Discover and Explore Azerbaijan

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Azerbaijan is located in Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran (689 km) Russia (338 km), on the west by Armenia (996 km), on the northwest by Georgia (428 km), and finally Turkey (17 km). It has a total area of 86,600 sq km, and out of that around 82,629 sq km is of land and 3,971 sq km is water.

Geographic location of Azerbaijan
The geographic location of Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan has a dry climate and is subtropical, characterized by a mild winter and a long (four to five months) and very hot summer, with temperatures averaging about 81 °F (27 °C) and maximum temperatures reaching 109 °F (43 °C).

Furthermore, the natural resources of Azerbaijan are petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, bauxite. Azerbaijan uses 57.6% of its land for agricultural purposes. They share the Caspian Sea with Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, and also Kazakhstan.

DEMOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION 

A high percentage of the population is in the far eastern area of the country, in and around Baku; apart from smaller urbanized areas, the rest of the country has a fairly light and also evenly distributed population.

Azerbaijani women with traditional clothes
Azerbaijani women with traditional clothes

Azerbaijan estimates to have a population of 10,282,283, according to the estimations in July 2021. Regarding the ethnic groups present in the territory we can find Azerbaijani 91.6%, Lezghin 2%, Russian 1.3%, Armenian 1.3%, Talysh 1.3%, other 2.4%.

There are several languages in Azerbaijan, the first one is Azerbaijani (Azeri) (official) 92.5%; and also the rest are Russian 1.4%, Armenian 1.4%, other 4.7%. Then with the religion, Azerbaijanis are within Muslim 97.3% (predominantly Shia), Christian 2.6%, other <0.1, unaffiliated <0.1.

Regarding the age structure, a little less of the population (45.29%) is within the 25-54 years; and the next one 22.84% within the 0-14 years. Azerbaijan also has a life expectancy at birth of 73.88 years.

Aliyev considered the youth to be important for the future of Azerbaijan
President Hyder Aliyev considered the youth to be important for the future of Azerbaijan

Furthermore, out of it, the women have a higher life expectancy which is of 77.15 years while the males have 70.79 years. They have a literacy rate of 99.8% between its population from age 15 and over.

GOVERNMENT 

Azerbaijan is a presidential republic, and the capital is Baku. The country was part of the Soviet Union until 30 August 1991, under a civil law system. The President is the Chief of State and currently, the President is Ilham Aliyev (since 31 October 2003), and the Vice President is Mehriban Aliyeva (since 21 February 2017 till date).

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev
Current President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev

The Prime Minister and the head of government are Ali Asadov (since 8 October 2019); and the First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub Eyyubov (since June 2006). Furthermore, the legislative branch is a unicameral National Assembly or Milli Mejlis.

Moreover, the judicial branch has two types of courts, the highest and the subordinate. In the highest Azerbaijan has the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. On the other side, in the subordinate, we can find the Courts of Appeal, and district and municipal courts.

Mehriban Aliyeva, the Vice President of Azerbaijan
Mehriban Aliyeva, the Vice President of Azerbaijan

The national symbols and colors of Azerbaijan are flames of fire; national colors: blue, red, green.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW

The last GDP purchasing power parity, of Azerbaijan according to estimations from 2020 was $138.51 billion. Among the country’s agricultural products we can find milk, wheat, potatoes, barley, tomatoes, watermelons, cotton, apples, maize, and also onions.

Azerbaijan’s industries are petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, oilfield equipment; steel, iron ore; cement; chemicals and petrochemicals; and also textiles. Most of its workforce is concentrated in the service sector of the economy.

In 2020, Azerbaijan had a total of $15.21 billion worth of exports, that went through Italy 28%, Turkey 15%, Israel 7%, Germany 5%, India 5%. Those exports were from crude petroleum, natural gas, refined petroleum, tomatoes, gold.

According to estimations in 2020, Azerbaijan made imports worth $15.54 billion, which came through the United Kingdom 17%, Russia 17%, Turkey 12%, China 6%. Those imports were from gold, cars, refined petroleum, wheat, packaged medical supplies.

CULTURAL LIFE OF AZERBAIJAN 

We must note that among the medieval scientists and philosophers, Abu al Hasan Bakhmanyar (11th century), the author of numerous works on mathematics and philosophy, and Abul Hasan Shirvani (11th–12th centuries), the author of Astronomy.

