Azerbaijan! My second home.

Azerbaijan is a country of diversity and timeless culture. The people are the most hospitable and delightfully friendly people I have ever met. The landscape and nature is a sight to see. Where else in the world can you find 9 out of 10 climate zones?

As an expat I have spent the biggest part of my life in this country and I have learned to love it in a way that only someone living there long-term can.

Walking the streets of Baku, going to the Market round the corner I could easily be mistaken for being either half Russian or one of the “Tsakhur”-or mountain peoples (Often blond or red-haired with blue eyes). In this little country with 9.3 million (UN2011) inhabitants there are as many as 39 ethnic people groups. That, gardash(brother), is diversity!

learned the language as a kid, playing “Gachdı-tutdu”-catch, and football with mates in the “mehelle”-or courtyard. And even now, on my visits to Azerbaijan I can surprise the taxi -driver, or woman selling bread with a pleasant “Salam, necesiz?”
-Hello, how are you today-? It is fun to catch the subway into town and listen to the people close by talking about you, not even half expecting you to understand what they are saying.

When I was asked by www.azerbajan.info, a portal for Azeris and Germans in Germany, to write of my experiences in Azerbaijan I couldn’t say no. It is great to be able to share my experiences with fellow Europeans and the world alike.
There is so much to write about Azerbaijan , so many memories, so much beauty. And so much pain.
It’s much harder to write about the negative sides. They are well hidden from the public and the world, but still there.
Despite Azerbaijan’s immense oil reserves and impressive natural beauty it sadly suffers from distribution issues.
Less than 2 percent of the population owns more than 95 percent of the riches. Very many people live below the poverty line and never see the benefits of the oil their country exports to Europe. Communal services, educational institutions and rural economies are in the gutters… suffering from neglect.
Meanwhile authorities are pouring money into prestigious and pointless construction monstrosities in the capital city Baku.
Skeleton companies are established to whitewash money acquired through bribery and corruption.
It is a known fact that Azerbaijan has a high corruption index (see 134/178-Transparency international.)
I’m very excited to see what Eurovision 2012 is going to expose. Hopefully world press will ask the right questions:
Why political prisoners?
What about the lack of press freedom?
Are the elections fair?
The government has already started to cover up the situation at hand. One of the best examples can be seen on the highway from the airport to downtown Baku.Three years ago the ministry of transport started the construction of high walls alongside Heydar Aliev street, blocking from view the outskirts of the city, home to thousands living in slums.
The National Flag square along with the Crystal Hall where the Eurovision Song contest is to be held are both constructed on the foundations of homes from which owners were evicted without notice, their houses bulldozed before their very eyes.
I always leave the best to the end. I know many of you reading this are interested in Azerbaijan and what there is to see and do.
Baku has countless sights to see, and I’m sure there are many things on the internet about the entertainment and sights of the city. I would like to tell you about a few fantastic destinations in the rural areas of Azerbaijan:
Mountain road pass from Shamakhi to Ismailly:
A stomach- wrenching drive through fantastic mountain scenery. Great to drive early in the morning or in the evening. Stop at one of the mountaintop cafés or restaurants for chay and kebab and catch the sunset.

Sunset outlines thistles growing along the Shamakhi-Ismailly stretch.

In an area along the Iranian border in the South of the country we have experienced amazing hospitality from people delighted to open up their homes, hearts and tables to us. Feasts from a Tandoori oven or an open fire are served on rickety tables with much kindness and followed by tea from the Samovar.

Wheat fields in Gabala, crested with majestic mountains.
Gabala: A tourist destination already, it has quite a few hotels to offer. Not the best standards, but good enough.
A drive into the mountains will give you views such as these:


Kotuklu: A small village nestled in the Caucasus mountains. Still (hopefully) has a dirt road winding up the mountain to get to it. The people are friendly and love guests. Remember, they are poor. But they will offer up anything and everything they have for the occasion of “gonaxlig”-visitors.


The wonderful Caucasus mountains are perfect for hiking.


