Azerbaijan, the Land of Fire, an exotic country in western Asia and eastern Europe.
For many travellers, Azerbaijan is not always the first country that comes to mind when planning a holiday. But it’s time to think again! This hidden gem is full of historical and cultural heritage, hospitable locals and endless sights to see.
And now, with the introduction of an eVisa for tourists, it is even easier to visit the country.
In this guide, we’ll share some of our top Azerbaijan travel tips and fill you in on how to get your visa.
What was Azerbaijan previously called?
Azerbaijan was previously known as east Transcaucasia. It was part of Transcaucasia which consisted of 3 countries – Georgia, Romania and Azerbaijan.
How was Azerbaijan founded?
Azerbaijan is surrounded by Russia to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, Iran to the south. Armenia in the west and Georgia to the northwest. Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan and has the biggest harbour on the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan was an independent country in 1918 and then became part of the Soviet Union in 1920 and became independent again in 1991.
What is Azerbaijan famous for?
Azer means fire. Infernos have a lot of ties with Azerbaijan culture, from the flame towers to Zoroastrian fire temples and burning water. One of the most famous sites to see is Yanar Dag – Burning Mountain.
Azerbaijani Language And Religion
The official language of Azerbaijan is Azerbaijani, it belongs to the Turkic family of languages. The majority of people from Azerbaijan speak Russian as their second language.
Younger Azerbaijanis are also starting to learn English.
The main religion in Azerbaijan is Muslim with almost 94% of the population identifying as Muslims.
Azerbaijan is home to one-third of the world’s mud volcanoes. The volcanoes bubble and spit thick grey mud and they are spectacular to watch but don’t get too close! You can visit these volcanoes in Gobustan national park.
Heydar Aliyev Center
Heydar Aliyev Center is one of the signature architectural landmarks of modern Baku. The centre includes a museum, auditorium, exhibition halls and administrative offices. It is definitely one to visit for its distinctive architecture and curves.
Also known as ‘fire mountain’, Yanardag is a fire that burns at the base of a mountain from the gases escaping from deep underneath it.
The gases mix with oxygen and ignite. It is believed to have been burning for many years. Tourists visit the mountain every year to see this amazing spectacle.
If you’re prepared to climb over 1,500 steps up a rocky mountain, you should definitely visit the medieval ruins of Alinja castle.
One of the main reasons people visit the castle is for the magnificent view of Nakhchivan when you reach the ruins.
The flame towers are a trio of skyscrapers and include the tallest skyscraper in Azerbaijan at a height of 182m. They consist of offices, hotels and apartments.
The towers are covered in LED screens displaying dancing flames so it is definitely worth seeing the towers when the lights come on.
What is Azerbaijan culture?
Azerbaijani culture is very diverse with a combination of historical, religious and traditional traits creating modern Azerbaijan.
Tea culture, traditional society, relationship with fire, their language and not to mention their amazing hospitality would be just some of the cultural traits of Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan Tea Culture
Azerbaijan tea culture is hugely important to locals and dates back to medieval times. Azerbaijanis have a strong tradition with tea and also perform ancient ceremonies for guests showing friendliness and hospitality.
You will usually be served spiced black tea with a cube of sugar and locals traditionally dip the sugar into the tea and take a bite before sipping.
Rulers were afraid of getting poisoned and if the sugar reacted when it was dipped into the tea, they believed someone was trying to kill them.
What can you not do in Azerbaijan?
If you plan on spending longer than 10 days in the country you will need to register your presence with the State Migration Service. This can be done online.
Hotels and hostels will usually register on behalf of their guests. However, if you’re staying in an Airbnb you will need to do it yourself. If you fail to do this you will be fined when leaving.
You should also avoid pointing with your finger. Instead, you should use hand gestures to point out the area. It is seen as extremely rude and offensive.
Carpet weaving is a huge family tradition in Azerbaijan. There are seven carpet producing regions in Azerbaijan. Techniques are passed down through generations by word of mouth.
As the tradition goes, men shear the sheep and women dye and weave the carpets. Each carpet is very unique and has its own story attached to it. You can visit the carpet museum in Baku to see the carpets and even purchase one.
Food and Drinks
The cuisine in Azerbaijan is a mixture of various cuisines from around the world. It will not disappoint! Mostly consisting of mutton, beef and poultry as locals don’t eat pork. Herbs and spices are also used regularly with a particular favourite towards the herb saffron.
Azerbaijan traditional food would include Piti (soup made of mutton, vegetables and chickpeas cooked and served in a clay dish), Lavanagi (chicken or fish stuffed with nuts, herbs and spices) and Dolma (cabbages leaves or vine leaves filled with minced meat, rice, and herbs).
Azerbaijanis are Muslims and don’t drink alcohol. However, alcoholic drinks are widely available.
Azerbaijan is now home to approximately 10 million people. The local people are very welcoming and hospitable people. The majority of locals speak Russian.
However, even though they find it difficult to speak English they are always happy to try and help tourists in any way they can.
Prices increased when the country’s economy soared after Azerbaijan’s oil boom. The oil prices then fell and so did the value of the Manat (the currency of Azerbaijan). Travelling in Azerbaijan is very affordable compared to other parts of Europe.
The introduction of the eVisa in Azerbaijan has totally changed the scene for tourism in the country. You can now get your Azerbaijan eVisa application online.
It is a single entry visa that is valid for 90 days with a 30 day maximum period of stay in the country.
How to apply for an Azerbaijan eVisa?
You can apply online yourself or get a professional like Visa First to do it for you. The team at Visa First will guide you through the entire eVisa application process and boost your chance of a successful outcome.
How do I get a visa for Azerbaijan?
There are currently 95 countries eligible for the Azerbaijan eVisa.
How long does Azerbaijan E visa take?
The eVisa is usually issued within 3 working days.
A lot of the time people don’t think of visiting Azerbaijan on their holiday. However, with a mix of traditional and modern history and culture, it has yet to be commercialized and crowded with tourists.
Why not consider exploring Azerbaijan as your next travel destination?