Abu al Hasan Bakhmanyar (11th century), the author of numerous works on mathematics
Abu al Hasan Bakhmanyar (11th century), the author of numerous works on mathematics

Furthermore, the poet and philosopher Nẹzāmī, called Ganjavī after his place of birth, Ganja, was the author of Khamseh (“The Quintuplet”), composed of five romantic poems, including “The Treasure of Mysteries,” “Khosrow and Shīrīn,” and “Leyli and Mejnūn.”

Nizami Ganjavi one of the most famous poets that form part of Azerbaijan's history
Nizami Ganjavi one of the most famous poets that form part of Azerbaijan’s history
MUSIC AND MUSEUMS IN AZERBAIJAN

Moreover, the Azerbaijani’s have retained their ancient musical tradition. One example could be the art of ashugs, who improvise songs to their accompaniment on a stringed instrument called a kobuz, which remains extremely popular.

State Opera and Academic Ballet Theater of Azerbaijan
State Opera and Academic Ballet Theater of Azerbaijan

Another example is the mugams, vocal and instrumental compositions. Most of Azerbaijan’s cultural institutions, including museums, theatres, and public libraries, are located in Baku. Also, most of those institutions were established after World War II.

Azerbaijani composer Kara Karayev
Azerbaijani composer Kara Karayev

In the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, there is a museum with material on history and archaeology. Some Azerbaijani composers like Uzeir Hajjibekov (the operas Ker-Ogly and Leyli and Mejnūn and the operetta Arshin Mal ʾAlan) and Kara Karayev (the ballets Seven Beauties and The Path of Thunder) have international reputations.

Through the Soviet period, Azerbaijani writers and other intellectuals were closely supervised and subjected to varying degrees of persecution. In 1992 the Azerbaijani government switched from the Cyrillic to the Roman alphabet.

 

ANCIENT HISTORY

Iranian speakers, nomadic Turkic tribes, Kurds, and the Caucasian Albanians, who converted to Christianity in the 4th century populated eastern Transcaucasia.

Region of Transcaucasia
Region of Transcaucasia

Moreover, there were Arab incursions in the 7th century, and after those, Islamic polities were established under local rulers called shāhanshāhs. The Muslims of Azerbaijan in the early 16th century became Shiʿi, and they continued to develop under Persian social and cultural influence.

Azerbaijan population is mostly Muslim  Shiʿi
Azerbaijan population is mostly Muslim  Shiʿi
AZERBAIJAN DURING SOVIET RULE

After a series of wars between the Russian Empire and Iran, through the treaties of Golestān (Gulistan; 1813) and Turkmenchay (Torkmānchāy; 1828), the Russian empire established a new border.

Baku became the major source of oil for Russia, tens of thousands of workers streamed to the Abşeron Peninsula in search of employment.

Azerbaijan's oil platforms
Azerbaijan’s oil platforms

Their ethnonym Azerbaijani (azarbayjanli) came into use in the pre-revolutionary decades at first among urban nationalist intellectuals.

Emblem of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic
Emblem of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic

It was during the Soviet period that it became official and the citizens began to accept it. Azerbaijan was part of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic from 1922 until 1936.

Furthermore, Moscow promoted education in Azerbaijan, and many citizens were placed in positions of power but they kept controlling especially during the years of Joseph Stalin’s rule (1928–53). Azerbaijan enjoyed greater autonomy due to Stalin’s passing.

AFTER INDEPENDENCE 

President Heydar Aliyev, leader of the Azerbaijani Communist Party that Azerbaijan maintained a President. Heydar Aliyev was the founder and architect of modern Azerbaijan. From 1970 to 1980, at his initiatives, Azerbaijan sent students to important universities across the globe to learn new knowledge and build the country towards prosperity.

President Heydar Aliyev also remarked that the most precious blessing is the children of Azerbaijan and young people; so in 1995, he established the National Assembly of Youth Organizations of the Republic of Azerbaijan (NAYORA).

Heydar Aliyev, the third President of Azerbaijan and one of the most known
Heydar Aliyev, Father of Modern Azerbaijan and the most known leader to the nation

In that same year, Heydar Aliyev started the Azerbaijani Youth Forum, and a year later, they held the first Forum, and also declared the Day of Youth, then three years later the UN established World Youth Day.

