By stepping out from the city of Baku you’ll find an authentic Azerbaijan

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Calling Azerbaijan a country of contrasts would probably be the biggest cliché, yet such a description reluctantly comes to mind. A country where the Soviet legacy keeps pace with global trends, Islamic conservatism and Eastern customs agree with Western courage and capitalist extravagance, and people can be both very hospitable and generous, and restrained at the same time. Baku girls are the ones to go for.

The essence of Baku

It seems that the Azerbaijani authorities do not decide whether to develop tourism in the country or not. At Baku Airport, promotional videos of the country are displayed on the screens – well-designed and captivating, Azerbaijan is presented as an exotic hospitable, rich Eastern country.

Baku – shiny and innovative, but not all of the country, a few skyscrapers that are a must for every modern city, the most impressive of which are the twin towers, which in their form imitate the tongues of flame and are presented to foreigners in English as The Flame Towers, ie Flame towers.

When you leave anywhere from Baku, you can feel like you are not only in another country but also in another era. But if Baku girls and you want to see something more than a glossy capital, it seems that the regions are not the noses of tourists: there is a lack of information about places of interest, and when you leave Baku, you can feel not only in another country but also in another era.

Progress

Azerbaijan’s progress appears to be very uneven, and a prosperous capital is far from reflecting the country’s progress. Even in Baku itself, Lada is buzzing in the streets near-luxury new cars, and there are many such cars on the provincial roads.

It is important for travelers going to Azerbaijan to plan a budget, but even in this case Azerbaijan leaves a contrasting impression – it is difficult to say whether it is expensive or cheap. In the capital, especially in the center, prices are biting – expensive accommodation (because there are few hotels for tourists, mostly business class), and restaurants.

After paying almost 3 euros for a cup of coffee (tasteless!) In the cafe of the Old Town, Baku girls remembered with nostalgia the much cheaper neighbor Georgia. On the other hand, public transport in Baku is ridiculously cheap – a subway ticket costs 0.20 AZN (Azerbaijani manatees, about 30 euro cents). Train and bus tickets are also inexpensive, you can negotiate with taxi drivers, and when you leave Baku, the price drops three or more times – in Sheki, a cup of black coffee (unfortunately, it is not as tasty) costs us only 50 euro cents.

Trip across Azerbaijan

Spending another day in Baku is interesting – the beautiful old town, whose sand-colored street color is enlivened here and thereby the eye-catching variegated carpets lined on the sidewalks (expensive but, according to sellers, top quality), impressive royal palace, beautiful Giz Qalasi tower from which you can see the city.

However, the impression is not abandoned that everything in Baku is very smooth and ready for tourists – so that only they can see how prosperous and progressive the country is in Azerbaijan.

In search of a more authentic experience, we went to the ancient Šeki city in the north of the country, which, according to travelers, is one of the most beautiful in Azerbaijan. Baku girls. Unfortunately, the former Sheki on the Silk Road has so far made little use of its tourist potential – the restored Khansarai Palace (former residence of the rulers, entrance – only with a guide, costs 2 AZN) and a very nice Caravansarai Hotel, where caravans on the Silk Road once stopped. The weather is fresh, lots of greenery, few tourists, there is no shortage of interesting places, as long as you can find them …

But many other ancient buildings are falling apart and sinking into oblivion. And this city is definitely worth a visit – located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, it becomes a real refreshment after the stuffy, dusty Baku. The weather is fresh, there is a lot of greenery, few tourists, there is no shortage of interesting places, as long as you can find them … We were lucky enough to get into the care of very friendly locals several times, they were very enthusiastic about getting to know the city and its surroundings.

Šeki

We traveled to Šeki by night train (the most convenient and fastest option), the coupe had to share with a very chatty former wrestler and listen to his lyrical memories about youth sports competitions and travel to Lithuania, the friendship of the country, women beauty, and how amazing its capital … Riga.

Let it be Riga, more than explaining the subtleties of the geography of the Baltic States, we wanted to extract more information about Šeki, but let’s hear what we already knew – a city, very beautiful, very interesting, we will like it very much. Tourists not spoiled by tourists As is often the case, people in the province turned out to be friendlier to us than in the capital: a taxi driver was met at the train station.

