Distance with Baku: 268 km
Population: 213,2 thsd person
How to get to: Auto transportation: buses Baku – Lankaran – 6 hours train: Baku – Astara – 9 hours
Lankaran is located in the south-eastern part of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. This is one of the brightest and most beautiful cities in the country. Exquisite architecture, a wonderful climate and beautiful natural landscapes are the hallmarks of this city. The fertile soil serves to the prosperity of agriculture, the presence of hot springs attracts tourists and people who want to improve their health and a long history and an abundance of historical and cultural attractions do not leave fans of Antiquities indifferent.
The subtropical climate of Lankaran region is ideal for growing citrus fruits, rice, grapes, tobacco. Great attention is given to the production of Lankaran tea. The city is known not only in the former Soviet Union but also in many European countries as an exporter of this esteemed worldwide beverage. Therefore a huge samovar meets tourists at the entrance to Lankaran city.
Lankaran district is located in the center of the popular tourist routs. Part of it is located along the coast of Caspian Sea and one of the features of the coastline is the black sand which has amazing healing properties.
Gaftoninski zone of this area is known for its historical sites and sanatorium “Lankaran” where vacationers have an opportunity to get rich health course based on Istisu water from springs located in Gaftoninski forests.
Narimanabad area stretches along the Sarah peninsula. On one side it is washed by the Caspian Sea and on the other it is closed by Gyzylagach woodland reserve. It was a separate island until 1956, but then between it and the city of Liman on the mainland a dam was built that significantly changed the status of Sarah. Today these places are covered by forests and are of a great interest for eco-tourism fans.
There are plenty of historical attractions in Lankaran and among them the most attractive is Lankaran Fortress, to be more exact its fragments remained. It was built in the XVIII century and reputed to be one of the most important fortifications in the Talysh khanate. Its walls made a huge impression with their large forms and rows of strong teeth. The fortress was surrounded by traditional for medieval times moat filled with water when required. The main objects of this building were North and South towers from where an aimed fire on attackers was conducted.
At the territory of the fortress was also a city market instead of which a century ago there were built two mosques which have become in time one of the most visited objects for pilgrims throughout the region.
Undoubtedly it is interesting to relax in Lankaran at any time of the year. Clean air and beautiful nature combined with an abundance of attractions and the hospitality of the local people are that overwhelming factor which annually attracts tourists from all over the world.
Distance from Baku: 325 km
Population: 77,5 thsd person
How to get to: Bus: Scheduled bus Lankaran-Lerik, Baku-Lerik -9 hours
High in the Talysh mountains, where you can touch the sky by hand is one of the most picturesque corners of Azerbaijan – Lerik district. A Caucasian Talysh ethnic group lives here. Lerik ideally fits those tourists who want to be away from civilization, to have a breath of fresh mountain air and enjoy the view of the majestic mountains, rapid rivers and noisy waterfalls. Lerik is reasonably reputed as a homeland of long-livers. Probably the only museum of long-livers in the world where documents related to life of several dozens of long-livers from this area who have lived more than a century is located here. And the oldest villager Shirali Muslimov at the time of death in 1973 was 168. Currently in this district live dozens of people stepped over century mark and still are capable of working. The oldest resident of Azerbaijan also lives in Lerik. He is already 115 years old and has 8 children, 80 grandchildren, 60 great-grandchildren and 8 great-great-grandchildren.
Popular natural recreational zones in Lerik are Byulyudyul (20 km from the centre of the district) and Zyarigala (17 km). There are springs with delicious water there.. In the woods and along the banks of Lerik river are all conditions for hunting wild boar, hare, fox, grouses and ducks. Leopards live in hard of access parts of mountain forests. Currently a research program for conservation of this rare animal is in progress.
In addition to the unique nature this region has always been famous for its original culture and ancient history. A cave station where Stone Age people lived (called “Giz Yurdu”) has been found near mountain village Mistan at an altitude of 2430 m. An ancient inscriptions on rocks near which there were traces of ancient buildings have been discovered in Orand highland.
There are numerous historical monuments in this district.
The following crafts are developed in this district: carpet weaving, manufacturing of various household objects made of wood and pottery. The local feature of the carpet weaving is that carpets are woven not on a vertical loom but on a horizontal one, laid out right on the floor.
You can stay in Lerik in houses of local residents and in numerous resorts located along the road from Lenkaran to Lerik, the most popular of which are the “Relax” hotel and resort, “Shelale” and “Meshachi”. You can have some snacks, lunches, or just simply delicious food in Lerik in numerous snack bars and kebabhanas, the most popular of which is the restaurant “Khayal”. Here in pleasant ambience you can enjoy traditional Azerbaijani dishes and to take some rest.
By the way, the famous film clip “Come on, Good buy” collected millions of viewings on YouTube and which made popular its authors brothers Rustamov was shot in Lerik.
Distance from Baku: 230 km
Population: 205,8 thsd person
How to get to: Auto transportation: buses Baku – Masalli – 7 hours, Sumgayit – Masalli,
Gandja – Masalli, Mingachevir – Masalli, Shirvan – Masalli, Lankaran – Masalli
By train: Baku – Astara – 6,5 hours
Masalli region, located in the south of Azerbaijan, 270 km away from the capital city is known for its subtropical climate, azure beaches on the coast of the Caspian Sea and the abundance of hot springs, the most famous of which is Istisu.
Thermal mineral spring Istisu (literally "hot water") has long been a place of pilgrimage for people suffering from rheumatism and other musculoskeletal and skin diseases. Several rest houses, cottages and campgrounds are built around the source. Part of the thermal spring water flows into a small river, making a kind of contrast baths for campers. The river is inhabited by unusual fish, that to swim up to people and nibbling the skin which results in healing from dermatological diseases.
