Azerbaijan – the place where natural beauty embraces diverse cultures – Azerbaijan

The magic of the valleys, the murmur of the springs

The wonders of the flowers, the splendor of the fields

Hey, my dear, my beloved Azerbaijan

You are a pearl, a paradise, a legend

Written by: Bakhitir Wahabzadeh

After 11 days in Azerbaijan, and about 3000 kilometers of travel, I understand that this poet knew exactly how to describe his country.

Azerbaijan.  Click on the images to enlarge

Azerbaijan. Click on the images to enlarge

It seems that recently I have a section With getting to places I didn’t intend to get to. Azerbaijan was never on my list of destinations. I barely knew how to pronounce the name of the small country that borders Russia, Georgia, Armenia, Iran and a little with Turkey, and I certainly didn’t know where it was located on the map. However, after I returned from Ireland, where I actually intended to go, I was asked In the system another journey on My next destination. A question that led me to look for my next destination for a solo trip. I immediately thought of Morocco. But, after inquiries I realized that it is not a very suitable place for a woman. Own. I was disappointed. And so I found myself in a lesser-known gem located on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the South Caucasus region, with a local guide with whom I could go to all kinds of places that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get to on my own.

Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, rich in history and culture, has not for nothing hosted international events in the past, including the Eurovision Song Contest and the European Games. The city boasts a modern skyline of flame-like towers, a white museum that displays architecture to the glory of Zaha Hadid, brand stores, new versus old and everything a respectable break should present to a tourist.

A dense and magnificent skyline

A dense and magnificent skyline

The futuristic Haider Aliyev Center

The futuristic Haider Aliyev Center

However, modernization seems to be disappearing As soon as you leave Baku. Very quickly you meet towns that give the feeling of a movie from the 1950s.

towns and villages that tell a story of a complex history (of different empires and countries that left the country with a variety of traditions and internal conflicts), and a rich heritage and culture (that was influenced by Persia, Turkey, and the Soviet rule). Most of the towns are poor in means, but not lacking in smiling people. Some of them invite me to hear their story with a combination of hand gestures, and Azerbaijani, which unfortunately I didn’t have time to learn.

going to work  Morning shift.

going to work Morning shift.

Definitely brave, definitely stupid I followed him as he motioned for me to follow him into a dark, almost empty store, with plastic dolls displayed on a shelf. I was relieved to find that after all he wanted to brag about a six in the morning roast chicken.

The first lesson I learned that is important for me to share is on shooting ball services, or as they are called kneeling services. First, male and female students, they strengthen the thigh muscles. Increase the volume of the lungs. Improve hand and foot eye coordination. They develop spatial perception, and if that’s not enough, they also sharpen their sense of smell. But get used to it. All of these are dwarfed by the fact that while kneeling you can be exposed to a lovely view through small holes, or if you’re lucky, a small window.

There are many, many words I will write about this surprising country, But the first of them must be ‘Lada’. Throughout the country you can see these Russian relics in every possible color and condition. Some are polished to perfection and some are so tattered it’s a wonder they reach their destination. But make no mistake, their owners drive them with great pride and they get everywhere and easily. For me, it was love at first sight and if I could I would put one in my bag and take it home.

Lada Riva.  Love at first sight

Lada Riva. Love at first sight

I was surprised to find that the Azerbaijanis We love our country very much. It turns out that Israel provided military aid during the conflict with Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. I was told that at the end of the conflict (which is a very complex and sensitive issue) three flags were flown in the streets and one of them was Israel’s. This love showed itself in the receptions to different villages. Musicians were waiting to play. Tables were set with the best traditional dishes. And residents dressed in their best clothes. All with infinite pride and honor.

I will ask you to close your eyes and imagine a village. Dilapidated wooden benches. Old fabric sheets used for roof and walls. Imagine lots of smoke from grilled meats, lots of meats. Guys running around quickly with trays full of goodies, lots of sand, lots of sweat, women sitting on one side of the makeshift hall, men sitting on the other, ballroom toilets inside a dilapidated wooden structure that might not survive the celebration. And there is a celebration. The bride’s family dances and sings and feels the joy and the rituals.

The wedding lasts three days. One day is dedicated to the bride only. A day after the groom only. On the third day they unite. Then the bride is ready to move in with her new husband in his village.

Now imagine a room provider, a cabin provider, clean and polished. And inside the cabin sits a 22-year-old young woman. She is the bride. And she looks like a princess. And imagine how excited I was when they signaled me to enter that room and meet the women of the entourage. Without a doubt it was the highlight of my journey. Inside the cabin, within a few minutes, an exciting female connection was formed. The wonder is that we were able to communicate without complete sentences but only with fragments of words and hand movements. We talked/signaled about our ages, our children, our mothers, and we even sighed together about the difficulty of being a woman. The room was full of love, pride and respect. The hug I received from the women of the village was wonderful.

Do not enter this room with shoes

Do not enter this room with shoes

the kitchen

the kitchen

Washing dishes with a smile

Washing dishes with a smile

new day. Lada Russia is old. Three gear shifters. travel jolts. The driver smiled. The destination, Kfar Hinlik. A remote mountain village located in Karion Kuba of Azerbaijan nestled high in the High Caucasus Mountains. It is considered the highest inhabited village in the country, at an altitude of 2400 meters, and is considered one of the oldest settlements in the region that have been preserved to this day. It is said to be 5000 years old. For hundreds of years he was cut off from foreign relations. Shinalik (you can also call it by this name) is known for its unique culture and its inhabitants speak the ancient Khinlog language, which is part of the Lazg language family (there is no spelling mistake here) and is different from the Azerbaijani language spoken in the lowlands. The village has about 2000 inhabitants. And here, in a settlement of mountains and paths that can hardly be passed through, among clouds that you can almost touch, time seems to stand still.

happy birthday who wishes us to live “to one hundred and twenty” we know. However, most of us also understand that this is unlikely to happen to us. Village to Eric It actually does happen. The village of Larik, located in the heart of the Talish Mountains, is known as the “Land of the long livers” and as proof, the cemeteries are full of tombstones with the surprising dates engraved on them. For a moment you have to rub your eyes to make sure that it is indeed true.

What makes Larik (or Larik) special is its people. For generations, Rick has known about the amazing number of centenarians who live there. The reason for the longevity is still a mystery. Maybe it’s the fresh mountain air, the winding hiking trails, the local agriculture, and the fact that the family stays together and the younger ones take care of the older ones. What is certain is that these people discovered the elixir of life, and their wisdom is a living testimony to their longevity.

It is said that in this village lived the oldest man in the world, Shirali Muslomov, who was 168 years old.

Do the math.

The family stays together.  The son, along with his wife, take care of his 100-year-old mother.

The family stays together. The son, along with his wife, take care of his 100-year-old mother.

Azerbaijan turned out to be a fascinating country. A land where history meets modernity, and natural beauty embraces diverse cultures. The bustling capital with its skyscrapers next to the colorful markets, and the remote villages. You can completely surrender to the experiences it offers. At the end of the day, it can be said that Azerbaijan is rolling out a red carpet for visitors that all they have left to do is explore this rich place.

And that’s right, I didn’t mention the food. not nice. We will finish with a good taste.

Shabli Alif.  From a 300 year family lineage of blacksmiths.  Kfar Lahitz

Shabli Alif. From a 300 year family lineage of blacksmiths. Kfar Lahitz

A glimpse into a boarding school class in a remote village

A glimpse into a boarding school class in a remote village

Map of Azerbaijan


Sarah Lynn Bernstein. English teacher. I like to take pictures and travel.

Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by

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