Did not want to hear about the hotel search and stubbornly accommodate us with a familiar aunt who is supposed to take great care of us. We suspected a deception – maybe both a taxi driver and an aunt will turn out to be scammers and we will get caught in what gossip aimed at naive foreigners? But after raining after half a night of sleep, the determination to wander around the city in search of accommodation quickly waned, and we drove to Aunt. By the way, later we were happy not to look for a hotel – Sheki their choice is poor. Tetulė and her family greeted us hospitably, of course, immediately rushed to make tea, squeak, and gesture something incomprehensibly. We spent the night in Sheki for two nights, Baku girls, and as soon as we were home, we were welcomed by our aunt’s hot tea to the point of nausea, served with spinach cakes, and talked, talked …

Conversations with Baku people

Our conversations were poor because only Azerbaijani had a smiling smile. Azerbaijan outside Baku: authentic and non-tourist +9 Souvenir shops and candy stores line up on the main street. Sheki is famous for baklava – this very sweet oriental dessert (puff pastry cake with nuts and honey) has been made here for a long time, we managed to accidentally go to the baklava producer’s house, where we were invited to closely observe the process of baklava production: a baker pours liquid on a special pan and thus crushes a pile of crispy sheets, which are later soaked in liquid honey. Czech baklava – very greasy, Baku girls, sweet, rich in rich taste, goes well with strong black tea.

Czech baklava – very greasy, sweet, rich in rich taste, goes well with strong black tea. When we searched in vain for a minaret marked on the map but which in reality did not seem to exist, a passer-by came to our aid, not only escorting us to an abandoned, dilapidated building, but also deftly found the key for us to climb up and see the city. The key to the tower is protected by the family living in the adjacent house – no tourists visit the tower, the local government does not make plans to reconstruct it, so only crows nest in the top …

Azerbaijan nature

Nature and authentic cities – special Several people met Kish village, and one of them went to the longest lecture about the beauty of Azerbaijani towns – according to him, it is necessary to visit Gabala, Gokh, and Ilisu …

We did not plan such trips, but our friend’s enthusiasm convinced us, besides, he insisted on taking us to the bus station and getting on the right bus just so we wouldn’t get lost. READ ALSO: Baku – surrounded by a different culture “The Adventures of the Backpackers”. Fantastic Azerbaijan: from the splendor of the power of Baku to a hospitable village wedding in 5 countries that deserve more traveler’s attention. Baku girls visited all the above places and one more village on the way to Baku. We saw another face of Azerbaijan – mountain rivers, forests, sheep and goats grazing in the valleys, old villagers who climb the hills cleverly and unknowingly and smile at the newcomers. Only garbage grieved. People seem to pour them everywhere – into riverbeds, gorges, on mountain slopes.

When you return to Baku, you have to visit Gobustan National Park – on the outskirts of the capital, again, it does not receive as much attention as it could, although it is a really interesting corner of nature. Travel agencies organize tours, and those who want to travel on their own will need patience and negotiation skills: there is no direct bus – otherwise, we have reached the outskirts of Baku and agreed on a reasonable price with a taxi driver (we negotiated for a long time and probably still overpaid).

Gobustan mud

Gobustan mud volcanoes We knew that in this park you could visit not only mud volcanoes but also drawings carved by prehistoric people on the ruins of rocks and Roman buildings, so we hoped to spend time meaningfully. Roman ruins appeared as rectangular crushed stones surrounded by spiked fences.

So much for that, and what about prehistoric drawings? Yes, there are – people carved on the rocks, hunting scenes, some symbols. Impressive historical heritage, but the strange mud volcanoes were even more impressive, definitely worth the trip.

Gobustan It is true that instead of the mud mountains supporting the sky, we saw gray mounds with warm gray clay bubbling at the tops. Our guide assured us that the effect of these clay masks on the skin is miraculous. We didn’t dare grease, but we had a fun photoshoot at the cracked mud hills.

Don’t drink coffee, better black tea One of the most vivid memories of your stay in Azerbaijan is black tea (a more luxurious option – with bergamot) – in no other country in the world we have seen so many people sipping tea and we have not been treated to it. Intrigued by the tea phenomenon.I was not lazy to wonder where in the world this drink is consumed the most. It turns out, according to each inhabitant Turkey is in the lead, but Azerbaijan is probably lagging. No other country in the world we have visited has seen so many people sipping tea and we have not been treated to it so much.Tea (Azerb. Chai Xana) is present in every town, as far as I could see, it is mostly chosen by men. Who are those Azerbaijanis? The impression was that people are closed, mostly communicating with family and close friends. Foreigners living in Azerbaijan met complained that Baku had little public entertainment and the nightlife was poor.

In the end

Although the residents of the capital are modern, women do not hide under hijabs, yet most of them (and men) dress in dark uniforms, as if afraid of originality and want to join the crowd. Provincial fashion is more conservative – black clothes also dominate, but women also wear scarves, men grow mustaches, and at first, we were much surprised by people’s flickering golden teeth – it turns out, it’s not a dental necessity, but a way to show their wealth: teeth in the mouth, the richer a person is. Practical – you don’t need a bank or a wallet, all material well-being – in your mouth. Check out showaround.com for local guides in Baku.

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