10 Things you need to know about Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan was undoubtedly the most sought after destination among travelers in Pakistan in 2018 but the question remains, is the hype real?
Im sure it will be easier for you to address your doubts by the end of the article because I have listed eight things that makes Azerbaijan an absolute traveler’s favorite.
To one’s relief Azerbaijan is one of the very few countries that has included Pakistani Nationals in their new and improved visa policies. Pakistanis are eligible to enter the country holding an electronic visa that only costs 23 Dollars and takes no more than three working days to arrive. This relaxed visa policy is primarily what makes it the new travel sensation amongst Pakistanis.
Food and Travel go hand in hand. You might agree to disagree with me on this but that means we can’t be friends in this life or the next.
Azerbaijani cuisine is just as diverse as its culture. Muslims and kebabs have ruled over the country for more than fourteen centuries, hence meat laden grills are an indispensable highlight of an Azeri meal. However you will find a significant hint of the Mediterranean influence in the form of dolmas and sarmas. Most of the food is either grilled or cooked in very little oil so the good news is that you need not worry about those vacation pounds.
Once the flavorsome Azeri cuisine has satisfied your palette you would have already fallen for their culture. The culture once again is a beautiful fusion of traditions and intellect that has evolved over a period of centuries. 99 percent population in the country is Shiite Muslims but the deep rooted effects of communism from the glorious period of U.S.S.R still lingers amongst the Azeri community and reflects in their lifestyle.
If you have an eye for handicraft and traditional souvenirs then Azerbaijan is your shopper’s paradise. The streets are adorned with tiny shops, some no bigger than a kiosk, but swarming with souvenirs and collectibles irrespective of their size. It is not only a treat to pick your favorites amongst a variety of handicrafts available, it is also a treat to set the gypsy inside you free to wander around these colorful streets.
5.Getting Around With Public Transport
Remember; Uber is cheap, Taxi is not. Now that you have been explicitly warned, you will walk into this trap as soon as you exit the airport, but stay firm and continue to turn down generous offers from cab drivers until your uber arrives, which by the way will charge you less than half of what a taxi will charge you for wherever you go.
Hop on Hop off tourist buses are recommended for city tours and if you are looking for toned calf muscles by the end of your trip, you could also explore the city on foot.
You will also run into a lot of tour operators on the streets but choose wisely and make a decision based on comparative analysis
Once again if you choose wisely and make the right decisions, Azerbaijan is the perfect destination for thrifty travelers. You may find it expensive if you choose to take private tours and fine dine but you will always have options available that will go easy on your pocket.
Apart from the slight language barrier, you will find the locals to be friendly and cheerful. Russian is the most widely spoken language after their very own Azeri but almost every third person on the street is able to communicate in English too. The country may not be very baby friendly in terms of the infrastructure but their people are very friendly around children and very considerate with families specifically.
8.Something for Everyone
Azerbaijan is the perfect place for a short getaway. There is a list of activities that you can choose from, depending on your interest and time constraint. You may find yourself exploring ancient civilizations and mud volcanos just a few kilometers outside of Baku and in case you are a nature lover and not a history buff then Gabala and Shahdag are absolutely gorgeous hill stations set in the scenic Caucuses, only three hours away from the city of Baku.
Heydar Aliyev International Airport in Baku is where you will most probably end your long eventful trip. The interior of the airport is inspired by cocoons and you are definitely in for a warm cozy treat with their beautifully designed oak veneer coffee shops if you have a late flight or an early check out from the hotel.
10. Night Life
Congratulations nocturnal animals, the capital city of Azerbaijan is not your usual European town and the party goes on for the better part of the night. Although the famous ‘Nizami’ is home to all the activities but slightly less famous neighboring streets and the streets leading to ‘Nizami’ are no less when it comes to life after sundown.
Dont you think the well lit and well preserved architecture speaks for itself? hmm??
the article was originally written for fuchsia magazine and was published on the 6th Dec 2018