Take a group tour through Azerbaijan, a state between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus! Admire the highest mountain, Bazardüzü in the Caucasus, and the largest lake, Sarisu. The state territory also includes the islands of Pirallahi and Cilov in the Caspian Sea. Travel through the most important cities in Azerbaijan such as the capital Baku, Gäncä, Sumqayit or Mingäcevir and see their sights. The main attractions are the Old Fortress, the Martyrs Cemetery, the international airport or the Azeri TV tower in Baku; the Sähär Stadium in Gäncä; the castles of Mardagan, the temple of the fire worshipers of the Zarathustra cult or the peculiar Vilkan landscape of Gobustan in Sumqayit; the hydropower plant at the Mingäcevir reservoir of the Kura and a thermal power plant operated with natural gas in Mingäcevir. Enjoy a nice study trip through Azerbaijan!
Flame Towers Baku
A round trip through Azerbaijan naturally includes the capital Baku. If you visit the Azerbaijani capital Baku, you will quickly discover that a lot in the metropolis is based on the element of fire or is related to it. So it stands to reason that flames also shape the cityscape and serve as symbols of the capital. The so-called “Flame Towers of Baku”, which were built from October 2007 to April 2012, tower over the skyline and are located on a hill. The three 190 meter high towers, which are shaped like tongues of fire, can be seen from almost anywhere and form the tallest structures in the city. The Flame Towers look particularly spectacular at night when the glass facades are illuminated with an LED projection and watch over Baku like blazing flames.
In the Flame Towers
The towers, which soar into the sky, dominate not only the picturesque old town of Baku with its winding streets, but also the Shirwanshah Palace from the 11th century, both of which have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
The individual towers have different functions. In the northernmost of the three towers is the “Fairmont Baku Flames Tower Hotel”, probably the best hotel in town. 19 luxury apartments and 318 rooms are spread over 36 floors. The 17 meter high lobby with its gigantic chandelier, consisting of 600,000 crystals and 840 lights, underpins the claim to the top position in the city’s hotel industry. The view from the hotel rooms over the whole capital and the Caspian Sea is very impressive, especially at night. The other two towers of the Flame Tower house offices, apartments, boutiques, restaurants and a multiplex cinema.
The old town of Baku
It borders directly on the Black Sea, which is partially surrounded by an old fortress wall, the historic old town of Azerbaijan’s capital Baku. Its name Ichari Shahar can be translated as “Inner City”, the walled part of which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. Its history can be traced back to the 11th century, when Baku was still ruled by a Muslim dynasty, the Shirvanshahs.
Surrounded by a fortress ring
When traveling to Baku, a visit to the old town Ichari Shahar is, so to speak, a must. After all, it offers the rare opportunity to feel like you have been transported back around 1000 years while strolling through a labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys in the vicinity of old palaces and caravanserais as well as mosques and baths. One of the entrances to Ichari Shahar is the Gosa Gala Gapisi double gate. In the center of the old town, the visitor encounters the Mohammed Mosque with its Synyk Kala minaret. It is considered to be their oldest Islamic church, which was built as a brick structure in the 11th century. An interesting phenomenon is a Zoroastrian fire temple, which used to be fired with natural gas and was created in the 17th century. Galleries, artist studios and hotels also come into the visitor’s field of vision again and again.
The Palace of the Khans of Shirvan
Finally, the building ensemble of the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, positioned on a flat hill, appears. This includes the actual residential palace, a meeting house, a caravanserai, the Shah mosque, the mausoleum and a bathhouse. The most striking building, however, is the Qiz Qalasi, the Maiden’s Tower. The almost 30 m high tower has walls up to 5 m thick and was once part of the city fortifications. It represents the landmark of Baku. On the floors of its interior there is a small museum that can be visited and from the platform on it an impressive panoramic view opens up over the old town and the bay in front of Baku.
Ateshgan Fire Temple
In the Surakhani settlement on the northeastern outskirts of Baku, the Ateshgah fire temple is one of the city’s sights, most of which are part of the sightseeing program on trips to Baku with city tours or study trips.
Azerbaijan – omnipresent fire
Azerbaijan’s Absheron Peninsula, which protrudes far into the Caspian Sea, was a center of the fire-worshiping religion of Zoroastrianism. Temples were soon built as pilgrimage sites around the flames that were already emerging from the interior of the earth on the basis of combustible gases and were considered to be eternal fire. Pilgrims from Persia and India, who venerated fire as a symbol of purity, made pilgrimages to them. These ancient fires became part of Azerbaijani national pride and named their locations “Temple of Fire”.
Ateshgah – Azerbaijan’s most famous fire temple
The Ateshgan, a literal translation of “hoard of fire”, was not built until the 17th and 18th centuries. It served as a monastery until 1883. In the inner courtyard of the pentagonal building complex there is a tetrapillar altar. Its fire started here The oil production facilities in its vicinity led to the abandonment of the facility. However, its eternal flame did not go out until 1969, when oil and gas were largely exploited in this region Numerous inscriptions on the walls and above the cells of the temple also referring to its use by Hindus.In 1975 a museum was opened in its numerous rooms.If you visit the Ateshgah today on a trip through Azerbaijan, you can still admire the once eternal fire, which, however, only burns after the temple attendant has turned on the gas.