Russia For You: Sample Programs

Destination
Season
Theme

Azerbaijan Cultural Summer Program

20 August  2020
Country / city: Azerbaijan / Baku
Season: Summer
Theme: Cultural & Leisure Group

Azerbaijan Cultural Sample Program • 40 pax

 

Morning Activities
08:00 — 13:00

Lunch
13:00 — 14:00

Afternoon Activities
14:00 — 19:00

Dinner Evening Activities
19:00 — 00:00

Day 1
2 Nov
2020
Mon

Azerbajdzhan General Desription of the Region

Azerbajdzhan Visa Requirements

Azerbaijan Climate/Weather Forecast

ENTERTAINMENT: National Music Ensemble

Arrival to Baku airport

Visit and Degustation in Tovuz Baltiya Naigo and Ko Wine shop

Welcome dinner at Chanag Gala Restaurant

Day 2
3 Nov
2020
Tue

10:00 — 13:00 City tour — Old Town of Icheri Sheher

13:00 Lunch at Shafa Fish House on Seaside

15:00 — 19:30 Baku City tour

Bibi Abyat Mosque

Church of the «Holy Wives of the Myrrhbearers

Heydar Aliyev Center

20:00 Dinner at Caranansary Multan

Day 3
4 Nov
2020
Wed

9:00 Free time to visit the eastern market, shops with sweets and souvenir shops. Visit Yashil Bazar in Baku

Gobustan dessert tour

 

Fire Temple of Baku visit

13:30 Lunch at Local restaurant

Evening visit to Burning Mountain Yanardag

19:00 Dinner and walking excursion Lights of the Evening Baku

Day 4
5 Nov
2020
Thu

9:00 Departure from the hotel

11:00 — 13:00 Shemakha — an ancient Azerbaijani city

Juma mosque visit

Diri-Baba

Master class on minting copper utensils in Lagich

14:00 — 15:00 Lunch at the Ancient farmhouse in Lagich

Lagich Vilage

18:00 Departure to Sheki

21:00 Chek-in and Dinner at the Hotel

Day 5
6 Nov
2020
Fri

10:00 Excursion Sheki

Tasting Sheki Halva and other local sweets inherent only in the Sheki region.

12:00 Albanian church visit

Tasting of local craft wines, moonshine and vodka in the village of Kish

14:00 — 15:30 Lunch at Karpich (tasting local sheki dishes «Piti»)

15:30 Departure to Ganja

19:00 Arrival to Ganja/Check in/Dinner at the Hotel

Day 6
7 Nov
2020
Sat

10:00 City tour «Ganja — ciy of Khans and Poets»

Caravan-sarai in Ganja

Chokyak-Hamam in Ganja

Juma Mosque (Shah Abbas Mosque) in Ganja

Dzhavadhan Mausoleum

Nazami Ganjavi Mausoleum

20:00 Dinner at local restaurant and the Sunset Goygol Lake

13:00 Lunch at a Local restaurant

 

 

Day 7
8 Nov
2020
Sun

Departure from the hotel to the airport

 

 

 

HOTEL ACCOMMODATION

 BAKU: Four Seasons Hotel Baku 5*

Straddling the Middle East, Europe and Asia, the enigmatic capital of Azerbaijan sits on the coast of the opal-blue waters of the Caspian Sea, with the Caucasus Mountains to the west. Four Season beaux-arts–style Hotel is perched along the waterfront in the heart of central Baku, with the medieval walls of the Inner City just steps away and a trio of flame-shaped, modern skyscrapers flickering nearby. It’s a contrast that perfectly sums up the evolving city: ancient, modern and a little daring, all at once. Join us for breakfast on the terrace at Zafferano, followed by a relaxing treatment in hotel sun-lit penthouse Spa, then come discover Baku with us.

 BAKU: Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers

Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers designed to exceed five-star standards and services, brings 299 superbly appointed guest rooms and suites, 19 serviced apartments and an array of Fairmont Gold options.

Take advantage of all Baku has to offer with one of Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers' special hotel packages. Planning a shopping trip or hoping to rekindle a romance? Let us take care of all the details — from breakfast and parking passes to champagne and roses.

Located in the iconic modern landmark Flame Towers, SPA at Fairmont Baku is set over two floors, 3,500 meters in total; the lower level of the spa is reserved for revitalization and features all things active, and the upper passive area is for relaxation, each beautifully reflected in the décor. Rich tones of warm amber and bronze, tactile materials and highlights of crystal create an extraordinary backdrop. The Spa also features the largest Hamam in the region and breathtaking views of the Caspian Sea. The unique Sky Garden with large Sun Deck and Poolside Sauna offer guests unique views of the Caspian Sea and creates a stunning spa feature.

From seasonally inspired menus to dining experiences that will satisfy any craving, see what our chefs are preparing just for you.

 BAKU: Marriott Absheron Baku Hotel

Discover 5-star service at JW Marriott Absheron Baku. Ideally located in the city center, our elegant hotel is the premier choice for both business travelers and those visiting Azerbaijan for vacation. Explore Port Baku Mall, Fountain Square, Shirvanshakh Palace and the Central Botanical Garden, all nearby. Within our sophisticated hotel, you'll enjoy rooms and suites with views of Baku's skyline or the Caspian Sea and upscale amenities. Upgrade to a family suite or an Executive Studio for special amenities and lounge access. Treat yourself to the lavish spa, visit the gym and indoor pool and indulge in delicious cuisine and drinks in hotel's restaurants and lounges. If you are planning an event, you'll value the cutting-edge audio-visual technology, much-lauded catering and sophisticated venues, including the Sharg Zali ballroom, the largest hotel ballroom in Baku. No matter what brings you to our hotel, we look forward to making your stay in Baku, Azerbaijan, remarkable.

