Arrival to Baku. Meeting at the airport and transfer to your hotel. After short rest an excursion within central Baku will be organised. You will be taken to historical centre of Baku city, to its Old Town - 'Icheri Sheher'. You will see the highlights of Icheri Sheher including the Palace of the Shirvans (the most striking example of the medieval palace structures in Azerbaijan, dating to the middle of 15th century); Maiden's Tower (the ancient, eight storey fortress originally built as a fire beacon); visit Dzhuma Mosque, antiques and carpet shops. Have lunch. Proceed with sightseeing tour across the city. Pay a visit to Martyr's Cemetery, located on the higher slopes of the city's west-end, this is the best place for panorama viewing of the city and the Bay of Baku. After that you will have a walk along Baku Boulevard, the second longest one in the Europe. You can get a boat and make 30 minutes trip along Baku Bay. You will be introduced with the interesting facts and legends of the largest lake in the world better known as Caspian Sea. Return to the hotel.
The second day will be spent primarily within the Greater Baku, where you will be taken to main sites on the Absheron Peninsula. You will visit Ateshgah - the Fire Worshippers' Temple located in the village of Surakhany. It was built on land where natural gas burned eternally by Zoroastrian believers who travelled from the province of Multan in India to worship. These ancient fires are believed to have given Azerbaijan its name, which is thought by some researchers to mean the 'Land of Fires'. After lunch you will visit the Gobustan reserve. This is an open-air museum littered with Neolithic rock drawings. Just 65km south of Baku, Gobustan has some 4000 inscriptions that go back 12,000 years (with some 2000 year old Latin graffiti to boot). The well-preserved sketches display ancient populations travelling on reed boats; men hunt antelope and wild bulls, women dance. The famed Norwegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl returned many times to Azerbaijan between 1961 and his death in 2002 to study the site, which he argued to be evidence that modern-day Scandinavians migrated north through the Caucasus in prehistoric times. He found similarities in the drawings to those found in Scandinavia, particularly some in Alta, Norway. According to Icelandic Sagas, written in the 13 th century, the Norse God Odin (Wotan) migrated from the Caucasus in the first century AD.
After that you will also have a chance to visit quite a unique site where 300 of the planet's estimated 700 mud volcanoes sit Gobustan, Azerbaijan and the Caspian Sea. Many geologists as well as locals and international mud tourists trek to such places as the Firuz Crater Gobustan Salyan mud tourists trek to such places as the Firuz Crater, Gobustan, Salyan and end up happily covered in mud which is thought to have medicinal qualities. In 2001 one mud volcano 15 kilometers from Baku made world headlines when it suddenly started spewing flames 15 meters high.
Unfortunately, the mud volcanoes area has been recently declared a National Park with restricted access, though sporadic visits seems feasible as there is no security. Besides, hardly anyone would have a patience to literally guard tons of mud. But visit there definitely worth a visit as it's one of the rarest things one can find on Earth.
Next stop is Mount Yanardagh, though it is rather just a hillside than a mount. The word "Yanar" in Azeri language means "burning", and "Dagh" - "mountain". And this is real a burning mountain - not metaphorically, but literally. Once in Absheron it had been a lot of places where natural gas coming out from the earth to the surface ignited spontaneously, but with the start of mass extraction of oil and gas in Absheron these places started to disappear. At present, it is the only place of this unique natural phenomenon - the output of natural gas to the surface.
Our today's tour ends with a photostop at Heydar Aliyev Center - a cultural center that includes the Auditorium (convention center), a museum, exhibition halls, administrative offices. The project center has been designed by renowned British architect Zaha Hadid.