Sights of Azerbaijan: Top 15

Top 15 attractions in Azerbaijan, including historic landmarks and natural wonders.

Достопримечательности Азербайджана: Топ-15

The sights of Azerbaijan are interesting to everyone who chooses this country for travel. The tourism business here makes up 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 service. Excursions to Baku will help you get to know the country better.

What to see in Azerbaijan first of all

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 observance of traditions plays an extremely important role for the local population. The route of the trip should be planned so that you can see all the most interesting things and not get too tired.

1. Maiden Tower of Giz Galasi (Baku)

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View of the maiden tower of Giz Galasi

The Giz Galasi Tower is rightfully called the most mysterious Baku monument. It is located on the territory of the Icheri Sheher fortress. The uniqueness of the architecture of Giz Galasi lies in the fact that the tower is located on a ledge of a large rock. A grey 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 there is a spiral stone staircase, and the well goes down 21 m. The tower was once a fortification. Currently, its purpose is to delight and surprise. She is beautiful and mysterious. No one knows the exact time of its construction. It seems that she has always been on this earth. In the pre-Islamic period, it was a place of worship. Historians insist on this version, since ritual wells have been discovered on the territory of Giz Galasi.

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

Historians are inclined to believe that Giz Galasi was built in the era of the culture of sun worship. There was also a purely practical purpose in the history of the tower. For example, until the 19th century it was used as a lighthouse. The site is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Official website:

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2. Shirvanshahs Palace (Baku)

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A fragment of the Shirvanshahs’ palace

From the 13th to the 16th centuries, the Shirvanshahs’ palace was built. The sights of Azerbaijan include this architectural complex, which includes the divan Hamer courtyard, a mosque and a tomb. There was even a place for a bathhouse and a Bakuvi mausoleum.

The Shirvanshahs’ Palace is an integral architectural structure. The geometric proportions are fully observed here, and the carved pattern in the stone can be traced on every detail.

The most ancient part of the building is the octagonal hall. In addition, there are rooms in the form of incomplete rectangles on the territory of the palace. Tourists are most attracted by 3 narrow spiral staircases, which are safe and very interesting to climb. There are 52 rooms inside the palace. During the archaeological work, there were copper dishes, antique jewelry and a large stock of weapons.

Time has also spared the Shamakhi carpets, which have been carefully restored. They will be interesting to see for those who decide what to see in Azerbaijan.

The Eastern Portal is located on the territory of the Southern Courtyard. It is popularly called Murad’s Gate. The eastern portal crowns the architectural complex as a whole. Its upper part is crowned with an ornate Arabic inscription, from which it is clear that the author of the project is Sultan Murad Khan.

3. Muhammad Mosque (Baku)

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The Mosque of Muhammad

The Muhammad Mosque is located in the immediate vicinity of the famous Maiden Tower. Presumably, the year of construction is 471. The work was carried out by order of Muhammad ibn Abubakr.

Why do tourists love the sights of Azerbaijan and especially this object? It is full of legends and legends. One of them says that the mosque was built on the place where the Temple of Fire was previously located. It was here that the locals defended themselves against the aggressive wars of Peter the Great.

The architecture of the mosque is unique. The prayer hall has a luxurious mihrab. It is decorated in accordance with the traditions of that time. The pointed arch adorning the main hall has narrow windows, traditional for Azerbaijan. They are decorated with an ornament in stone, and a decorative brick laid along the vault crowns the composition as a whole.

Like all buildings in Baku at that time, the mosque contains a narrow spiral staircase. Traces of Arabic script can be seen under the stalactite belt. Everything here breathes history. Ancient stones keep the memory of the patriots who once held the defense here.

4. Caravanserai (Sheki)

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The facade of the caravanserai

Do you think what to see in Azerbaijan? Caravanserais will surprise and interest you.

Many inns were built along the Great Silk Road. They had the original name — caravanserais. For several centuries in a row, these peculiar forerunners of modern hotels were the haunt of rich merchants.

Caravanserais have always been full of fragrant spices and fluffy furs. It was a kind of transshipment point for trade. Most of them have been turned into modern standard hotels. But the caravanserai in Sheki is a happy exception. It has a museum that gives a complete picture of the hotels of the Great Silk Road.

It is 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 is lined with the same powerful paving stones. It is always cool inside despite the scorching sun outside: stones are the best air conditioning.

The oriental flavor can be traced here in the decoration. Many carpets and copper decorative details echo the traditional stone ornament, which fills many sights of Azerbaijan.

