Great Silk Road tour
As the gateway to Central from the East and lapped by the waters of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan history is dominated by the old trade routes of Eurasia - especially the Silk Road. Some 6,000 historical monuments dating from thousands of years ago and built by a myriad of cultures beckon travelers to this nation in the Caucasus.
In the antiquity and in the Middle Ages Great Silk Road crossed the territory of Azerbaijan as from the East to the West, as from the South to the North. It has made possible an active participation of Azerbaijan in the trade and the information exchange with many countries throughout the world. It is symbolical that even in the remote antiquity, alongside with other goods, petroleum was exported from here, known worldwide as "the midian oil".
Ancient cities and towns, palaces, mausoleums, churches and mosques, chapels, caravanserais and watchtowers are just some of the monuments which remain to fascinate visitors, warmly welcomed by the Azeri people whose reputation for hospitality is legendary.
Besides its historical attractions, Azerbaijan also offers the stunning natural beauty of its diverse landscape which includes the seashore, forest, mountain and plain, and a climate so diverse that one can experience the four seasons in one day in various parts of the country.
Arrival to Baku, transfer from the Airport to your Hotel
Accommodation in the hotel.
Breakfast, lunch or dinner depending on time of arrival.
Beginning of excursion in Old Town - "Icheri Sheher". See the highlights of Icheri Sheher including the Palace of the Shirvans (the most striking example of the Medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of 15th century); the Maiden's Tower which is according to the latest researches is the largest Zoroastrian temple in the world, visiting of Dzhuma Mosque, shops of antiques and carpets, and the Carpet Museum (the impressive building located on the seafront - its collection was enriched with the carpets brought from Shusha Carpet Museum, evacuated before the Armenian advance). Lunch at national restaurant.
Sightseeing tour in the city: Martyr's Cemetery, located on the higher slopes of the city's west-end, this is the best place for viewing the city and the Bay of Baku. You willhave a walk in Naberezhny park and along Baku Boulevard, the second largest one in the Europe. On Boulevard you'll get a boat a make trip on it along Baku Bay. You will be introduced with the interesting facts and legends of the largest lake in the world better known as Caspian Sea.
Returning to the hotel
Leaving for a tour in Absheron peninsula. The third day will be spent primarily within the Greater Baku, where you will be taken to main sites on the Absheron Peninsula: One of the oldest and most interesting settlements on the peninsula, Amirajan (under its former name Hille) was the home village of the boom-era industrialist Muhtarov, who graced the town with its elegant mosque - generally considered the finest still standing in the whole Azerbaijan.
Ateshgah, the Fire Worshippers' Temple is located in the village of Surakhany. It was built on land where natural gas burned eternally by Zoroastrian believers who travelled from the province of Multan in India to worship. These ancient fires are believed to have given Azerbaijan its name, which is thought by some researchers to mean the 'Land of Fires'.
Also this day you will visit well preserved ancient castles of Apsheron Peninsula dated XII-XIII AD and located farther out on the Apsheron Peninsula. There are several fine medieval castles - one each at Amirajan and Nardaran and two at Mardakyany - apparently built for defence by the Shirvan shahs in the 14th century.
Dinner in the local restaurant with music program and belly dance tasting traditional dishes cooked according to different methods of Azeri cuisine.
Those who interested can be transferred to nightclubs and places of interest. At summer time we will ensure you have the opportunity and time to visit beaches and enjoy the warm waters of Caspian sea.
Back to the hotel, free time.
4-th day (Baku-Shemakha-Sheki)
Ancient city Shamaha is situated in 180 km from Baku and located at the foothills of the Big Caucasus Mountains Chain. The general elevation of Shemakha is 800 meters over the sea level. One of the most ancient oriental trading cities, it claims to be the city of Kmakhia mentioned by the ancient Greek geographer Ptolomy in his book 'Geography'.
High in the Pirgulu mountains, 13 km from Shemakha, 1.400m above seal level, is located the Tusi astronomic observatory, built in the 1960s named after the 13-th century Azeri astronomer, it has the biggest mirror telescope in the CIS. You will have an excursion to the observatory.