AZERBAIJAN WITH THE PRESIDENT ILHAM ALIYEV 

Azerbaijan discovered new oil fields and signed more contracts with Western companies to exploit, so the oil revenues began to soar. In 2003, Hydar Aliyev passed away and his son Ilham Aliyev took over as the President of Azerbaijan.

President Ilham Aliyev directed income from the boom in Caspian oil in part toward developing Azerbaijani military capacity.

Caspian sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world

Ilham introduced one amendment to the Constitution, which created the two vice-presidential posts, to be filled by presidential appointees who would take over presidential powers, instead of one Prime Minister. As a result of this historic amendment, Azerbaijan has the first Female Vice President Mehrban Aliyeva who took charge in 2017.

How to travel to Azerbaijan if you are a Mexican or Spanish

Before the covid-19 happened, as a Mexican wanting to enter Azerbaijan for whatever reason, it was necessary to have a visa that is valid for 30 days. That visa has a cost of 23 dollars, and the citizens can request an urgent visa, which has a cost of 50 dollars.

Brazil starting its vaccination campaign of kids to receive the covid-19 shots
A girl in Brazil about to receive one covid-19 shot

The citizens that have the intention of remaining in Azerbaijan for more than 15 days have to register in the State Migration Service. Other requirements as a Mexican citizen to be able to enter Azerbaijan was to have a valid passport; an invitation letter if the tourist is planning to stay in a particular house (if you visit a family member or a friend), or if the purpose of the trip is for business; to have a letter of invitation from the company or a letter from the company that is located in the country.

State Migration Service of Azerbaijan
State Migration Service of Azerbaijan

If that is not your case, then you have to present the reservation confirmation from your hotel. The authorities of Azerbaijan demand that the tourist leaves the country before the expiration date of the visa, if it’s expired, then it means a fine that goes from $175 to 250 dollars, and the obligation to request departure permission.

FURTHER RECOMMENDATIONS 

The Mexican Service of Foreign Affairs recommends their citizens to always carry their passports, and an official identification with a photograph, with electronic copies. In the case of Spanish nationals, besides the documents required regarding the covid-19, they also need their passports (because the DNI is not enough), and a visa authorized by the Embassy or consulates of Azerbaijan.

The conditions are the same as the Mexican citizens regarding the expiration date of their visas. The only difference is that regarding the period of their travel, the Spanish citizens need to register in the Migration State Service Office.

The authorities of Azerbaijan recommend avoiding the trips to any of the liberated zones including Nagorno-Karabach without the explicit invitation from them or authorization to do so. The sanctions for those that do so go from having to pay fines, to criminal charges that may result in the deportation from Azerbaijan.

VISA PROCESS

The backbone of the Azerbaijan tourism industry relies on events such as international
sports festivals and business conferences. Moreover, the visa regime is made flexible according to the practical realities of the industry.

Azerbaijan is one of the members of the open skies agreement
Azerbaijan is one of the members of the open skies agreement

In this regard, Azerbaijan has signed Open Skies Agreement with the US to fasten the deep economic and commercial ties. The government of Azerbaijan has created an ‘ASAN’ visa system that manages visa applications within three days duration.

This system can be reached at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Azerbaijan.html#ExternalPopup.

Moreover, it has also reduced fees for single-entry tourists and transit visas to US$ 20. If the tourist is planning to spend more than 15 days, then he/she should register with State Migration System (SMS).

Visa to enter Azerbaijan
Visa to enter Azerbaijan

In 2017, the presidential decree affirmed ‘fast-track’ routes for the bordering countries
such as Turkey, Iran, Russia, and Georgia. Independent State Tourism agency is also
operating to facilitate the operations of the Ministry of Culture.

Moreover, the hospitality sector of Azerbaijan is focused more on large holding groups. Likewise, well-known western chains operate in Baku. As per the estimation of the Central Bank, 33.5 percent of tourism revenue comes from business travel.

By contrast, mid-range tourism facilities are yet to be upgraded as per international standards. Since 2012, Azerbaijan has multifaceted the dimensions of the tourism industry by focusing on event tourism.

