PLACES TO VISIT:
Icheri Sheher, Maiden Tower, The Palace of Shirvanshahs, Philharmonic Park, Baku Boulevard, Little Venice, Highland Park, Flame Towers, Gala Village, Ateshgah Fire Temple, Balakhani Village, Yanardag, Heydar Aliyev Centre , Gobustan, Mud Volcanoes, Bibi Heybat Mosque
1st Day: Arrival to Baku, meeting at the airport. Transfer to the hotel, check in (14:00). Free time.
2nd Day: Breakfast at the hotel. Our tour will start with the Highland Park (also called Upland Park) where you will enjoy the panoramic view of Baku city and its bay from the highest point in the Azerbaijani capital. Also you will have a brilliant chance to have a close look at Baku’s most popular and glamorous complex Flame Towers Baku composed of 3 buildings. The surface of the Towers is fully covered with LED screens reflecting different visual characters in motion, easily visible from far corners of the city. In the night time futuristic Flame Towers, start blazing like a flames proving the old legend that Baku is a city of fire.
Then go down to Baku Boulevard to view the International Mugham Center created in order to widely promote Azerbaijani ‘mugham’ (folk musical composition) in the world and shaped as the national musical instrument – ‘tar’. Here you will also see Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum, designed by Austrian architect Franz Janz and looking like a rolled carpet.
Wander between the decorative stone bridges of so-called Little Venice, a small town on the water and one of the jewels of Baku. It has two large and several small islands and its gondolas are travelling in the channels full of still and clean water.
Cross the street and enter Baku Old City which will take us from the Baku of the beginning of the 21st century to the Baku of the 12th century. Icheri Sheher (Old City), known as a “fortress”, is a unique historical and architectural conservation area in the center of Baku. This is one of the ancient and densely populated places of the country. Archaeological excavations revealed burial vaults of the Bronze Age. Maiden Tower (12th century) and The Palace of Shirvanshahs (13th-16th centuries) are the best known historical monuments located in the Old City. Besides them there are a lot of other unique monuments such as mosques, minarets, the remnants of caravanserais “Multani” and “Bukhara“, ancient baths, etc. You can purchase national clothes, kerchiefs, scarves and caps, dishes and handmade carpets in the numerous souvenir shops. Then You will have a walk through the Philharmonic Park, that goes up the hill towards the State Philharmonic Hall. You can make nice photos next to a French-style Baroque fountain while listening to the classic music.
Free time suggestions:
3rd Day: BAKU & ABSHERON
Breakfast at the hotel. Let`s begin our interesting tour around “Land of Fire”! Our excursion will start with visiting Gala village (40 min drive from Baku), which today is the State Historical Ethnographic Reserve and Open Air Museum offering the opportunity to see the original lifestyle of Azerbaijani people dated back to 10th-19th centuries. It is a unique place where you can not only make a tour into the past, but also try to bake bread in ancient oven “tandir”, weave a carpet, smear with clay in a pottery workshop or feed camels and horses.
Our next stop is Ateshgah Fire Temple in the village of Surakhani that for centuries has been attracting crowds of thrill seekers. Built in the 17th–18th centuries around naturally burning flames which were previously worshipped by Zoroastrians, the site then had become an important place of pilgrimage for fire-worshipping Hindus until the 1880s. Today it houses a well-designed open air museum.
Further we will pass through Balakhani village, one of the first places where hundreds of oil wells had been discovered and led to arise of the oil barons in Azerbaijan in 19th century. Virtually, the history of Azerbaijan as an oil country had begun at the moment when the first pipeline Balakhani-Baku was launched. Being an industrial area for more than hundred years has led to a poor environmental situation, but today the village is completely renovated and is ready to tell its story of oil boom in Azerbaijan. The Oil Village has been renewed in the old provincial style with different colorful facades of almost fairytale houses, 3D wall-paintings and fancy floral decorations everywhere along narrow stone-paved streets. A special charm to this place is given by a peculiar souvenir shops and small cafes.
And the final stop of our “fiery tour” is State Historical, Cultural and Natural Reserve Yanardag (literary “Burning Mountain”), a complex built around the hill located on the top of the natural gas pocket causing continuous flame eruption. Most probably the fire has been burning in Yanardag for over 20,000 years. These natural flames were described by Marco Polo in the 13th century and continue to mesmerize those who visit the site.
On the way back visiting Heydar Aliyev Centre (without entering) designed by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid. It is vast and jaw-dropping majestic statement of fluid 21st-century architecture forming abstract waves and peaks that seem to melt together. The real delight is simply pondering and photographing the extraordinary exterior from ever-changing angles. Make a stop next to the popular “I love Baku” sign to take some photos.
Back to hotel.
4th Day: BAKU & GOBUSTAN
Breakfast at the hotel. Pick up from hotel & drive to Gobustan.(40-50min from Baku). Have you ever seen where civilization has started? Seek no more, because Gobustan Historical-Artistic Preserve is exactly what you need! Included in the UNESCO heritage list, being one of the cradles of human civilization, Gobustan located barely one hour drive from Baku. It has an astonishing collection of over 6,000 ancient petroglyphs depicting the ways of life dating back as far as 40,000 years. Innovative technology will help you to get closer to the prehistoric times in Gobustan State Historical-Artistic Museum using its touch screens provided with special multimedia programs, educational and entertaining games, interactive displays, 3D video, etc.
Not far from Gobustan there is a second miracle that will amaze you no less than the prehistoric drawings on the rocks – these are Mud Volcanoes. NASA geologists have concluded that they are similar in structure to the hills on the planet Mars. Azerbaijan ranks first in terms of the number of mud volcanoes: 350 out of 800 mud volcanoes in the world are located here, one of which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest in the world. (Visiting Mud Volcanoes depends on weather conditions.)
On the way back to Baku you will stop next to the one of the most popular mosques in Baku. Built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II, Bibi Heybat Mosque was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936 and restored later in the end of the 20th century. It includes the shrine of Ukeyma Khanum (a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad) and today is the spiritual center for the Muslims of the region and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture in Azerbaijan.
5th Day: Breakfast at the hotel. Check out, transfer to the airport.
Hotel accommodation in Baku at 3* hotel on BB basis
All transportation according to the program, including airport-hotel-airport transfers
Excursions according to the program
English / Russian / Arabic speaking guide
1 bottle of water per person per excursion day
Flight tickets & visa (if required)
Extras at the hotel, tips at the sites and restaurants
Tickets to the museums(per person): Heydar Aliyev Center – 9$ (optional), Maiden Tower- 9$ (optional), Shirvanshahs’ Palace- 9$ (optional)
lunches and dinners
The organizer reserves the right to change the hotel to the different one of the same category.
The organizer reserves the right to change the order of excursions in case of necessity.
Check-in to the hotels: 14:00 (can be 15:00 in some cases).
Early check-in before 06:00 in the morning is subject to 100% of the room rate, early check-in between 06:00 and 14:00 is subject to 50% of the room rate (please confirm with our reservation managers before booking).
You can extend your stay, add more excursions and/or change the hotel category for additional payment (please confirm with our reservation managers before booking).
Comfortable shoes are strongly recommended during excursions.