My time in Azerbaijan delivered proof that first impressions can be very different from practical experience when travelling. That first view from the airplane window looking down at a sandy city dressed in monochromatic brown, for example, was very quickly countered by the colorful Flame Towers and glittering nightlife of Baku, an elegant city that wraps itself comfortably around the Caspian Sea. And yes, as I stepped onto the tarmac and experienced the famously strong winds that continued incessantly into the night, the winds ended not long after; who would have guessed that within a day I would be casually cycling around a vineyard and then strolling the ancient streets of Lahich.
This brief tour of Azerbaijan showed me how beautiful and varied the landscape can be. The country is rich with history, culture, and highly skilled craftsmanship, with one example being the artisan carpets on view at the National Carpet Museum in Baku (a building, incidentally, shaped like a rolled-up carpet).
On Monday, we toured downtown Baku whose buildings come alive at night with extraordinary lights displays; their subway system, by the way, is clean, very modern, and stylish with both decoration and music at each stop. On Tuesday, we drove to the mountains, stopping at Abqora winery and restaurant, the footbridge at Zornava, the ancient mountain village of Lahich where the Tat language is still spoken, and the DeMirci history museum. On Wednesday, we returned to the capital city of Baku for a stroll along the Caspian Sea and a more in-depth tour of the city which included its own version of Little Italy and gondola rides as well as the famed National Carpet Museum and shops and restaurants of the Old City.
Sightseeing aside, what I will remember most about Azerbaijan is the gracious hospitality, the delicious homecooked meals, sitting out on the porch at night with my host’s parents, and looking out at a city that felt so much like home in the boroughs of New York.
Photographs in this series include:
- Nightlife in the capital city, Baku
- Roadtrip to the mountains
- Downtown Baku
- Leaving Baku
Arrival in Baku
– Outskirts of Baku
– Abqora restaurant and winery
– Footbridge at Zornava
– Ancient village of Lahich
– DeMirchi Museum
Back in Baku:
– By the Caspian Sea
– National Carpet Museum
Back in Baku:
– Lunch at 145 Group with Humphreys Fellows
Last Day – Leaving Baku
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#Baku #Azerbaijan #Lahich