Baku Region is a region in Azerbaijan, which includes the Absheron, Agsu, Baku, Haciqabul, Khyzy, Qobustan, and Shamakhi rayons.
Cities and towns
- 1 Baku – Capital of the country whose historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- 2 Sumqayit – Due to its industrial plants, the Blacksmith Institute, a US environmental pollution agency, ranked the city as the most polluted city of the planet in 2006 and 2007.
- 3 Agsu – In the 18th century, it was one of the largest cities in Azerbaijan.
- 4 Shamakhi (Şamaxı) – A former capital of the medieval state of Shirvan. It is famous for its traditional dancers, Şamaxı dancers, and its impressive mosque. It has a long history and was once a key city along the Silk Road.
- 5 Xirdalan – Absheron district capital, Xırdalan, is also home to the country's largest brewery, the Baltika Baku.
- 6 Novkhany
- 7 Qobu
Trains from Russia, Georgia and even Turkey arrive at Baku Central Station.
International bus arrivals are available from Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Iran, Belarus at Baku International Bus Terminal.
Drivers are commonly friendly with backpackers and road trippers, so auto-stop is an option to go to Turkey and Georgia.
It is also possible to get to the region from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan by sea. Vessels arrive at Port Alat.
The best way to explore the region and whole country is probably to rent a car. Rental services are available in Baku, but Aznur might just be your best choice.
The Baku Region is a great place for cycling. Azerbaijan also hosts the international Tour d'Azerbaidjan competition.
Azerbaijan has a well developed bus system within the country. Bus services are available from local terminals. There are many local buses from Baku available for day trips around the Baku Region.
Auto-stop is also an option to travel within the region.
There are several interesting sites here for a day trip from Baku.
- 1 Yanar Dagh (Yanar Dağ, Burning Hillside) (Bus 147 from metro station Azadliq Prospekti stops in front of the site shortly before reaching its terminus. Bus 217 from the Koroghlu metro station makes its final stop about 1 km from the site. A return taxi is 20-25 manat and 50 min each way—take Bolt as a price indicator and negotiator.). Yanar Dagh is a mountain whose natural gas vents have been aflame for a thousand years, even when it rains. Flames jet into the air from a thin, porous sandstone layer. A large touristy complex has been built around it, charging almost 5 times the price of 2017. Adults 9 manat.
- 2 Atashgah Fire Temple (Ateshgah of Baku) (Take marshrutka 191 or bus 113 from Qara Qarayev metro station, or marshrutka 184 from Nariman Narimanov or Koroglu metro stations. Look out for Suraxani - abandoned? - suburban train station as the spot to get off. From Suraxani station walk about 100 m and you can arrive at the temple.). 09:00-18:00. A fortified religious pentagonal temple located in Suraxanı near Baku. Declared the country's historic-architectural state reserve in 2007. It stems from ancient Indians who moved here and used the natural gas coming from the ground for religious purposes. In the 1960s so much gas and oil extraction had been done that an artificial gas pipe had to be created to feed the fire, which is still burning. Adults 4 manat.
- 3 Tuba Shahi Mosque (Azerbaijani: Tuba-Şahi məscidi), Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev Street (Mardakan (Mərdəkan) township). Built in 1481.
- 4 Quadrangular castle, Haji Zeynalabdin Tagiyev Street off (Next to Tuba Shahi Mosque). This was built in 1187. The rectangular fortress is 22 m high. Its 76-step tower has two drinking water and 60 food wells. There is a circular tower 500 m away, is known as a "round fortress". It is also called the "Six fortress" after Sheikh Abu Said Abulkheir. It is 12 m high. The Arabic inscriptions on it suggest that it was built by architect Abdulmajid Masud in 1232.
- 5 Industrial Wasteland (near Sumqayit). Sumqayit is known for its industrial ruins. It offers some spectacular and picturesque sights, in the middle of which there is sometimes a herd of sheep. Beware of the dogs - if they get too close, pick up a stone (and throw), they will remember the last painful experience and run off.
- 6 Absheron National Park (Abşeron Milli Parkı). A popular national park within the reach of Baku that allows for day trips. It houses a variety of flora and fauna, including tigers and loads of snakes that escaped from their cages a couple of years ago. After the entrance it is another 7 km to the park office, where you can see snakes and the rough coast. However, the snakes a mostly active between April and summer. It is better to go in the morning or evening to see other animals. During the day, you will be mostly out of luck. Also, a 4WD is a good idea to go through the dunes. Bring your passport.
