The Azerbaijani cuisine has long won recognition both in the East and in Europe. It was written in ancient written sources by famous historians and travelers. The history of art to create recipes in Azerbaijan goes back centuries, is based on the vast experience of hereditary chefs are still present today. No wonder our country is famous as the land of centenarians. Scientists explain this phenomenon due to favorable climate, lifestyle, organic food and the principles of good nutrition. The most sophisticated gourmets who come to the country from around the world, have the taste and aroma refinement dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine. It is no secret that the culinary arts of Azerbaijan enjoy continued popularity. Exclusive Azerbaijani dishes – dolma, bozbash, bozartma, chikhirtma, khashil, piti, pilaf govurma – are included in the national menu of numerous peoples of the Caucasus. One of the most popular main course in Azerbaijan is pilaf. There are about 40 recipes for preparing this dish.
Day 1: Arrival – Baku
Welcome to Azerbaijan! On arrival at the Baku International Airport. Meet your guide and transfer to the selected hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Baku – Absheron
CUISINE: Baku-Absheron cuisine differs in its diversified and high quality dishes. Gutab (especially gutab made of camel meat, mutton and beef), dushbara, khangal, gurza, khamirashi are well-known among them. The pilaf made of mutton and mixture of chestnut and dried cherry-plum, chighirtma pilaf with mixture of cooked chicken, egg and lemon juice and other types of pilaf are deemed the lovely dishes of citizens of Baku city. Kababs made of mutton, chicken and fish are well-known as well. Sweets of Baku cuisine are of high quality. Here one can find pakhlava, shakarbura, goghal, sharbets, malt halva, etc. These sweets are traditionally baked in Novruz Bayram celebrated on the occasion of spring. Mashtagha settlement is famous for its tea with saffron.
TOUR: The tour begins with a visit to an upland park overlooking the city from where we can get a panoramic view of the entire city. Afterwards we descend via a funicular to the coastal park, then we visit the Old City – Icheri Sheher. Icheri Sheher means an internal city, and it is a living city within the modern city. It was first designated the Old City after the oil boom of the middle of 19th century, when the modern city was growing up around the ancient walls. Icheri Sheher has an area of 22 hectares, has numerous historical architectural monuments including the Shirvanshah Palace, the symbol of Baku city – the Maiden Tower and the Caravanserai. Icheri Sheher is home to about 1300 families still.
Lunch: The main dish of lunch is Dushbara, small dumplings in broth. For its preparation, broth is cooked from mutton bones and a minced meat mixture with onions and spices are prepared. Dough is rolled out to thin sheets then cut into equal small squares. The meat is put in the center, then the dough folded over to make a triangle. The dushbara are cooked in the broth about 5 minutes. The dish is garnished with greens of a coriander or dried mint.
Dinner: The main dish of dinner is Pilaf. Pilaf is vry popular in Azerbaijan cuisine. The basic components are rice and oil and instead of meat there are vegetables, greens, eggs, and even fruits. A bottle of Azerbaijan red semisweet wine “Seven Beauties” made in the traditional method of red wines from perfect grades of grapes which have been grown in the Ismayilli area in Azerbaijan will be served. This wine has a distinct character and aroma and pleasant freshness in taste. We return to the hotel for overnight.
Day 3: Excursion to Gobustan
TOUR: Excursion to the historical-art reserve Gobustan, where ancient rock paintings have been well preserved and remain for us to see today, as well as barrows and housing objects dated from 10-13 thousand BC to the middle ages. There are records of inhabitants of the region from the Stone Age and the subsequent periods in Gobustan – Rock drawings, person parking, gravestone monuments, are concentrated there. Nearby is “Gaval Chalan” – original stone- tambourine, representing flat wise established huge plate. It is possible to hear rhythmic accurate motives by knocking on it. It is considered that these sounds accompanied ritual dances and ceremonies. Visiting of “Gobustan” will transfer you to other world, the world of last mankind and will allow you to feel the atmosphere of thousand – year history of this place.
Lunch: The main dish of lunch is “Gutab” with greens and meat. “Gutabs” are original Azerbaijan pies. Forcemeat is prepared from mutton and onions. Pepper, salt and lavashana carefully mixed. The forcemeat is wrapped in rags of fresh mooned test and fried and frying pan in oil. “Kutabes” also can be with pumpkin and greens. They are served with sour cream and sumakch spice.