Pirgulu mountains can be recommended as a good skiing spot, but there are no lifts, so all you can do is cross-country skiing - scandinavian style! Mild climate of this temperate zone, rich soil, abundant forests, alpine meadows are distinctive features of this part of Azerbaijan.
The wine tradition is quite old and the area even has its own grape variety, Matrassa used for excellent dry red wines. Local legend claims that the first French vines came from Shemakha! In fact the wine produced along the western Caucasus came a long way. As early as the late 15th century wines from this area were bought by some of the more demanding wine connoisseurs in western Europe: the Portuguese. Scores of traders, soldiers, priests and adventurers followed Portuguese expansion in Asia, creating a local market for the caucasian wines. A few bottles even reached the Shores of Portugal itself.
In Shamakha you will visit two-storied Deri Baba mausoleum (15th century), survey Djuma mosque, mausoleum Seven Domes, Pir Imam Zade, fortress Gulustan, ruins of ancient city "Sheher Gah", have a brief tour to Shamakha itself, visit historic-architectural monumental resort of Lahij, built in the 5th century. There you will have an opportunity to admire ancient mosques and bath-houses, medieval water-supply and sewage systems. The program includes attendance of number of workshops where you can purchase different kinds of artefacts which will always remind you of an ancient area named Shamakha.
And the last point of Shamakha tour is Pirkuli resort where you will be provided with an opportunity to taste a local wine and cognac known as the best in Azerbaijan. You will visit the space observatory with the largest mirror telescope in the CIS.
Transfer to Sheki and accommodation in "Yuhari Karavansaray", the hotel which was used by Great Silk Route travellers on their way to Europe.
5-th day - Sheki
Sheki is one of the most famous and ancient places of Azerbaijan. Situated 700m above sea level like an amphitheatre surrounded by mountains and forests of oak trees this ancient city was long famed as a silk centre and an important stop on the Great Silk Route. There is an assumption that the name of the town goes back to the ethnonim of the Saks, who reached the territory of Azerbaijan in the 7th century BC.
Sheki is long famed as a silk centre and an important stop on the Silk Road. Sheki still has the site of a huge factory that was once the Soviet Union's largest silk plant (such a big factory was naturally named after Lenin...).
After brakfast in the hotel you will start your Sheki tour from visiting 18th century Khan's summer palace with magnificent frescos (one 24 m long) and exquisite stained glass work (northern part of the city).
Sheki History museum with artifacts from several periods, but notorious for pieces relating to silk manufacturing and trade.
Also you will visit Royal Palace of Sheki Khans (Kings) and Sheki fortress ("Will come - Will See") an impressive structure with the total length of 1300m, the northern wall is 4m high, the southern wall is 8m high. The wall thickness is 2,2 m.
Certainly you won't miss an opportunity to visit one of a silk workshops as even now silk is one of the important matter of business in Azerbaijan and Sheki is its centre. You will visit one of the local workshops where it is possible to buy silk souvenirs.
Upon your return to the hotel and having a local style dinner you will have a free time with an opportunity to enjoy a scenic view of Caucasus mountains
6-th Day - Sheki - Baku
Return to Baku.
You will finish your Azeri tour by visiting the Gobustan reserve. Gobustan is an open-air museum littered with neolithic rock drawings. Just 65km (40mi) south of Baku, Gobustan has some 4000 inscriptions that go back 12,000 years (with some 2000 year old Latin graffiti to boot). Stone Age folks sporting loin cloths pose hunt and boogie down. Their dances are thought to have been accompanied by the melodious strains of the Gaval-Dashy (Tambourine Stone) - a rock that has a deep, resonating tone when struck.
Dinner in one of the national restaurants
Breakfast. Check-out from the hotel. Transfer to the airport.
Price per person
Number of tourists
Rate per person
6 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels, B&B.
Accompanied by an experienced English speaking local guide. Private basis.
Your guide will look after you exclusively.
Local driver for your vehicle, exclusively for your tour.
Sightseeing programme including all entrance fees.
Private guided transfers to and from airport.
Guide's and driver's expenses.
One of the few countries where there are still practically no tourists, Azerbaijan offers a unique culture, tasty food and hospitable people.