|United States||Azerbaijan on the Silk Route||all year round||8 days / 7 nights||$1578||for 4 per.|
The Silk Route retraces footsteps of caravans and merchants who linked the East and West along this ancient trade route. Since the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D., trade has flourished along this route, spreading wealth, spices, and knowledge of new cultures and religions between East and West. Due to Azerbaijan`s central location on the Silk Route, Azerbaijan emerged as the largest trade Centre on the long stretch of the Silk Route. Back in the ancient time merchants from the Middle East, Asia and Europe came here to trade with Azeris for silk fabrics, porcelain, pottery, carpets, weapons, jewelry, as well as salt, fish glue and oil products.
As the name suggests, silk was the main commodity in the trading list, and Azerbaijan’s Shirvan region started becoming known for its silk industry as early as the 9th century.
By the 11th and 12th cen-turies, the silk produced in Shirvan was already famous throughout Russia and Western Europe. Silk cloth was exported to Italy by Venetian and Genoese merchants who maintained commercial offices along the shores of the Caspian. In 1293, Marco Polohimself wrote that the Genoese ships were engaged in the silk business in the Caspian region. He writes: “Shirvan dwellers make golden and silk clothes. You can’t find such beautiful things anywhere else.” Similarly, Adam Olearius, a traveler who visited Shirvan in the 17th century, wrote that Azerbaijan produced up to 2.5 million kg of silk cloth each year. In the town of Shaki alone, the largest silk-producing centre in the entire Caucasus region, 14,000 families were engaged in silkworm breeding and reduced approximately 15,000 poods (240 tons) of raw silk each year. Part of this silk thread was exported; the other part was woven and dyed in local factories. For centuries, cultural and trade exchange along the Silk Route have left the area with a fascinating landscape of local cultures, rich cuisine and history. Experience an unforgettable journey in the heart of the Silk Road. Enjoy a special guided tour to the Shirvanshah’s Palace and Sheki Khan Palace, explore caravanserais, coppersmith village of Lahic known for its metal works, study the ancient paintings and stone carvings of Gobustan, explore the remains of Ancient Albania, visit Albanian Church dating back to the 12th or 13th centuries, shop at old bazaars of Sheki and Baku for silk scarves, carpets, pottery and souvenirs, witness the incredible Zoroastrian, Christian, Jewish and Islamic architecture of Azerbaijan; and immerse yourself in the unique culture, distinctive local cuisine and traditional music Mugham that you can’t experience anywhere, but in Azerbaijan.
DAY 1 – Departure from USA
An overnight flight to Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan.
Flight options from the United States: Aeroflot / Lufthansa / Turkish Airlines / British Airways /
DAY 2 – Arrive Baku
Xoş gəlmisiniz! (Welcome in Azerbaijani). After you cross passport and customs control at the airport you will be met by
local guide and transferred to your hotel. Rest of your day is free at leisure.
DAY 3 – Baku City Tour
Following breakfast you will have Baku sightseeing tour starting from Şəhidlər Xiyabanı (Martyr’s Alley) located at Dağüstü Park(Hillside Park) where you can enjoy the breathtaking view of Baku Bay, as well as experience modern Baku with tall buildings and city mansions built by local and foreign oil barons such as Taghiyev, Rothschilds family, Nobel Brothers and others. You will also have a chance to visit the Museum of History and National Carpet Museum, as well as Villa Petrolea Museum, the 19th century residence of Ludwig and Robert Nobels brothers.
After lunch at a local restaurant you will have a city tour in İçəri Şəhər (Old Town) the most ancient part of Baku with tiny streets, medieval fortress walls and towers, hamams, caravanserais which date back to the 15th and 17th centuries. On your tour you can’t miss the ninth century Qız Qalası (Maiden Tower), a country symbol and a source of pride for all locals. In İçəri Şəhər (Old Town) you will also have a tour of Şirvanşahlar Sarayı (Shirvanshah’s Palace), a compound named after the Shahs of Shirvan, who ruled the state of Shirvan in northern Azerbaijan from the sixth to the sixteenth centuries.
The complex located at the highest point of city fortress with Şirvanşahlar Sarayı (Shirvanshah’s Palace)Traditional musical instruments İçəri Şəhər (Old Town)medieval market square, antique shops and carpet stores. Evening dinner will wrap up your tour on the way back to your hotel.
