Why waste time in wishing, says Kavita Sarmah. Why not live, laugh and love? And one of the most amazing places to visit is Azerbaijan. Here are few things to do in Azerbaijan that will make you stop wishing and start living!
Azerbaijan, set in the Caucuses range, is a country that showcases a blend of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, which makes it a vibrant concoction of diverse cultures and people. From serene seaside resorts to ancient, historical mosques and monuments, this country has an abundance of wonderfulness to offer its visitors. Here are just some of the amazing things to to do in Azerbaijan.
5 Things To Do In Azerbaijan
Also called the ‘Land of Fire’, Azerbaijan lives up to its name with mud volcanoes at Dasgil hills and the blazing mountain on the Absheron Peninsula. If you are visiting anytime soon, here are top 5 things to do in Azerbaijan.
#1 Spend A Mystical Evening at Ateşgah Fire Temple
If you have an inclination towards spirituality and a fascination for history, you should not miss out on the Ateşgah Fire Temple, one of Azerbaijan’s most marvelous and exotic sights. Located 30 km away from the center of Baku, in the suburban area of Surakhany, the 18th century temple is said to be built by Indian Shiva devotees, who set it around a natural gas vent that was sacred to Zoroastrians for many centuries.
This temple has a twisted but fascinating history. The devotees who lived in the pentagonal surrounding caravanserai were known to perform monastic rituals such as dragging extremely heavy chains and lying down on hot coals. These outlandish acts are depicted with many mannequins inside the museum section of the temple. However, the temple’s main attraction and centerpiece is the eternally flaming stone hearth; the natural flame was extinguished in 1969 and the fire is now fed by Baku’s main gas supply. The fire temple has a mystical, mysterious vibe to it, which is inexplicably captivating making it a must visit spot for tourists!
#2 Stroll Through The Museum Of Miniature Books
The Museum of Miniature Books in Baku is the only museum that showcases miniature versions of books. This museum holds the private collection of Zarifa Salahova, siste of a famous Azerbaijani soviet and painter. A big portion of the books is also donated by an Ukrainian collector, who accorded his tiny books to Salahova in 2001. The museum has thousands of mini books, including miniature editions of Chukovsky, Gogol and Pushkin. The oldest book in the museum is a 17th century Quran.
If you’re looking for adventure, this may not be your best choice, but this museum is great when you have some down time for yourself. The unique museum of tiny books is not one that can be replicated, so if you are in the area, do make time to browse through the vintage architecture and heartwarming stories.
#3 Relax By The Scenic Seaside In Baku
The city of Baku rests perfectly in a natural cove on a peninsula, which extends out to the Caspian Sea. If you’re looking for things to do in Azerbaijan, choose to stroll around Baku Boulevard – Dənizkənarı Milli Park in Azerbaijani, which is a promenade that runs alongside the seaside. The wide pedestrian promenade looks divine bathed in the morning sunshine, when it is usually packed with carefree cyclists, dog-walkers, rollerblading enthusiasts and people taking a stroll.
Along the route, you will come across many beautiful sights that add to the entire experience! You would see the ‘Baku Eye’ ferris wheel; the petal-shaped Caspian Waterfront building, inspired by the sails of the Sydney Opera House. As simple as it sounds, this experience will fill your heart with contentment and rejuvenate your mind for the rest of your time in Azerbaijan.
#4 Indulge In The Aromatic Food Of Azerbaijan
Since 2015, Azerbaijan’s currency value has halved against the value of the British pound. As a result, food in Azerbaijan, among other things, is so cheap that even backpackers can feast like royals, and you absolutely ought to! Don’t miss out on amazing restaurants like Mayak 13 and Paris Bistro in Baku, or the Şirvanşah Muzey Restoran, which is also a beautiful ethnographic museum. Among all the sumptuous things to do in Azerbaijan, make sure you try the Qutab, where layers of dough are turned into a savory pancake, filled with minced meat, vegetables or cheese and cooked in hot butter. Dig into a generous serving of Dolma, a dish made of tomatoes, aubergines or cabbage leaves stuffed with succulent, spiced meat. Wrap up your meal with a slice of sweet, fragrant Pakhlava pastry and a nice cup of black tea!
#5 Soak In The Sunshine At Beautiful Nabran
Last but not the least, visiting Nabran should definitely be on your list of things to do in Azerbaijan. Nabran is a village and resort zone just on the outskirts of Baku towards the northeast. The village lies on the banks of the Caspian Sea and is the perfect place to show off your vacation-vibes! With plenty of sunshine, a variety of open-water activities balanced by swimming pools, Nabran boasts of beautiful, perfect weather in the summer. You can spend the day in water, then put on your fancy clothes and spend a low-key evening at a bar, restaurant or even a thriving pub to make the most of Azerbaijan’s happy night-life.
Azerbaijan’s cultural diversity, fabulous weather and irresistible cuisine together make it the perfect holiday destination. These are just some of the best things to do in Azerbaijan, but obviously, there is much more to this exquisite place. Make space on your calendar and enjoy some time in Azerbaijan; we hope you have the time of your life here!
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Kavita Sarmah is an artist, optimism and a tea person. Life to her is writing in empty cafés, mindlessly strumming the ukulele and starry, cinematic skies. Follow her on Instagram: @kavitasarmah