Best attractions in Azerbaijan: Top 15

The sights of Azerbaijan are of interest to everyone who chooses this country for travel. The tourism business here is a huge part of the country’s budget. Suffice it to say that there are more than 250 beautiful lakes on the territory of this state. Many of them are surrounded by mountain ranges, at the foot of which there are many hotels with excellent hotel services. Excursions to Baku will help you get to know the country better.

What to see first in Azerbaijan

When deciding where to go and whether you need guides in Azerbaijan, keep in mind that many attractions are located at a great distance from each other, and for the local population an extremely important role is played by the observance of traditions. The route of the trip should be planned so that you have time to see all the most interesting and not too tired.

1. Maiden Tower of Giz Galasy (Baku)

View of Maiden Tower of Gyz Galasy

Maiden Tower is justly called the most mysterious monument of Baku. It is situated on the territory of Icheri Sheher fortress. The uniqueness of Giz Galasy architecture is that the tower is located on a large rocky ledge. Gray lime cylinder was used as a building material. The height of the fortress reaches 28 m, and its diameter is 16.5 m.

Inside the 5-meter walls is a spiral stone staircase and a well extends 21 meters down. The tower was once a fortification. Nowadays, its purpose is to fascinate and amaze. It is beautiful and mysterious. No one knows the exact time of its construction. It seems that it has always been on this earth. In the pre-Islamic period it was a cult building. The historians insist on this version, because on the territory of Giz Galasy ritual wells were found.

What to see in Azerbaijan? Giz Galasy, of course! On December 22, the day of equinox, the direct rays of the sun fall directly to the central window. Then the sunlight successively spreads to all the upper windows. It looks mesmerizingly beautiful!

Historians are inclined to believe that Giz Galasy was erected during the era of sun worship culture. The tower had also purely practical purpose in its history. For example, it was used as a lighthouse until the 19th century. Currently, the site is a UNESCO heritage site.

Official website: http://www.icherisheher

2. Shirvanshahs Palace (Baku)

Fragment of the Palace of the Shirvanshahs

From the 13th to the 16th century, the palace of the Shirvanshahs was built. The sights of Azerbaijan include this architectural complex, which includes the courtyard of the Khamer Diwan, a mosque and a tomb. It even found room for a bathhouse and a mausoleum of Bakouvi.

The palace of the Shirvanshahs is a complete architectural structure. Geometric proportions are fully observed here, and the carved pattern in stone can be seen in every detail.

The oldest part of the construction is the octagonal hall. There are also rooms in the shape of incomplete rectangles on the territory of the palace. Tourists are most attracted by the 3 narrow spiral staircases, climbing up which is safe and very interesting. Inside the palace there are 52 rooms. During the archaeological works there was copper crockery, antique jewelry and a large stock of weapons.

Time has also spared the Shemakha carpets, which have been carefully restored. It would be interesting to see them if you are looking for something to see in Azerbaijan.

In the territory of the southern courtyard is the eastern portal. People call it the Murad Gates. The eastern portal crowns the whole architectural complex. Its upper part is crowned with an ornate Arabic inscription, which clearly indicates that the author of the project is Sultan Murad Khan.

3. Mohammed Mosque (Baku)

Mohammed Mosque

In close proximity to the famous Maiden Tower is the Mohammed Mosque. Presumably, the year of construction is 471. The works were carried out by the order of Mohammed ibn Abubakr.

Why do tourists love attractions of Azerbaijan and especially this object? It is full of legends and traditions. One of them says that the mosque was built on the spot where the Temple of Fire used to be. It was here that the locals held the defense against the wars of aggression Peter 1.

The architecture of the mosque is unique. The prayer hall has a magnificent mihrab. It is decorated according to the traditions of the time. The arched vault, which decorates the main hall, has narrow windows, traditional for Azerbaijan. They are decorated with ornaments in stone, and decorative bricks along the vault crown the composition as a whole.

Like all buildings in Baku at that time, the mosque has a narrow spiral staircase. Under the stalactite belt one can see the traces of Arabic script. Everything breathes with history here. The ancient stones keep the memory of the patriots who once held the defense here.

4. Caravanserai (Sheki)

Facade of Caravanserai

Thinking of what to see in Azerbaijan? Caravanserais will surprise and interest you.

