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Azerbaijan Tours

Travel to Azerbaijan to witness a fascinating history from Prehistoric rock engravings through Persian and Russian cultural hegemony to the ultra-modern architecture of oil-rich Baku. View unique Azeri carpets and the exquisite Khan’s Summer Palace in Sheki.

Azerbaijan’s rich visual culture dates back 40,000 years. Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape has more than 6,000 rock engravings. It also has remains of inhabited caves and burials dating from the Upper Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. Azerbaijan’s Islamic history is a mix of the hegemony of local lords and Persian domination and clientage. The country’s lustrous Persian culture is reflected in historic caravanserais, palaces, mansions and tombs. The tightly packed old walled city at modern Baku’s centre features the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, a palace, mosque and bathhouse complex. It also has  the powerful 12th-century Maiden Tower. It also includes the Multani and Bukhara Caravanserais and the Hajji Gayyib  and Gasimbey bathhouses. Also here are the Synyk-Kala Minaret and Mosque and the Lezgi Mosque. Sheki, on the way to the Georgian border, has a stunning masterpiece, the Khan’s Summer Palace. Its walls glow with exquisite Persian paintings. The rich intricacy of Sheki’s paintings is matched by the colourful designs of Azeri carpets. These sumptuous artefacts have been prized throughout the world for centuries. Examples are displayed in Baku’s extraordinary Carpet Museum, a long, narrow building whose form echoes a rolled-up carpet.

Early 20th-century Azerbaijan was the world’s greatest oil exporter. Alongside the aforementioned old city core are the lovely Beaux-Arts palaces of merchants who profited from its economic power. When Azerbaijan gained its independence from the Soviet Union, it created Baku’s Martyr’s Lane dedicated to those killed by the Soviet Army during Black January. It also remembers those who died in the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Contemporary Baku has prospered from oil. Its regime has enhanced the city with extraordinary ultramodern architecture. There are the extraordinary fluid shell-like Heydar Aliyev Centre designed by Islam’s foremost modern architect, Zaha Hadid. The extraordinary trio of flame-shaped towers have transformed the city’s skyline. They were inspired by Azerbaijan’s history of Zoroastrian fire worship. Baku’s Azerbaijan National Museum of Art has European old masters and a fine Asian collection. Museums like the National Picture Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art display the latest of Azerbaijani modernism.