Beautiful flowers in the town of Lakit, at the foot of the mountains in Qax.
Lakit: is the home of Yeddi Kilse- 6-7th century church ruins. A great icon of history and culture.
So if you are planning on visiting Azerbaijan in the near future, or just need an exciting new destination. This country has a whole lot to offer. It may not be the most convenient or tourist- friendly place to visit but nonetheless it has lots of charm and many wonders of nature yet untouched or unreached by the global tourism rush.

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Comments
161 Responses to “Azerbaijan! My second home.”
  1. Nothing hurt says:

    Oh, it appears like a perfectly lovely place! A new tack has been added to my future travel map. Congrats on the FP!

    • Azure James says:

      Damn, that’s pretty! I never knew hardly a thing about Azerbaijan, but it looks really nice. A lot better than Russia, I think. Cool pictures, especially the mountains! 🙂

  2. amelie88 says:

    This is one of the those countries I know next to nothing about (which tends to be the case for most countries in the Middle East). As an American, it’s easy to be frightened by the “big, bad Middle East” and forget these countries have lovely, hospitable people and that these countries would be fantastic travel destinations. I’m probably not going to Azerbaijan any time time soon but I can admire it through your pictures. Thanks for sharing!

    • I see what you mean… Media has a very wrong picture of the middle east. It’s a pity.

    • Ramil Joesipov says:

      Azerbaijan is not a Middel East country. Azerbaijan is the country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe (60% of the country) and Western Asia. So it is a East European and West Asian (transcontinental) country. And also Azerbaijanian people feel more related to European family.

  3. Snapshooter says:

    Incredible shot of the wheat field. Makes me think of Gladiator. 😀

  4. ametanoia says:

    Your photography is beautiful! Azerbaijan is on my list of places to visit, and seeing your photography just makes me want to go even more!

  5. jilllurie says:

    This post is a gift to all who read it. Thank you.

  6. Beautiful photography! Thank you for sharing, Daniel!

  7. Rob Slade says:

    Stunning photos!

  8. Marjolein says:

    Those pictures are beautiful! To be honest, I only know Azerbaijan from the stories of my colleague who was born there and had to flee. But I’ll make sure to also keep an eye on the beauty this country has to offer.

  9. Wow. Those green mountains!! That is a place I’d love to visit someday. Great photos, I will make a note of the towns you mention.

    I’m curious, have you ever been to New York City? I live here and would love an Azerbaijani restaurant suggestion.

  10. Duoimagery says:

    These photos took my breath away! Spectacular! -beth

  11. Carlie Chew says:

    Gorgeous photos!

  12. As someone who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, I have to say that your post on it was absolutely beautiful. I enjoyed reading it and the photos are AMAZING! Great Job!

  13. Ammon says:

    Wow! I always pictured Azerbaijian as having more of a desert climate. Gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing 🙂

  14. lilbrigs says:

    So gorgeous. I went to Tbilisi Georgia a few years back-there’s so much to discover over there.

  15. Karl says:

    very nice photos 🙂

  16. rockstarcpa says:

    Absolutely stunning photography. I would the opportunity to travel to Azerbaijan.

  17. jenny says:

    I spent a few days in Baku in 1983. So long ago. Thank you. I enjoyed your post.

  18. Elena says:

    Wonderful post! I love Baku! Azerbaijan is very indeed special.

  19. Great timing with this. I may have a work trip there this year and apart from eating delicious food from Azerbaijan in Budapest, I admittedly don’t know too much about the country. Fingers crossed the trip goes through and I can spend a bit of extra time exploring. Some absolutely beautiful photography here and nice to read about the country as well. Congrats on FP!

  20. aFrankAngle says:

    Thanks for the beautiful pictures of a land I will probably never see, but you have given me a glimpse into this land … thank you … and the mountain shots are wonderful.

  21. Wow! These are all fantastic! Great post!

  22. gohairshop says:

    Being Russian I have always wondered what that part of the country (former country) looks like. Your post is great filled with the amazing photography, makes me want to go there!

