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Pictures of our trip to Azerbaijan
- From June 13th to 24th, 2013 Georgia-Balakən-Şəki-Lahıç-Baku-Xınalıq-Quba-Laza-Baku-Gəncə-Georgia Border
Georgia Part 1 June 4 to 13, 2013: Turkey Border - Ajaria - Tbilisi - Kakheti - Azerbaijan Border
Turkey May 28 to June 4, 2013: Iran Border - Esendere - Hakkari - Van - Doğubayazıt - Kars - Ardahan - Hopa - Georgia Border
afterwards in the Caucasus:
Georgia Part 2a June 24 to July 2, 2013: Azerbaijan Border - Tbilisi - Armenia Border
Armenia Part 1 July 2 to 9, 2013: Georgia Border - Akhtala - Haghpat - Dilijan - Lake Sevan - Selim - Arates - Nagorno Karabakh
Nagorno-Karabakh July 9 to 17, 2013: Armenia - Stepanakert - Gandzasar - Martakert - Tigranakert - Tnjri - Shoushi - Armenia
Armenia Part 2 17 to 22, 2013: Nagorno Karabakh - Goris - Tatev - Noravank - Khor Virap - Echmiadzin - Geghard - Gyumri - Georgia
Georgia Part 2b July 22 to 31, 2013: Armenia Border - Ninotsminda - Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Kazbegi - Kutaisi - Zugdidi
Georgia Part 3a – July 31 to August 5, 2013 - Zugdidi - Swaneti - Zugdidi - Abkhazia Border
Abkhazia August 5 to 13, 2013: Georgia - Sukhumi - Tsebelda - Novyy Aton - Lake Ritsa - Gagra - Pitsunda - Georgia
Georgia Part 3b – August 13 to 15, 2013 - Abkhazia Border - Poti - Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine

Azerbaijan Map


       Mid-East Map          Caucasus Map
latest picture: June 23, 2013
  • click a picture to see details

001  The personal cult of former President
Heydər Əliyev (Heydar Aliyev) [= father of
incumbent President İlham Əliyev (Ilham
Aliyev)] is omnipresent – here in front of
the Sheki Palace Hotel in Şəki (Sheki). Şəki
is known as the loveliest Azerbaijani town
002  The Omar Əfəndiyev (Efendi)
Mosque is one of the splendid
buildings in Şəki (Sheki)
003  The fine restored buildings of Şəki
(Sheki) shine in their unique architecture.
The old stone houses with tiled-roofs along
the “Mirzə Fətəli Axundzadə“ street are
part of Azerbaijan`s tourist attraction
004  The Karavansaray Hotel in Şəki
(Sheki) with its fine vaulted tiled ceilings
recall those in Iran (pics # 43-45. But there
they are alive and here it’s rather a show
case. A room costs AZN 30 (US$ 38)
005  The vaulted traditional tiled
passageway at the Karavansaray Hotel
in Şəki (Sheki) promises coolness
from the heat
006  In the village of Kiş near Şəki
(Sheki) there is an ancient round-towered
Caucasian-Albania church (nothing to
do with the country of Albania). Now
it is converted into a museum
007  Matryoshka dolls [also "Babushka
dolls" (grandmother dolls)] are a part of
the souvenirs that are sold in the complex
of the Khan`s Palace in Şəki (Sheki)
008  The young couple of the souvenir
shop in Şəki (Sheki) smiles for a picture
009  The bigger the choice, the harder
it is to choose: Beautifully adorned
fezzes in the souvenir shops of the
Khan`s Palace in Şəki (Sheki)
010  Beekeepers move with their hives
from place to place. Blue seems to be a
favorite color for certain insects – also to
the disadvantage of our LandCruiser as in
our view it attracts hornets and horseflies
011  On the hill above Şəki (Sheki)
three herdsmen drive their cattle
down to the valley
012  About 10 miles east of Şəki (Sheki)
along the road to İsmayıllı long-stemmed
yellow flower carpets contrast beautifully
with the forest green
There is an amazing variety of landscapes – side by side
013  The river Daşağil, which
originates in the Caucasus
014  The 13’000’s, which in the Caucasus
border the Russian Dagestan region
015  The southern part of Azerbaijan
with its huge areas under cultivation
016  A short encounter along the road
with Ingrid and Klaus from Germany.