Azerbaijan was host of Eurovision song contest
Azerbaijan was the host of the Eurovision song contest

That’s why it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest and FIFA’s World Cup for U-17 women. The list goes on and includes events such as European Games Conduction, Grand Prix events, and Islamic Solidarity Games.

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS 

Due to the covid-19 pandemic that is affecting the international community, each country imposed respective restrictions to enter into their territories; besides the restrictions imposed on the citizens.

Azerbaijan has been deeply affected by the pandemic due to the lack of modernization of health services. But since January the pressure on the hospitals and clinics of Azerbaijan started to reduce quickly to the point that the Government started to lift restrictions.

Azerbaijan requires a negative result in the PCR test for covid
Azerbaijan requires a negative result in the PCR test for covid

Azerbaijan has a list of authorized countries whose citizens are allowed to enter the territory. In the case of Mexico, the updated list in September 2021, didn’t include the American country among the authorized countries.

On the other side, Spain was part of the list among Russia, Turkey, the US, UK, Hungary, UAE, Bahrein, Qatar, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Malta, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Greece, China, Finland, Hong Kong, France, Croatia, Iceland, Italy, Malaysia, Japan, and other few countries.

The other documents that the Azeri authorities require to allow the entrance of a tourist from the authorized countries are as follow a PCR of negative result made within 72 hours before the departure to Azerbaijan (except for kids that have less than a year) and a vaccination passport for those that are 18 and older.

With those vaccination passports, the citizens and the tourists can enter malls, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and other close businesses. Like many other countries, in Azerbaijan is mandatory to have a face mask in public spaces and transports; whoever doesn’t have one will be sanctioned with a fine.

LIFT OF THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS IN AZERBAIJAN

As mentioned before, the situation in Azerbaijan regarding covid improved dramatically, so the Government decided to lift some restrictions. Those were that people in open spaces didn’t have the obligation to wear a face mask, the public transportation re-opened, alongside with malls, gyms, beaches, and sports centers.

ACCOMMODATION

As per the statistics, more than 500 ultramodern hotel facilities are operating in
Azerbaijan. And, this number is increasing day by day. The top-quality destination
places for accommodation are available in Baku, Gabala, Quba, Ganja, and Sheki.

Winter Park Hotel in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku
Winter Park Hotel in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku

Baku alone has more than 700 hotel facilities among which the Winter Park Hotel,
Intercontinental- an IHG Hotel, The Merchant, Parkway Inn Hotel & amp; Spa, City Part Hotel, and also the Midtown Hotel are the best available options. Gabala and Quba have 136 and 11 places for accommodation, respectively.

ATTRACTIONS

Azerbaijan has several attractions that are quite interesting for a tourist when thinking about his or her next destination to travel to. Those are the Center Heydar Aliyev, the old city, the Maiden Tower, the carpet museum, the Palace of the Shirvanshah, the national park of Gobustan, and the Atashgah Zoroastrian Fire Temple.

Maiden Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan
Maiden Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan

Other attractions are the Yanar Dang mountain, the Dənizkənarı Milli Park, the Seki Khans Palace, the miniature books museum, the Göygöl lake, the Mosque Bibi-Heybat, the State Museum of History in Azerbaijan, the mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan, the national museum of literature, the Nizami street, the national art museum, and the modern art museum.

Finally, the attractions that are worth seeing are the national park of Absheron, the upland park, the hirkan national park, the zoo park of Baku, Gabaland, the Heydar Mosque, the Martyrs alley, the Yeddi Gozel Waterfall, the Maralgol, the Mausoleum Diri Baba, the Filarmonic Garden, the Mausoleum Momine Khatun, and the lake Qaranohur.

UNIVERSAL AND RELIGIOUS HOLIDAYS IN AZERBAIJAN 

New Year: Azerbaijan celebrates New Year’s Day with a public holiday every 1 January, as does most of the rest of the world. Furthermore, the first time that the country celebrated it was when the Russian Empire annexed the territory in the 19th Century.

Azerbaijanis celebrate New Year’s Eve with fireworks and a countdown to midnight. They have family gatherings and feast on traditional dishes and festive wines. Children go out to see Grandfather Frost, called “Shakta Baba” in Azerbaijan with a blue coat, and to meet the Snow Maiden, called “Karkyz” in Azerbaijan.