DAY 4 – Gobustan / Mud Volcanoes / Absheron Peninsula
After breakfast we will be heading to Qobustan(Gobustan), a UNESCO protected open-air petroglyphs museum with rock art cultural landscape that lies 40 miles south of Baku featuring stone carvings with figures of humans, boats, animals and hunting scenes engraved on thousands of rocks inherited from the Stone Age. Along with prehistoric art dating back to at least the second illennium BC you will also see the Roman inscription from the first century AD that is the easternmost evidence of the Roman Empire yet iscovered. On your way little further you will also see the outcrop of Palçıq Vulkanları, mud volcanoes lying some six miles south of Gobustan. It should be noted that Azerbaijan is home to more than half of the world’s mud volcanoes, more than 400 in total. There are six distinct forms of mud volcanoes: gryphons, mud cones, scoria cones, salse, springs and mud shields, whereas the vast majority in Azerbaijan are gryphons, characterized by their shape – a steep-sided cone. Although it is very rare, in 2001 one of the volcanoes erupted producing flames that shot 50 feet into the air.
After lunch you will have a short trip to the Absheron Peninsula to visit Atəşgah (Ateshgah), a temple of Fire orshippers, as well as Yanardağ(Yanardagh) that literally means flaming mountain. Atəşgah Fire Templeis one of the most popular tourist destinations within easy reach of Baku. It is a Zoroastrian site dating back to the sixth or seventh centuries. A natural eternal flame burned here for many years. Fire worship was practiced by Zoroastrians long before Azerbaijan was converted to Islam. Today, Azerbaijan is home to about 2000 Zoroastrians. Each year Zoroastrian worshippers of Iran, India, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States visit this temple.
DAY 5 – Guba City Tour
After breakfast you will depart to the city of Quba(Guba), a pleasant town on the slopes of the Shahdag Mountain Range
(2000 feet above sea level) located 95 miles north of Baku. En route to Guba we will stop near sanctuary Pir Xıdır Zində(Pir Khydyr Zinde). Our Guba tour will include visits to Krasnaya Sloboda, (Red Village) a centuries-old Jewish settlement, Sakina-Khanummosque, medieval dome-shaped bath – hamam, carpet weaving shops of Guba carpet school, as well as local bazaar where you can taste locally-grown organic produce and fruits. Afterwards, you will continue to canyon Təngəaltı (Tangyi Alty) on the river of Valvalachay. Then, outdoor lunch and walk tour to Afurja Waterfallbefore heading back to Baku. Upon arrival dinner in one of Baku’s restaurants that serve national cuisine.
DAY 6 – Shamakhi / Lahij / Sheki
After breakfast the van/bus will take us along the western route of Azerbaijan towards the city of Şəki (Sheki). Along the way we will have short stops at Diri Babamausoleum Palçıq Vulkanları (Mud Volcanoes) Qobustan (Gobustan stones) Atəşgah (Ateshgah Temple) Krasnaya Sloboda (Red Village)in Maraza village, historical Cümə Mosqueand mausoleum of Yeddi Kümbəz(Seven Domes), as well as Shirvan Shahs’graveyard in Shamakhi. Before heading towards Sheki you will have an incredible tour to the village of Lahıc(Lahij).
The quaint little coppersmith village of Lahic with cobblestone roads is a superb place to sample traditional rural life.
In early 19th century Lahic boasted around 200 craftsmen, and Lahic carpets and metal work fetched high prices in the bazaars of Baghdad, Iraq. Most of the villagers here speak Lahic language that is closer to Farsi than Azeri or Turkish. After lunch at a local restaurant we will continue our trip to Şəkivia Mughanly highway. Late in the evening we will arrive to Sheki where we will have overnight stay at medieval caravanserai converted to the hotel - Yuxari Caravansaray, 2** Sheki (1 night).
DAY 7 – Sheki Tour
After breakfast we will be touring the city of Şəki (Sheki). Sheki is a gem of historical and natural beauty that offers an authentic Azerbaijani experience. Sheki nestled in beautiful wooded mountains with an 18th century Xan Sarayı (Khan’s Palace), picturesque old town, fortress GələrsənGörərsən (Galarsan-Gorarsan), the Museum of Applied Arts, “Shebeke” manufacturing workshops and unforgettable caravanserai-hotel. During Sheki tour you will also have a short trip out to the village of Kiş(Kish), featuring a dignified Albanian church dating back to the 12th or 13th century. In the afternoon you will depart back to Baku.
DAY 8 – Baku
On day 8 you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home, or on to your next destination.
- All transfers by A/C comfortable vehicle
- Inland transportation according to program ( middle size 25-30 seats bus)
- English speaking guide and tour manager as per program
- All entrance fees according to program
- Full board catering ( breakfast, lunch, dinner). Depends on Selection.
- 1 x folklore show at the restaurant
- Bottle of mineral water per person per day (on a bus)
- Visa support
- Portages at the airport and hotels
- Accommodation based on DBL/TWN sharing room
OLD City Atropat 5*: 1 person - $ 4,015