Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe.
Its capital, Baku, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City. Within the Inner City lies the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a royal retreat dating to the 15th century, and the centuries-old stone Maiden Tower, which dominates the city skyline.
11:30am-1:30pm : Fountains Square
Fountains Square is a modern square in central Baku that hosts many public events, celebrations, and festivals, and remains one of the most popular gathering places in the city. Stroll around it to view a host of water features with shiny silver spheres, and soak in the local atmosphere as you visit the surrounding restaurants, cafes, shops, and hotels. Consider combining your visit with the nearby literature museum, which has a lovely facade with statues.
2:00pm-3:00pm : Alley of Martyrs
Pay tribute to victims of Sofiet aggression at the Alley of Martyrs, an alley of black granite tombstones and a memorial to those killed by the Soviet Army in January 1990. Set in a large, hilly cemetery close to the parliament building, the site features a stone memorial with a flame, plus a wide observation deck with a sweeping view of Baku and the Caspian Sea. You'll also see graves from the Nagorno-Garabagh conflict (1988-1994), a memorial to Turkish troops who opposed the Bolsheviks during the 1918 Battle of Baku, and a plaque with the names of 47 British soldiers killed in 1918-1919.
3:30pm-5:30pm : Bibi-Heybat Mosque
Admire the impressive minarets of Bibi-Heybat Mosque, a restored historic mosque at the entrance to the city from the south. Reopened in 2008, the mosque covers the site of an earlier 13th century mosque that housed the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum, a descendant of Muhammad. With its elaborately decorated interior of green and gold, the mosque reflects Shirvan architecture and has three domes. The old mosque was known as "the mosque of Fatima," so called by French writer Alexander Dumas who traveled here in the 1850s.
9:00am-12:00am : Baku Boulevard
Running parallel to the capital's seafront, Baku Boulevard is a beautifully maintained promenade dating from 1909, when 20th-century oil magnates built lavish mansions along the Caspian shoreline. Stretching 16 km, the boulevard promises hours of pleasant strolling with ever-changing views of the Caspian, the Old City and Baku's modern skyline. Key attractions include the spectacular Deniz Mall, the Carpet Museum, Baku's very own Little Venice and dozens of traditional restaurants and teahouses.
12:00pm-2:00pm : Baku Old City
The nation's first World Heritage Site, Baku Old City seamlessly blends Eastern and Western cultural influences. Built during the medieval period, the city's ancient core contains numerous prominent monuments, including the iconic Maiden Tower, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and the city walls. Immerse yourself in the friendly atmosphere as you wander through the bustling narrow streets and explore neighborhoods often named after a nearby mosque or trades, such as shipbuilding, blacksmithing, or cart-driving. Surrounding cafes and restaurants serve up refreshments and inexpensive local delicacies.
2:30pm-4:00pm : Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Part of the UNESCO-listed Baku Old City, Palace of the Shirvanshahs is considered the pearl of Azerbaijani architecture. Built in the 15th century, the restored complex contains an ornate main palace, burial vaults, mausoleum, shah's mosque, and remains of a bath house. Once you pass the intricately carved gate, explore the ancient halls either by yourself, or hire a tour guide to acquire more interesting details about the iconic structure. Multilingual multimedia exhibits can also help you better orient yourself, pointing you to particular places of interest. Afterwards, head to the surrounding markets to shop for inexpensive food, spices, clothing, and souvenirs.
4:30pm-5:00pm : Maiden Tower
Part of the UNESCO-listed Baku Old City, Maiden Tower remains one of the nation's most distinctive emblems. Built on a solid rock foundation in the 12th century, the majestic 29.5 m (96 ft) tower seamlessly blends Persian, Arabic, and Ottoman architectural influences. Its massive foundations plunge 15 m (49.2 ft) below ground and may date back as far as the 4th century CE. Explore the mysterious eight-story structure, which houses a water well, an observation deck at the top, and a museum containing many relics and stories of the city's evolution throughout history. The tower also contains shops and cafes.
