From the time Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the region has been developing fast as a major tourist center. Every city & region in the country has got its own related testimonials and experiences, which focus on the region's ancient history. Also with time, new construction projects along with improved technology are coming together to provide a wonderful blend of contemporary services & entertainment and classic Azerbaijani culture & history.
The capital of Azerbaijan, where past and present intricately intertwined, have always attracted tourists. Of particular interest to guests of Baku is Old City, enclosed within the fortress walls, or Icheri Sheher (Inner City). This open-air museum, together with famous Maiden Tower (XII c.) located here is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
* Icheri Sheher (Old Inner City)
Icheri Sheher or the Old Inner City is the oldest part of Baku and is surrounded by fortification walls dating back to the 9th century. The streets inside the historical core of the city have been designed to block the strong winds coming from the Caspian Sea.
* Shirvanshahlar Sarayi (Shirvanshahs Palace)
The Palace of the Shirvanshahs, located in Baku, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 15th century by the Shirvanshah dynasty. This monument is the biggest piece of architecture under the Shirvan-Absheron branch and includes the main building, Divan Khana, The Mausoleum, The Palace Mosque and The Palace Bath-house. The construction of the palace was initiated under the rule of Ibrahim I of Shirvan dynasty.
* Maiden Tower (Qiz Qalasi)
The Maiden Tower is one of the most dominant architectural pieces, due to its vague design and the stories that surround it. Said to be built in the 12th century originally on the shore of Caspian Sea (later due to land reclamation, the tower is no more near the Caspian Sea), it was supposed to serve as a watch tower. But the construction and architecture, points the needle to nearly 2,500 years back. It's an important part of Azerbaijani history considering that it features on the country's currency notes and other documents.
* Public Baths (Hamam)
A hamam or public bath is a type of a sauna that originated in the Middle East. In Baku, the main "hamam" lies near the Baku Soviet Metro railway station as it is the oldest public bath in the city. Known as Hamam Mahallesi, different days are allotted for men and women with Monday's and Friday's for women and the rest of the days for men. Another public bath, only for men, is located in the old town and is known by the name of Teze Bey Hamami.
Absheron peninsula covering an area of 8 thousand square kilometers is an important industrial and agricultural region of Azerbaijan. Climate of the peninsula is mainly dry subtropical with mild winter and hot summer. Washed by Caspian Sea Absheron is especially famous for its sandy beaches and numerous suburban settlements. It is a favorite place of summer pastime of metropolitan residents.
* Fire Temple ( Atashgah )
The Atashgah Fire Temple or the Fire Temple of Baku is situated at Surakhani near Baku. This castle-style temple was nominated for World Heritage Site status in 1998 and declared a historical-architectural reserve by decree by the Azeri President in 2007. The inscriptions in either Sanskrit or Punjabi state that the place was a Hindu place of worship, unlike claims indicating it was a Zoroastrian Fire Temple. Today, it houses a museum and is no longer used as a temple.
* Yanar Dag (Burning mountain)
Yanar Dag, translated as the "burning mountain" is a hillside near Baku that continuously vents flames of fire all year round, a process that has been going around for 1000 years. Natural gas vents on the sides of the mountain make sure that the flames don't subdue despite of rain.
* Gobustan (Qobustan)
Sixty km south of Baku, on an area of 537 hectares, there is one of the world's largest ancient petroglyphs collections counting more than 4,000 petroglyphs. In the Gobustan National Historical-Artistic Reserve one can see the settlements of the ancient people, the remains of the large prehistoric Stone Circle and other evidences of the Stone Age and later inhabitants of the region. Gobustan petroglyphs were repeatedly investigated by the famous Norwegian explorer and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl, who recognized local boats petroglyphs as the oldest known images of pirogue in the world.
* Mud Volcano
"Mud volcanoes," also known as "sedimentary volcanoes" or "gas - oil volcanoes," are close cousins to magmatic volcanoes. Just like magmatic volcanoes, they can erupt powerfully and hurl flames to great heights (sometimes even several hundred of meters). They spew out millions of cubic meters of hydrocarbon gases and tons of mud. Mud volcanoes also exist on the floor of the sea and can form islands and banks that alter the topography and shape of the coastline and even trigger earthquakes.
The Ismayilli region, located to the north of the country, was part of Caucasian Albania since IV c. B.C. Here, on the top of the highest mountain there are ruins of a medieval fortress. Its creation is associated with the name Dzhavanshir, the ruler of Caucasian Albania (VII century). Another famous historical monument in the area is the Maiden Tower (VII-XII century), fortification, located on the top of the impregnable hill. Ismayilli is rich in folk art traditions. People of Ismayilli belong to many different nations and ethnic groups.
* Lahij town
Lahij is a notable place in Azerbaijan, with its authentic handicrafts traditions, particularly related to copper. The village's carpet and rug crafts are also well known in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus. Lahij has an old sewage system (some experts claim that it was built 1000 – 1500 years ago). Due to frequent earthquakes local people have developed sophisticated and authentic construction techniques.
Hiking is the best things to do in the Great Caucasus Mountains. There are many hiking & walking tours in Babadag Mountain (3629m). Such as the Niyal Waterfalls, Offroad in Babadagh by 4X4 and etc. One of the most and unforgettable trip is a village tour around of Lahij town with a local Azerbaijan Samovar tea "Chay" and "Kebabs".
