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Europe > Caucasus > Azerbaijan > Nakhchivan (region)

Nakhchivan

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Nakhchivan is an exclave of Azerbaijan, which borders Turkey to the northwest, Armenia to the north and east, and Iran to the south.

Cities[edit]

Map of Nakhchivan (region)

The grave monument of the prophet Noah, built in the 17th century
  • 1 Babek Babek (city) on Wikipedia, Babek Rayon (district)
  • 2 Julfa Julfa, Azerbaijan (city) on Wikipedia, Julfa Rayon (district)
  • 3 Qıvraq Qıvraq on Wikipedia, Kangarli Rayon (district)
  • 4 Nakhchivan city
  • 5 Ordubad Ordubad on Wikipedia, Ordubad Rayon (district)
  • 6 Heydarabad Heydarabad, Azerbaijan on Wikipedia, Sadarak Rayon (district)
  • 7 Şahbuz Şahbuz on Wikipedia, Shahbuz Rayon (district)
  • 8 Şərur Şərur on Wikipedia, Sharur Rayon (district)

Other destinations[edit]

Understand[edit]

Nakhchivan is separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenia, with which Azerbaijan is still at war. The region is not a major tourist destination.

The Tourist information Centre, in the brown domed building (historically a madrasa) opposite the Tabriz Hotel, can offer advice on what to see and gives free guides and maps. The helpful staff can speak Azeri, Russian, and English.

Talk[edit]

The national language is Azeri; Turkish and Russian are also widely understood.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The best way to get to Nakhchivan is to fly to Nakhchivan International Airport NAJ IATA. Alternatively from Baku to Yevlakh (Jevlach, Yevlax) Airport (YLV IATA), just outside the enclave's capital; Azal operates a shuttle service, heavily subsidized by the Azeri government. From Jevlach you can also fly to Moscow with Samara airlines. If you are arriving from Baku there is a passport check for foreigners. If you are foreign you will be asked for the purpose of your visit. This is a very controlled state, so journalists and those representing NGOs are not welcome with open arms.

Airfare prices are different for foreigners than for Azeris. Flights can't be purchased on Azerbaijan Airlines' site. They are purchased at travel agents only.

Foreign rates:

  • Nakchivan/Baku = 70 manat (03/2011)
  • Nakchivan/Ganja = 39 manat (03/2011)

There are buses and taxis to the city, which is 3 km away.

Alternative airport with connections to Ankara is at Erzurum (ERZ IATA), 250 kilometres west of Nakhchivan.

By train[edit]

There is twice-weekly train service between Nakhchivan and the Iranian cities of Tabriz and Tehran. It's also possible to travel to the border crossing at Jolfa, which sees daily trains from Tabriz, and cross the border independently.

By car[edit]

Local cabs can be hired on arrival but will likely inflate prices. If you are headed to Nakchivan, having a local receive you will smooth over any unplanned border hassles. Taxi rates are linked to fuel costs. In Nakchivan it's about US $0.75/liter.

  • Nakchivan Taxi email can be contacted to arrange for a local taxi to pick you up at a border crossing or airport. Day trips can also be arranged. English is spoken.

By bus[edit]

The exclave has a short border with Turkey in Sədərək which allows an easy link to the city of Iğdır. There are several buses per day starting from or passing through Iğdır bus station (150 min pure driving time). The border is open 10 hours a day and that border guards are very corrupt – and even corruption aside, the extensive security, customs and immigration checks on both sides are likely to last two hours or more.

By foot[edit]

You can enter Nakhchivan on foot from the Iranian town of Jolfa, crossing the bridge across the Aras River. The border crossing is on the northern side of Ashura Square in the Iranian border town of Jolfa. Walk right to the end of the pedestrian street into the Iranian immigration building and present your passport. Following a baggage and passport check, cross the bridge on foot (around 3 minutes' walk) to the Azerbaijani side. Here you should present your passport and a print out of your eVisa to the officer in the small booth. He/she will direct you to the immigration building where you will have your visa and bags checked (make sure to have a prescription for medicines) and photo taken. The immigration officials on both sides are very friendly and helpful with some speaking English. The crossing should take around 45 minutes if there are no problems.