 BAKU: Intourist Hotel Baku Autograph Collection

A brilliant blend of style and substance awaits guests of Intourist Hotel Baku Autograph Collection, a 5-star destination nestled in the heart of Baku city center. Settle into spacious, elegantly appointed hotel rooms and suites and enjoy an array of thoughtful amenities, including luxury bedding, complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service. Awaken refreshed and dine with us at Intourist Restaurant & Bar or visit on-site fitness center; hotel is home to a serene day spa, offering bespoke treatments like massages and facials. Located only minutes from central Baku, we provide a superb vantage point from which to enjoy the capital city of Azerbaijan; Old City, the Palace of the Shirvanshahs and Baku Eye are all nearby. The hotel also features a flexible indoor-outdoor event space, enhanced by thoughtful service and delicious catering. No matter your reason for visiting Azerbaijan, we're confident you'll be delighted with your stay at Intourist Hotel Baku Autograph Collection.

 SHEKI: Markhal Resorts and Spa 5*

One of the best hotels in Azerbaijan Marxal Resort & Spa combines a charm of native home and luxury and comfort of a 5-star hotel. A spacious reception area provides you with a warm welcome, tranquil & fascinating atmosphere. With its impeccable hospitability, it will make you feel like home as a respected guest during your stay here.

Enjoy your perfect stay in our luxury and comfortable

rooms and suites

The complex suggests its’ guests several restaurants supplied with modern equipment and delicious food. You can taste both local and international cuisine in our restaurants.

Explore the variety of means of treatment using high quality and stylish brands from all over the world. Our services include face massage, deluxe massage, healing massages, softening and strengthening the body, Turkish hammam.

Dear guests, with great pleasure, Marxal Resort & Spa suggests you a bowling game as well as to relax in comfortable and pleasant atmosphere while playing american pool. You can spend exciting time with family, colleagues, friends and order tasty food from light-snacks menu & different drinks in our entertainment center.

 GANJA: Ramada Plaza Gence

Ramada Plaza Gence hotel is designed to make your trip more relaxing. With thoughtful amenities and unique personal touches, we offer elegant comfort and modern accommodations.

Connect to free WiFi and let loose in game room. Start each morning with a free breakfast buffet or order from the ala carte menu. Unwind in our indoor and outdoor pools, and sauna, or stay active in our fitness center. Take advantage of 24/7 reception desk staff, dry cleaning, and free airport shuttle to or from Ganja International Airport (KVD). We offer non-smoking and accessible rooms.

 

DAY 1 — 2nd November 2020, Monday

 Azerbajdzhan General Desription of the Region

A country of Transcaucasia north of Iran. The region was settled by the Medes before the forth century B.C. and was a separate kingdom after the death of Alexander the Great. Ceded to Russia by Persia in 1813 and 1828, the territory was a constituent republic of the USSR from 1936 to 1991 (It joined the USSR Dec. 30, 1922). Azerbaijan declared independence Aug. 30, 1991, and became an independent state when the Soviet Union disbanded Dec. 26, 1991.

Capital: Baku; Time Zone: GMT +4; Currency Manat (AZM) 1 USD ~ 4600 AZM

Electricity 220 V, 50 Hz (double pins european plug)

Main cities Sumgait, Giandja, Nakhychivan

Languages Azeri (official), Russian

Religions Islam (mostly 86%), Christianity, Judaism

Export Oil & gas, iron, copper, fruit, vines, cotton, silk, carpets

Area 86,600 sq. km (33,400 sq. mi.)

Population 7.600.000

 Azerbajdzhan Visa Requirements

Visa upon arrival at international airports of Azerbaijan can be obtained only by citizens of Turkey, Israel, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Japan, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. For citizens of Russia and the CIS (except for Turkmenistan), a visa is not required to Azerbaijan. Citizens of other countries must obtain a visa prior to arrival, through the consulates of Azerbaijan in their country or to issue an electronic visa through our travel agency. To apply for a visa, contact our managers at least 4 weeks before arriving in Azerbaijan.

 Azerbaijan Climate/Weather Forecast

The Climate of the Apsheron Peninsula where Baku is situated is moderately warm with hot dry summer and short mild winter. Being situated in the same latitude with Greece and Italy, Apsheron is distinguished by higher average annual temperature and less quantity of precipitation. The Caspian Sea does not freeze in this latitude, therefore the Baku seaport functions all the year round. The average annual temperature of Baku and that of the Earth come together to the tenth portions (14.2ºC). The average temperature in July is +26ºC (75 F), in January it is +3ºC (32 F). The precipitation is from 180 mm to 300 mm a year. The southwestern part of Great Baku is a more arid part of Azerbaijan. The precipitation here is less than 150 mm a year. Strong northern winds «Khazri» and southern winds – «Gilavar» are typical here.

 Arrival to Baku airport

Heydar Aliyev international airport (formerly Bina) is the busiest in the Caucasus. Thanks to the EBRD and the German Government, it has had investment in upgrading navigation aids that have improved safety for air traffic (the airport was the scenario for several accidents, the last serious one with an Azal cargo Boeing 707-323C in 1995).

The airport had a lot of construction work in the 1980's, but the collapse of the USSR resulted in the suspension of the works, with the two main terminals being left incomplete. Increased traffic led to a second runway being opened for wide-bodied aircraft in 1995. The current international terminal was opened in 1993 with precarious conditions. In June 1999, after construction work that seemed to eternalize, the renovated passenger facilities were finally inaugurated.

There are the following airlines operating in Azerbajdzhan: BA, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Swiis Air, Iran Air, Turan Air, Imair, Turk Hava Yollary; «Baku» airlines, Russian airlines: Russia, Airflot, Pulkovo airlines.