Along the Great Silk Road, there were a lot of innkeepers. They had an original name - caravanserais. For several centuries these peculiar forerunners of modern hotels were the place of rest for rich merchants.

Caravanserais were always full of fragrant spices and fluffy furs. They were a sort of staging post for trade. Most of them have been turned into modern standard hotels. But the caravanserai in Sheki is a happy exception. There is a museum in it, which gives a complete picture of the hotels of the Great Silk Road.

It was built of especially large and powerful stones. The fortress has only one gate, which was equipped with the most modern mechanism. They opened and closed almost instantly in case of danger. The floor was lined with the same powerful paving stones. It is always cool inside, despite the scorching sun outside: the stones are the best air conditioner.

The Oriental coloring is seen in the decorations. Many carpets and copper details of the decor echo the traditional ornamentation in the stone, which is filled with many attractions of Azerbaijan.

5. Surakhan Ateshgah (Surakhani) temple of fire worshippers

Stone composition of Ateshgah Fire Worshippers Temple

The temple of fire worshippers was worshipped in different time periods by Hindus and Zoroastrians. Its composition consists of 4 arches with views on all sides. In the center is a place for the sacred fire, which was fed by natural gas.

A triumph of stone - that is how we can briefly describe the temple, which was created between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. At that time Zoroastrianism dominated here, so their faith was reflected in the design of the temple. But as time went by, Islam became firmly established in Azerbaijan. The temples of fire gradually became empty, deprived of constant Hindu service.

The Surakhani temple is located on the Great Silk Road, it has always been a place of concentration of believers from India and Persia. Interestingly, in 1858, the temple was visited by Alexandre Dumas the Father, who later referred to the magicians (temple attendants) as “majis” in his works.

The tragedy unfolded in the mid-19th century. After shifts in the earth’s strata, a gas outlet at the site closed. The sacred fire was extinguished, which was seen as a punishment from the gods. The last servant belonging to the Hindu faith left the temple in 1880. However, in Azerbaijan cherish the shrines of past centuries, so at the end of the 20th century the temple was completely restored. Now it complements the attractions of Azerbaijan.

6. Juma Mosque (Shamakhi)

Juma Mosque

In 1744, the residence of the Arab Caliph appeared in Shamakhi. Since then, the Juma Mosque has been one of the oldest mosques in Transcaucasia. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that on the territory of Azerbaijan, despite the huge number of various mosques, there are no analogues to this object. The prayer hall is divided here into three separate groups. They are connected by stone apertures.

Each of the openings has a separate entrance. Historians call the unique mosque a three-hall mosque. The construction material was of course massive stone. The agglomeration of powerful stone blocks is not chaotic. Curious tourists will see here its harmony and proportionality of geometric shapes.

This area has been subjected to earthquakes many times, so periodically the mosque was destroyed. But every time it was restored. The modern look of the mosque has preserved the historical idea of the ancient architects as well as other sights of Azerbaijan. It still has three halls connected by narrow passages.

7. Gandzasar Monastery (Nagorno-Karabakh)

View of Gandzasar Monastery

Gandzasar Monastery is near the silver and copper mines. That is why it was given the name “treasure mountain”. Supposedly, the monastery was built in the 10th century. It is one of the oldest shrines.

The stylistics of the temple corresponds to the epoch of that time. Its main architectural part is a domed hall. It has two-storeyed limits located in the corners. The ancient architects used stone bas-reliefs as decoration, and their themes were exclusively biblical.

Interestingly, the monastery is still active. It is included in the list of “Landmarks of Azerbaijan. Its history is full of hardships and attacks. For example, in the 13th century, the Tatar-Mongols attacked the walls of the monastery. He was practically looted. And later in the 18th century, the monastery was looted by Turkish nomads.

He suffered a lot in modern times as well. In the twentieth century the terrible Karabakh conflict broke out. But now the monastery lives a quiet life with daily prayers and classical services.

8. Momine Khatun mausoleum (Nakhchivan)

Stone masterpiece Momine-Khatun Mausoleum

The ancestor of the aldehyde dynasty is considered to be Momine-Khatun. It was for her that Momine-Khatun Mausoleum was built in the 12th century. The author and founder was Atabek Jahan Pehlevan. He dedicated the majestic structure to his mother, Momine-Khatun. The complexity of the decoration attracts specialists and lovers of ancient architecture from all over the world.