6:00pm-8:00pm : Nizami Street/Torgovaya
Reportedly one of the world's most expensive streets, Nizami Street/Torgovaya runs for 3.5 km (2.2 mi) through the downtown area. The street features Baroque, Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Renaissance houses, Stalinist-era buildings, and modern skyscrapers. Among prominent landmarks are the state opera and theater, the national library, and the state oil academy.
9:00am-10:30am : Philharmonic Park
Featuring a classy marble arch and a French-style Baroque fountain, the park slopes down to the Caspian Sea from the elegant Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, built in 1912 in Italian Renaissance and German Rococo styles with a few nods to oriental elements. Constantly bustling with activity, you can observe walkers, joggers, land overs sitting on benches, and camera crews making commercials in the park's scenic setting. Enjoy the abundance of leafy trees while humming along to the tunes coming out of the nearby philharmonic building.
11:00am-1:00pm : National Museum of History of Azerbaijan
Explore Azerbaijan's vast history and cultural heritage at the National Museum of History of Azerbaijan. This site represents the largest museum in the country, set in the Italian Renaissance-style mansion of the former oil magnate Taghiyev. Set up in 1920 by the Bolsheviks, the museum documents the region's complex and interwoven past through more than 2,000 well-presented exhibits. Ceramics, intricate metalwork, weapons, and ornate textiles, pre-historic burial mounds, and ancient stone carvings are housed in two large ballrooms, one in oriental and the other occidental style. The museum's second floor details Taghiyev's life through restored personal quarters with carefully restored fin-de-siècle style rooms. Due to the size and variety of the collection, consider getting a tour guide.
1:30pm-3:30pm : Heydar Mosque
Pay a visit to Heydar Mosque. While only recently constructed, the mosque reflects the traditional Shirvan-Absheron architectural style and will amaze with its trio of 95-meter-high minarets, intricate stonework and elegant interior. What's more, it lights up in sublime fashion at night.
4:00pm-5:30pm : Azerbaijan State Musical Theatre
5:30pm-7:30pm : Heydar Aliyev Center
An internationally recognized architectural marvel, Heydar Aliyev Center displays a curved modern style. Designed by the late Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid, the elegant building stands 74 m (243 ft) in the middle of a square and houses a museum, a gallery hall, and a grand auditorium. Explore the signature landmark, which symbolizes the modernization of Azerbaijan, and enter to observe many interesting exhibits and artistic features. Note that officials prohibit photography inside.
7:00pm-9:00pm : Azerbaijan State Russian Samed Vurgun Drama Theatre
The Azerbaijan State Academic Drama Theatre (AzÉ™rbaycan Akademik Milli Dram TeatrÄ±) is an academic theatre of drama in Baku, Azerbaijan. The theatre has its origins in national holidays and dances. Elements of theatricality were contained in many kinds of national creativity accompanying national festivities, traditional holidays and other occasions. On 10 March 1873, under the guidance of Hasan bey Zardabi and with the participation of students of the Real School of Baku, a performance was held – M.F.Akhundov’s "Vizier of Lankaran khanate" comedy was showas heldwn. The professional Azerbaijani theatre was originated after this very performance. In 1919, separated troupes joined up and the theatre acquired the state recognition.Then Azerbaijan Dramatic Theatre had different names in different years-"State Theatre", "United State Theatre", "Azerbaijani Turkic Drama Theatre" and others. Through 1923-1933, the theatre was named after Dadash Bunyatzade, but in 1933-1991, it was named afterMeshadi Azizbekov. In 1991, the theatre was renamed to the "Azerbaijan State Academic Drama Theatre".
9:00am-11:00am : Highland Park
ake the cable car up to the highest point in Baku at Highland Park (Dagustu Park), boasting panoramic views of the Azerbaijani capital. Enjoy the scenic funicular ride to the summit; alternatively, you can drive or climb the stairs leading to the hilltop. Once there, stroll through the park and take in the peaceful atmosphere, with an expansive bird's-eye view of the city and the Caspian coastline. Nearby towers dominate the park's surroundings, making for a memorable photo op.