Travellers from Europe have the best air access to Azerbaijan. There are flights between Baku and Frankfurt, Kiev, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, St Petersburg and Zurich several times a week. Most other flights serve cities in Russia and the Middle East, usually once a week.

The airport is approximately 25 kilometres east from downtown Baku (travel time: approx. 40 minutes), one kilometre off the Baku-Mardakan road. If you are coming from Baku you will see the access road on your left, in front of an open air market. The central building is the domestic and CIS terminal (use the left entrance for Nakhchivan flights). To the left side is located the international terminal, and in front of it, across the often chaotic parking lot, you'll find the airport hotel. Most flight arrive at night so it is prudent to have an hotel booking.

Avoid taxis offered by drivers in the customs area, they will cost much more than those just outside the airport building. Choose a licensed car with a TAXI sign. The trip from the airport to the centre of the city costs about 20 manat (less than 20 Euro).

Flight time from Moscow: 3 hours.

Flight time from St-Petersburg: 3 hours 40 minutes.

 Visit and Degustation in Tovuz Baltiya Naigo and Ko Wine shop

Azerbaijan is a country that preserves the ancient traditions of viticulture and winemaking. In the Tovuz region, located in the west of Azerbaijan, winemaking was developed in the 7th century. In Soviet times, Azerbaijan was one of the largest wine-producing republics. On the territory of this country, more than 300 thousand hectares of vineyards were cultivated.

One of the main wineries in Azerbaijan today is the Tovuz cognac and wine factory. The company has reserves of high-quality cognac spirit aged in oak barrels of 100-year-old oak in an amount of at least 10 thousand decalitres. There are cognac spirits, the age of which varies from 5 to 50 years. Stocks are constantly replenished by harvesting from their own vineyards, which are 25 thousand hectares.

Cognac, pomegranate and quince wines produced here are successfully sold in 75 countries of the world. Now Ukraine has its own brand boutique «Tovuz Wine» at ul. Sribnokilskaya, 3 -, which represents the culture of Azerbaijani winemaking — «Tovuz Baltic». Visitors will have the opportunity to taste before purchasing products.

The Tovuz Baltiya company presents the best names of cognacs from the Tovuz region of Azerbaijan, as well as pomegranate wines and quince wines. Cognacs are made according to traditional technology from selected cognac spirits. Cognac spirits are aged in a new barrel, after which this oak packaging is no longer used. The company buys bottles for wine and cognac in the Czech Republic and France.

The assortment of the company consists of cognac Tovuz «V.S., aged at least 5 years, cognac» Tovuz «V.S.O.P. aged not less than 10 years, cognac «Tovuz» H.O. aged from 3 to 30 years.

The real pearl of the product range of the enterprise is a unique pomegranate wine, quince wine, quince and pomegranate champagne. It is bottled under the name «Tovuz» variants — semi-dry and semi-sweet. This wine has a healing effect: it improves appetite, lowers blood pressure, increases hemoglobin level and reduces the harmful effects of radiation.

The company «Tovuz Baltia» considers the continuation and development of traditional technologies of viticulture and winemaking in Azerbaijan, existing for more than ten centuries, as the main goal of its activity. The company «Tovuz Wine» has repeatedly been awarded honorary diplomas for the quality of its products.

We bring to your attention:

White Wines

Red wines

Fruit Wines

Champagne

Vodka

Whiskey

Cognac

 Welcome dinner at Chanag Gala Restaurant

Chanakkala restaurant was organized in 1991. It was founded in the city's most famous restaurant has always fascinated its guests with delicious meals. Excellent service and high-quality services are provided to each client. In the evening, the people dance under the melancholy music and listen to the colorful show programs. Guests can taste delicious meals of Azerbaijan, Turkey and European cuisine in our restaurant.

There are a wonderful show and banquet halls in Chanakkala restaurant. Guests can be continuously used VIP, Mugham, Show, Camelot and Tarzan halls. If you want to spend a fun time, have a good dinner, supper and listen to live music, then great, comfortable Chanakkala restaurant that located in the center of Baku, is a seeking place. Working time is from 10:00 am to the last client.

 ENTERTAINMENT: National Music Ensemble

Azerbaijani music is a musical tradition of the Azerbaijani people, from Azerbaijan and Iran. It is based on folk traditions that reach almost 1000 years. Over the centuries, Azerbaijani music has developed under the monody icon, creating rhythmically diverse melodies.

Classical music

In 1920, Azerbaijani classical music went through the Renaissance, and the Baku Academy of Music was created to give classical musicians the same support as folk musicians.

Most songs tell a story about real events and Azerbaijani folklore, or they developed thanks to song contests of troubadour poets. According to their origin, folk songs are usually played at weddings, funerals and special festivals.

Regional folk music usually accompanies folk dances, which vary widely across regions. Regional moods also touch on the theme of folk songs, for example, folk songs from the Caspian Sea are lively in general and express the customs of the region. Songs about betrayal dislike them, not sadness, while the further south traveled through Azerbaijan, the more melodies resemble crying.

 

DAY 2 — 3rd November 2020, Tuesday

 10:00 — 13:00 City tour — Old Town of Icheri Sheher

Very often Icheri Sheher is called a fortress, as a well-preserved fortress wall surrounds it. People in the territory of Icheri Sheher lived in the Bronze Age, and by the 8th-11th centuries, it was completely populated. Behind the walls, there are many unique monuments: the palace complex of the Shirvanshahs with a burial vault, a sofa, a mosque; «Gyz Galasy» ( «The Maiden's Tower»); mosques and minarets, the remains of caravanserais, baths. Buildings of the old fortress are of a special nature. Because of the lack of the territory of the building, the wall to the wall was erected here from ancient times. There are no gardens, the yards are extremely small and separated by «threads» of narrow streets, lanes and dead ends. When the Shirvanshahs moved their capital from Shemakha to Baku in the 15th century, massive buildings began in Icheri Sheher. During this period the pearl of the fortress was Built — the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. It should be noted that Baku XVII-XIX centuries did not go beyond the boundaries of Icheri Sheher. Here were located the palaces of the rulers, and residential quarters. From 1747 to 1806, there was the capital of the Baku Khanate. Only after the beginning of the oil boom, the city began to expand and goes beyond the boundaries of Icheri Sheher.