  23. I never realized that a camera could do such beautiful work.

  24. Absolutely beautiful photos and a great written piece! Azerbaijan is now on my short list. Thanks for the great post!

  25. conniewalden says:

    Beautiful photography. Thanks so much for sharing your talents. Connie
    http://7thandvine.wordpress.com/

  26. Este blog Azerbaijao tem imagens maravilhosas e assim que eu quero no My Blog

  27. anaslense says:

    What a lovely place! Wonderful Pictures, thanks for sharing!

  28. Jezzmindah says:

    STUNNING! I can’t thank you enough, until this post I had never even heard of Azerbaijan, now I am in love with it.

  29. cynsglobe says:

    Gorgeous!!!

  30. Awesome pictures. I never knew anything about this country but just looking at your pictures makes me want to travel there. Beautiful.

  31. hope28pineda says:

    Cool picture….
    That place is beautiful…. <3\
    🙂

  32. What a lovely country you have adopted! I will check this site out often, to keep tabs on these oft-overlooked people.

  33. creekrose says:

    so beautiful that it almost hurts the eyes!! looks like a lovely place, or a place you love :0)

  34. nicole5181 says:

    I lived in beautiful Azerbaijan for a year. Sagol for sharing.

  35. Alffy says:

    Great photos! Beautiful landscape. Thanks.

  36. Alffy says:

    Reblogged this on .

  37. The Urban Nomad says:

    would love to visit Azerbaijan one time. thanks for sharing your wonderful shots. 🙂

  38. It’s too beautiful, verdant hills and green waters,this life is my look forward

  39. Great essay and great photography. Thank you for posting.

  40. albeindc says:

    wow, this is truly a beautiful country! got a friend who’s doing a teaching gig over there right now, always seems like a far far away place …

  41. Wonderful pictures, especially the one of the wheat field cradled by mountains. I look forward to more pieces about the people there.

  42. fotent says:

    Azerbaijan is a country that has fascinated me and I hope to go soon…
    By the way, could you delete the replay from “The gods play games………………………………….” that distorts your beautiful page? It seems the work of a possessed.

  43. Beautiful, beautiful photos! I am a WordPress photoblogger too! Great job!

  44. Great Photos. I never knew this much about Azerbaijan. Thanks for the info brother.

  45. Too beautiful! Azerbaijan is unique!

  46. lindalind says:

    Wow beautiful pictures! I want to go there now 🙂

    /Linda
    http://www.lindalind.com/blog

  47. I always find it interesting to sit and listen to people who are talking in another language, and fascinated when they discuss me (if I can understand them). It’s like they’re discussing a sparrow on a cafe table.

    Nice photos!

  48. RWynn says:

    Wow, Azerbaijan is extremely beautiful!! I have always wondered what Azerbaijan is like…. Now I’m curious 🙂

  49. What fantastic photography! Your commentary is thorough and very educational – well done!

  50. Moment Matters says:

    That’s a great place. You introduced me to Azerbaijan wonderfully!

  51. asoulwalker says:

    Looks amazing. I may have to put this on my travel list. Thank you for sharing.

  52. msappdemo says:

    Reblogged this on msappdemo and commented:
    Beautiful photographs.

  53. This looks to be a very interesting and photogenic country. Never thought of visiting until I saw this post.

  54. Beautiful!
    I think I will move there next.

  55. Fascinating information and I love the pictures of the mountains particularly – I had no idea the countryside was so lush and green.

    As you clearly know Azerbaijan well, I wonder if you can recommend a writer from there whose work has been translated into English (or whose work I could get translated) for my project A Year of Reading the World (http://ayearofreadingtheworld.com/). I have one or two suggestions on the list for Azerbaijan from universities in the States, but there’s nothing like recommendations from people who know the country firsthand.

    • Saida says:

      I don’t know whether you have got an answer to your question but I would strongly recommend you to read Nizami or Fizuli (medieval poets and phylosophers), ALI&NINO by Chamansemenli (beginning of the 20th c.), and something from Maxud Ibragimbekov (our period). They all have been translated into English. I wish you to enjoy reading these books and to come to our country.