Geometric ornamentation in the stone is used as the main decorative technique. On it one can see many quotations from the Koran presented in the form of beautiful inscriptions.

The mausoleum has nine faces. At the time of the Middle Ages it was considered the most real skyscraper, as its height reached 34 m. Centuries have not spared the mausoleum, it was many times exposed to invasions of nomads and destroyed. Today its height is only 25m. While sightseeing in Azerbaijan, it is necessary to get acquainted with the Mausoleum.

Each facet is covered with a variety of Arabic script. The tomb of Momine-Khatun itself is under the mausoleum. There is no entrance to it. The interior decoration of the mausoleum is more ascetic than the exterior. Inside it has rounded forms, and the Arabic inscriptions are much less here.

9. Geygel Park (Kyapyaz Mountain)

The corner of Geygel Park

On the green velvet slope of the Kapaz Mountain is the Geygel National Park. The virgin beauty of the mountains and the mirror-like smooth surface of the lake framed with green shores were the starting point of the creation of the national park. This park is now the pride of Azerbaijan. The works were completed in 2008. The main goal of the creators was to preserve the natural beauty.

The area of the park covers over 12 hectares. The biosphere here is fully preserved and this was the beginning of the development of ecotourism in the region. The lake means “blue” in Azerbaijani. Indeed, the water here has a crystal blue color. And this is explained not only by the fact that it reflects the bottomless sky. The water is saturated with natural crystals, which affect its appearance.

The history of the formation of the lake is interesting. It was formed in 1139 as a result of a terrible earthquake. When Kepez Mountain collapsed, a huge boulder blocked the way of the Akhsuchai River. Eventually, this is where the lake was formed.

Tourists will be interested to know that on the territory of the Geygel National Park there is not only a luxurious green cover. Here you can visit other attractions of Azerbaijan, including several other reservoirs.

10. Lagic village

Medieval stone street of Lagic Village

Authentic Azerbaijani village has preserved the ancient spirit of craftsmen. Lagic is the home of 40 crafts, as they used to say in the old days. Folk arts and crafts have been developed here for centuries. The village is divided into separate neighborhoods, each of which cultivates a single craft. Currently, in the village of Lagic there are about a thousand people. There are countless tourists here at any time of the year.

Surprisingly, the color of the medieval urban structure has been preserved here. For example, the streets are paved with stone, the ancient houses also have stone masonry. The sewage system, which encircles the whole village, was built more than a thousand years ago.

What are the attractions of Azerbaijan can be seen here? The village has a market of copperware and classic Azerbaijani weapons. The art of the local craftsmen is known throughout the world. To be in Azerbaijan and not bring something of the copper treasures of the camp is simply impossible. The life in Lahij does not stop for a single minute. There are a lot of workshops, and work goes on from morning till late at night.

Sightseeing in Azerbaijan: what else to visit, being in Azerbaijan

As you can see, the country has a lot of interesting things for tourists of all ages and with all kinds of preferences, including children. The list below shows a lot of sights that will make your visit excursions in Azerbaijan the most exciting. Each attraction has its own charm, which can be appreciated only by personal experience.

11. Gobustan Reserve

Ancient stones with petroglyphs

Gobustan Reserve is located near Baku. This unique pile of ancient stones holds a huge number of petroglyphs. Tourist routes passing through Azerbaijan necessarily touch Gobustan.

Tourists listen to its history with bated breath. The fact that petroglyphs are 4 to 5 thousand years old is admirable. The rock inscriptions are arranged chaotically in the stones. They are all systematized and studied. However, there is no clear scientific basis for their origin. Interestingly, Russian scientists knew about the Gobustan rock paintings as early as the 19th century.

Another distinctive feature of the reserve is the presence of a desert strip. It stretches for 20 km and is characterized by sparse vegetation. There are only thorns and dry grass. In addition, there are interesting ancient sites near the mountains.

Wandering between them and admiring the rock carvings is a real pleasure for those looking for something to see in Azerbaijan. The reserve covers a total area of 537 hectares. There are also traces of settlements in the numerous caves that cut through the mountains.

The unique rock carvings are a UNESCO heritage.

