The Land of Fire, is an ancient Azerbaijani cultural concept that denoted either the entire Azerbaijan’s geographical land or the metaphysical realm of mortals and later became associated with political sovereignty and cultural symbolism.

The larger concept of The Land of Fire is closely associated with civilization, order in classical Azerbaijani philosophy, has formed the basis for the world view of the Azerbaijani people and nations influenced by them since at least the Bronze Age.

Republic of Azerbaijan, is the biggest country in the Caucasus region,  situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia,  it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south.

Three physical features dominate Azerbaijan: the Caspian Sea, whose shoreline forms a natural boundary to the east; the Greater Caucasus mountain range to the north; and the extensive flatlands at the country’s center. There are also three mountain ranges, the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40 percent of the country. The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (−28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is home to a vast variety of landscapes. Over half of Azerbaijan’s land mass consists of mountain ridges, crests, yailas, the rest of Azerbaijan’s terrain consist of plains and lowlands.

Tourism is an important part of the economy of Azerbaijan. However, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the Nagorno-Karabakh War during the 1990´s, damaged the tourist industry and the image of Azerbaijan as a tourist destination. It was not until the 2000´s that the tourism industry began to recover, the country has since experienced a high rate of growth in the number of tourist visits and overnight stays. In the recent years, Azerbaijan has also becoming a popular destination for religious, spa, and health care tourism. During winter, the Shahdag Mountain Resort offers skiing with state of the art facilities.

Baku is the capital of the country and the largest city in Azerbaijan. Baku is located 28 metres (92 ft) below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level. It is located on the southern shore of the Absheron Peninsula, which projects into the Caspian Sea. The city is the scientific, cultural and industrial center of Azerbaijan. Many sizeable Azerbaijani institutions have their headquarters there, including SOCAR, one of the world’s top 100 companies. The Baku International Sea Trade Port, sheltered by the islands of the Baku Archipelago to the east and the Absheron Peninsula to the north, is capable of handling two million tons of general and dry bulk cargoes per year.

Baku at night

Baku at night

Downtown Baku, with the Flame Towers in the background.

Downtown Baku, with the Flame Towers in the background.

Baku is one of the most important tourist destinations in the Caucasus, has many popular tourist and entertainment spots, such as the downtown Fountains Square, the One and Thousand Nights Beach, Shikhov Beach and Oil Rocks. Baku’s vicinities feature Yanar Dag, an ever-blazing spot of natural gas. Baku has several shopping malls; the most famous city center malls are Park Bulvar, Metro Park and AF MALL. The retail areas contain shops from chain stores up to high-end boutiques. The city is listed 48th in the list of the most expensive cities in the world conducted by the Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Its Nizami street is one of the most expensive streets in the world.

Nizami street

Nizami street

The city has many amenities that offer a wide range of cultural activities, drawing both from a rich local dramatic portfolio and an international repertoire. It also boasts many museums such as Baku Museum of Modern Art and Azerbaijan State Museum of History, most notably featuring historical artifacts and art. Baku’s prestigious cultural venues are Azerbaijan State Philharmonic Hall, Azerbaijan State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. The main movie theatre is Azerbaijan Cinema. Festivals include the Baku International Film Festival, Baku International Jazz Festival, Novruz Festival, Gül Bayramı (Flower Festival) and the National Theater Festival. International and local exhibitions are presented at the Baku Expo Center.

Baku Museum of Modern Art

Baku Museum of Modern Art

Azerbaijan State Museum of History

Azerbaijan State Museum of History

Azerbaijan State Academic Opera

Azerbaijan State Academic Opera

The Maiden Tower or also known locally as Giz Galasi, ilocated in the Old City of Baku, is an ancient tower built in the 12th century, as part of the walled city of Baku. The Maiden Tower, with the Shirvanshahs’ Palace dated to the 15th century, are an ensemble of historic monuments which have been inscribed under the UNESCO World Heritage List

The Maiden Tower

The Maiden Tower

 The Shirvanshahs' Palace

The Shirvanshahs’ Palace

The city of Ganja in Azerbaijan offers for tourists,  The Nizami Mausoleum, situated just outside the city of Ganja, the tomb was built in honour of poet and writer Nizami Ganjavi. The monument was rebuilt in 1991 on the existing old structure which dated back to the 1940’s. The mausoleum is 20 m tall and the area surrounding it displays the poet’s books inscribed on metal.

The Nizami Mausoleum

The Nizami Mausoleum