Tours and restaurants
The culture of Azerbaijan encompasses the multifaceted traditions of the countries of the Caucasus, Asia and the East. Historically, Azerbaijan was one of the key points on the Great Silk Way. Even now, being the easternmost point of Europe, the country harmoniously combines the observance of ancient oriental traditions with the progressive achievements and civil democratic values.
Over 600 historical archaeological monuments have been preserved and are being protected by the state. This is a true architectural and historical heaven for the lovers of history. The nature of Azerbaijan is also unique – 9 out of 11 climate zones existing on the Earth are found in here. The only deposits of healing oil in the world, unique healing properties of which are successfully used for the treatment of a wide range of diseases are located in the territory of Azerbaijan, in Naftalan.
Baku – the capital and the largest city of the country is unbelievably beautiful. The government allocates considerable funds for restoration works and creation of modern and unique architectural monuments. Resting on the shores of the eponymous bay in the southern part of the Absheron peninsula, Baku perfectly combines ancientness and modernity in its architecture. Its historical center, the heart of Baku – the Old City, presents a vast historical-architectural reserve – the fortress of Icheri Sheher, sometimes called the “Acropolis of Baku”. Ancient Baku emerged here, on the hills that stretched along the shore of the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijan is a deservedly popular destination for summer and winter tourism, successfully competes with foreign resort countries thanks to its beautiful climate, beauty of nature and architecture, establishment, goodwill of its people, national color and distinguished cuisine. Ancient mosques and temples of this place are majestic and monumental, while wilderness fascinates with its unique beauty. You will witness the hospitability and friendliness of Azerbaijani people when meeting happy families with very beautiful children on excursions and walks.
Food has been raised to cult in our country! The government closely monitors the quality of nutrition of the population, so our products are exclusively natural. Chees, meat, fish, poultry products, fruits, vegetables, and greens are all of excellent quality and mainly produced in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan cuisine is remarkable for its exceptional identity. You will never forget the unique taste of the mountain Lankaran tea, meat cooked on open fire, and our delicious pilaf. Everyone who has ever visited our country will leave it with a vibrant image in heart, preserve unique impressions forever and crave for returning again.
All these are offered to you along with the cosmetic therapy program by El.Mira Beauty Tour! One needs more than a day to get acquainted with Baku and Azerbaijan. El.Mira Beauty Tour offers you an overview of the most interesting places for visits and excursions. Experienced guides will help you to choose the most interesting programs. Our guides will take you to historical places and share a lot of interesting facts with you.
A walk along the Seaside Boulevard will leave an unforgettable impression on you. A well-groomed 34-kilometer embankment of the Baku Bay with a magnificent landscape design is a favourite place for recreation of both locals and guests of the city. In 2009, Boulevard celebrated its 100th anniversary. The promenade area with countless cosy cafes and restaurants is wrapped in the shade of trees brought from all over the world, including three 200-year-old baobabs. Here is the pier of a pleasure boat, on which you can take a short boat trip. Through canals, stylized to Venice, gondolas float majestically. The collection of huge cacti is especially beautiful during flowering. Part of the embankment is allocated for cyclists and fans of outdoor activities. Bicycles are provided for hire. Beautiful fountains, brightly illuminated in the evening, grant a specific charm to the waterfront.
Icheri Sheher (The Old City), also known as the “Fortress”, is a unique historical and architectural reserve in the heart of Baku. Icheri Sheher is the most ancient urban area of Baku. It was declared a historical-cultural reserve in 1977, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. It is one the most densely populated places not only in Azerbaijan, but also in the Near East.
Tombs from the Bronze Age, the Maiden Tower (12th century) and the Palace of Shirvanshahs (13-16th centuries) were discovered here during archaeological excavations, which became the most famous historical gems of the Old City, along with mosques, minarets, remains of the karavanrasays named “Multani” and “Bukhara” and ancient baths. You can buy souvenirs, national clothes, scarves and hats, dishes and certified handmade carpets here in countless small shops and stores.
Bibi-Heybat Mosque was built in the XIII century by Shirvanshah Farrukhzad II Ibn Ahsitan II on the shores of Baku Bay, in Shikhov district and was completely destroyed by the Bolsheviks in 1936 during five-year anti-religious campaign, when the lashing out against religion started in the USSR. The mosque was recreated in the end of XX century, becoming a spiritual center for the Muslims of the entire region and one of the major monuments of Islamic architecture in Azerbaijan. The territory of the mosque includes the tomb of Ukeyma Khanum, a descendant of Muhammad, which is a place of pilgrimage of the religious.
Observation point of the Highland Park is one the must-see sights of Baku. It is one of the liveliest places in the capital, where you can see people exercising on the stairs starting from early morning, and which attracts crowds of tourists coming from all over the world at night with its vibrant views of Baku.
The place offer a panoramic view of not only the center of Baku, but also the Old City, new buildings, which became a part of city’s architecture, seaside boulevard and Baku Bay, but also of a greater Absheron area.