From January 1st to 4th, the citizens have the New Year Holiday.

International Women’s Day:  On Women’s Day in Azerbaijan, men organize special gatherings and buy gifts and flowers for their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, friends, and coworkers. It is not uncommon for them to organize an elegant dinner for their female relatives or friends, or to take responsibility for household chores on this day.

NAVRUZ OR NOVRUZ CELEBRATIONS

Celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world and has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, and other regions.

The build-up to Novruz begins a month before the festival. Each of the four Tuesdays falling before Novruz is dedicated to a different element. First is Water Tuesday (Su Chershenbes), where water, a symbol of purity and renewal, melts from snow and renews nature.

Next is Fire Tuesday (Od Chershenbesi) which honors fire as a method of rebirth. Then it is Earth Tuesday (Torpaq Chershenbesi) marking the revival of the earth. Finally, it is Wind Tuesday (Hava Chershenbesi) when the wind opens the buds and marks the arrival of Spring.

Each of these Tuesdays has its khoncha, a large silver or copper tray filled as per the tradition. For instance, on Water Tuesday, the khoncha should be filled with pure drinking water.

Fire worship forms an integral part of the celebrations with fires being lit on the four Tuesdays in the run-up to Novruz. The last Tuesday, everyone has to jump over the fire as an act of purification.

Fire worships during Novruz holiday in Azerbaijan
Novruz holiday in Azerbaijan

On the day before Novruz, the graves of relatives are visited and tended, then the whole family will gather around the table to enjoy traditional dishes. The table will be decorated with a khoncha with Samani (wheat that was planted on water Tuesday) placed in the center and candles and painted eggs representing the number of family members around it.

The feast will consist of at least seven dishes. UNESCO included this holiday in the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the UN declared 21st March as the International Day of Novruz.

RAMAZAN BAYRAM

This celebration is also known as Eid al-Fitr here and in many other parts of the world. It comes on the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal, immediately following the holy month of Ramadan and a month-long period of fasting, prayer, and devotion.

Ramazan Bayram one of the most famous celebrations in Azerbaijan
Ramazan Bayram is one of the most famous celebrations in Azerbaijan

It is one of the most important of all Muslim commemorations. Ramazan Bayram lasts two or three days and is a much-anticipated time off work for many in the country.

Some will go to the local mosque for special morning prayers, and most will celebrate at home with a festive family feast. Everyone greets each other with a hearty “Happy Eid!” and, often, a formal embrace.

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS IN AZERBAIJAN 

Victory Day: Victory Day commemorates the end of World War II, the defense of the USSR from Nazi invasion, and the total collapse of the Nazi Regime.  it was already 9 May in Moscow at the time Germany surrendered, so 9 May has always been the “VE Day of the East”.

In Azerbaijan, Victory Day is a time when surviving World War II veterans put on their uniforms and their medals and come out to honor those fellow soldiers who perished in the conflict at a special monument for that purpose. There are also special ceremonies, concerts, and other events that take place all over the country throughout the day.

REPUBLIC DAY

This holiday’s basis dates back to 1918, but it wasn’t celebrated officially during the time Azerbaijan was controlled by the USSR. The Azerbaijani Republic of 1918 was short-lived (only 23 months), but Azerbaijan was the first democratic-style republic in a Muslim land.

The Azerbaijani flag is put on display everywhere, and the president and other officials preside over an official flag-raising ceremony in Baku, the capital city. The flat is hoisted before a guard of honor and right at the presidential palace.

NATIONAL SALVATION DAY

It is a public holiday in place since 1997 that marks the day in 1993 when a potentially long and bloody civil war was narrowly averted.

A rebellion broke out on 4 June of 1993, wherein the rebels demanded the ousting of the sitting Parliamentary Speaker and the Prime Minister. The rebels took over the city of Ganja and then marched toward the capital city of Baku.

National Salvation day in Azerbaijan
National Salvation day in Azerbaijan

The invitation to Heydar Aliyev to become the head of state and the fact that he negotiated with the rebels and convince them his administration would be acceptable to them, then the civil war ended abruptly.

Every 15 June, a military and veterans parade takes place. The soldiers salute the president as they march past him. And the president also gives an important speech on the need for national unity, which is aired on TV and radio all over the country.