About 500 m before the park entrance there is a nice spot for a dive into the sea with a sheer endless shallow sea, allowing you to walk in several 100 meters. 2 manat.
- 7 Altyaghach National Park (Altıağac Milli Parkı).
- 8 Qobustan National Historical-Artistic Reserve. Qobustan is best known for its rock petroglyphs (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and mud volcanoes. Max. 2 manat.
Other mud volcanoes in the region
- 9 Gobustan Mud Volcano (2) (Near Bash Alat (Baş Ələt). Accessible via mud/dirt road from Bash Alat and from the highway that can be used with a regular car, assuming it did and does not rain. You can also hike 40 min directly from the highway, which is more spectacular. The hills are easy to conquer.). One of the most spectacular mud volcano parks near Baku with larger mud pools further behind, and for free, contrary to the Qobustan National Historical-Artistic Reserve further north. Do not miss the mud lakes! No admission.
- 10 Lokbatan (bus station nearby). Last erupted in 2001, but nice for a visit and with a great view.
- 11 Otman Bozdağ (Отман-Боздаг). Far from the highway, but near the road. Last erupted in September 2018.
- 12 Plain Mud Volcano. Good for a hike from the highway, but its activity varies and you might just end up with a lot of dried out mud at the top. Nevertheless, the scenery is obvious.
There are many more mud volcanoes around Baku, which can be found by having a look at a map like OpenStreetMap, which many mobile Apps like OsmAnd or Mapy.cz use.
- 13 Calais (Kale-i) and Bugurt fortress (Gəleybuğurt) (20 km northwest of Shamakhi). Medieval fortress near the village of the same name, on top of the mountain. In the 16th century, the traveller Diovan Mario Antonello from Venice, noting that the fortress is inaccessible due to its location on the mountains, wrote that village is great.
- 14 Feast-Mardakan, Gayalar (Göylərdağ) (17 km south of Shamakhi). Hanega Mausoleum of the 12/13th century. The Hanega complex is located on the ancient trade route that once connected Shamakhi with other cities and towns of the Mideast.
- 15 Octagonal Mausoleums, Kalahana village (south of Shamakhi). The 17th century memorial complex consists of 8 octagonal stone mausoleums, each of which is covered by a pyramid tent. The area is about 150–250 m, and there were once nine mausoleums. Today, the 7 surviving mausoleums are in good condition and one is in dilapidated.
- The Absheron rayon is home to one of the best beaches in Azerbaijan, in Novkhany. There are many luxury resort areas along the coast. Bus 171 from Koroghlu metro station stops near the beaches at Bilgah.
- 1 Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory (Şamaxı Astrofizika Rəsədxanası), Pirkuli (22 km from Shamakhi), ☏ , , . 09:00-22:00. Observatory located on the southeastern foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, on the basis of the "Astrophysics" sector of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, at an altitude of 1,435 m. Excursion includes a visit to the main building of the observatory and one of the telescopes. 2 manat (with a group of about 10 people).
Roadside cafés and restaurants are oases, and somewhat points of interests for travellers. You definitely will happy to discover islands of civilization while road tripping.
There are many spring water points, especially near shrines and mountain areas. However, in the southern part of the region it can be a problem and only stores will be available.
- Northeastern Azerbaijan in the north. Famous for its location by the Caspian Sea, with beaches and resorts, and remote mountain villages.
- Sheki Region in the northwest. Gateway to the Azerbaijani Caucasus.
- Southern Azerbaijan in the southwest.
- Talysh Region in the south.
- Georgia – There are direct buses and trains to Tbilisi from Baku.
- Iran – Buses take international travellers onwards from Baku there.
- Turkmenistan – A ferry departs daily from Baku across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenbashi. This ferry has become a sleeper hit with backpackers on the Silk Road, but is very uncomfortable and should only be taken by adventure-seekers.
- Kazakhstan – A ferry departs irregularly to Aktau (every 7–10 days maybe). Docks are located 2 km to the west of the old town in Baku. It is difficult to get tickets.