Excursion to “Ateshgah”, Zoroastrian temple of eternal fire The visiting of temple of fire worshippers “Ateshgah” which means “fire house” or”fire place”. The temple territory is known for such unique natural phenomenon as burning exists of natural gas. – Excursion in “Yanar Dag” Here it is possible to see burning natural gas that has entitled reserve “Yanar Dag” – Burning Mountain.
Dinner: The main dish: “Dolma” from an eggplant, tomato and pepper («Eggplant Dolma»). In summertime in Azerbaijan dolma is prepared from a combination of three vegetables — eggplants, tomatoes and sweet pepper. The forcemeat of a lamb with plentiful addition of fragrant food grasses and spices are used for stuffing. This kind of eggplant dolma is called — «badimjan dolmasi». For all listed kinds of dolma, except from fish, necessarily submit sour cream or other sour-milk product with addition of garlic or without it. Also will be served the Azerbaijan semisweet red wine of “Madrasa” made on classical technology from grapes of a grade of Madras which has been grown up in mountain zones of Shamakha and Ismayilli areas. Wine has strongly pronounced high-quality taste and aroma. – Free time, rest.
Day 4: Baku – Lahij – Sheki
Sheki CUISINE: Shaki region is known for its very rich cuisine. Shaki is famous for its Shaki pitisi, Shaki halvasi, Shaki pakhlavasi and sweets. The dishes are prepared to a guest according to season. In Shaki they lay a tablecloth in accordance with the season. Shaki people make pilaf according to season as well. They make pilaf with minced-meat in winter, with funnel in summer and with chighirtma in autumn.
TOUR: Lahij represents an original monument of the Persian town-planning and architectural art of an antiquity. It is a medieval city with paved streets and areas, developed system of water drain and water supply. Lahij— is one of known on Caucasus and behind its limits of handicraft-shopping centers. In a XVIII-the century, being as a part of Persia, the city has especially become famous for manufacturing of cold steel and copper utensils decorated with the engraved ornament. Lagich is historical-architectural monument protected by the state. The city is included in the international tourist route on the Great Silk Road.
Lunch: The main dish shish “Kebabs” from lamb, beef and chopped mixed beef/lamb. Basically shish kebab is prepare prepared from lamb, is more rare from fish and a chicken. At giving specially make out fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet pepper and greens. Sometimes shish kebab is submitted directly in a skewer. “Lyla-Kebab”, one of shish kebab kinds, prepare from forcemeat of mutton filled with spices and put for 20—30 minutes in the refrigerator. From forcemeat form Lyla in the form of sausages and string on a skewer. “Lyla-kebab” is fried on a brazier over the heated coals (without flame). Ready “Lyla-kebab” is turned in an unleavened wheat cake with onions, greens.
Continue to Sheki. Sheki is one of majestic in the past cities of the East and one of the most ancient cities of Transcaucasia. There are many historical and architectural monuments here. Ancient roots have here forge, weapon, jeweler and copper business, potters, tanning, craft, silky – and rug-weaving, joiner’s business and ornament manufacture. Many masterpieces of Sheki masters were known not only in Azerbaijan, but also arrived on the world market. You are waited by visiting of a magnificent Palace of Sheki Khans, rich on exhibits of the main museum of a city, silk shop, industrial complex, shop on manufacturing the tastiest “Sheki pakhlava” workshop on manufacturing of magnificent frescos and exquisite stained glass work and a night in ancient hotel “Caravanserai” where dealers leading caravans on a great silk way since ancient times liked to stop.
Dinner: The main dish of dinner – “Piti” Piti it is a soup from lamb with peas, vegetables, cherry, plum and spices. Each portion is prepared in separate ware — *pitishnicha* (a clay pot). 15 minutes prior to readiness small cut tail fat is added. Before giving on a table is filled with spices and saffron infusion, strewed with small pounded dried mint.
A bottle of dry red wine will be offered. It is made on traditional technology of red wines of perfect grades of the grapes which have been grown up in Ismayilli area of Azerbaijan. Differs with characteristic aroma and pleasant freshness in taste. Free time, rest.