On Salvation Day, many businesses close down, and people hold festive parties with friends and relatives, at which great feasts are enjoyed. In Baku, an elaborate fireworks display is put on along the Caspian Sea. And in remote mountainous regions, there are festivals in which people don traditional dress and dance or play games representative of the local culture.

ARMED FORCES DAY

The citizens celebrate every 26 June this day to commemorate the institution of a national military force on this date back in 1918. After the defeat of the Russian Empire, Azerbaijan declared its independence in 1918; and a month later they voted to establish its armed forces to defend its newly proclaimed freedom.

The country fell again under now Soviet rule but declared independence again in 1991, and re-stablished its armed forces.

FLAG DAY

Celebrated every 9 November, to commemorate the adoption of the first national flag in 1918. That flag was in the Parliament building after the first declaration of independence and it was later returned and raised proudly over the capital.

As interesting facts, we need to say that in 2009, a presidential decree made Flag Day an official public holiday and day of rest for Azerbaijan’s workers.

The flag of Azerbaijan consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width, the top stripe blue, the middle stripe red, and the lower stripe green. Blue refers to stand for the nation’s Turkic heritage, red for “modernization”, and green for adherence to Islam.

A white crescent moon is in the center of the flag, along with a white, eight-pointed star. The flag that waves in front of National Flag Square in Baku, is one of the largest in the world.

INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY DAY

Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis every 31 December in Azerbaijan and among the Azerbaijani diaspora in some 70 countries worldwide.

In Azerbaijan, the fall of that symbol of division prompted the border between Soviet and Iranian Azerbaijan to open on 31 December 1989. This act has ever since becoming a symbol of the unity of the Azerbaijani people.

On Solidarity Day of Azerbaijanis, government leaders in Azerbaijan give speeches encouraging unity, or “solidarity”, among all of Azerbaijan’s diverse population.

MARTYS’ DAY

Commemorates the victims of the tragic events of January 20, 1990, infamously known as Black Saturday or Black January, in which hundreds of civilians perished in Baku at the hands of Soviet troops.

In 2010, the government erected a memorial for the victims in Baku’s Yasamal District, where the name of each national hero who perished on Black January is present on Shekhid Alley (Martyrs’ Lane). Every year, citizens honor the victims by holding a large, solemn procession to the monument, they lay flowers and pay tribute to the victims.

DAY OF YOUTH IN AZERBAIJAN

Azerbaijan annually celebrates National Youth Day on February 2. The public holiday takes its origin from the First Youth Forum in 1996.

A year later, national leader Heydar Aliyev signed a decree, in which he declared that February 2 was the Day of Azerbaijani Youth. From that time Azerbaijan became the first country among the CIS and Eastern Europe states to solemnly celebrate this day.

The citizens celebrate National Youth Day with a series of events. The Voice of Youth festival will open at the International Mugham Center, as part of the holiday. The  State Agency for Public Services and Social Innovations co-organized the event.

DAY OF REMEMBRANCE FOR VICTIMS OF KHOJALY MASSACRE

The reason for this holiday was the mass killing of Azerbaijanis mostly civilians, but also armed troops by local irregular Armenian forces and the 366th Commonwealth of Independent States Guards Motor Rifle Regiment in the town of Khojaly on 26 February 1992. On this day, the country commemorates the victims.

Knowledge Day: This day marks the first day of the fall and the beginning of the new schooling year. However, this holiday in Azerbaijan is on September 15, because it’s the day when schooling begins. Organizers plan several events to celebrate Knowledge Day in Azerbaijan. Children go to school to participate in a celebratory assembly.

FESTIVALS IN AZERBAIJAN

The International World of Mugham Festival: is an annual music festival of Azerbaijani mugham music. The first festival began thanks to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s initiative, on March 18–25, 2009, in Baku. International scientific symposium, international contest of mugham singers, multiple mugham operas, symphonic and classical mugham concerts were some events of the festival.

The International World of Mugham Festival
The International World of Mugham Festival

Kara Karayev Music Festival: This was a festival that was celebrated until 2018 due to the lack of funds. At each festival, one composition of Kara Karayev sounded, who was a composer who prepared the way to develop new music in Azerbaijan, and other international composers were present in the festival.

International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival: This festival first started in 2010 to honor the memory of the Russian cello virtuoso, both as a great musician and an ardent champion of human rights. Each year, the opening ceremony of the festival starts on his birthday.

