Travelling in
Azerbaijan

 
 

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Azerbaijan is a country in the Caucasus, in the crossroads of Europe and Southwest Asia, with an east coast on the Caspian Sea.

The recently deceased President Heydar Aliyev succeeded in transforming the country from a relative backwater to a pivotal power in Central Asia. Provision of airspace and intelligence to US forces after the September 2001 attacks greatly improved its standing in Washington and international affairs. Azerbaijan has expertly ridden the crest of the oil boom and 5 star hotels have gradually emerged.

However, Azerbaijan has antithesis at its core wealth mingles with poverty soviet blocks jostle with 10th century mosques. The geographical status has made it a gateway between east and west, and the country was an important stop on the Silk Route. Over the centuries, Azerbaijan has been incorporated into most major regional empires. The process began with the Arabs establishing Islam in the seventh century. In the 11th century, the Seljuk Turks established a Turkish dialect as the main language. Later, Azerbaijan would spend 40 years as a minor Soviet republic.

This mosaic of historical influence has arguably enriched Azerbaijan. Bakus oldest building, the Synyk Kalah Minaret, dates from 1093 the Shirvanshahs Palace and other fortresses are masterpieces of architecture from the 13th to 15th centuries. Gobustans rock paintings are some 10,000 years old and Sheki is one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus, dating back 2500 years.

 

Azerbaijanis seem to adopt new cultural and social modes in their stride. Dishes that are Soviet leftovers are now permanent fixtures in traditional Azerbaijani weddings. There have, of course, been ongoing disputes with Armenia over the issue of Nagorno Karabakh, an autonomous enclave inside Azeri territory with an overwhelming Armenian majority. Also, the current government has overseen the murder of journalists, plus the use of force to prevent opposition rallies. But the everyday Azerbaijani overlooks such problems, preferring to lavish any visitor with pride of their country. The hospitality of the Azeris is legendary, as is their contentment at whiling away many an hour drinking tea in local restaurants and playing cards.

It is charming because of its quirks. Some nationals still practice Zoroastrianism. Nature throws up a few surprises, such as the plenitude of mud volcanoes, or the endless burning of fire on the hills of Ramana. It is difficult to know whether it is true when Azerbaijanis claim that their country produces some of the worlds longest lived people.

About the Author:
Douglas Scott works for
The Rental Car Hire Specialist. and is a free lance writer for The Azerbaijan Rental Site
Article Source:
ArticlesBase.com - Azerbaijan Has Five Star Hotels
 
 
 
 
 
 


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