The fortress wall itself is of interest. Once Baku had two of them, and they were separated by moats, but at the beginning of the XIX century, the city grew so fast that it was necessary to demolish and build the outer wall. Remained only the inner wall. It has 25 towers and 5 gates. They say that back in the 30s. Twentieth century in the fortress there were more than 900 buildings, and by the beginning of the XXI century only half remained.

 13:00 Lunch at Shafa Fish House on Seaside

Daria Fish House — a family decoration with open living rooms, a children's play center and a panoramic terrace is distinguished by positive and spacious interiors with a «marine» styling. Darya Fish House's cuisine features fish specialties, seafood specialties, and traditional Azerbaijani dishes in generous home servings.

 15:00 — 19:30 Baku City tour

During City tour in Baku you will have an opportunity to visit the most interesting places of the Azeri capital and will be introduced with its history and current life of the city. You will note the mingling of ancient architecture, traditions with the modern buildings and life style. You will visit ancient Maiden Tower (eight-storey fortress originally built as a fire beacon) which according to the latest researches is the largest Zoroastrian temple in the world, the Old City «Icheri Sheher».

Which is the highly picturesque core of Baku, Zoroastrian temple «Ateshgah» and medieval castles of Apsheron, Dzhuma Mosque. And on the other hand the most modern signs of the city will also be a part of our program. Martyr's Cemetery, located on the higher slopes of the city's west-end, this is the best place for panorama viewing of the city and the Bay of Baku. You will have a walk along Baku Boulevard, the second largest one in the Europe.

Option: a boat tour during 30 minutes along Baku Bay. You will be introduced with the interesting facts and legends of the largest lake in the world better known as Caspian Sea.

Option: guided visit to Market place, antiques and carpet shops of Baku.

 Bibi Abyat Mosque

Bibi-Heybat Mosque (Azerbaijan's Bibiheybət məscidi) is a mosque located on the shore of Baku Bay, in Azerbaijan. The existing structure, built in the 1990s, is a reconstruction of the mosque of the same name, built in the 13th century by Shirvanshah Abu-l-Fath Farrukhzad and destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936, when a fierce struggle with religion was going on throughout the territory of the USSR. The Bibi-Eybat complex, in addition to the mosque, includes tombs and tombs of revered people (including the grave of Ukeima Khanum, the descendant of the Prophet Muhammad), as before destruction, and today is a spiritual center for Muslims of the East and one of the significant monuments of Islamic architecture of Azerbaijan. The mosque was once visited by Abaskuli-aga Bakikhanov, Alexander Dumas, Khurshudbanu Natavan. The local population in the past called it «the mosque of Fatima». Using the same name, described the mosque and visited it in the 40 years of the XIX century, Alexander Dumas. At the end of the modern Baku tour we visit the world's first oil well drilled in the Bibi-eibat oil-bearing region.

 Church of the «Holy Wives of the Myrrhbearers

Holy Myrrhbearers Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox cathedral in Baku, Azerbaijan. The church is dedicated to the Holy Myrrhbearers, who are commemorated on the second Sunday after Pascha (Easter).

The building was erected in 1909 through personal donations and after the revolution in the Russian Empire and the entry of the Republic of Azerbaijan into the USSR, the temple was closed one of the first in 1920. First, there was a warehouse in it, and then a gym. In the days of the January events of 1990, two shells hit the bell tower of the temple, due to which it was partially destroyed, the floor sagged, the walls cracked, and the roof collapsed. In 1991, the dilapidated building of the church was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church. On May 27, 2001, His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia made a great consecration of the Holy Mother of God Church and conferred on him the status of a cathedral of the diocese.

 Heydar Aliyev Center

Heydar Aliyev Center is named after Heydar Aliyev, the first secretary of Soviet Azerbaijan from 1969 to 1982, and president of Azerbaijan Republic from October 1993 to October 2003. The center is a cultural center, which is a complex building, which includes an auditorium (congress center), a museum, exhibition halls, administrative offices. The famous architect Zaha Hadid designed the project of the center and on 10 May 2012 it was opened

 20:00 Dinner at Caranansary Multan

Here you will not only eat plentifully and tasty, enjoying kutabs, meat, dolma, pilaf, seasonal fruits, fresh herbs and vegetables, but you will also be spectators of a special show program with a performance by a group of musicians on folk instruments, with an incendiary belly dance and «fakir» swallowing fire and walking barefoot over sharp sabers.

 

DAY 3 — 4th November 2020, Wednesday

 9:00 Free time to visit the eastern market, shops with sweets and souvenir shops. Visit Yashil Bazar in Baku

Yashil Bazaar, or the green market in Baku, is the most delicious, vibrant and diverse of the capital's markets. A true expanse for gourmets: there is everything you need, and even much more. Colors, tastes and smells: the best products and spices from different regions of Azerbaijan are brought here to the green market in Baku every day. Tasty, exotic, healthy, and sometimes expensive. The assortment includes beluga caviar, a delicacy of the Caspian Sea, which is deservedly not very cheap. In the markets of Baku, you can find caviar of different varieties and price categories.