5. Surakhani temple of fire worshippers Ateshgah (Surakhani)

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Stone composition of the temple of fire worshippers Ateshgah

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

The triumph of stone — this is how you can briefly describe the temple, which was created between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. At that time, Zoroastrianism prevailed here, so their faith was reflected in the design of the temple. However, over time, Islam was established in Azerbaijan. The temples of fire gradually emptied, deprived of the constant service of the Hindus.

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, Alexander Dumas, the father, was in the temple, who later mentioned magicians (temple servants) in his works like “mudgee.”

The tragedy broke out in the middle of the 19th century. After the movements of the earth layers, the gas outlet was closed in this place. The sacred fire was extinguished, which was regarded as the punishment of the gods. The last employee belonging to the Hindu faith left the temple in 1880. However, in Azerbaijan, the shrines of the past centuries are carefully treated, so at the end of the 20th century the temple was completely restored. Now it complements the sights of Azerbaijan.

6. Juma Mosque (Shamakhi)

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Juma Mosque

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

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

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

7. Gandzasar Monastery (Nagorno-Karabakh)

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View of the Gandzasar monastery

Gandzasar Monastery is located next to the silver and copper mines. That’s why it got the name “treasure mountain”. Presumably, the monastery was built in the 10th century. This is one of the oldest shrines.

The style of the temple corresponds to the era of that time. Its main architectural part is the domed hall. It has two-story walls located at the corners. Ancient architects used stone bas-reliefs as decorations, and their subject matter was exclusively biblical.

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

He got it in modern times. In the twentieth century, the terrible Karabakh conflict broke out. However, now the monastery lives a quiet life with daily prayers and classical services.

8. Momine Khatun Mausoleum (Nakhichevan)

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The stone masterpiece of the Mausoleum of Momine-Khatun

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

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

The mausoleum has 9 faces. At the time of the Middle Ages, it was considered the most real skyscraper, since its height reached 34 m. Centuries have not spared the Mausoleum, it has been invaded by nomads many times and destroyed. Today its height is only 25 m. When visiting the sights of Azerbaijan, you should definitely get acquainted with the Mausoleum.

Each face is covered with a variety of Arabic scripts. The burial of Momine-Khatun itself is located under the mausoleum. There is no entrance to it. The interior of the Mausoleum is more ascetic than the exterior. It has rounded shapes inside, and there are much fewer Arabic inscriptions here.

9. Geigel Park (Mount Kapyaz)

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Corner of Geigel Park

The Geigel National Park is located on the green velvet slope of Mount Kapyaz. The pristine beauty of the mountains and the mirrored surface of the lake framed by green shores served as a launching pad for the formation of a national park. This park is currently the pride of Azerbaijan. The work was completed in 2008. The main goal of the creators was to preserve natural beauty.

The area of Geigel Park exceeds 12 hectares. The biosphere is completely preserved here, which was the beginning of the development of ecotourism in the region. The lake means “blue” in Azerbaijani. In fact, 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 that affect its appearance.

The history of the lake’s formation is interesting. It arose in 1139 as a result of a terrible earthquake. When Mount Kepez collapsed, a huge boulder blocked the path of the Akhsuchai River. Over time, it was here that the lake was formed.

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

10. Lagich Village

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The medieval stone street of the village of Lagich

The authentic Azerbaijani village has preserved the ancient spirit of artisans. Lagich is a haven of 40 crafts, as they used to say in the old days. Folk craft has been developing here for centuries. The village is divided into separate neighborhoods, each of which cultivates some kind of craft. Currently, about a thousand people live in the village of Lagich. There are countless tourists here at any time of the year.

Surprisingly, the flavor of the medieval urban structure has been preserved here. For example, the streets are paved with stone, and the ancient houses also have masonry. The sewer system encircling the entire village was built more than a thousand years ago.

What sights of Azerbaijan can you see here? There is a market for copper tableware and classic Azerbaijani weapons in the village. The art of local craftsmen is known all over the world. It is simply not possible to visit Azerbaijan and not bring something from the camp’s copper treasures. Life in Lagich does not stop for a single minute. There are many workshops here, and work in them continues from morning to late evening.

Sights of Azerbaijan: what else to visit while 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 with children. Excursions in Azerbaijan to the attractions presented in the list below will make the trip as exciting as possible. Each attraction has its own charm, which can only be appreciated from personal experience.

11. Gobustan Nature Reserve

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Ancient stones with petroglyphs

The Gobustan Nature Reserve is located near Baku. This unique pile of ancient stones holds a huge number of petroglyphs. The tourist routes passing through Azerbaijan necessarily affect Gobustan.