In 2019, the festival in Baku brought world-famous musicians from Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, and others. Born in Baku, Mstislav Rostropovich was an international advocate of human rights. He received the 1974 Award of the International League of Human Rights.

Gabala Music Festival: This is an annual festival of classical music that is every summer beginning in 2009 in Gabala, Azerbaijan. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation supports the festival to organize it at the initiative of the rector of the Baku Academy of Music Farhad Badalbeyli and conductor Dmitri Yablonski.

GRAPE AND WINE FESTIVAL

It took place on 30-31 August at the Shirvan Wines winery in the village of Meysari, Shamakhi, with the support of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the organizational help of several other government entities.

16 wineries were in the festival from across the country’s major winemaking regions– the Absheron, Shirvan, and Ganja-Gazakh in the west. Each showcased their finest tipples, the majority made from local Azerbaijani or Caucasian grapes.

The hosts of each pavilion keenly explained the nuances of their wines; like the grapes used and the conditions of the grapes.  Industry experts delivered degustations and sommelier workshops, a roundtable discussion tackled current issues in the industry; and gave a lecture on the history of winemaking in Azerbaijan.

Other mini-events included poetry recitals, yoga classes, and open-air film screenings. They also offered carpet-weaving talks and demos, art classes, and exhibits of pottery and shebeke; a highly skilled technique of filling wooden lattices with tiny stained-glass pieces, and an ethnic tent.

Uzeyir Hajibeyov International Music Festival: In 2009, the Government decided to hold the International Music Festival devoted to well-known Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s creativity in Baku.

PERSIMMON FESTIVAL

The first Persimmon Festival, organized by the Executive Power of Balaken District, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, and the Balkhoorma company is held in the city of Balaken.

The Ministry organizes two-day festive events in Heydar Aliyev Park. Guests can see various products from persimmon, organized exhibitions, performances of folk groups, musicians, and singers.

International Baku Jazz Festival: Baku Jazz Festival has been held since 2005 and has proved itself as one of the biggest events of the capital for more than a decade.

In 2006, the list of the biggest jazz festivals in the world added the Baku Jazz Festival to the names. Since 2017 Baku Jazz Festival is a joins the Europe Jazz Network. Since 2018 Baku Jazz Festival is a member of the UNESCO International Jazz day celebration.

POMENAGRATE FESTIVAL 

The Azerbaijan Pomegranate Festival in Goychay celebrates this healthful, luscious fruit and the impact it has had on Azerbaijani life and culture. As a symbol of love and fertility; many dedicated songs and poems to it, and carpet patterns and wall hangings replicate its form.

Goychay has more than 67 types of pomegranates that grow there. The region is now famous as the staging ground for the Azerbaijan Pomegranate Festival; known locally as Nar Bayrami. The event has helped to develop Goychay’s cultural and tourist potential since 2006.

The citizens celebrate the festival annually during the pomegranate season in October or November. The precise date has to coincide with the harvest. The Goychay Pomegranate Festival offers guests traditional concerts, cultural performances, dancing, and even a magic show.

Visitors can enjoy theme-based games, most notably a pomegranate-eating contest and juice-squeezing competition. The final events are a closing concert and a fireworks show. In 2020; UNESCO included the Azerbaijan Pomegranate Festival in Goychay on its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

APPLE FESTIVAL AND MAIDEN TOWER INTERNATIONAL ART FESTIVAL

Is in Azerbaijan’s northern region of Guba. The annual festival attracts visitors from across the country and foreign travelers. Foreign tourists try to catch up with this colorful and ‘tasty’ event. Dozens of farmers and gardeners brought to the festival their best apples. Furthermore, they compete in various competitions, such as the biggest apple or the most delicious apple jam.

The Festival was first celebrated in 2010, with the help of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation. It is an annual festival that wants to promote one of the ancient buildings of Baku, Maiden Tower. The main artworks are of Azerbaijan’s symbols: Maiden Tower, Gazelles.