 Fire Temple of Baku visit

The Temple of Eternal Fire — Ateshgyah — is an authentic Azerbaijani exotic. It is well-known practically all over the world. It is located 30 km from the center of Baku in the suburb of Surakhany. This territory is known for such unique natural phenomenon as burning natural gas outlets (underground gas coming onto surface contacts oxygen and lights up). The temple in its present state was constructed in the 17th-18th centuries. The Baku-based Hindu community related to Sikhs built it.

However, the history of the Temple is even longer. From times immemorial, this was the holy place of Zoroastrians- fire worshippers (approximately beginning of our era). They attributed mystical significance to the inextinguishable fire and came there to worship the relic.

After the introduction of Islam Zoroastrian temple was destroyed. Many Zoroastrians left to India and there continued their worship. But in the 15th -17th centuries the Hindus-fire worshippers who came to Absheron with trading caravans began to make pilgrimages to Surakhany. The Indian merchants started erection of the temple. The earliest temple part is dated 1713. The latest — the central temple-altar was built with the support of merchant Kanchangar in 1810. During the 18th century chapels, cells, a caravanserai were added to the central part of the temple. On у can find carved inscriptions in Indian lettering there.

In the early 19th century the Temple acquired its present-day appearance. Ateshgah is a pentagonal structure with a castellation and entrance portal. In the center of a yard the altar-sanctuary executed in the form of a stone bower on which angles some more centers are located towers. In the center of an altar — a well from which beat «eternally» burning gas.

 13:30 Lunch at Local restaurant

The best restaurants of Azerbaidjan offer as traditional and national as modern national and international meals. Depending on the theme of the trip, wishes, and purposes we will be glad to suggest the most suitable variants of lunch or dinner for you.

 Gobustan desert tour

Caves and rock outcroppings surround this village, whose name can be translated as «ravine land». The spurs of the Great Caucasus Range descend to the Caspian along the Djeirankechmez river. Settled since the 8th millennium BC, the area contains thousands of rock paintings spread over 100 km2 depicting hunting scenes, people, ships, constellations, animals, etc.

The oldest petroglyphs date from the 12th century BC. Later, the European invaders also left their marks: inscriptions left by Alexander the Great's cohorts in the 4th century BC and 2,000-year-old graffiti written by Trajan's Roman legionnaires!

The petroglyphs of Gobustan were discovered accidentally by quarry workers only in the 1930s. In addition to the rock carvings, traces of Mesolithic period occupation are to be seen, with numerous burial mounds and graves, the most interesting at Firuz, where eleven skeletons were found. One of the most interesting ancient monuments in Qobustan is an ancient musical instrument – Qavaldash. (drum stone) There are two of these stones in Qobustan. One of them is located on the north-eastern slope of the Chinkirdaq mountain. The second one is a huge and flat piece of rock on the north-eastern slope of the Boyukdash mountain. Qavaldash doesn’t look any different from thousands of rocks surrounding it. But when you hit them with a small stone you can hear a metal sound close to the sound of drum. Hitting different spots of stone makes sounds of different tones. The secret of making Qavaldash play is in raising it over land. Azeri scientists found out about Qavaldash in 1947 from a talk of local shepherds. They in their turn knew about it since their childhood, from their fathers and grandfathers. The eastern side of the stone from getting hits took the shape of piano. When hitting the stone from one side to another the sound changes as it does with the keys of the piano. Qavaldash is found not only in Azerbaijan, but in some other countries of the world. For example: in Southern Vietnam, close to the village of Ndut Lyang Crack; in African country of Mali. The tribes that live in Qobustan, engraved their dancing on the stones located by Qavaldash-es, encouraging the youth to «yalli» dance (national dance with elements of dancing in a ring). Qavaldash is one of Qobustan’s wonders. Even today we can play any melody we want on these stones.

Tour duration: 6 hours with lunch stop.

 Evening visit to Burning Mountain Yanardag

One of the most famous and popular tourist places of the «eternal flame» in Azerbaijan is the mountain of Yanar Dag. Actually, it is rather a hill than a mountain, with natural gas burning on its slope from ancient times. Meter-long tongues of fire are licking the stratified earth approximately for 10 m in width, searing those who approached too close. People occupy the benches to watch the blazing hill in the evening, when the its sight is most effective.

Yanar Dag is located 25 km to the north from Baku, in Mehemmedi village. There are buses running to it from the city, so you can get there fairly cheap and easy. From the year 2007, Yanar Dag is declared a state-protected conservation area.

 19:00 Dinner and walking excursion Lights of the Evening Baku

Tour «Lights of Evening Baku» begins with a visit to Mountain Park. It is here that the «City of Winds», as Baku is often called, opens to you in all its glory. The observation platform located on the highest part of the city, near the «Burning Flame Tower» shows the city with all its bright lights bordering Baku Bay reflecting the measured pace of life in the evening Baku. Further, we continue our excursion to one of the favourite places of the walk of the Baku guests of the city of all ages and social groups, a place where no one is in a hurry in the evening — «Baku Boulevard». The national park, sometimes called the «diamond necklace of Baku», stretches along Baku Bay for 16 km. At each time of the day the boulevard has its charm — in the morning you can walk in silence, feel unity with nature, go in for sports, during the day, especially on weekends, the boulevard is fully revived thanks to the small inhabitants of the capital, riding on attractions, rollerblades and bicycles, in the evening it turns in the magical world of dreams for all lovers. In addition, the original illumination and illumination of the park, fountains and other innovations give our boulevard a special charm. At the end of our excursion «Lights of Evening Baku», we will go to the most lively and central street of the city of Nizami «Torgovaya street» as it is also called from the old times. Trading is the longest of Baku's streets (its length reaches 3.5 km). It is also called the most beautiful street in Baku — it has a large number of architectural monuments, beautiful houses, cinemas, parks, many modern boutiques and shops.

