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One of the most popular and wide-spread forms of recreation is tourism. Every year, thousands of people join to travel fans and thus tourism gets a wide scope. Tourism is not just the interest and fashion. It is vital demand that people get accustomed for the last 20-25 years.

Stages of the trade caravans in Azerbaijan in an ancient and Middle Ages. First travels to Azerbaijan were related with trade, religious, political and comprehension purposes. Motions of trade caravans passing through the territory of ancient Azerbaijan can be considered as first travels. Yet in ancient times Azerbaijan was known as a country of an important stop on the Great Silk Road.

The country has not lost its geographical position to this day, and was one of the initiators of the restoration of the Great Silk Road. The Great Silk Road connecting East and West during 2000 years began to restore its historical significance, and is capable to play a role of bridge as 1000 years ago among different cultures and civilizations. 

After Azerbaijan gained its independence a stage in the development of the resort has began. Thus, in 2007, the President of Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on the state program "Azerbaijani resorts". In addition, in 2009, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan adopted a decision on the approval of "Provisions on exemplary resorts".

The relief of Azerbaijan creates quite favorable conditions for the formation of a warm mild climate on the most part of the country. Azerbaijan contains 9 out of the 11 climatic zones.  Changes and durations of the seasons in Azerbaijan are not clearly defined. Spring begins at the beginning of March in lowlands and the Absheron Peninsula. Summer lasts from the end of May and till mid- or even the end of October when the weather is dry and hot in the lowlands.

Mountaineering is very common in the country, as Azerbaijan is a mountainous country. Mountains cover about 60% of the country.

Mountains of Great and Minor Caucasus cover Azerbaijan with semicircle from the north to the south-east. They are to some extent protect the country from the cold winds and make the country's climate warmer. The height of mountain ranges in the Great Caucasus exceeds 4000 meters above sea level. So here are often visited by people who cannot imagine their life without climbing and climbing to mountaintops. There are all conditions for them in Azerbaijan: recreation facility at the foot of mountain ranges is waiting climbers, transportation system is well established. Tourists are always guided by experienced instructors and guides.

In addition to mountain climbing, tourists who visited these places have the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful nature of mountainous Azerbaijan, see the life, way of life and traditions of the local people and breathe some clean mountain air.

Shahdag - the pearl of tourism industry in Azerbaijan. Across the centuries, the north-east corner of Azerbaijan has served as the gateway between Europe and the Middle East. Here, in the shadow of the majestic Caucasus Mountains, hides untold natural beauty. Pristine glaciers and deep ravines, stunning mountain lakes and canyons, and an ecological treasure trove of plants and animals. This is Shahdag in all its splendour. With a climate favouring year-round sports and leisure, Shahdag ranges from winter lows of -20°C to pleasant summer evenings of 20°C. An incomparable location for one of the world’s largest national parks, and within it, one of the region’s largest ski resorts. Breathtakingly beautiful, a haven hidden from time, Shahdag is an experience not soon forgotten.

With no less than 19 ski slopes planned, suitable for a wide range of experience levels, the Shahdag Mountain Resort presents world-class skiing at a breathtaking 2500 metres above sea level. The Resort’s own ski school offers experienced private instructors for beginners as well as advanced skiers.

In addition to skiing, the slopes also provide exciting opportunities for snowboarding and snow mobiling. Other winter activities, especially suited for young children, include quad biking and bouncy castles and snow tubing. Additionally, the Resort’s Spa will provide a refreshing break from the snow and ice.

Rich natural resources and natural diversity give excellent opportunities for development of different spheres of tourism. 

Azerbaijan is famous for its oil and gas deposits. 2/3 of the republic is rich in oil and gas. The world-famed oil of Naftalan cures a number of diseases.

The country is also rich in mineral waters, with different chemical ingredients. Due to that Azerbaijan is called the museum of mineral water. Istisu (in Kelbedjar), Badamly and Sirab (in Nakhichevan AR) are famed mineral water. Mud volcanoes also attract a great number of tourists visiting our country.

Salt mountain of Nakhchivan

It is one of the symbols of Nakhchivan. His natural resources make 90 million tones. This mountain being the only one in the world is famous both for its pure salt and healing peculiarities. They say that the salt was extracted here 6 thousand years ago. Before world-wide known "Silk Way" there was "Salt Way" extending from Nakhchivan to the countries of Middle East. The salt was transported from here to these countries.

Here operates the Salt Mountain Physiotherapy Center which is famous all over the world.

Yanardag (Burning Mountain)

It is considered one of the wonders of the world. Before the religion of Islam Yanardag was a place of religious faith and a shrine for fire worshippers. There are a lot of legends and rumours about this monument. 

Not far away from Yanardag i.e. 200 meters south there is a weak volcano erupting and scattering around water with slime. When bringing a lighter nearer to the mixture of the volcanic water and sulphur trioxide that comes out of the earth one can see burst of a fire for a moment. The fire burning around the monument can reach the height of 10-15 meters. The glitter of the fire is clearly seen in winter.

