Azerbaijan is very small, but it’s incredibly rich: ancient villages and futuristic architecture, there’s something for every traveller
You have to see it to believe it, this country is extremely rich due to its oil exploitation and especially its offshore drilling in the Caspian Sea. My arrival in Baku is memorable. The only flight from Aktau, Khazakhstan is at 3:00 am, with the jetlag, I set foot in the Azeri territory at 3:00 am.
Azərbaycanı salamlayıram! Mənim adım Kristina, mən fransızam. Sizinlə görüşmək üçün gözəl!
The first impression of Azerbaijan is a real shock: I feel like I’m in Paris
The Azerbaijan I discover in Baku has style and elegance
Azerbaijan has World Heritage Sites
Azerbaijan is a Muslim country but it’s not obvious
Islam is the religion of reference. But Azerbaijan is a secular state and there is very few sign of religion there
It is possible to eat and drink well in Baku: alcohol is available everywhere but no sausage in sight
In Baku, the restaurants are chic, the food is fine and the tables are well laid out
And apart from Baku, what else is there to discover in Azerbaijan?
Nothing less than the beautiful Caucasus
What landscapes, what mountains! It takes no more than a few hours by bus to get there and discover another face of Azerbaijan. Nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, the country is rich in small perched villages. Here traditions dominate, herds of sheep are guarded by shepherds and villages seem frozen in time. An incredible calm, just the mountains, a few bleats and the wind.
The beautiful adventure is to return to Xinaliq, sacred highest village in Europe aboard a tiny Lada. The car is a real antique, but it is fast and easy to drive on the dusty mountain roads. Getting there is a bit like arriving at the end of the world. A grocery store, a café, chickens in the wild, a few placid donkeys and all around the imposing Caucasus, like a monk in meditation.
Shaki, Quba, Khinalug: discovering the beautiful Azeri villages
The villages of the Caucasus are worth every detour. They are easy to get to and difficult to leave. Travellers in search of sensationalism will not be well served. Here it’s rather calm weather, discovering a caravanserai, an Albanian church or a horse ride in the mountains. It is precisely this authenticity that makes Azerbaijan so endearing. It is in these modestly sized cities, far from the elegance of Baku, that you will make the most beautiful encounters. The Azeris are very welcoming and hospitality is an important value in the culture.
Təşəkkür edirəm, vida, tezliklə görəcəksən!