A is for Azerbaijan
Wondering what to do in Azerbaijan? Maybe you’re wondering what and where Azerbaijan even is? Azerbaijan is a small-ish country best described as being in the Caucuses. It is close to Georgia and Armenia so planning a trip to all three might be a good idea. However, you should be aware of political tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia. This means they have no diplomatic ties and no border crossings between the two. It’s best to have Georgia in the middle, or to fly.
This is a Series!
Now that I know all the countries in the world and where they are, I want to actually learn about them! As a part of this series I want to choose a country from every letter of the alphabet I don’t know enough about, and write about it. Details on things I might want to do, a little history maybe, a bit of the language? Who knows! I think it’s important, as a traveler, to be cognizant of the different cultures in the world.
What to Do in Azerbaijan?
I think it is always important to check out the capital anywhere I go. Baku, the capital, has an “Old Town” section which is a UNESCO listed site. In the Old Town there are many buildings and mosques dating back centuries! Also in Baku there is the Palace of Shirvanshahs, where ancient Azerbaijani kings lived in the middle ages. For once, Soviet country, Baku appears to maintain a stunning mix of ancient and modern. I always love to get a feel for cities by taking a short river cruises or walking tours – and Baku has harbor tours on the Caspian Sea! Sounds like a lot of fun 😀
Of course, just staying in the capital is never something I could recommend. In fact, I don’t feel as if I’ve actually been to a county unless I’ve seen at least one smaller city or had the ability to venture into the countryside. For instance, I stayed in the much smaller city of Blois in France, randomly picked off the map by a fellow Tumbleweed. Getting a feel for the day-to-day life of the average citizen is important for me to understand the culture.
Azerbaijan really seems to capture all of my interests within the country – I love anything pre-historic so seeing the petroglyphs in Qobustan will be a must. I also love minority languages, so hearing the language of the town of Xinaliq, Ketsh, sounds super fun. Not only that, but Xinaliq is, if counted as part of Europe, the highest-in-elevation town in Europe!
People generally either speak Azerbaijani (a language from the Turkic family) or Russian. However, as noted above, there is a minority language of Ketsh. Besides Ketsh there are many other minority languages to be heard (as is typical of languages getting trapped in the Caucuses) such as Avar, Juhuri, Budukh, and many more! I would love to travel around all of Azerbaijan to hear each of these languages. Perhaps that is how I would theme a future trip to Azerbaijan! Wouldn’t it be cool if I recored snippets from each of these languages from native speakers?!
Buses are fairly common but can be highly infrequent in some areas, only running once or twice a day! However, it appears that taxis are fairly common and relatively inexpensive. In Baku there is a metro 🙂
I have always wanted to go to Georgia and Armenia, but after doing this research on Azerbaijan, I now really want to visit! By researching Azerbaijan, I was also introduced to several other territories that are breakaway regions. I’m always fascinated by such places, so Nagorno Karabagh is now of interest to me as well. Perhaps if I eventually get through all the countries A-Z I’ll start on regions such as this!
*The main image for this post is from a royalty-free website, I did not take it as I have not yet been to Azerbaijan. As such, I do not know if they are edited.