GOBUSTAN PETROGLYPHS - AN OUTDOOR MUSEUM

Prehistoric rock drawings - petroglyphs - are an art "archive" of the human evolution on Earth. There are a few of such outdoor "archives" in Azerbaijan. One of them, the largest, is located in Gobustan. It is a rocky massif on the bottom of the southeast part of the Great Caucasus Range, near the Caspian Sea and a modern highway built on the ancient Shirvan road. A great number of rock drawings, dwellings, ancient settlement sites and mounds have been found here.

Khynalyq and people of Khynalyq

The people of Khynalyq is one of the ethnic nations of Azerbaijan. Among the ethnic minorities in Azerbaijan they are distinguished with unique ethnographic features. This ethnos belongs to the Caucasian language family, and for their location around Shahdag they are called in historical and ethnographic literature as "Shahdag peoples". The people of Khynalyq are considered to be the most ancient inhabitants of Azerbaijan. This ethnos has the only language and the settlement in the world. In other words, in the ethnic map of the world there is only one village of Khynalyq and its language, which belongs to the Guba region of Azerbaijan.

Azykh cave

The cave is situated in Khojavand region of Azerbaijan. Unfortunately it should be pointed out that Azerbaijan territory under the cave where the most ancient men used to live has been under occupation since 1993 and there is no information on the state of the cave after the occupation. The square of the Azykh cave is 800 km2. There are 8 corridors of 600 m length here. The height of some corridors is up to 20 m. The Azykh cave is one of the biggest ones discovered in the world till now.

If the shape of Azerbaijan on a map is similar to a bird flying towards the sea then the bird's "beak" would be the Absheron peninsula with an ancient and ever young city situated on its southwest coast. The city is Baku - the capital of Azerbaijan. Absheron and Baku feature major transport lines: International Airport n.a. Heydar Aliev, a big port in the Baku Bay (the biggest on the whole Caspian Sea), Baku Railway station and highways connecting the capital with the rest of the country. So, it is not surprising that this city is especially popular with the tourists.

Attracting a great interest among guests of Baku is the temple of Zoroastrians - Ateshgah (the house of fire) in the village of Surakhany (17th century). It is situated on a rock where natural emergences of gas on the surface have been burning for thousands of years. Near the village of Muhammedli one can observe an interesting natural phenomenon -the emergence of burning natural gases at the bottom of the mountains. The place is called Yanar Dag (The Burning Mountain"). In ancient times there were many such places in Azerbaijan.

Among historical monuments of Baku the most exciting is the Old City - Icheri Sheher, surrounded by large fortress walls from three directions. There is a palace of Shirvanshahs with a complex of various structures: a burial vault, palace, mosque, Divan-khane, the Mausoleum of Seyd Yakhya Bakuvi (mausoleum of a dervish) - a court scientist. The palace was built by Shirvanshah Khalilullah I (1417-1462) and his son Farrukh Yasar (1462-1501). An interesting monument of antiquity is Juma Mosque with the inscription of Sultan Oldzhaytu (13th century). In the narrow streets of Icheri Sheher where the width of passages between houses are often reduced to the width of stretched arms, there are many little shops where one can buy ancient and modern wares of local craftsmen: carpets, ceramics, copperware etc. Here in Icheri Sheher, in buildings of the ancient caravanserais there are restaurants where one can taste the meals of Azerbaijani national cuisine.

Viewing the city from above, from the Upland Park of from the direction of the sea it is easily seen that the city's shape resembles an amphitheater on the slopes of rocky hills, it is like a bowl on the sea coast. Rising above at the edge of Icheri Sheher, near the big Baku Boulevard is one of the most famous historical-architecture monuments of the country, a symbol of Baku, Giz Galasy (Maiden's Tower).

International Mugham Center

Mugham center is opened at the seaside National Park in Baku. The form of the building reminds of the tar parts that is one of the ancient musical instruments of Azerbaijan. The Equipment necessary for the building constructed using the state-of-the art technology was brought from Italy, Austria, France and Turkey. It is the first Mugham Center in the world.

Miniature Book Museum

The miniature museum was opened on April 23, 2002. The museum was established in Baku at the date of the International Book and Copyright Day marked in the world each year by the decision of UNESCO. The museum is the world's first private museum of Miniature Books.

The exposition of the museum was placed in 27 showcases. 3750 miniature books published in 60 countries were exhibited in showcases. The book fund of the museum has more than 5300 miniature publications. They were collected by founder of the museum Zarufa Salahova during more than twenty years.
People coming to the museum can be acquainted with miniature books published in Azerbaijan, Russia, USA, Japan, England, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Cuba, Switzerland and the former Soviet republics.

Taking into account the favorable geographical position of Azerbaijan, passing of many historical routes like "Silk Road" through the territory of Azerbaijan, today Azerbaijan takes part in tourism routes from west to east, north to south. More than 100 tourism companies covering all regions of the republic are engaged in accommodation of foreign tourists and servicing local population with tourist services, and 149 hotels have been officially registered. Private treatment and resort centers with modern level were given for use in the regions suitable for tourism and recreation. The number of foreign tourists visited the republic passed the 1 million people. 

 

 

Source:     www.president.az  

                   www.mct.gov.az                  

                   www.mfa.gov.az                       

                   www.azerbaijan.travel                    

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