 

DAY 4 — 5th November 2020, Thursday

 9:00 Departure from the hotel

Please note due to the traffic situation and according to Russkie Prostori Quality Standards — all transportation is ordered 30 minutes prior to use to ensure exact departure. Guides will be available 15 minutes prior to dispatching of the coaches Transportation in according to stated time and hours can be used with or without guide.

 11:00 — 13:00 Shemakha — an ancient Azerbaijani city

Shamakhi is an ancient Azerbaijani city. Originated in the 5th century. BC. e. In the IX-XVI centuries. — the capital of the Shirvan kingdom, the residence of the Shirvanshahs is one of the most beautiful cities of the East. From the middle of the XVIII century — the center of Shemakhan khanate. For a long time, Shemakha was one of the most important points throughout the Great Silk Road. This is due to the fact that the city for a long time was one of the centers of the Shirvan-Apheron architectural school and the school of decorative and applied art (carpet making) and miniatures.Located at the intersection of caravan routes, Shemakha was one of the major trade and craft centers in the Middle East, occupying an important place in the trade in silk, as early as the 16th century trade ties between Shemakha and Venetian merchants were mentioned. In Shemakha, Azerbaijani, Iranian, Arab, Central Asian, Russian, Indian and West European merchants were trading, who owned factories there, had numerous silk-weaving, paper-spinning and carpet workshops. The city became famous as the home of many prominent Azerbaijani philosophers, architects and scientists, and poets such as Khagani, Nasimi,Sabir. Famous sights of Shemakha.

 Juma mosque visit

This Azerbaijani mosque is the oldest and largest in the Caucasus. According to legend, it was founded in the 8th century, when Shemakha was chosen as a residence by the Arab caliph. The exact date of its construction is 744, which was established as a result of research conducted by the geological commission arrived from Tiflis, headed by Prince Shakuli Kajar. This date was determined by the Arabic inscription on the facade of the Juma mosque, which indicates the 126th year of the Muslim calendar as the date of foundation. It was at this time that construction of new religious buildings (mosques) began in the territory of modern Azerbaijan. The Juma mosque in Shemakha is the earliest mosque in the Caucasus after the Derbent Cathedral Friday Mosque, built in 734

 Diri-Baba

Diri Baba is a unique monument, a two-story mosque-mausoleum of the 15th century, located on the road from Baku to Shemakha in the village of Maraza opposite the old cemetery. For a long time, local residents believed that this place was buried and remained an imperishable saint named Diri-Baba. However, this monument is associated with many legends and mystical details. Therefore, since the 17th century, it began to attract many pilgrims and ordinary travelers. The peculiarity of the structure is that the architect, as it were, «built» the tomb in the rock, and it seems as if it is kept «on weight», torn from the ground. The tomb admires the strictness of architecture, the purity of the lines, and against the background of irregularities of the dark rock the light and smooth surface of its walls, standing out, seems solemn

 14:00 — 15:00 Lunch at the Ancient farmhouse in Lagich

There are traditional meals and beverages in the ancient farmhouse for every dear guest. You will try pilaf, dyushbara, dolma, khinkal and kutaba.

 Lagich Vilage

Lahic is a village named after the name of the lagic tribe that came here in the 4th — 5th centuries from the territory of Iran. This historical and architectural monument was built in the 5th century on the territory of the canyon of the river Girdimanchai. Old mosques and baths, medieval water supply and sewerage system are preserved here.

Despite the fact that the village is declared a historical and cultural reserve, the local population is still living here, mainly engaged in handicrafts: the manufacture of elegant household items made of copper (kazan, trays, jugs), leather, carpet weaving and agriculture. From time immemorial, the Lahic tribe traded with its products, which became known throughout the Middle East. And today in special workshops and souvenir shops visiting tourists can buy a variety of handmade products: carpets, dishes, daggers and much more.

 Master class on minting copper utensils in Lagich

Copper is a soft and flexible material is suitable for any ideas of art for beginner and experienced craftsman. During the master class, you will know the basic principles of working with the material and get the experience of chasing.

 18:00 Departure to Sheki

Please note due to the traffic situation and according to Russkie Prostori Quality Standards — all transportation is ordered 30 minutes prior to use to ensure exact departure. Guides will be available 15 minutes prior to dispatching of the coaches Transportation in according to stated time and hours can be used with or without guide. We recommend to have assistance to enable assistance with translation — non English speaking drivers — and providing general help and explanations. Surcharge after midnight hour according to specification below. All additional hours are charged additionally according to drivers journals. For full day use or assistance of guide / hostess during lunch an additional cost for meals of drivers & guides mightbe charged. Beverages (mineral water) will be supplied only upon extra order. Please note restrictions of drinking and eating in some vehicles. In case of more then three (3 coaches/vehicles) we strongly recommend an additional «runner» providing service and coordination at each stop and arrival (assistance with parking, tickets, forgotten things advising correct bus and items not provided by guides at the time). NB! The vehicles presented on the pictures above are samples of vehicles used but not necessarily provided during the actual transportation confirmed.

 21:00 Chek-in and Dinner at the Hotel

Depending on group size and client's wishes the hotel will be glad to serve a-la-carte or buffet type.

 

DAY 5 — 6th November 2020, Friday

 10:00 Excursion Sheki

Sheki is one of the most famous and ancient settlements of Azerbaijan. It is located 700 m above sea level and as an amphitheater is surrounded by mountains. This ancient city has long been known as the center of silk and an important transit point on the Great Silk Road. We will begin our tour to Sheki with a visit to the Summer Palace of Khan with magnificent frescoes and exquisite handmade window decorations. Then we'll visit the workshop, where we can get acquainted with the process of manufacturing «Shebeke» by local artisans. Next, we will visit the workshop for cooking the delicious «Sheki Pahlavas», famous throughout Azerbaijan.

