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across azerbaijan
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Monday, 14 September 2015

We follow the shore of the Caspian sea to the south, the landscape becomes more barren and dotted with oil wells. Here more than the previous countries we visited are more small stalls along the road, selling anything from engine oil to honey, fruits, meat or other supposedly edible food (the one we tried tasted quite bad and we never got to know what it really was).

oil wells oil wells

During the visit of a small sacred mountains with a great view on the sea, we are lindly invited by locals to eat tasty mutton brochette. While eating we notice that the nearby flock regulary supplies the cook / butcher.

Beshbarmaq Beshbarmaq

In Baku, there has been a lot of real estate investment. The modern part of the city looks like an european capital. The old town has been refurbished especially the walls and it s palace, where we had a guided tour in french. Everybody here can speak english, even waiters in small restaurants.

baku old city baku old city maiden tower maiden tower

baku old palace and towers baku old palace and towers

We drive across the Aberson peninsula in between oil wells, to visit the interesting zoroastrian “fire temple” where burns a natural eternal flame (but it had to be boosted with town gas recently). A bit further is the more impressive Yanar Dag, where an eternal wall of flammes is burning.

fire temple fire temple yanar dag yanar dag

We leave Baku to the south, between oil rigs and 5 stars hotels.

south of baku 1 south of baku 1 south of baku 2 south of baku 2

In Qobustan, we stop first at the mud volcanoes, some bubbling craters filled with semi liquid mud, and we visit a mountain full of 40 000 years old rock carvings. Prehistoric men had a thing about cows...

mud volcanoes 1 mud volcanoes 1 mud volcanoes 2 mud volcanoes 2

petroglyphs petroglyphs

The road across the country from east to west is quite monotonous, the desert slowly being changed into steppes and small forested hills. The road gets bad as we approach Georgia.

south of Baku 3 south of Baku 3 west of Baku 1 west of Baku 1

west of Baku 2 west of Baku 2 west of baku 3 west of baku 3

On the way, we visit Sheki, a city with defensive walls (like almost all of them in the area) and a palace influenced by arab, chinese and indian architecture. We are on the silk road and the only other tourists of Azerbaijan we meet here prove it. Before leaving Sheki, we couldn t help but spend a night in an ancient caravansary converted into a nice hotel. We also find the local sweet, halva, a kind of baklava heavily dripping with honey.

sheki palace sheki palace sheki caravansaray sheki caravansaray