Azerbaijan is a place where you feel yourself at a cultural crossroads, where East meets West, South connects with North. This unique geographical location, bordered by the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, placed the country on the path of the Silk Road. And for millennia traders and travelers, camels and caravans passed through and left traces of their customs, languages, and beliefs.
Azerbaijan today is a place of immense multiculturalism. High in the mountains, tiny ethnic groups can still be found speaking completely unique languages and continuing the way of life of their ancestors.
The country is also home to fascinating Jewish, German and Polish heritage, which is beautifully reflected in architecture. Many of Baku’s iconic buildings of the so-called Oil-Boom era are the handiwork of European architects. A splendid mix of styles, they stand side by side with the oriental charm of Baku’s Old City, which is dotted with ancient landmarks like the Maiden Tower and the Shirvanshahs’ Palace.
The Old City is one of Azerbaijan’s three UNESCO World Heritage sites. The astonishing prehistoric rock art of the Gobustan State Reserve and the atmospheric historic old town of Sheki are two others. Sheki is a city brimming with culture, art, and history at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains and a must-visit destination for culture lovers.
Travelers to Azerbaijan can also explore an abundance of intangible cultural heritage. There is the folk musical art of mugham, the national equestrian sport of chovgan that is sometimes called “Azerbaijani polo”, and the exquisite craft of making kelaghayi silk scarves. Nine cultural elements of Azerbaijan have been inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List of UNESCO.
A land filled with stories and secrets, Azerbaijan has much more culture waiting to be discovered. From carpet-weaving and coppersmithing in quiet mountain villages to the historic theatres, museums, and contemporary art spaces of Baku, cultural travelers can look forward to a wealth of unforgettable sights and experiences.