 Tasting Sheki Halva and other local sweets inherent only in the Sheki region.

Most traditional Azerbaijani sweets are most popular for events and festivals, whereas fresh fruits are served as a sweet course after a meal at home. Many Azerbaijani desserts feature natural ingredients, like honey, nuts, and fresh dough, to make intense flavors without overloading on sweetness. Like many other dishes in Azerbaijani cuisine, desserts can vary from region to region, with some regions specializing in certain desserts.

 12:00 Albanian church visit

Our acquaintance with Sheki continues with a visit to the Albanian church, which is located in the village of Kish. According to the legend, this church is the first Christian church built not only in the territory of Caucasian Albania, but in the whole of Transcaucasia. This place is also remarkable, as burial places of people were found on the territory of the temple, which in their structure are very different from the current inhabitants of this region. In 2003, the church was restored to the money of the Norwegian government thanks to the personal efforts of Tour Heyerdahl. Here, next to the territory of the Church, you can find a memorial bust, in honor of a famous researcher set as a token of gratitude from local residents and the state.

 Tasting of local craft wines, moonshine and vodka in the village of Kish

National alcoholic drinks of Azerbaijan is Tutovaya vodka, various nastoika, moonshine, and wine. Enjoying a picturesque view you will get unforgettable feelings from tasting and nature around you.

 14:00 — 15:30 Lunch at Karpich (tasting local sheki dishes «Piti»)

Piti is an Azerbaijani soup in the cuisines of the Caucasus, its bordering nations, and Central Asia, and is prepared in the oven in individual crocks with a glazed interior (called piti in Turkic languages). It is made with mutton and vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, chickpeas), infused with saffron water to add flavour and colour, all covered by a lump of fat, and cooked in a sealed crock. Piti is served in the crock, usually accompanied by an additional plate for «disassembling» the meat and the liquid part with vegetables, which may be eaten separately as the first (soup with vegs) and second (meat) course meal.

 15:30 Departure to Ganja

Please note due to the traffic situation and according to Russkie Prostori Quality Standards — all transportation is ordered 30 minutes prior to use to ensure exact departure. Guides will be available 15 minutes prior to dispatching of the coaches Transportation in according to stated time and hours can be used with or without guide. We recommend to have assistance to enable assistance with translation — non English speaking drivers — and providing general help and explanations. Surcharge after midnight hour according to specification below. All additional hours are charged additionally according to drivers journals. For full day use or assistance of guide / hostess during lunch an additional cost for meals of drivers & guides mightbe charged. Beverages (mineral water) will be supplied only upon extra order. Please note restrictions of drinking and eating in some vehicles. In case of more then three (3 coaches/vehicles) we strongly recommend an additional «runner» providing service and coordination at each stop and arrival (assistance with parking, tickets, forgotten things advising correct bus and items not provided by guides at the time). NB! The vehicles presented on the pictures above are samples of vehicles used but not necessarily provided during the actual transportation confirmed.

 19:00 Arrival to Ganja/Check in/Dinner at the Hotel

Depending on group size and client's wishes the hotel will be glad to serve a-la-carte or buffet type.

 

DAY 6 — 7th November 2020, Saturday

 10:00 City tour «Ganja — ciy of Khans and Poets»

Ganja, as a fabulously beautiful city, could not appear just like that. According to legend, it was based on the place where the traveler Maazid found a huge treasure — these were pots filled with precious stones and gold. The city was named after this incredible find, and several centuries later became the second most important in Azerbaijan. By the way, the famous Great Silk Road passed through Ganja. Today the city is participating in a project to restore this ancient trade route. Many sights of Ganja are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The old fortress. The remains of the once high fortress can be seen at Khansky Garden in Ganja. Now from its former greatness there were only formless brick blocks. The fortress wall stretched along the entire bank of the Ganjachay River. But over time, the water, which served as the faithful guard of the fortress, crept closer and undermined the already dilapidated walls.

Once there were two powerful towers at a distance of about 600 meters from each other. The famous gates of ancient Ganja served as the gates of the fortress.

 Caravan-sarai in Ganja

Caravan-sarai is the third time building in the ensemble of Sheikh Bahauddin. Today, the building of the medieval caravanserai plays the role of the Temple of Knowledge. At the end of the 20th century, the Ganja Humanitarian College is conveniently located here. The caravanserai is a two-storey building, comprising 15 rooms and 54 rooms. The museum also houses the museum of the poetess Meskheti Ganjavi.

 Chokyak-Hamam in Ganja

Chokyak-Hamam is a bathhouse consisting of two communicating rooms. In the center of the large hall are a swimming pool and a fountain (it is intended for relaxation), a small one is designed for swimming. Built from red brick, the bath has two large and five small domes. At the top of the large domes there are half-domes that played the role of a fan: from them the ventilation pipes dispersed through the space inside the walls, in the winter it was hot there and in the summer it was cool. The sauna was heated with firewood. In the basement there were two steam boilers. Steam was fed into the halls along ceramic pipes, which also pass through the walls and the floor of a bath. Steam evenly circulated and heated the entire room. This unique system of the 400-year-old bathhouse worked perfectly until 1963. And all these centuries the bath was very popular among the townspeople.