12:00pm-2:00pm : Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum
Explore the largest collection of Azerbaijani carpets and rugs in the world at the Azerbaijan National Carpet Museum, displaying traditional and modern patterns of the nation's UNESCO-protected applied art. Opened in 1967 as the first specialized museum for carpets in the world, the museum has amassed an impressive collection over the decades. And in 2015 it relocated from a mosque to a modern building shaped like a rolled-up carpet by the Caspian Sea. Watch women weaving their patterns in one of the workshops, and learn about the different techniques and meanings of various patterns. Over 10,000 accompanying artifacts such as ceramics, jewelry, and metalwork enrich your understanding of this cultural heritage.
3:00pm-4:30pm : Gobustan
5:00pm-6:30pm:Diri Baba Mausoleum
With two stories, Diri Baba Mausoleum dates to the 15th century. According to legend, Diri Baba, a holy man, is buried there in an undisclosed location. Other legends added more mystical details, which made the place a focus for pilgrims since the 17th century. The entire complex is built inside the rock and from the side, the impression is created that the tomb is suspended in the air. Climb the stairs to the second floor, where you will find the most interesting part of the mausoleum, a room with a vaulted dome, a stone carved decoration and a memorial to Sheikh Ibrahim on the wall. As you climb the floors you will notice more ancient and mysterious inscriptions. Through the narrow passage in the northern wall you can reach the cave, where the holy place is buried.
10:00am-2:00pm : Ultimate Gobustan National Park and Mud Volcanoes Tour
Explore Gobustan museum, ancient petroglyphs and mud volcanoes in a 4-hour tour with a local guide. Gobustan National Park is one of Azerbaijan’s most popular sights attracting thousands of tourists annually. It is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list. Throughout your journey, you will be guided by local and friendly English speaking tour guide. You will learn about the history of petroglyphs found in this area, get direct experience with the mud volcanoes (no worries, these volcanoes are cold!) and get useful information to make your stay in Baku much more interesting and exciting.
2:00pm-4:00pm : Candy Cane Mountains, Khizi
Take a road trip or hike through Candy Cane Mountains, an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Khizi region characterised by their amazing pink and white swirls. The incredible natural phenomenon is due to groundwater that’s altered the oxidation state of iron compounds within the rock. This is the ideal place to practise your landscape photography.
9:00am-11:00am : Gabala
11:30pm-1:30pm : Gabala Shooting Club
Gabala Shooting Club is a multi-purpose and world-class shooting facility in Gabala that can serve both as a recreational and entertainment center, and a training place for shooting teams and international professionals.
2:00pm-4:30pm : Tufandag Winter Summer Resort
Tufandag Winter Summer Resort in winter is as magnificent as in summer. With skiing and snowmobiles, it appeals to the adrenaline junkie and through its sheer beauty it also draws visitors seeking relaxation and tranquillity. There are ski slopes for both beginners and professionals at this, one of the main ski resorts in the Caucasus. The ski season runs from 15th December until 31st March. In addition, there are fun activities such as snow motorcycling, sleigh rides, quad biking for adults and snowboarding.
9:00am-10:30pm : Sheki
11:00pm-1:00pm : Sheki Fortress
Explore the 18th-century Sheki Fortress, a well-preserved and partially restored stone fort guarding the Palace of Sheki Khans, a masterpiece of Azerbaijani architecture. The exquisitely decorated façade of this landmark leads to an ornate interior, with decorative deep blue and ochre tiles, as well as stained-glass windows testifying to the wealth and refined taste of the independent Sheki Khans, sandwiched between the Persian and Russian empires. The complex features an ethnographic and history museum with a nice armory, as well as a restaurant that provides nice views of the mountainous scenery.
1:30pm-2:30pm : Sheki Khans' Palace
Admire the intricate designs and decorations of Sheki Khans' Palace, a historic mansion that served as a summer residence of the Sheki Khanate ruler. The only building that remains of a once vast complex of residences, the palace dates back to the late 18th century, when the area was a principality of Iran ruled by a Caucasian Khanate. Explore the simple, two-story structure, surrounded by old trees and boasting an elaborately decorated facade and interior complete with vibrant stained glass mosaics, exquisite frescoes, and intricate tile patterns.
3:00pm-7:30pm : Baku