocal compositions. For lovers of oriental sweets, there are tents in which you can taste various spices. Some beaches are specially fenced for banquets, discos and entertainment events. All this is condescendingly observed by the radiant Caspian Sea.
From the point of view of studying historical sights, the ancient city of Shemakha is of interest. The former capital of the Shirvan Khanate has long served as the most important trading center of the Great Silk Road. From ancient times, winemaking and carpet weaving flourished here. Among the famous architectural monuments, it is worth exploring the ruins of the Gulistan fortress, picturesquely preserved on a rocky plateau.
It was one of the main outposts to protect the borders of the medieval state. The walls and towers of the fort took on numerous attacks by the troops of Arabs, Mongols and Ottomans. At the foot of the fortress are the tombs of the nobility of the ruling Shirvanshahs dynasty. The ancient mausoleums are covered with dilapidated stone domes. Of particular interest to travelers is the Shamakhi Juma mosque. The cult masterpiece of Islamic architecture is called the earliest shrine of Transcaucasia.
According to archaeological excavations, the original religious building was built in 744. Over the centuries, the mosque was repeatedly reconstructed after earthquakes and wars. The last restoration of the building was completed in 2013. The facade of the mosque is decorated with domes of various sizes and minarets, decorated with exquisite ornaments.
At the foot of the southern slope of the Greater Caucasus, there is a unique authentic alpine village of Lagich. This is a cultural reserve and a haven of numerous crafts. The town is divided into several microdistricts, each of which preserves the centuries-old traditions of a certain type of craft. Here, tourists will see medieval cobbled quarters and squares with ancient two-story buildings, lined with a kind of masonry.
Workshops and shops were located along the streets. Skilled potters, bakers, forges, wood carvers, jewelers and other artisans work here. Hereditary masters in front of amazed spectators will make unique objects, artistically decorated with intricate ornaments.
Beshbarmag Rock Massif
In the mountainous region of Khizi stands an amazing natural wonder of Azerbaijan – the Beshbarmag rock massif. The mountain formation attracts tourists with its bizarre appearance resembling a human hand with five fingers. Since ancient times, Beshbarmag has been covered with folk legends and legends. According to legend, the rock has miraculous power. Many pilgrims with different desires and requests to resolve their personal problems are still striving here.
Boyuk Zira Island
One of the most mysterious and sad sights of Azerbaijan is the now uninhabited island of Nargin or Boyuk-Zira. The rocky patch of land is remarkably visible from the direction of Baku Boulevard. During the two world wars, the island of Boyuk-Zira served as a prisoner of war camp. Tens of thousands of victims of communist terror were brought here, who were massively shot here.
Today the island is in oblivion. Dilapidated buildings and rusting old ships moored off the coast testify to the past. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan plans to turn the notorious Boyuk Zira island into a modern complex with villas, hotels, restaurants and parks.
Ganja is the second largest and largest city (after Baku) in Azerbaijan, located on both banks of the Ganja River. Amazing architectural ensembles with amazing oriental flavor reflects the centuries-old history of this settlement. The local international airport takes a lot of flights. Since the 12th century, Ganja has occupied the leading economic and strategic position of the medieval khanate, at the intersection of caravan routes.
Wide planned quarters are buried in verdure of well-groomed parks and alleys. The enriched oases are full of fragrant flowers, powerful mighty plane trees, artificial ponds and beautiful fountains. Of genuine interest among tourists is the complex of buildings of Sheikh Baheddin, which is a masterpiece of ancient architecture. This is a squat red-brick mosque, a two-story caravanserai and a hamam bath crowned with hemispherical domes.
An elegant city hall rises on the vast main square of the city, the facade of which is adorned with an impressive colonnade. Walking along Ganja, travelers can see remarkable mosques and mausoleums, the Byzantine-style Orthodox Cathedral and many ancient buildings. A fancy house built of tens of thousands of glass bottles deserves attention.
Istisu Hot Springs
At an altitude of 2400 meters above sea level is the resort village of Istisu, where tourists go to relax and improve their health. The place is famous for healing thermal mineral springs. Healing springs containing hydrogen sulfide, calcium, sodium and magnesium are beaten from the depths of the earth year-round. The water temperature in them slightly exceeds 60 degrees. Therapeutic baths are taken in indoor pools or in the open air, surrounded by a picturesque forest and majestic cliffs.