Official website:

12. Azerbaijan Carpet Museum (Baku)

Azerbaijan Carpets

There are two crafts in the land of Azerbaijan that go back thousands of years. These are the production of copperware and carpet weaving. Throughout the history of the state it was equated to the great art, which was mastered by the elite. That is why Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is revered and loved by the people.

One can learn about a variety of carpet production technologies. In addition, the museum presents the history of carpet weaving school. And of course the most interesting things in the museum are the exhibits. There are carpets of all kinds here!

Administrative staff of the museum is fanatically devoted to preservation of Azerbaijani carpet weaving. Under aegis of UNESCO seminars and round tables dedicated to art of carpet weaving are held here every year. Museum exhibits its expositions in different countries.

Particularly collection of carpets and technological instruments has been exhibited in 50 countries. Nowadays museum has become a scientific center for the study of applied art. The most magnificent exhibit in the museum is the Palace in the form of an elaborate carpet.

Official website:

13. Flame Towers (Baku)

Architectural ensemble Flame Towers

Flame Towers are a symbol of light and warmth. They will be of interest to anyone who does not know what to visit in Azerbaijan. They are the tallest buildings in Baku. They are made in the form of three tongues of flame. The architectural ensemble occupies an area of more than 200 thousand square meters. The unique structures were put into operation in 2012.

Tourists find the lighting system of the towers fascinating. The fact is that their facades are covered with screens capable of displaying an imitation of the movement of fire. The uniqueness of the project Flame Towers is that the three skyscrapers at night seem to flame. Visually, the project is associated with the coat of arms of Baku, it also has three flame tongues.

The functional purpose of Flame Towers: apartments and business center. The tallest tower is 182 meters in height. The owner of the unique complex is Azinko Development MMC. But tourists are more interested in the visual effect than all the technical characteristics of the complex.

Some of them tend to see the architectural design as sails, not as flames. Light show starts here every night. Like the famous fountain in Dubai, Flame Towers every night delights with a fairy tale of light and fire.

14. Palace of Sheki Khans

Facade and courtyard of the Palace of Sheki Khans

There is a museum in Sheki, which used to be the residence of the Sheki Khans. Nowadays, it is a monument of world history and culture. The Palace of Sheki Khans is a part of the Yukhary Bash Reserve. If you haven’t decided yet what to visit in Azerbaijan, this palace will be of interest to you. The history of the architectural complex dates back to the 18th century. That is when the first stone of the construction was laid, which, according to the architect’s plans, should have had a Persian style.

The palace rises up surrounded by fortress walls. It is 30 m long and consists of two floors. The façade is painted with thematic inscriptions and drawings. If you look closely, you can see here military sketches and hunting scenes. In addition, the ornamentation in stone, with which Azerbaijani architecture is so rich, contains many floral elements.

There is a stained-glass window composition in the center of the facade. It is a true masterpiece of modern architecture. The multicolored glass mosaic glitters in the sun with all colors of the rainbow. The decoration of a stained-glass window is a unique stone lattice. The palace architecture of the 18th century is reflected in this unique complex. The palace is a UNESCO heritage site.

15. Bibi Mosque - Eibat (Baku)

Evening view of Bibi-Eybat Mosque

Thinking about what to visit in Azerbaijan? Pay attention to Bibi-Eybat Mosque. It was built in the 18th century, but from time to time it was rebuilt. In 1936 the mosque was completely destroyed. This sad fact characterizes the period of struggle against religion in the Soviet Union. Today the external and internal appearance of the mosque is as close as possible to its historical analogue.

Bibi-Eybat Mosque is a complex, which includes not only a mosque, but also several tombs. Here famous people of Azerbaijan found solace. Earlier the mosque was called the mosque of Fatima. At different times it was visited by famous travelers: Alexander Dumas, Nikolai Kalmykov, Boris Dorn. The building corresponds to the classic style of Azerbaijani architecture. It is a play of stone and light, mosaics and exquisite ornaments.

The two domes between the two towers are finished with the finest Arabic script. Guides in Baku draw tourists’ attention to the fragments of colored mosaics that echo the stone decorative fillings. The mosque is beautiful and there are systematic excursions.

Staying in Azerbaijan, be sure to visit Armenia, the neighboring country, because the beauty of the Caucasus is unique and unique in every country of this region! Read about sights of Armenia and be inspired for your future journey through Caucasus countries.