Day 5 – Sheki – Gabala-Baku
Gabala CUISINE: In addition to all of the specifics of the Azerbaijan Cuisine Gabala cuisine differs for its pickles. White cucumber, medlar and cherry-plum pickles decorating the meals concern to this region.
TOUR: Trip to the Sheki bazaar then departure to the resort district of Azerbaijan called Gabala. In Gabala with a stop in wood for the tea drinking. Tea in Azerbaijan is a symbol of hospitable hospitality. Jam from a quince, a fig, water-melon crusts, apricots, sweet cherries, cherries, peaches, plums, a cornel, walnuts, strawberries, blackberries, grapes is submitted for tea. For special aroma spices are added to tea: dried leaves of thyme, carnations, cardamon, etc. Special tea also prepared from cinnamon and ginger. Placing in the rest center in picturesque mountain district.
Lunch: The main dish of lunch – “Saj” “Saj” – so the ancient Azerbaijan dish which prepares on the flat frying pan put on coals is called. “Saj” can be made from sturgeon, mutton, veal, a chicken etc. A bottle of semisweet red wine of “Gabala” made on classical technology from grapes of grades of Kaberne Sovinon and Saperavi which have been grown up in vineyards, in Gabala areas will be offered. It has delicious, harmonious taste and aroma. Ideally suited to snack from meat, cheeses and desserts.
Continue to Baku and on the way visiting Shemkahi: Visit the Diri Baba mausoleum, Seven Tombs and Friday mosque in Shemakha.
Arrive in Baku.
Dinner: The main dish of dinner is “Dolma” from grape leaves (they also make it with Cabbage leaves)”. “Dolma” is a dish with grape leaves filled with boiled mutton meat and rice. In some regions it is prepared from fish. It is served with sour cream and crushed garlic. “Dolma” – is a unique dish. In Azerbaijan cuisine there are more than 20 versions of “Dolma”.
Excursion across the city and walking around the most beautiful and again restored “Seaside Parkway”. Driving by a boat on the Baku bay, where opens the review of this city from the sea. Walking around central city streets and updated “Central Square of Fountains”, shopping. Free time, rest.
Day 6: Baku-Nakhchivan
CUISINE: Nakhchivan has a rich cuisine and high hospitality customs. It is impossible to imagine the meal without bread in Azerbaijan, as well as in Nakhchivan. So, you can find here high quality bread: tandir lavash, galin, dastana, komba etc. Parcha bozbash, kufta bozbash, cholmak piti, bozartma, chighirtma, dolma, kabab, khash, arishta, umaj, etc. constitute the Nakhchivan cuisine. The main dish here is Nakhchivan pilaf. The garnish for pilaf varies and is made using mutton, beef, chicken, dessert (nut, hazelnut, and chestnut), and dried fruits (apricot, plum, cherry-plum etc.) Nakhchivan cuisine is famous for its batter dishes such as arishta pilaf, umaj pilaf, halvas made by wheat and rice flour, khashil and guymag. Sudashi, bulama, gatigashi, gatiglama, dovga, ayranashi, gurutashi etc. made by milk and milk products have special place in Nakhchivan cuisine. Nakhchivan cuisine is famous for its different sherbets, juices, marinade and salads along with dishes. The peculiar sweets of Nakhchivan – Ordubad fried eggs and pakhlava, shakarbura, various kata, bukma etc. are also wide-spread. Ordubad region differs for some peculiarities. It is known with nut, flower and aubergine jams, as well as dishes such as mash soup, alana-basdig, lavash and dried fruits. Mash soup is one of the most famous dishes of Ordubad region. Mash bean and fresh bean (green bean) are mostly used in Ordubad. These dishes are cooked with fresh mutton in summer and with govurma in winter. Govurma is the mutton cooked in its fat. Fried mutton is put to kettle or buckets in its fat and stored in a cool place. Govurma is added to both dry and fluid meals. It tastes extraordinarily and deliciously.
TOUR: 07:10: Check out from the hotel. Meet the Driver & Guide at the Hotel and transfer to Baku International Airport. 07:40: Arrive and registration to Nakhchivan flight. 09:00: Flight to Nakhchivan city. 10:00 Arrive in Nakhchivan city. 10:10: Welcome at the Airport and transfer to you hotel in Nakhchivan city. Nakhchivan City tour: Visit Prophet Noah’s grave complex – Legend about World Flood, Visit ruins of old Nakhchivan city walls (3 millennium b.c). Visit to Momina Khatun Monument – 12th century, which was built by the Shah/King to the honor of his mother. Visit to Khan’s House – 18th century.