Flame Towers present with a different perspective from this place and is the most popular places for selfies in Baku. Flame Towers are located very close to the observation point, thus looking enormous. The towers are illuminated in the evenings with various images passing from one tower to another on large facades of the buildings. The surface of the façade is completely made of LED screens which project visualizations of various objects in movement visible from distance, turning the towers into flames, pouring springs or carpets and national ornaments. Unique illumination of the Flame Towers is recognized as the best one according to the results of the survey conducted among the users of skyscrapercity.com.
State Museum of Azerbaijan Carpet and Applied Art, founded by the painter Latif Karimov is located in a three-level building with a unique architecture, presenting in the form of a rolled carpet.
The vast collection of local and Persian carpets displays examples of lint-free and tile carpets of Azerbaijan matchless in their beauty, created in during various periods of development of carpet weaving. Azerbaijani carpets are distinguished with their succulent colors built on the mixture of local intensive shades. The oldest carpet dates back to the XVII century.
A large collection of signature carpet-paintings made by Azerbaijani artists in various historic periods – the masterpieces of Azerbaijani folk art reflecting historic events – is presented in the museum.
Here not only you can witness the carpet weaving process, but also try to make it yourself. Collection of exhibits of folk art represents a significant value to the museum: traditional national costumes, jewelry, embroideries, vitrages, metal items and carvings.
Monuments of Gobustan are divided in two groups: rock engravings and ancient settlements and other objects.
The mountains Boyukdash, Kichikdash, Jingirdag, Shongardag and Shikhgaya present the evidence of the population of Stone Age and following ages in the form of rock engravings, human settlements, tombstones etc. There are also remains of a large pre-historic complex clearly visible in the territory. The images were detected in three areas of rock plateau. Once inhabited caves, traces of settlements and burials discovered here are all reflecting an intensive population of this territory during the period between Upper Paleolithic and Middle Ages.
The museum is equipped with modern facilities: sensor screens with special multimedia programs, informative and entertaining games, interactive displays and 3D-videos.
Azerbaijan is on the first place in the world for the number of mud volcanoes. 350 out 800 mud volcanos around the world are located here! Mud volcanos of Azerbaijan took the fifth place in the contest of “Seven wonders of the World” and on 15th of September, 2004 the largest mud volcano in the world was registered in Azerbaijan and included The Guinness Book of World Records.
Gala village is located in 40 minutes’ drive from Baku. Many archeological excavations have been made here. There 243 historic monuments in the village. The area of the reserve is 156 ha and has kurgans, tombs, ancient settlements, as well as the remains of an ancient palace, 5 mosques and 3 baths dating back to 3000 thousand years B.C. and late Middle Ages.
It was built on the territory 13 kilometers away from Baku the community of Hindu fire worshipers in the XVII-XVIII centuries. It is an extraordinary place of power and will. There are several eternal flames of natural gas in the temple, bursting out of land. The temple looks especially beautiful at night during the spring equinox and mulsim holiday Novruz, celebrated for ages in many eastern countries.
Today Ateshgah is considered a Mecca of Zoroastrians from all around the world, being particularly honored in India, where it is called the temple of Shiva, Lord of Fire. The natural “eternal flame” went out for some time, after exploitation of petroleum and gas in the area, but is restored by instruction of government.
The territory of Azerbaijan is rich with oil and gas and ocasionally fire oozes natuarlly from the ground, which is why Azerbaijan is called the land of fire. In this regard, visiting “Burning Mountain” (Yanar Dag) you can observe the natural gas blazing continuously from the ground, which was considered as a manifestation of a sacred power. The burning hillside looks very attractive at night.
Lahij is a unique historical monument, illustrating the Persian urban development and architecture. This medieval town with cobbled pavements, developed sewerage systems and water pipelines is famous for its craftsmanship far beyond the Caucasus. In the VII century, being part of Persia, the village became popular for its iron products and copper items, carved with ornaments. Lahij is a historical and architectural monument protected by the government of Azerbaijan.
Traditional Azerbaijani cuisine
Touristic programs offered by El.Mira Beauty Tour include visits to the prestigious restaurants of Baku, where you can enjoy dishes of traditional Azerbaijani cuisine, prepared only from organic products of high quality. You will also be surprised by the imagination, skill and culinary delights of our chefs in serving dishes from different countries of the world.
Azerbaijani cuisine consists of at least two thousand self-sufficient dishes, with its history, technology and traditions. Food is treated with particular respect in Azerbaijan and people normally say “here comes the food”, instead of “we came to eat”. Local feasts are probably one of the best and most vibrant events in the life of guests and tourists. They can last more than a day. So it is customary to sit, eat, drink tea, and communicate for an hour, two, three, the whole night till the next morning and so on.
