Visit to Old City. We invite you to an exciting journey inside the Heart of Baku –Icheri Sheher. Old town is surrounded by impressive external stone walls. Massive double gates introduce you the world where centuries interweave. You will explore medieval Caravanserais (Multani, Bukhara, Smaller, Two-Stored), traditional mosques with calligraphic facades (Juma, Sinyg Gala), trading streets with unique atmosphere. You will head to the top of the Maiden Tower famous for its stories and legends behind; you will walk along Hamams with strict centuries-old traditions, houses of merchants and artists of different epochs. Finally you will discover the Shirvan Shakhs Palace that was built in XIV-XV centuries by the dynasty of rulers who changed the whole history of Baku.
• Lunch break
• Museum of your choice:
a) Heydar Aliyev Center (unique construction which has become the symbol of modern dynamic and ambitious city, 2014 Design of the Year award). Entrance to Fly to Baku and Pearls of Azerbaijan exhibitions
b) The Azerbaijan Carpet Museum is the treasury of Azerbaijan national Culture. Established for researching, keeping and displaying carpets and carpet items, as well as applied art works, the Museum has the most large collection of Azerbaijan carpets in the world. Different weaving techniques display, materials, regional schools and pictorial carpets will enchant the visitors.
c) Azerbaijan History Museum. July, 1920 History Museum was placed in the unique palace built by a prominent oil baron and philanthropist, Hadji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev in 1895-1901. The museum has 6 sections, laboratory, 10 funds, scientific archive and library. The exposition of the museum is situated in 35 halls. History and culture of Azerbaijan have reflected since ancient period before our days here.
d) Modern Art Museum. During the excursion visitors will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the collection of the best works of painting and sculpture of Azerbaijan avant-guardists from 2nd half of the 20th century up to now. The collection of paintings and sculptures shows aspirations, strivings and freedom of human soul. The permanent exposition of the museum include works of famous Azerbaijani painters, like Rasim Babayev, Ashraf Muradov, Gennadiy Brejatuk, and others. The separate hall exhibits classics of the western avant-guard, such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Mark Shagal, as well as classics of Western realism is presented by several pictures from the private collection.
DAY-TRIP TO LAHIJTucked into a high mountain valley, Lahij is one of Azerbaijan's prettiest villages with white-cobbled streets and balconied stone houses. But it also woos visitors with its scattering of antique coppersmith workshops and tiny craft shops. It’s a great place to unwind in relatively cool summer air and with a short stroll, you can quickly get beyond the small tourist hub area to timeless parts of the village, orchard meadows and shepherd trails. Some of those lead eventually up to the crumbling remnants of half-forgotten fortresses, though you'll need to stay longer to walk that far. Our trip concentrates on giving you a taster of the village itself where people speak a unique local dialect and still practice skilled forms of copper craftsmanship that is transmitted within families from father to son. Visiting one of the original smithies is like stepping back in time. A wide range of traditional Azerbaijani metalwork items that are produced here can normally only to be found in museums elsewhere in the country. Indeed some Baku families make special trips to Lahij to buy traditional copper vessels that they believe add health benefits to food that is served from them. A great added delight of the tour is the journey to get here. After semi-deserts on the outskirts of Baku, the road winds through pretty countryside and over a viewpoint ridge with simple teahouses amid the trees. Then for the last 20km or so, the route follows a delightful narrow lane through woodlands and then a geologically spectacular canyon. Part-way we make a quick photo-stop beside the Zernava Suspension Bridge, a wobbly pedestrian-only contraption that carries fearless shepherds across the roaring river gorge.
Location: Lahij, Ismayilli
Duration: 9 h (full day tour)
DAY-TRIP TO GABALAThree hours’ drive west of Baku, Gabala is a low-key yet stylish foothill resort town set in lush green woodlands that prove an enchanting counterpoint to the capital’s striking semi-desert surroundings. Patchworks of fields fill with spring flowers. Hills are thickly forested in oak, walnut and mature chestnut. And the soaring peaks of the High Caucasus stand sentinel on the northern horizon. It’s a majestic environment that is easy to appreciate using the cleverly conceived “Tufandag” network of cable car rides, whisking you up from an area of manicured urban parkland to a stylish ridgetop cafe, back down to a rustic valley and seasonal shepherd village then on through the woodlands to another view-restaurant with excellent wine selection and international menu. But Gabala is not just a well-conceived resort in a beautiful part of Azerbaijan, it also has a rich ancient history. A city known to the Romans as Kabalaka or Kabalah was for centuries the capital of a regionally important medieval state known as Caucasian Albania (no relation to today’s Balkan country). Though utterly destroyed in later years, small sections of the ancient urban site have been recently excavated. After lunch, we visit this ‘Old Gabala’ where the imposing main gate stumps of a once-vast city wall can be seen along with cross-sections showing cultural levels dating back through a whole series of historical epochs. The site’s brand new museum brings it all to life and on a clear day, there’s a majestic mountain backdrop too. Altogether Gabala is a truly special discovery, while the scenically varied journey to and fro is a delight in itself, with many fine views en route.
Location: Gabala, North-West Azerbaijan
Duration: 12 h (full day tour)
DAY-TRIP TO SHEKISheki is one of the most ancient cities of Azerbaijan, located on the picturesque slopes of the Great Caucasus Mountains. The excursion starts with a visit to the Palace of Sheki Khans (1762), Shebeke (traditional art) work shop, passing by the round Albanian church (V century). Guests will also visit the Museum of history, the Albanian church in Kish village (I-II centuries), where the famous Norwegian traveler Thor Heyerdahl has repeatedly conducted researches. This church is considered to be the first one in the Caucasian Region and was built in the memory of St. Elisaeus.
Location: Sheki, North- West Azerbaijan
Duration: 12 h (full day tour)
DAY-TRIP TO GUBAQuba is a small town about 200 km to the north from Baku located in the north-eastern slopes of Shahdag of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, at an altitude of 600 m above sea level, on the bank of Kudial-chai river. The town is situated on both banks of Kudial-chai river: the Muslim town, Quba, is located on the right, the higher bank, on the left there is a Jewish suburb, which before the revolution had been called “Krasnaya Sloboda”, because most of the houses there were made of red brick.Here lives the biggest community of Mountain Jews all over the world. Travelers are visiting the Sinagoga and meeting local people hearing the stories of their specific origin and ancient vs modern lifestyle.
Location: Quba, North Azerbaijan
Duration: 12 h (full day tour)