The climate in this region is favorable for the lush forest which is inhabited by the abundance of different animals and has precious woods such as beech, hornbeam, ironwood, alder, and oak. Tourists would also be interested in buying traditional crafts in Masalli such as braided mats, shawls, a variety of pottery, carpets, socks, gloves, decorated with national ornaments, and wooden crafts.
Masalli region is located along the main transport artery of the region – the road from the capital to the south, to Iran. Climate here is subtropical. One of the boundaries of this area is the Caspian coast, another one – Talish mountains. Running through the territory of this region rivers Vilyash, Tatyan, Alvadi-chay, Matara and others fall into Caspian sea.
Masalli undoubtedly has one of the best tourist potentials despite the fact that the city is situated away from the main roads. This is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Picturesque Talish mountains never cease to amaze travelers with its unique grandeur and freshness. There is a small picturesque lake in the outskirts of the city which is a favorite holiday destination both for visitors and local residents.
Masalli is particularly promising for the development of the health tourism. The region is rich in mineral springs – both thermal and cold, some of them are with a high content of sulfur and other elements. A few kilometers from Masalli near the Arkivan village is a thermal mineral spring “Istisu” (hot water). In summer this area becomes a place of pilgrimage for many tourists and people who suffer from rheumatism and other ailments from all over the country and from abroad.
This rich in plants region preserved in forestry Gariblar and Yenikend such fine woods as beech, hornbeam, ironwood, alder and oak.
Tourists will be interested to see the exhibition of the History Museum and products of traditional crafts: this is “hasir” – woven mats in the village of Musakyudja, headscarves in the village of Tyurkoba, a variety of pottery in the Erkivan village, in mountain villages – carpets, jorabs, gloves, in villages Gyariblyar, Kolatan, Sigdash – wooden products decorated with national ornaments.
Over the past years several modern hotels and recreation centers were built in Masalli along with the existing guest houses. For example, it`s the recreation center “Dashtvend” with the hotel and cottages located near the Arkivan village and equipped in accordance with European standards. You can accommodate at the hotels and recreation areas Vilesh, Damir Agach, “Rasim”, in the sanatorium “Turan” and others.
Many recreation centers organize tourist excursions, horseback riding, a picnic in the woods.
Distance from Baku: 315 km
Population: 87 400
How to get to: By bus: Shuttle Baku-Astara-Baku, 7 hrs;
By train: Baku-Astara-Baku, 9 hrs.
Astara district is located in the south-east of the country, on the border with Iran. Astara is a small picturesque port city and an important transit point on the route Baku-Tehran.
Astara is one of the most beautiful areas of Azerbaijan. One part of the territory is Talysh Mountains, and another part is plains. Astara city is surrounded by rice paddies. High in the mountains, Astarachay and Tengerud River originate and flow into the Caspian Sea. Picturesque Talysh Mountains with their unique beauty and freshness have always fascinated the traveler. French painter Alberto Pepin, who visited here in 1886 together with his fellow countryman traveler Gabriel Bonvalot, captured in his art works Talysh Mountains, beautiful landscape, everyday life, culture, habits, customs, and clothing of locals of this region.
More than 37,000 hectares of the area are covered by the forests which have the relict woods such as oak and Demiragaj (ironwood). Hardwood of Ironwood is used for making looms, shuttles, and parts for the textile industry. Wild quince, Medlar (Mespilus), hawthorn, blackberry, the silk tree with pink flowers, green broom of butcher , and sarsaparilla, silk vine, ivy, which are members of the family of vines are widely grown here. Talysh forests fauna is rich and diverse. Animals such as wolves, lynx, deer, porcupines and other live therein. There are also many beautiful sandy beaches on the Caspian Sea shore of the district. The sea water is clean and clear here.
The road from the neighboring Lankaran to Astara is extremely picturesque: to the left on the narrow coastal strip there is Hirkan reserve with protected relict woods: ironwood, zelkova etc. The district is considered to be one of the major tea-growing, citrus, and vegetable-growing districts of Azerbaijan. Near the village of Archivan there is a source of sulfurous, medical water, popularly known as Asadullah-bulagy. Here one can observe an interesting phenomenon: a lit match flashes a fire "fountain".
In Astara and also on the other side of the border, there are many Talysh people who belong to the Iranian language group. The district has ancient tumulus. Objects that were found there, such as tools and hunting weapons, indicate that the population in these places was engaged in "metallurgy" in the Bronze and Iron periods.
There are more than 400 monuments of history in the territory of this district, and the majority of them are in the mountain villages. Among them the tower in Shindan village, well known as the Tower of Babak, the tower in the village of Nidus, the Mausoleum of the XII century in the village Shakhagay, the Haji Taimur and Haji Jahan Bagish Mosques, the Meshedi Abutalib bathhouse in Pensar village, and the Karbilai Hamid Abdullah bathhouse in the Archivan village could be mentioned. In Gapachymahalla village one can find a caravanserai dated by the VII century, a necropolis dated by the III-I centuries, and the ruins of an ancient fortress, mausoleum, the statues relating to the Bronze and Stone Ages.
The city has a museum, which showcases numerous finds from its district including coins, stone tools, etc. A stone statue of a man, which is more than 2000 years old, the deer image on a piece of stone, which is 2000-3500 years old are to be of particular interest. All together there are over 8000 exhibits in the museum.
The necessary infrastructure was created to serve tourists in this region. There are several hotels, including a 5-star hotel available. Besides, on the Baku-Astara highway there is also a large shopping mall "Savalan" next to which one can find a hotel, banquet halls, a coffee bar, and "Sahil" and "Tourist” restaurants.