The contrast between the Caucasus’ largest cosmopolitan city, Baku and the rest of the country is startling; Baku is an oil-boom city where sleek cars glide past gleaming skyscrapers, mansions built by oil magnates, Soviet-era architecture and the beautifully preserved walled old city. Here, discover ancient buildings huddled over narrow alleyways bustling with activity and life. Glimmering landmarks such as the iconic Qiz Qalasi tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs brilliantly evoke Azerbaijan’s dynastic and unforgettable past.
The Silk Road
You don't have to go far from Baku to reach the stunning mountains, lush green valleys and arid semi-desert. The country was once an important stopover on the Silk Road and in ancient Shekhi you will find the mosaic-fronted Khan's summer palace and be able to stay in the converted caravanserai. Stop at Gobustan's belching mud geysers and appreciate the Stone Age cave art.
Spend an evening stargazing at the Pirguli Space Observatory or, more down to earth, join the locals in a teahouse to watch the spectacular Yanar Dag (Fire Mountain) where a wall of fire burns day and night.