 Juma Mosque (Shah Abbas Mosque) in Ganja

The Juma mosque was built during the reign of Shah Abbas, and that is why it is sometimes called that way. It is the undoubted pride of Ganja. The building was built according to the project of the architect, astronomer and vizier Shah Abbas — Sheikh Bahauddin, direct descendant of Nizami. The mosque of red brick is a squat, broad building. It consists of a prayer hall divided into two halves (for men and women) with a large screen and small adjoining rooms. The windows of the mosque are decorated with patterned lattices-shebeke. Before the massive gates of the mosque, once spread the market square, surrounded by benches and century-old plane trees. The roof of the mosque is a huge metal dome with a diameter of 17 meters. At the mosque there are two high minarets, crowned with towers for inspection of the surroundings. The minarets were restored and slightly modified in the 19th century.

In the courtyard of the mosque there is a madrassa built at the same time, which, unfortunately, was destroyed during the Soviet era. However, at present both facilities are restored and function perfectly.

The Juma mosque has one interesting feature. Since Sheikh Bahauddin was an excellent astronomer, he applied his knowledge in construction. Thus, at precisely noon, the shadow that falls on the western wall of the building disappears. This indicated to the faithful that it was the time of midday salah. To this day Gyandzha people are checking the disappearing shadow of the time — accuracy is absolute.

 13:00 Lunch at a Local restaurant

The best restaurants of Azerbaidjan offer as traditional and national as modern national and international meals. Depending on the theme of the trip, wishes, and purposes we will be glad to suggest the most suitable variants of lunch or dinner for you.

 Dzhavadhan Mausoleum

Not long ago, on the territory of the historical ensemble, in the courtyard of the mosque, on the site of the grave of the fearless ruler of Ganja — Javadkhan, who died on January 3, 1804, while protecting Ganja from foreign invaders, a tomb was built. In the 1990s, the remains of Javadhana were moved here from the ancient city cemetery. The construction started in 2004 lasted several months. When it was erected, the builders adhered to the requirements of the medieval architecture school. The monument was opened in 2005 and occupied a worthy place among other monuments of the 17th century.

 Nazami Ganjavi Mausoleum

Nizami Ganjavi, born in 1141, was one of the most educated people of his time. World renown he received as the author of «Hamsa» (Pyateritsy), in which five poems were combined, reflecting not only the high skill of the poet's pen, but also his ethical and philosophical views. Most of Nizami's lyrics are devoted to love. Other world-famous works by Nizami are the poems «Khosrov and Shirin», «Leyli and Majnun», «Iskender-nime».

To this day, the mausoleum remains a place of pilgrimage and the worship of poets. It is located at the entrance to the city from the south-west side. The tomb is a modern monumental structure of a cylindrical form made of red granite, carved in the manner of semicircular facets. Below is the entrance, which seems just tiny on the background of the grandeur of the whole building. The name Nizami is carved in gold right above the entrance.

 20:00 Dinner at local restaurant and the Sunset Goygol Lake

The road south from Xanlar winds up through the woodland picnic spots of Hacikand and onto a ridge with magnificent views of the dramatic Lesser Caucasus range, crowned by the distinctive cleft peak of Mt Kapaz. For now the valley beyond is out of bounds. However it contains one of Azerbaijan's most celebrated beauty spots, the gorgeous, forest-ringed Goy Gol (blue lake), which is slated to reopen to tourism as a new national park within the next few years.

The distinctive rocky beak of Mt Kyapaz opened in the 1139 earthquake and disgorged such a mass of rock that it dammed the mountain streams in several places. The result was a string of seven idyllic mountain lakes known as the 'tears of Kyapaz'. Most famous are Goy Gol (Blue Lake) formerly a popular sanatorium, camping retreat, and the more secluded Maral Gol (Deer Lake). Lesser known Zali Gol (Leech Lake) and Sara Gol (Yellow Lake) never sounded as appealing. The area is especially magnificent in autumn when green forests are burnished yellow, auburn and red like a pointillist painting rising from Goy Gol's still blue waters to Kyapaz's dramatic crown. The best views are part way to Maral Gol.

 

DAY 7 — 8th November 2020, Sunday

 Departure from the hotel to the airport

Heydar Aliyev international airport (formerly Bina) is the busiest in the Caucasus. Thanks to the EBRD and the German Government, it has had investment in upgrading navigation aids that have improved safety for air traffic (the airport was the scenario for several accidents, the last serious one with an Azal cargo Boeing 707-323C in 1995).

The airport had a lot of construction work in the 1980's, but the collapse of the USSR resulted in the suspension of the works, with the two main terminals being left incomplete. Increased traffic led to a second runway being opened for wide-bodied aircraft in 1995. The current international terminal was opened in 1993 with precarious conditions. In June 1999, after construction work that seemed to eternalize, the renovated passenger facilities were finally inaugurated.

There are the following airlines operating in Azerbajdzhan: BA, Lufthansa, Aeroflot, Swiis Air, Iran Air, Turan Air, Imair, Turk Hava Yollary; «Baku» airlines, Russian airlines: Russia, Airflot, Pulkovo airlines.

Travellers from Europe have the best air access to Azerbaijan. There are flights between Baku and Frankfurt, Kiev, London, Amsterdam, Moscow, St Petersburg and Zurich several times a week. Most other flights serve cities in Russia and the Middle East, usually once a week.

The airport is approximately 25 kilometres east from downtown Baku (travel time: approx. 40 minutes), one kilometre off the Baku-Mardakan road. If you are coming from Baku you will see the access road on your left, in front of an open air market. The central building is the domestic and CIS terminal (use the left entrance for Nakhchivan flights). To the left side is located the international terminal, and in front of it, across the often chaotic parking lot, you'll find the airport hotel. Most flight arrive at night so it is prudent to have an hotel booking.

Avoid taxis offered by drivers in the customs area, they will cost much more than those just outside the airport building. Choose a licensed car with a TAXI sign. The trip from the airport to the centre of the city costs about 20 manat (less than 20 Euro).

Flight time from Moscow: 3 hours.

Flight time from St-Petersburg: 3 hours 40 minutes.