Taxi to Nakhchivan City outside the immigration building:

  • Private taxi: 15 manat (12/2017)
  • Shared taxi: 3 manat per person (12/2017)

Get around[edit]

The best way to get around is by cab. There is a fixed price system when you travel within the city. It costs US$1-2 (3 Manat) to travel between any two points within the city. If you want to travel outside of the city, you have to bargain with the cab drivers. A half day taxi outside the city with multiple sights should cost around 60-70 Manat. The highest price you will be charged (traveling from Sederek to Ordubad) is no more than US$50.

See[edit]

South of Nakhchivan City[edit]

  • 1 Alinjagala (Əlincə Qalası). The number one highlight of Nakhchivan. An ancient citadel in the mountains with impressive views. To access the citadel you need to climb the stairs up from the road which takes around 30-45 minutes, but it is all worth it once you get to the top. At the top there is complete silence and most of the time you will have the place all to yourself. Free. Alinja Tower (Q2512493) on Wikidata Alinja Tower on Wikipedia
  • Asebi keif. Sacrificial grounds, believed to be holy by locals, in a canyon. Also next to the site is a cave.
  • Sheikh Khorasan Tomb. An ancient tomb in the mountains. Nearby to Alinjagala.
  • Ilam Dag (Snake Mountain). The mountain that Christians believe Noah's Ark crashed into on the way to Mount Ararat. Clear views of the mountain can be seen on the way to Alinjagala and the Iranian border.

North of Nakhchivan city:[edit]

  • Duzdag Cave. Actually an old salt mine from Soviet days that has been converted into a treatment centre and a hotel.
  • 2 Batabat Lake. A scenic lake surrounded by rolling grassy hills and mountains, around 40 minutes from Nakhchivan City on the Armenian border. Batabat (Q4079246) on Wikidata Batabat on Wikipedia
  • 3 Garabaghlar Mausoleum. An ancient mausoleum tower in the town of Garabaghlar, 30km north of Nakhchivan City. Garabaghlar Mausoleum (Q943174) on Wikidata Garabaghlar Mausoleum on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

It is possible to see the highlights of Nakhchivan in one day by hiring a taxi for the morning to see the sights outside of the city (Alinjagala, Sheikh Khorasan Tomb, and Asebi Keif), and then exploring the sights of Nakhchivan city in the afternoon and evening.

Eat[edit]

Qutab, dolma (naxcivanski dolma), bozartma, xash and many more.

Drink[edit]

Wine growing in Nakhchivan is an ancient tradition, in the Araz valley and foothills. Very hot summers and long warm autumn make it possible to grow such highly saccharine grapes as bayan-shiraz, tebrizi, shirazi. Wines such as "Nakhchivan" "Shahbuz", "Abrakunis", "Aznaburk" are of reasonable quality and very popular.

Sleep[edit]

Nakhchivan City:[edit]

  • Hotel Sahin, Nizami street.
  • Hotel Tabriz, Azadliq avenue (near the old baths), +994 36 255-56760, fax: +994 36 255-56760. 5 star hotel in central location. Double room for 140 Manat per night. Restaurant on the top floor has impressive views over the city and surroundings.
  • Hotel Tehran.
  • Hotel Togrud (4km South-East of the centre).
  • Hotel Ukraina (2 km South-East of the centre), +994 36 545 53 83, fax: +994 36 255-55383.

Stay safe[edit]

Being an important trade center, with manifold connections to Iran and Turkey, Nakhchivan city is after Baku the most cosmopolitan city in Azerbaijan, and this is reflected also in the availability of accommodation.

Beware of officials when taking photographs. Rumor has it, even taking pictures in the direction of the Armenian border could get your camera confiscated.

Go next[edit]

  • Iran: You can cross on foot to the Iranian border town of Jolfa and then on to other cities. You must have a visa as there is no visa on arrival at Jolfa.
  • Turkey
  • Baku or Ganja: to get to Azerbaijan proper you need to fly. There are usually 3 flights to Baku per day, but because this is the only way to get to other parts of the country, flights can be booked out days in advance (sometimes up to 5). Flights are operated by AZAL and can only be booked in person in the office near the theatre in Nakhchivan City. Flights for foreigners to Baku cost 70 Manat.
  • There are occasional international flights to Turkey and Russia.
This region travel guide to Nakhchivan is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!