CENTRAL REGION

The total area of the region is 21.43 thousand square kilometers, which is 24.7% of the total territory of the country. Most of the region is made up of plains sitting below sea level. The climate here is mostly subtropical.

From the point of view of tourism, Mingachevir is the most attractive city in this region. Mingachevir’s modern architecture is of great interest. Kura, the largest river of Azerbaijan, flows here.

 

Mingachevir

Founded in 1945 and the fourth largest city in Azerbaijan, Mingachevir lies on the banks of the Kura River. The Kura hydroelectric power station, the largest one in Azerbaijan, is also located here. The Mingachevir Reservoir formed by the dam and called a ‘sea’ by locals, is the largest artificial reservoir in the country.

Today, Mingachevir attracts a lot of local and foreign tourists. The entire tourist infrastructure is concentrated on the banks of the Kura where you can also find the “KUR”, Olympic Rowing Centre. 

 

Neftchala

The modern name of this city is linked to rich oil and gas pools. The fauna of the district is rich and varied and a section of the Shirvan National park is located on the territory of Neftchala.

This district is also famous for the fish of the Kura. Kurkosa Island is a perfect place for fishing.

At a distance of 10 km from the centre, at the mouth of the river where the Kura flows into the Caspian Sea, you can watch a surprising show: the Kura waters remain separated from sea water and what appears to be a thin ‘line’ prevents the two waters from mixing. 

 

Salyan

Salyan city (called the “Gateway to the South”) is located at a distance of 126 km from the capital.

 

Geychay

This region is noted for its wonderful climate and abundance of historic sites, but mainly it is famous for its pomegranates.

Pomegranates have historically been cultivated in almost all regions of the country, but the acknowledged centre of the best varieties of pomegranate is the Shirvan region which is situated in the dry, subtropical zone of Geychay. Geychay pomegranates are famous worldwide and have become the symbol of "real Azerbaijani pomegranates". It’s not surprising that the technology for the preparation of the well-known Azerbaijani sauce "narsharab" being a sort of pomegranate jam, was invented by the locals. This popular sweet and sour sauce harmonizes perfectly with fish and meat dishes.

 

Shirvan

Every facility for active recreation is on hand in this region: from hiking to climbing frozen waterfalls and extreme ascents of the mountains. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed by excursions through the mountains and valleys of Shirvan with its murmuring streams and granite blocks of the most diverse and unusual shapes, scattered everywhere, like giant toys.

 

Ismailli

The Ismayilli region, located to the north of the country, was part of Caucasian Albania from IV c. B.C. Here, on the top of the highest mountain, there are the ruins of a medieval fortress. Its construction is attributed to Dzhavanshir, the 7th century ruler of Caucasian Albania.

The most famous and important historical monument of this area is the Maiden Tower (VII-XII centuries) – a defensive structure located on the top of the steep mountain near the village of Khanagah.

Besides the Azeries, other nations and ethnic groups also live here.  For example in the well known Azerbaijani village of Ivanovka, live the Molokan descendants of those resettled here from Russia.  And in the village of Lahij located on the banks of the Girdimanchay River at 1200 meters above sea level, live ethnic Tats.

Lahij copper art as well as the art of producing kyalagai, are both included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

 

Shemakha

Shemakha is an ancient city of Azerbaijan, the capital of the Kingdom of Shirvan,  residence of Shirvanshahs and one of the most beautiful cities of the East. The homeland of Khagani, Nasimi and M. A. Sabir, it was, from the middle of XVIII century, the centre of Shemakhan Khanate.

The unique nature, mild climate and natural mineral springs give this district a special beauty. One of the favourite peaks for mountain climbers, Badabag, is located here.

The most favorite place of pilgrimage for tourists is the settlement of Pirkuli which is located 22 km from the centre of the district at an altitude of 1400 m. Possibilities exist here for skiing in winter and summer riding. 

The largest astrophysical observatory in Azerbaijan and in the Caucasus is also found high in the village of Pirkuli. The Nasīr al-Dīn al-Tūsī Shamakhi Astrophysical Observatory is equipped with the most modern facilities and houses one of the largest telescopes in the CIS with a mirror of 2 meters in diameter.

 

Lahij

The Alpine settlement of Lahij located in the Ismayilli region of Azerbaijan is an original monument of antique urban and architectural art. It is believed that the legendary Manomakh’s cap, worn by Russian tsars for many centuries, was made here. Lahij became especially famous for the manufacturing of knives and copper utensils, decorated with engraved designs.