National cuisine of Azerbaijan is remarkable for its diversity, as it unites the culinary traditions of the Arabic, Persian, and Indian, as well as neighboring Turkish, Caucasian and Transcaucasian nations. The mountainous and subtropical climate of the country allows growing and producing everything required to prepare tasty and healthy food. Not surprisingly, Azerbaijan is considered the land of long-livers. Meals of Azerbaijani cuisine are prepared from beef and mutton, poultry and fish, fruits and vegetables, with the obligatory addition of fresh greens, as well as fragrant herbs and spices. Azerbaijani cuisine is very rich, nutritious and high-calorie, which is why it is often jokingly called “men’s cuisine”.
You only need to do now is to decide on the restaurant and enjoy the extraordinary taste, pleasant atmosphere and cordial hospitality.
The best restaurants in Baku
Offering national cuisine:
Nakhish, Sumakh, Mangal, Tendir, Zogal, Chanag Gala, Shirvanshah, Qedim Qebele, Gedim Sheki ресторан, Karvansaray, Mugam Club, Gilavar, Orman, Tongal, Shusha, Firuze, Nar&Sharab, Shafa, Nakhchivan.
There also popular restaurants targeting at all sorts of visitors, stylized in an original manner and representing cuisine of different countries:
Hard Rock Cafe Baku , Scalini-Port Baku Tower, Chio Chio San, Trattoria L’Oliva, Tosca – Cafe & Enoteca , PAUL, Mangal Steak House, Buddha-Bar, Мари Vanna, Vapiano, Merci Baku.
Azerbaijani breakfast – a very special local tradition, is included as an obligatory and very pleasant component in the tour program for a family weekend.
You can order this breakfast in any restaurant. You will be served a strong aromatic tea in cast-iron kettles, in which it remains hot for a long time, hot bread, “tandir chorek” from Azerbaijani stove, honey, vegetables, greens and a lot of dairy products: butter and cream prepared according to a special recipe, yogurt – a fermented milk, hard and soft, salted and sweet sorts of cheese made of goat, sheep and cow milk with various additions.
A little later gutabs will be served, which resemble soft, butter, sickle-shaped polublintchiki with fillings: meat, cheese, greens. And the breakfast will be completed with the crown dish – Azerbaijani fried eggs, which are cooked in butter with tomatoes or with various greens and served directly on a skillet. And this symphony of tastes can last a couple of hours.
Dinner begins with a traditional tea. The most common is the black tea. It is brewed very strong and usually with wild herbs – sage, thyme, mint and others. The order of serving the dishes is also unusual. First you will be offered tea and served with “starters” – cold snacks to choose from – a variety of cheeses, marinades, pickles, fresh greens, smoked eggplants and vegetables baked on the grill straight after that…
This will be followed by or served together with gutabs, juicy lamb shish kebab, fried fish or fragrant pilaf with vegetables, or tender dolma. If you are lucky enough, you will taste the iconic dish “Three Sisters” (“Üç bacı” dolma) – an unusual dish of small tomatoes, aubergines and peppers stuffed with mutton and baked in the oven. Lamb is the ost preferred meat product. Dishes from chopped meat are especially popular here. Rice and vegiies are served as side dish. Traditionally meat dishes are seasoned with chestnuts, dried apricots, sultana and greens.
Soup is served after the main dishes, and comes in more than 30 types to chose from, each of them deserving attention. The habit of eating soup after the main course has developed over many millennia and it is believed that this way the food is better absorbed. After the soup, you will again be offered tea with desserts: sherbets, pastries, Baku kurabie, Sheki baklava, dried fruits, nuts, syrups, jam. An interesting point is that meat is often seasoned not with vegetables, but with fruits. The use of herbs and spices, which is generously added to the food, gives dishes a special taste and flavor.
All this is cooked with love from high-quality products, growing on ecologically clean land of Azerbaijan. Classic dinner in Azerbaijan, according to the ancient traditions of the people lasts about three to four hours.
We decided to separate plov under the special heading, beause of the status of this dish in Azerbaijani cuisine.
Plov is a dish of rice seasoned with saffron, turmeric and augmented with meat, fruit (sweet plov) or greens, and also Khan plov, cooked in a dough. Azerbaijan plov differs from others with the original way of cooking and serving: the rice base and all the additions to it – meat, fruits, greens – are cooked with butter separately and some components are mixed only when served on the table.
Plov is usually taken with a sorbet – a soft drink, which includes fruit and berry juices, as well as infusions of seeds of various plants.
Greens are almost always present on the Azerbaijani table. It’s like a trump card in a deck of cards. It is hard to imagine Azerbaijani cuisine without greens, just like without the butter, which is used by everyone for cooking. Greens are often served as an independent dish.
Azerbaijan cuisine is characterized by high taste qualities – saturated and expressive. The cooks achieve such effects in dishes thanks to spices and all kinds of herbs. The most popular spices are: turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, pepper, saffron, cumin, barberry … And greens: basil, spinach, sorrel, dill, parsley, lettuce, mint, tarragon, cilantro … And that’s not even the whole list of them.