Visa at the airport
Favorite thing: I flew in to Baku on the 19th of July 2006 and got the visa quickly (I was one of the first arriving to the counter). With me I had two passport pictures and an application form that I had already filled in (you can get the application form from www.mfa.gov.az/eng/consular/visa.shtml).
Other people didn't have the application form or photos and had to stand to the side to fill in the form and queue for taking photos (and pay for the photos). No letter of invitation is needed.
First you have to show your passport to the passport controller and then you go on to the visa counter for the visa (it cost 40 dollars and it is valid for 30 days) and then back to the passport control to get a stamp. Even as I had a visa for Armenia there was no problems to get the Azeri visa.
My first intention was to go from Iran by land, but you can’t get the Azeri visa at the land borders and Azerbaijan has no embassy in Sweden (where I live) and I didn’t want to wait too long in Tehran to apply at the embassy there. It was easier to buy a plane ticket.Related to:
- Road Trip
Favorite thing: I loved Baku... but give some thought to the less fortunate.
Fondest memory: A lot of people were forced to flee their homes after Armenians came in and grabbed a lot of the land in the Karabakh War. There's an estimated million refugees and they're still stuck living in places like rail cars, and muddy settlements. It's vey sad but there are some excellent people there who are very kind and giving if you ever come across them. I wish them all the luck.
Favorite thing: Recent denomination of national currency (manat) means that two types of notes are under circulation – the old manat and the new manat. What complicates things is that 1 new manat = 5.000 old manats.
What makes things easier is that 1 new manat ~ 1 US dollarRelated to:
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
Ali and Nino
Favorite thing: If you're preparing to come to Azerbaijan and would like to know more about the culture and the people here, then I recommend getting a copy of "Ali and Nino" book by Kurban Said. Written at the turn of the century, this book gives you a real insight to Azeri culture, its traditions and tells you a lot about the history of this land besides offering you a wonderful love story between an Azeri young man and a Georgian girl.
The book has been translated into English and is available at Barnes and Noble or thru Amazon.com
Fondest memory: After reading the book, you can actually get a "Ali and Nino" tour offered by Fuad Akhundov - the best guide of Baku. I have a phone number for him if you're interested... You would love the tour, however, since it involves mostly the Old City and the buildings just outside of it.Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Arts and Culture
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Best guide to Azerbaijan
Favorite thing: I realized that most of the travelers coming here do not know anything about this book so I must recommend it to anyone willing to come to Azerbaijan and Georgia. Forget about the Lonely Planet, which is full of inaccurate information. I think the guys who did the Lonely Planet on Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia only spent a day here and then decided they had all the necessary info :( Do not believe anything about Azerbaijan that The Lonely Planet tells you! You’ve got to get hold of the “Azerbaijan with excursions to Georgia” written by Mark Elliott. It’s published by Trailblazer. Mark Elliott spent a lot of time in Azerbaijan traveling everywhere by foot and even drew maps, that the expatriates living here, use when traveling inland. The book also provides tips on history, language and the local culture. So if you don’t know anyone in Azerbaijan, this book will be your best local guide, take my word for it!
Fondest memory: Visit http://www.trailblazer-guides.com/ for more information on this guide book :)))Related to:
- Road Trip
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
"Ali and Nino" by Kurban Sa'id
Favorite thing: If you are at all interested in the culture and history of Azerbaijan and Georgia, then I can recommend a good book..."Ali and Nino" tells the tale of Muslim Ali Khan Shirvanshir who falls head over heels in love with Christain Nino Kipiani. The story takes place in the early years of the 20th century, a time of great upheaval in the region...and throughout this, Ali, the narrator, struggles to understand his love for Nino the European while preserving his own cultural identity. Romance, adventure, history, murder, humour, intrigue, an insight into Islamic thought and a dramatic setting...all the ingredients for a fantastic read.
Set primarily in Baku, the two lovers visit relatives in Tbilisi, flee to Teheran during the Russian invasion of Baku, and spend time in exile in a Daghestani mountain aoul...so if you are travelling in the region, Kurban Sa'id's extraordinary novel should make the perfect travel companion.
I first read this book in Tbilisi, after my trip to Baku, and found it interesting to see which places I recognised from the story, like the Shirvanshir's palace in Baku and the old baths in Tbilisi. Since then, I've read the novel several times, and even ended up teaching it to a very advanced group of English students in Khartoum! I think this may be my favourite book ;@P
If you have time for one trip in Azerbaijan....
Favorite thing: Visit Sheki!!
So which is it to be? The colour photo, or the black and white one? Please let me know either way!
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