Its location is one of the closest to the capital regions of Azerbaijan. Due to its good location (168 km from Baku) and rich infrastructure, the Guba region is one of the favorite tourist destinations. Visitors have long chosen Gechresh place where you can relax in the shady woods, Tangaalti gorge where the river carries Velvelichai stormy waters, the famous waterfall Afurdzhi that is listed in Monuments of Azerbaijani Nature List. The district has a unique mountain village Khinalig, located at an altitude of 2500 m. above sea level. The population of the village is a separate ethnographic group, with its own language
* Khinalig village
It is located just north of Quba in the middle of the Greater Caucasus mountains that divide Russiaand the South Caucasus. Khinalig is also the highest, most remote and isolated village in Azerbaijan and among the highest in the Caucasus
Khinalig is among the most ancient and continuously inhabited places in the world, with history of over 5,000 years.There are also many ancient holy caves of early humans.
One of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, Sheki is rightly called the architectural reserve of the country. Of particular interest to the tourists from all over the world is the Palace of Sheki Khans (1762) – a rare example of combining the national and palace architecture traditions. It is remarkable that during the construction of the palace, not a single nail was used, and the colored glass for shebeke (national mosaic) was brought from Venice.
* Khan Saray (Khan Palace)
Khan Sarayi has been the summer residence of the famous Sheki Khans and its palace, gardens and fortification walls has been constructed by Khan Hussein. The palace offers a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and you can also have a look at the tea house, parks and museums nearby the palace.
* Karvan Saray (Karavan Palace)
Karvan Saray that was built by the Sheki Khans. The Karvan Saray was built as a resting place for the caravans that passed along the Silk Road through Azerbaijan. The Karvan Saray has been decorated with traditional stained "Shebeke" glass and frescoes and finds its notation among many poems of Ajerbaijan.
* Juma Masjid
The Juma Masjid is a mosque built in the 16th century. Like any other mosque, it includes all regular features like the place where the Imam gives his lecture, mihrab pointing towards Mecca, and minarets through which Islamic followers are called during prayer rituals. But the highlight of this mosque is the 40m tall spire from where one can hear echo of a prayer.
* Silk Factory
Sheki has been an important city along the Silk Road and a major manufacturer in silk products for the last four centuries. It's difficult to see the working of the Silk Factory which is situated nearby the town, but one can buy silk items from the adjacent store.
Hiking is great in the northern region of Azerbaijan with a wide range of hiking & walking routes available. In Sheki there are many hiking trails such as the Sheki-Bash Kyungyut-Bideiz-Sheki route,Sheki-Kish-"Gelersen-Gorersen" fortress-Sheki route, Sheki-Oraban-Bashkeldek-Keshnazar-Gyurgala-Sheki route and the Sheki-Ortazeyzit-Bashzeyzit-Quzuyolu-Khanyaylagi-Markhal-Sheki route. The mountains, vivid scenery, bonding with local Azerbaijani's, having the local "Chay" and "kebabs", is a dream come true.
Ganja is the second largest city in the country, a monument of the ancient culture, the industrial center of western Azerbaijan. City with a history that goes back to 494 BC (in 2013 Ganja celebrates 2507 anniversary) is of great interest for tourists. This area has a rich natural, cultural and historical heritage.
* Nizami's mausoleum (Tomb of Nizami)
Situated just outside the city of Ganja, the tomb was built in honour of poet and writer Nizami Ganjavi. The monument was rebuilt in 1991 on the existing old structure which dated back to the 1940's. The mausoleum is 20m tall and the area surrounding it displays the poet's books inscribed on metal.
* Bottle House
In the city of Ganja, lies a two storied building, aptly named "Bottle House". It is decorated with nearly 50,000 glass bottles. A private family house, the decorations include a portrait of a member of the family.
* Juma Mosque of Ganja (Shah Abbas)
The Shah Abbas or Juma Mosque includes two a 17th century minarets built as a tribute to the independence of Ganja from the Osman Empire. The red bricked building has been designed by Sheykh Baga-ud-din and has been decorated by "Shebke" stained glass paintings.
* Goy Gol Nature
Goygol district located in the western part of Azerbaijan is one of the most picturesque regions of the country. The State Goygol reserve is located on the banks of the famous Goygol lake. The climate in this area is mostly cold and winters as a rule are always dry. An average annual temperature ranges between 4 – 10 degrees. The centre of the district formerly was called Elenendorf. It was founded by German colonists in August 22, 1819 at the place of an ancient village Hanlyglar that later formed a base of Hanlar city. Now Goygol district illustrates the friendship between Azerbaijan and German nations. A lot of work was done here to preserve the German heritage.
Lankaran / Lenkoran
Lankaran is located in the south-eastern part of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. This is one of the brightest and most beautiful cities in the country. Exquisite architecture, a wonderful climate and beautiful natural landscapes are the hallmarks of this city. The fertile soil serves to the prosperity of agriculture, the presence of hot springs attracts tourists and people who want to improve their health and a long history and an abundance of historical and cultural attractions do not leave fans of Antiquities indifferent.
* Tomb of Seyid Khalifa
The tombs of Seyid Khalifa are situated in the village of Jil, nearby Lankaran. The tombs are supposed to have been built in the 19th century with tall and heavy stones / slabs inscribed with pictures of arrows, shields, words, footprints and hands. The place is famous because it is the burial place for many religious saints who came to Lankaran to spread Islam.
* Yanar Bulag
Yanar Bulag, meaning "burning spring" is a hot water spring that emits water and fire simultaneously. The water is said to have remedial properties. It is located on the highway that joins Lankaran and Astara.
* Ballabur Castle
Nearby Lankaran is the Ballabur village where once stood the ancient Bazz castle used by Khuramid chief, Babek to defend his kingdom against Arab invasion. Babek lost and was beheaded and the castle was also demolished, but its remains can still be seen.
* Gizil Agaj State National Reserve
Spread around 88,360 hectares, this reserve is home to thousands of land and aquatic animals, both resident and migrants. Rare species of migratory birds such as flamingos, ducks and swans fly from Eastern countries during winter to Azerbaijan.