They are on the way to China via the
Silk Road with their LandCruiser.
Emil is interested in details
017  The road is here for everyone:
A flock of sheep is heading the
same direction as we do
018  Liliana buys freshly baked and still
hot flatbread from a woman along the road-
side. Busy with families on weekends, it
is an additional little income for her
The climb to the mountain village of Lahıc, northeast of İsmayıllı, is spectacular. Lahıc ranks as one of the most picturesque
mountain villages of Azerbaijan. The first half in the “lowlands” is paved, but when the gorge is approached, the dust starts too
019  Brave people are crossing the
Girdimançay river over the suspension
bridge a bit north of Qaraqaya
020  Between Namazgah and Lahıc
high mountain walls raise vertically from
the Girdimançay riverbed. Cut out is the
narrow, single-lane gravel mountain road
021  The silvery ribbon of the
Girdimançay river meanders
through a dramatic canyon
022  The mountain road to the village
of Lahıc follows the Girdimançay river
bed and opens lovely views –
here a few miles before the village
023  If this brings not luck:
A ladybird on a white flower
024  Once the riverbed to Lahıc
opens up, once it quenches
through a narrow canyon
025  Touristy Lahıc is on an altitude of
4’000 ft. and is one of the most accessible
mountain villages. Even tour busses make it,
although the village is short of parking space
026  The main street is bumpy and made
with river stones. Houses are built
traditionally with interleaving stone
and timber layers, making them
more earthquake resistance
027  It sparkles and shines in the
copper shop in Lahıc. The owner
and his son pose proudly for a picture
028  We watch a coppersmith at work.
Traditionally Lahıc is famous for its work-
shops. Nowadays they have mostly
been superseded by small boutiques
029  A tourist is checking out
an exotic traditional outfit sold
in the store behind her
030  All kind of fresh spices are also
for sale in Lahıc. Local tourists love them
031  Sweeping view from our night spot
near the Pirqulu Astronomical Observatory
from the Soviet-era, situated 17 miles north of
the town of Şamaxı. The Caucasus range
flattens here more and more towards the east
032  Little street market in Şamaxı.
Fruits and honey are the main display
033  At a tire repair shop in Şamaxı:
Emil watches the guy at work.
It is our 172nd flat tire
034  The decorative wall from natural
stones is built the ancient way and
shows inventive skill
035  In Quba, the town in the northeast –
100 miles from the capital Baku – we start
our mountain trip through a lovely tree
alley to the village of Xınalıq at the
northern foothills of the Great Caucasus
036  We replenish our energies: Our
lunch spot before climbing to the foothill
of the Great Caucasus range that
ends at Xınalıq village
The Quba-Xınalıq road is asphalted, but very narrow, partly extremely steep – up to 40% (~22°) –
and precarious in places. It meanders through dramatic gorges of the Quruçay river
040  We are approaching a plateau near
Cek on an altitude of 5’400 ft. at the foot
of the Great Caucasus with its grass-
and bush-clad slopes .....
041  ..... it becomes opener .....
042  ..... the tiny hamlet of Cek –
mainly herdsmen families –
comes into view
043  On the plateau the road to Xınalıq
still follows the riverbed, through excessively
green and almost vertical slopes .....
044  ..... and meanders through
a breathtaking mountain scenery
045  Does our overloaded LandCruiser
make it or not? There is a climb of about
18 to 19° what equals more or less 35%.
It makes it with brilliance
(while taking a run-up)!
046  The closer we come to the village
of Xınalıq, the greater the mountain
panorama gets – in the background the
13’750 ft. high Tufandağ .....
