Spring in Azerbaijan
The main and the most spectacular event, which is open to all travelers who visited Azerbaijan in spring, is Novruz holiday - the symbol of the coming spring. Every year on March 21 all Azerbaijanis meet this ancient national holiday by preparing to it for four weeks. A number of holiday traditions and rituals of Novruz holiday surprise and delight foreigners during the whole March. Many people specifically travel to regions, for example, Yukhari Salahli village where they become the witnesses of classic ritual, just like old times. During the celebration of Novruz holiday in Azerbaijan people visit each other, exchange gifts and many sweets that are prepared in every family.
On the eve of Novruz holiday the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev annually congratulates the Azerbaijani people, and with the members of his family takes part in the festivities which take place in Baku before the Maiden Tower, the Old Town and the National Seashore Park. On September 30, 2009 Novruz holiday was included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO. And on February 23, 2010 the United Nations declared March 21 the International Day of Novruz.
The Azerbaijani spring pleases all with the wonderful weather and stormy generous variety of colors of nature. This time of year the Azerbaijani cuisine offers vitamin menu consisting of succulent , spicy and sweet vegetables. Although in winter they are always on sale, but there is nothing to compare with spring grasses. Gourmands will, of course, like green kutaby, kuku, sabzi-pilaf. Do you want to enjoy the unique culinary products, to take part in the festivities of pilaf, try more than fifty (!) types of this crown dish of the Azerbaijani cuisine with the most tender lamb, herbs, chestnuts, apricots, walnut, raisins, traditionally served on a huge plate? Cinnamon, cloves, pepper, turmeric, cumin and other spices give the dish a very exotic flavor.
Another important event of the Azerbaijani spring attracts a lot of tourists from abroad, experts and connoisseurs of music. In March Baku hosts international festival “World of Mugam” that Heydar Aliyev Foundation organizes in the centre “International Centre of Mugam”. Famous singers of popular music genre, professionals mugham art come to our country within the framework of festival, and in parallel with contests of mugham singers, numerous mugam operas and symphonic concerts and classical mugam, international scientific symposiums are also held here. The festival ends with a gala concert which brings full house at the Baku Heydar Aliyev Palace. More information about the festival, enter the official website www.mugam.az
Bright Flower Festival on the Boulevard in May - a real palette of artistic festival where the pictures are painted with vibrant colors, and huge lawns serve as pavilions in the central squares of Baku and mile-long flyover of Seashore Park. Thousands and thousands of blossoming flowers, sparkling with all the colors of the rainbow which are brought specially for the festival from many countries, and the skilled craftsmen change them into memorable pictures, murals, frescoes and “sculpture.”
Spring is magnificent also far beyond Baku. Foreigners called Gabala a small Switzerland in honor of magnificent beauty of the Caucasus Mountains. Mountain meadows and forests attract tourists with their beauty. Hunters and fishermen are always pleased with the results of their trips. It provides freedom for lovers of ecological tourism. In the north-west of Azerbaijan ancient mosques, temples, mausoleums compete with unique natural artifacts. Tourists usually visit the shining “Golden Rock”, Alpine eylag (pasture) “Golden Throne” Blue Valley “Inge” (“Fine”), a mountain of black sheep, and visit the lush riparian forests along the rivers or in the caves of Mount Aveydag.
We also have places that do not have similarity in the world where people come in the spring and throughout the year, such as the temples of Health and Life. Naftalan - a resort town with health spas and resorts, located in Goranboy region, which many years ago became famous throughout the world for its Naphthalan oil. This oil is called Median oil, and we also should remember the famous Argonaut Jason whom sorceress Medea gave miraculous ointment, healing from fire. This is how myths and legends are confirmed true! Even in ancient times, thousands of people from different parts of Asia tried to get rid of diseases in Azerbaijan, taking away Naftalan oil, and now the same thing happens.