Azerbaijan is an abundance of ancient fortresses and palaces
Is Azerbaijan still Europe or is it Asia? If the question is relevant to you, we can safely assume that you have not been to this country yet. Travelers who have already seen Azerbaijan are no longer given to them – not because they found the answer, they just have completely different priorities. For example, as if to go here one more time or two and where else to go here.
But still, all the same: Europe or Asia? The answer of the geographer-orthodox: “Asia Minor” is as accurate as it is useless. In fact, Azerbaijan is Azerbaijan. This is Old Baku, where all the Turkish scenes of the “Diamond Hand” were filmed (it’s the same now, neither give nor take – Istanbul), and pictures of Baku New Street, especially the evening, can easily be mistaken for Central European. These are perfectly preserved Zoroastrian temples, which are older than many world religions. These are 40 recipes of an authentic Azerbaijani pilaf, which we rightly put in one paragraph with history and culture: firstly, it is also history and culture, and even what, and secondly, what delicious it is here!
And, of course, Azerbaijan is oil. A lot of oil. And not only the one “per barrel”, but also the famous healing one, to which people have been going to Naftalan for the third century in a row.
History of Azerbaijan
Statehood of Azerbaijan is nearly 5000 years old. From the end of the 4th century BC e. in this territory various national formations began to appear. For example, such powerful states as Atropatena and Caucasian Albania were located here. They played a significant role in the formation of a single people. Later, in the 2nd century AD e., Azerbaijan fell into the occupation of the Iranian Sassanids, then moved to the Arab Caliphate. So in the country there were many Arabs and Iranians.
The turning point in the history of Azerbaijan was the adoption of Islam in the 7th century AD. e. Religion actually began to unite peoples, form one language, create new customs and traditions. The subsequent political upsurge of Azerbaijan is associated with the appearance on the territory of several states: Shirvanshahs, Ravvadids, Sajids, Salarids and Sheddadids. Historians call this time the Renaissance.
About 500 years ago, a gradual unification of the lands of Azerbaijan began. Shah Ismail Khatai united the southern and northern lands, as a result of which the Safavid state was formed – one of the strongest empires in the Middle East.
Nadir Shah continued his work, expanding the territory by capturing North India. But after his death, the empire began to disintegrate – into khanates and sultanates. At the end of the 18th century, Ghajars, the famous Azerbaijani dynasty, came to power in Iran. They wanted to return all the lands that were subordinate to Nadir Shah and establish a centralized government. However, they met fierce resistance from Russia, which wanted to capture the South Caucasus. As a result, after many years of war, the parties agreed on the division of land: Russia received Northern Azerbaijan, and Iran – Southern. During the Soviet era, Azerbaijan became a socialist republic and existed in this status until 1991, until it seceded from the USSR and declared independence.
Regions and resorts of Azerbaijan
If Azerbaijan is a colorful ball of ancient traditions and earthly riches of the third millennium, then Baku is the core of this intricate. I would like to touch the origins – welcome to the Old City of Icheri Sheher. Its recognized symbol is the Maiden Tower, towering on a cliff. The Shirvanshahs Palace is even more impressive – a monumental complex with a mosque, a mausoleum, a bathhouse and other medieval buildings. It is better to return from the distant past gradually, starting from the areas of Soviet development (the Sabunchu Station and the Government House deserve attention) and ending in the modern center with the Flaming Towers shining in the night, reminiscent of Dubai’s skyscrapers.
Another large Azerbaijani city is Lankaran, leading its history from the 10th century BC. e. She was clearly lucky with the location: the picturesque coast of the Caspian Sea with black sand, dense forests, thermal springs – ideal conditions for a healthy holiday.
The cultural program should definitely include a visit to the Lankaran fortress of the 18th century and the ancient khanega, a Muslim religious complex.
In search of eastern treasures, we recommend to go to Ganja. Moreover, as the legend goes, a lone traveler has once managed to find here a real treasure: cauldrons full of gold and precious stones. Other travelers are likely to expect a different kind of wealth: architecture of incredible beauty, souvenir shops, cozy cafes. The heart of Ganja is the ensemble of Sheikh Bahauddin: here is the Juma mosque of red brick, the Chekyak-hamam bathhouse, and the caravanserai, where the museum is open today.
There are new cities in the country, which are gradually gaining the attention of tourists. For example, Sumgait is attractive for its nature: the climate here is mild, and the beaches are not familiar sandy and pebble, but covered with a small scattering of snow-white shells. For ancient monuments will have to go to the neighboring villages of Jorat and Salari.