  56. I love the picture of the greeny-blue mountain! Very awesome.

  57. Wow, this is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  58. choconutmeg says:

    Your photographs make me want to go there! The green mountains are especially breathtaking.

  59. friendlymedia01 says:

    Your photography is awesome. Really i like it.

  60. valentinedee says:

    Beautiful and tranquil. I love these photos.

    val
    http://valentinedefrancis.wordpress.com

  61. ghost says:

    Awesome! I see some similar things to my country, Brazil, as the unbalanced distribution of money, the tries of the government to “hide” the poverty, and, unfortunately, the corruption. But there are some beautiful natural marvels to see here too, however, it may be kind of Arzebaijan’s opposite in relation to clime. I like your description, and, hopes for our countries to get better in the points they are not favorable!

  62. gasipor says:

    Azerbaijan is a nice country.I want to go to that country.

  63. i have heard a lot about Azerbaijan, but only in this blog i could see the beauty of nature over there. Really a wonderful post.

  64. Alicia Skkag says:

    Nobody could have captured Azerbaijan, the way you have done it. Since I am a lover of nature all the photographs are awesome. Thanks for sharing

  65. Des Lakes says:

    Okay wait. My wife and I turned jobs down in Baku because we read (in several places) that the city and perhaps the whole country as a whole is the most polluted in the world. Is that not the case?

  66. SEO By India says:

    thanks

  67. akosigabz says:

    Majestic. Thanks for brightening up my day 😀

  68. Julio A. says:

    Grat photos and nice landscape… looks like a really nice place to visit.

  69. JAVID says:

    I’m from Azerbaijan. Thank you very much for this great article!!! It’s a really proud for Azerbaijan that many people like it and it is featured on the WordPress home page. Thanks a lot!

  70. omwaombara says:

    Beautiful. Atraveller’s dream

  71. Java Girl says:

    Thanks for sharing! All your photos are beautiful, but I really like the one where you are looking down the valley as you sit there. Good photo and such a peacefull setting. Have a great weekend!

  72. Ryan says:

    Those are really lovely shots!

  73. t.on.air says:

    wonderful photos. keep up the good work!

  74. melanied927 says:

    I was Azerbaijan in my elementary school’s model UN just because I liked the name, I never knew it was so beautiful!

  75. sarbear1987 says:

    Your photos are so beautiful! This place doesn’t look real!

  76. bourse en ligne says:

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Keep writing this good.

  77. ptigris213 says:

    Love your blog and your photography! But PLEASE! The white type on the black background makes it very difficult to read.

  78. Ashlee Craft says:

    What a beautiful place! The mountains are so pretty!

  79. Jox says:

    Spectacular! You have magnificently captured the place. Now I wanna go…

  80. Your photos of the mountains are just incredible!!!

  81. Hey there . . .I do not do this often, but i saw a picture, in the area freshly pressed, and i had to continue . . .Not even a team of wild horses could drag me away . . .How beautiful a place to be and see. How magnificent to be ablee to wake and watch the world from there. It looks like a glorious place to be. I wake up and am glad to be alive. But to see the world look like you presented . . .So much we do not know. Thank-you for what you choose to post. 😉 . . .

  82. Optimus the Ninja says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! Do you have any tips for aspiring photographers?

  83. Stephen says:

    Reblogged this on Studying Prayer and commented:
    Some beautiful pictures here–God’s country!

  84. alydez says:

    Absolutely Beautiful. I can only imagine the feeling you get when looking upon such a view. Those mountains are breath taking.

  85. kimprojecteve says:

    Gorgeous!!

  86. maejane28 says:

    Those Photos are very stunning..I envy you for having those experiences in Azerbaijan!

  87. I remember first hearing about this place when I went to visit its respective “house” in Washington, D.C. It made me aware of the many, many countries that I had not learned of. I’ve had a soft spot for Azerbaijan ever since. Wonderful subject and wonderful photos!