AMENITIES
  • Safety
    Azerbaijan is one of the safest countries for tourists in terms of low crime rates.
    Responsible authorities have guaranteed the safety of tourists. This has enabled
    tourists to easily tour and explore the awe-inspiring destinations of Azerbaijan. In case
    of any emergency, 102 is a required police number which is available 24 hours a day.
  • Shopping
    Furthermore, Azerbaijan is the most suitable place for affordable shopping. It has a variety of markets having almost every kind of international goods and designer boutiques. The state-of-the-art malls, traditional bazaars, antique shops, and well-stocked crafts are truly an amazing experience to go for. Azerbaijan is also famous for the carpet industry for which exporters need an export certificate. Park Bulvar, 28 Mall, and Port Baku Mall are commendable options for shopping.
Park Bulvar Mall from the outside
Park Bulvar Mall from the outside
FURTHER AMENITIES OF AZERBAIJAN
  • Cost-Efficiency and Money Transaction
    Azerbaijan has one of the most cost-effective markets and shopping malls. An average
    stay in Baku, the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan, costs cheaper than any other
    European city. The service sector of efficient hotels and rental agencies is providing
    comfortable prices for top-quality services. This has added a bonus to the powerhouse
    of Azerbaijan’s tourist industry.
    The currency of Azerbaijan is manat (AZN). Card payment and ATM facilities are
    accessible in almost every market. Changing money back is not an issue there.
  • Internet Facilities
    The hotel and rental sector provides internet facilities. Many hotels even provide
    business centers with computers included in the price. Few hotels may charge for the Wi-Fi connection but many provide it for free. Even cafes don’t charge for the internet
    connection.
  • Transportation
    The rail system is more used in Azerbaijan. Stations have every accessory
    and trains run every two to three minutes. Cleanliness protocols are strictly
    recommended by the concerned authorities.

Moreover, Buses are comparatively costly in Azerbaijan. One bus journey may cost 30 gepiks due to which taxi can be an alternative option. Metro is available in Baku only. Recently, Baku introduced a line of red buses which will facilitate tourism most comfortably.

AVAILABLE PACKAGES

TOUR TO THE NATURAL RESERVE GOBUSTAN: Offered by Exploring Tourism it has a duration of 3 hours and 50 minutes to see the rocks of Gobustan, the mud volcanoes, and the interactive museum.

The rocks reflect the history of this region for nearly 15,000 years. That period is from the end of the era of the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Of particular interest are the images of multi-oar boats, with a light source at the stern. The scientifics discovered and studied nearly 4,000 petroglyphs.

Tour to the Winery in Novkhani village: The tour to the winery has a duration of 4 hours that includes a trip to the winery in the outskirts of Baku offers a unique opportunity for everyone to get acquainted with winery craft, learn the culture, technology, and ancient traditions of the production of the famous Azerbaijani wines and observe the production process.

Tour the Winery in Novkhani village
Tour the Winery in Novkhani village

During the break, guests will be able to taste the different varieties of Azerbaijani wines and cheeses.

Mardakan Village Excursion Tour: This tour has a duration of 4 hours and 50 minutes around Baku, and different Museums and Fortresses.

Azerbaijan- Pearl of the East: This one has a duration of 7 days and 6 nights. It starts a day after the arrival of the guest to Baku, the next day they make the city tour. Day 3 is to explore Gobustan-Ateshgah-Gala, and then the next day is to Baku – Lahij – Sheki.

On day 5, the guests will explore Sheki and everything it has to offer. Then on day 6, the guests will return to Baku where they will sleep. Finally, on the last day, the guests will leave the hotel.

TRAVEL AGENCIES

Furthermore, Azerbaijan has several agencies to book tours and trips like Sakura, Intrepid, Explore, Sundowners Overland, Advantour, World Expeditions, Expat Explore. One of the most famous is Exploring Tourism, where they offer different packages.

COST

Depending on the days of the travel, staying three days in a hotel with three and a half stars; and a flight included for a Spanish family has a cost of 1.860,05€ totally for a family of four. In a four-star hotel, the price increases to 1980€ with the flight included as well.

On the other side, for a Mexican family, the price increases dramatically. That is because the night costs $1710 per member of the family; in the same four-star hotel, leaving a total cost of 6840 € already having the flight.

In three and a half star hotel, the cost would be around 1423.93 € per night; which means a total of 5,695,72€. The prices will vary for both depending on the tours that the families want to make. Those variations will also affect the number of people that make the trip to Azerbaijan.

 

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