047  ..... a closer shot of the
landscape that fully fascinates us
048  Finally: These are the first resp.
last few houses of Xınalıq where the
road ends after 36 miles
049  After 36 miles glorious mountain
drive we reach Xınalıq at an elevation of
6’900 ft. By some definition it counts as
Azerbaijan`s highest village; there’s a
population of almost 2’000
050  Ancient stone houses are still the
major part of the village of Xınalıq, though
the newly built road allows now local
families of bringing in metal roofing
051  During the cold winter months we
easily can imagine the pleasure of sitting
behind the many little windows sipping
a cup of coffee and gazing to the
snow covered landscape
052  Xanaliq with its rural charm is our
point of turnaround. The road continues
for a few hundred yards; afterwards
only a footpath continues
053  A bunch of ancient houses in
Xınalıq is still traditionally entirely
built of grey stones
054  From far it looks like a sweeping line
on a green slope. Looking closer it
develops as a formation of sheep
that is “feeding forward”
055  It’s obvious: For us the mountain
panorama around the region of Xınalıq
is the greatest of Azerbaijan
056  We start with our descent from
Xınalıq – from an altitude of 6’900 ft.
down to the plain along the Caspian Sea
057  The highland terraces are
sprinkled with yellow flowers
058  A woman of the mountain village
of Xınalıq smiles at us. They have their
own language named "Khinalug"
059  Horsemen are following their
cattle with their dogs. Mountain people
from the Xınalıq region live much
of their life on horseback
060  With a woolen beanie and at
goose-step: A village kid of Xınalıq
061  In the mountain valley of Laza south-
west of Qusar – a parallel valley of Xınalıq –
two worlds are colliding: The one of the
herdsmen who used it as grazing ground for
their herds and the one of “profit”, which
overtakes with the construction of the
oversized “Şahdağ Ski Resort”
062  Not far from Laza the ribbon
of a waterfall cascades from high up over
cliff edges down to the Qusarçay valley
063  Tucked away: The (still a bit)
remote shepherd village of Laza with
its 150 inhabitants – however, once
the “Şahdağ Ski Resort” will have
opened in 2019 the solitude
will be definitively over
064  In Laza`s mountain valley above
the “Şahdağ Ski Resort” construction
site: Emil stops to let the sheep pass
and to take a picture .....
065  ..... further down they assemble –
where should they shift to?
066  Herdsmen on horseback follow
their cattle further down the
Qusarçay valley near Laza
067  The pink and red striped conical
mounds are called "Candycane Mountains".
They show up after about 10 miles west
of Giləzi along the road to Xızı
068  This thistle called “Blue Devil”
(Eryngium ovinum) sprouts at the
foot of the "Candycane Mountains"
and is widespread there
069  The area of the "Candycane
Mountains" west of Giləzi extends
for a few miles
070  Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan
with a population of more than 2.1 million,
is a mix of East and West .....
071  ..... its glass towers or "Flame
Towers" are towering 623 ft. over the city.
In the night, they display a changing show
of colors: flaming crimson and yellow, then
finally changing to the country's flag colors
072  Old and new blend: Car-free
old town quarter and modern
glass towers in Baku
073  View to modern Baku with its old
Ferris Wheel (20 carriages – Ø 98 ft.) at
the more than 2 miles long Boulevard (Bakı
bulvarı), the seafront park. The new
observation wheel – opening end of 2013
will have 30 carriages and a
diameter of 197 ft.
074  The legend of the ancient 95 ft.
tall Maiden`s Tower: A wealthy ruler falls
in love with his daughter and asks to marry
him. Unable to disobey she asked him to
build her first a tower high enough to survey
the full extent of his domain. When comple-
ted she throws herself from the roof
075  The Government House of
Baku (Hökumət evi). The big square in
front (Freedom Square - Azadlıq meydanı)
suits well for military parades and mass
rallies. The Neftchılar-Avenue
runs through there
076  The Presidium of the National
Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan is
one of the beautiful buildings in Baku
077  Baku`s Nizami Museum of
Azerbaijani Literature impresses with
its arched niches with the statues
of the nation’s “Greats of Literature”
078  The richly decorated Opera House
of Baku (Azerbaijan State Academic Opera
and Ballet Theater), also of the Soviet area
079  The Friday Mosque (Cümə məscidi)
within Baku’s walled Old City. The Old City
is a world in itself. People have the privilege
in living in an area with no road traffic and
complete silence
080  A unique art of sculpture is the bust
of the Baku born poet Aliagha Vahid
(Əliağa Vahid) (= the Unique) in the
same-named garden of the Old City. It
incorporates characters from his works
081  Also unique in Azerbaijan: The
Armenian “St. Gregory the Illuminator's
Church” in Baku, which has ceased in its
function but serves today as a state library
082  Baku`s pedestrian area at Nizami
Street is lined with boutiques and cafes.