  88. masmerah89 says:

    after capture the picture its are u sold your pic or what do it for your picture>????
    http://masmerah89.wordpress.com/

  89. Sony Fugaban says:

    Congratulations! Well deserved — to be Freshly Pressed.

  90. rhedo says:

    nice picts brother 😀
    keep its up

  91. ابراهيم التميمي says:

    جميله ورائعه حقا إنها تحفة فنية طبيعية رائعه .

  92. ivavasadze says:

    -Where else in the world can you find 9 out of 10 climate zones?
    – in Georgia 😉

  93. Ben Weber says:

    Fantastic!!! Great photos and blog!!

  94. pinaybyaheras says:

    WOwwww … your picture is amazing 😀 .. really i do … i can resist from all of your pictures it’s a simply breahtaking! I’m a mountaineer in my own country in Philippines and we have lots of mountains too .. so, i really like the picture you post. Thanks for sharing. I will post mine very soon. keep on shooting .. i’m your follower now 😀

  95. Stunning images, great work! Thanks for sharing your second home with us.

  96. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!
    Very nice writing and pics!

  97. Dean Bowman says:

    Well don! These views are stunning and remarkable. What a beautiful world we live in! 🙂

  98. gaycarboys says:

    Nothing gets my like a flower pic, or a beautiful vista in the mountains.

  99. flats in koramangala says:

    excellent photography…………………thank you.i was really amazing…..

  100. flats in Electronicity says:

    really amazing…………………..

  101. niki says:

    The mountain images are so beautiful…fresh and full of energy! Love that green and the sky looks amazing!

  102. Reblogged this on Biegi Zagraniczne and commented:
    I could go running there! Amazing hills and mountains!

  103. Gun says:

    Great article and stunning photos!! I thought of sharing some of my photos of Azerbaijan, if interested check them out here

    Regards and best of luck!

  104. Lichnos Beach Hotel Parga Greece says:

    For me it is the most beautiful country. It is not only beautiful, it has a soul, like all mountains and fields they are trying to tell you something…

  105. moroccowhynot says:

    They say a picture makes a thousand words… Imagine your pictures making millions of words… I am at a loss and can only say BEAUTIFUL!

    Thank you so much for sharing Azerbaijian to us.

    Sandra
    moroccowhynot

  106. CrazyTom says:

    It looks incredible!
    Anyone know about the climbing in the Caucasus?? Trying to find a justifiable excuse to get over there and explore/.

  107. Zaur Azerbaijan says:

    Hi you wrote “Where else in the world can you find 9 out of 10 climate zones?”
    There are 13 climates zones in the world! I like your post, very nice

  108. Azerbaijan looks absolutly beutiful !

  109. Amazing photos! I’ve been there once and loved it straight away..Thanks for sharing this

  110. Sacha says:

    exquisite scenery and photos. i can only hope that these photos do some justice to how beautiful Azerbaijan really is!

  111. Nobody could have captured Azarbaijan, the way you have done it. Since I am a lover of nature all the photographs are awsome. Thanks for sharing

  112. As a Lebanese Armenian born and raised in America, I really appreciate this post. Utterly breathtaking. Such a great portrayal.

    http://thegoodmoodfoods.wordpress.com/

  113. My brother suggested I may like this blog. He was once totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

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  1. […] the beauty of the country (https://danielfeidal.wordpress.com/2012/02/15/azerbaijan-my-second-home/) and the friendship of its people, while gradually trying to establish a dialogue on essential […]

  2. […] Azerbaijan! My second home. (danielfeidal.wordpress.com) […]

  3. […] in un sol colpo, ho visitato pagine mozzafiato: sulla strada per l’Azerbaijan ho avuto un incontro ravvicinato con dei meravigliosi volatili, mi sono sdilinquita osservando dei […]

  4. […] the horrors and photographer and blogger Daniel Feidal has some great photos of the country on his travel guide to Azerbaijan. Link: Azerbaijan! My second home. « Daniel Feidal […]



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