Baku, one of the most alluring and cosmopolitan cities in the world is located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia; its name meaning “city of winds” or “city on the hill”. The city is a large scientific, cultural and industrial centre. Ancient foundations, its large area and population all make Baku one of the oldest and largest cities in the East. Baku is situated on the shore of the Caspian Sea in the south of the Absheron peninsula. Baku perfectly combines the beauty and intrigue of its ancient past with its ambition to establish itself as a modern European city featuring award winning architecture, business centres and skyscrapers.
Being the largest cultural centre in the country, Baku is the city in which the first national theatre, in the Muslim East, lifted the curtain; the first opera was performed; the country's first newspaper was published as well as it being the city where the first library in Azerbaijan was opened. Baku is home to the most beautiful and extraordinarily decorative buildings; its museums, theatres, opera house, cinemas and libraries.
Baku is also an industrial hub, famous for the unique Neft Dashlari (Oil Rocks) in the middle of the Caspian Sea, which is the largest inhabited and oldest offshore oil city in the world. It has a high concentration of ancient oil fields, well-known oil stones, unique deep water plant foundations, high-capacity derrick barges and modern drilling floating units.
Georgia's ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to cut down the forest and build a city. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "tbili", meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC
Gandja is the second largest city in the country, a monument of the ancient culture, the industrial center of western Azerbaijan. City with a history that goes back to 494 BC (in 2013 Gandja celebrates 2507 anniversary) is of great interest for tourists. This area has a rich natural, cultural and historical heritage.
There are a lot of forests, vineyards, lakes, rivers and mountains. The area is famous for many mineral springs and unique medicinal oil – naphthalan. This natural substance is used as the most effective drug for the treatment of dermatological, rheumatic and neurological diseases. The Gandja sanatorium “Naftalan” is located in the heart of the ancient capital of Azerbaijan.
In addition in 48 km to the south-east (50 minutes) from Gandja there is a city Naftalan where are many specialized clinics.
This region is famous by its Goygol reserve which is the first reserve in Azerbaijan. A large mountain lake Goygol surrounded by the mountains of the Lesser Caucasus was formed at the result of devastating earthquake that destroyed the mountain Kapaz (XII century). The waters of the lake which is located at 1,600 meters above sew level in the picturesque ravine of Agsu river look like a large aquarium with beautiful fish fauna. Here for example lives a rare lake trout. The color and water clarity are striking: it is the purest of many mountain water basins in Caucasus. The lake is about 2,5 km long and 600 m wide and 93 m depth. It freezes from January to March.
Steep banks of Goygol are covered with dense oak and hornbeam forests. There are fruit trees such an apple, pear, cherry and plum too. In the rainy season on the shores of the lake you can pick mushrooms and berries. There are deer, wild boars, bears, wolves, lynx and many other species of animals in the forest. This area is ideal for swimming, walking, travelling, family picnics.