Benches invite to relax
083  Do the two not match perfectly?
In Baku`s Nizami pedestrian area
084  In the restaurant L’Aparté in Baku,
located just north of the Old City. Liliana
smiles – today she lets cook somebody else
085  The Eurovision 2012 publicity has
survived in the Sea Front Park in Baku
086  The 246 ft. tall Parachute Tower
in Baku, built 1936 and functional until
1960, when a fatal accident happened
087  On the southwest outskirts of Baku
stands the Bibi-Heybat Mosque (Bibiheybət
məscidi) in a privileged seashore location,
about 5 miles south of the old city
About 9 miles south of Qobustan (which lies itself about 33 miles southwest of Baku’s old city) a 2 miles long washed out earth track
leads to the “baby mud volcanoes” on Daşgi Hill. The junction to the „volcanoes“ is exactly at the junction of the highways M2/M3.They
gurgle, ooze, bubble and spit thick cold grey mud that flows down the conical mounds. Not yet stiffened flows are visible everywhere
091  A tiny lake and the turquoise
shining Caspian Sea in the background.
This is the sight from our lunch spot
at the “baby mud volcanoes” on
Daşgil hill near Qobustan
092  Lunch break short of Gəncə (Ganja),
the second largest town of Azerbaijan.
Emil studies the guide book and relaxes
with a beer from the heavy truck traffic,
the dangerous way of driving and the
deep holes and ditches in the highway
093  A souvenir from Azerbaijan: Emil
fixes the broken main spring leaf with
clamps before we leave the country on
June 23rd, 2013, at the border post of
İkinci Şıxlı after 11 days and 1’063
miles for the 2nd visit of Georgia
The "Greater"-Middle East trip 2012/13:
Sharjah/Dubai/1st Traveler's Festival/Emirates National Auto Museum - UAE with car Nov. 2012 to Jan. 2013 - part 1
Western UAE - Liwa - United Arab Emirates  with car in January 2013 - part 2
Oman 2013 - Part 1 - February 2013: Musandam Peninsula
Oman 2013 - Part 2 - February 2013: Sohar - Muscat - Rustaq - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 3 - March 2013: Sur - East Coast - Island of Masirah - Dhofar
Oman 2013 - Part 4 - March 2013: Salalah & Surroundings (Dhofar) - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 5 - March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima - United Arab Emirates with our car in April 2013 - part 3
Iran - Part 1: Ferry Port Bandar Abbas-Shiraz-Persepolis-Pasargad (between Persepolis and Yazd) May 2013
Iran - Part 2: Pasargad (excl.)-Yazd-Esfahan May 2013
Iran - Part 3: Esfahan (excl.)-Chelgerd-Hamadan-Sanandaj-Orumiyeh-Turkey Border May 2013
Turkey - Iran Border-Esendere-Hakkari-Van-Doğubayazıt-Kars-Ardahan-Hopa-Georgia Border May/June 2013
Georgia - Part 1:  Turkey Border-Ajaria-Gori-Tbilisi-Kakheti-Azerbaijan Border June 2013
Georgia - Part 2a: Azerbaijan Border-Tbilisi-Armenia Border June/July 2013
Armenia - Part 1: Georgia Border-Haghpat-Dilijan-Sevan-Tatev-Goris-Nagorno Karabakh July 2013
Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia-Stepanakert-Gandzasar-Martakert-Tigranakert-Tnjri-Shoushi-Armenia July
Armenia - Part 2: Nagorno Karabakh-Goris-Tatev-Noravank-Khor Virap-Echmiadzin-Yerewan-Geghard-Gyumri-Georgia Border July 2013
Georgia - Part 2b: Armenia Border-Ninotsminda-Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Kazbegi-Kutaisi-Zugdidi July 2013
Georgia - Part 3a: Zugdidi-Swaneti-Zugdidi-Abkhazia Border – July/August 2013
Abkhazia: Georgia-Sukhumi-Tsebelda-Novyy Aton-Lake Ritsa-Gagra-Pitsunda-Georgia August 2013
Georgia - Part 3b: Abkhazia Border-Poti-Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine – August 2013