Tea Party at the Old Bath/Hamams and now used as Tea House.
Lunch: The main dish of Lunch is Kufte Bozbash. This is one of the staples of Nakhchivan cuisine. Jumbo apple-size meatballs cooked in a simple broth with chickpeas and potatoes. Kufte is the Azerbaijani word for meatball. The word kufte is derived from the word “koftan,” which means “to pound.” The name reflects the general method of preparation of kufte: They are formed by pounding the meat to incorporate it with additional ingredients, then shaped into meatballs, small or big. Meat, which can be lamb or beef, onion, egg, salt, and pepper. You also add crushed dried mint (nane), dried summer savory (merze), and dried basil (agh reyhan). Adding dried herbs is common in the regions of Nakhchivan. Also each meatball is stuffed with a small dried sour plum, in part because sour fruits are believed to help with the digestion of the meat, and also because a tart fruit adds a nice bright flavor to the rich meat.
Visit “Duzdagh” Salt Mine caves (Physiotherapy Treatment Center), a unique asthma bronchitis treatment center in the world. Visit to Carpet Museum. Visit Heydar Aliyev Museum.
Dinner: The main dish of dinner is Chicken Chigirtma: The word chigirtma in the name of a dish means that it has been set in beaten egg. There are so many types of chigirtma. Spinach Chyghyrtma, Tomato Chyghyrtma, Potato Chyghyrtma, Eggplant Chyghyrtma, meat Chigirtma and so on. It is very tasty. Main ingredients are: Chicken, onion, melted butter, eggs, a few sprigs of dill, a few threads of saffron, salt & pepper.
Day 7: Nakhchivan-Baku
TOUR: You will visit Alinja Fortress – one of the strongest defensive construction of the XII century. During Turko-Mongolian conqueror Timur’s attack to Nakhchivan in 1386-1399 the fortress served as a head quarter and place of treasure of ruling Atabayler dynasty. After 14 years siege Timur’s army was not able to occupy the fortress.
Lunch: The main dish of Lunch is Chicken Tabaka (Flattened fried chicken): Chicken Tabaka is a famous dish of Azerbaijan. The meaning of the word “Tabaka” from Azeri “tava”, is “heavy frying skillet”. Azerbaijani Tabaka has usually is the spice seasoning. Tabaka usually made of a small Cornish checken, the smaller your chicken, the juicer and better tabaka will be cooked.
Drive to Asabu Kahf Caves as stated in Holy Koran and other Holy Books as 7 sleepers of Ephesus.
17:00: Drive back to Nakhchivan city and watermelon and melon party at the gardens near the road if it is a water melon season.
Dinner: The main dish of dinner is Buglama. Buglama in Azeri means “Steamed”. Main ingredients are – lamb, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Buglama steamed in its own juice. For this dish, meat is cut into parts of 50-60 gr. Washes and dried. Vegetables are washed and peeled. They are cut into thin rings. You then put several layers of meat and vegetables on bowl bed. Add salt. Pour 150 gr of water and close lid. Let it stew until it is ready.
21:00: Flight to Baku
22:00: Arrive in Baku and transfer to Hotel
Day 8: Baku-Departure
Breakfast then check out from the hotel by 12:00. Departure to the airport.
- 5 nights BB accommodation in Baku at 4* Central Park hotel
- 1 night BB accommodation in Sheki at 4* ShekiSaray Hotel
- 1 night accommodation in Nakhchivan city on BB at Grand Naxcivan hotel
- All entry fees to sights
- Professional GUIDE service along the trip
- Transportation service along the trip including 4 airport transfers in Baku
- Transportation service along the trip including 2 airport transfers in Nakhchivan
- 6 lunches and 6 dinners on Full Board basis
- Guide’s and driver’s food and accommodation expenditures along the trip
- Per person bottle of still water per day
- E-Visa (including visa fee)
- Round Trip air Ticket to Nakhchivan (economy class)
- All local taxes
- International Air tickets
- All extra expenditures
- All tips (not compulsory)
- All alcoholic drinks during meals
Upgrade to 5* hotels is possible in all locations