Tourists listen to their story with bated breath. The fact that petroglyphs are from 4 to 5 thousand years old is already admirable. The rock inscriptions are located randomly in the stones. They are all systematized and studied. However, there is no clear scientific justification for their origin. Interestingly, Russian scientists knew about the Gobustan rock paintings back in 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 here. In addition, there are interesting ancient sites nearby in the mountains.

Wandering between them and admiring the rock carvings is a real pleasure for those who are looking for something to see in Azerbaijan. In total, the reserve covers 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)

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Carpets of Azerbaijan

There are two crafts in the land of Azerbaijan that date back thousands of years. These are the production of copper tableware and carpet weaving. Throughout the history of the state, it has been equated with the great art possessed by the elect. Therefore, the Azerbaijani Carpet Museum is revered and loved by the people.

In it, you can learn about a wide variety of carpet production technologies. In addition, the museum presents the history of the carpet weaving school. And, of course, the most interesting things in the museum are the exhibits. What kind of carpets are not here!

The administrative group of the museum is fanatically devoted to the preservation of Azerbaijani carpet weaving. Seminars and round tables dedicated to the art of carpet making are held here every year under the auspices of UNESCO. The museum exhibits its exhibitions in different countries.

In particular, the collection of carpets and technological tools has already visited 50 countries. Nowadays, the museum has become a scientific center for the study of applied art. The most magnificent exhibit in the museum is a Palace in the form of an elaborate carpet.

Official website:

13. Flame Towers (Baku)

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Flame Towers Architectural Ensemble

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. These are the tallest buildings in Baku. They are made in the form of three flames. The architectural ensemble covers an area of more than 200 thousand square meters. The unique facilities were put into operation in 2012.

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

The functional purpose of Flame Towers: apartments and a business center. The tallest tower is 182 m high. The owner of the unique complex is Azinko Development MMC. But for tourists, the visual effect is more interesting than all the technical characteristics of the complex.

Some of them tend to see sails rather than flames in an architectural solution. The light show starts here every night. Like the famous fountain in Dubai, Flame Towers delight with an extravaganza of light and fire every night.

14. The Palace of the Sheki Khans (Sheki)

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Facade and courtyard of the Palace of the Sheki Khans

There is a museum in the city of Sheki, which was previously the residence of the Sheki Khans. Currently, it is a monument of world history and culture. The Palace of the Sheki Khans is a component of the Yukhary Bash Nature Reserve. If you have not yet decided what to visit in Azerbaijan, this palace will be interesting to you. The history of the architectural complex dates back to the 18th century. It was then that the first stone of the building was laid, which, according to the architect’s plans, should have had a Persian style.

The palace stands surrounded by fortress walls. It has a length of 30 m and consists of two floors. The facade is painted with thematic inscriptions and drawings. If you look closely, you can see military sketches and hunting scenes here. In addition, the stone ornament, which is so rich in Azerbaijani architecture, contains many elements of floristry.

In the center of the facade there is a stained glass window composition. This is a real masterpiece of modern architecture. The multicolored glass mosaic sparkles in the sun with all the colors of the rainbow. At the same time, the design of the stained glass window is a unique stone lattice. The palace architecture of the 18th century is reflected in this unique complex. The palace is included in the UNESCO Heritage List.

15. Bibi–Eibat Mosque (Baku)

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Evening view of the Bibi-Eibat Mosque

What do you think to visit in Azerbaijan? Pay attention to the Bibi–Eibat Mosque. It was built in the 18th century, but was periodically completed and rebuilt. In 1936, the mosque was completely destroyed. This sad fact is characterized by a period of struggle against religion in the Soviet Union. Today, the exterior and interior of the mosque is as close as possible to its historical counterpart.

The Bibi – Eibat Mosque is a complex that includes not only a mosque, but also several tombs. Famous people of Azerbaijan found solace here. Previously, the mosque was called the Fatima Mosque. Famous travelers visited it at various times: Alexander Dumas, Nikolai Kalmykov, Boris Dorn. The building corresponds to the classical style of Azerbaijani architecture. It is a game of stone and light, mosaics and elegant ornaments.

The two domes located between the two towers are decorated with the finest writing in Arabic. Guides in Baku draw tourists’ attention to fragments of colored mosaics that echo the stone decorative filling. The mosque is beautiful, and excursions are systematically conducted in it.

While staying in Azerbaijan, be sure to visit Armenia, a neighboring country, because the beauties of the Caucasus are unique and unique in every country of this region! Read about the sights of Armenia and be inspired for your further journey through the countries of the Caucasus.


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