Travel to the oil-rich Muslim nation of Azerbaijan on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Located on the famed Silk Road, the variety of travellers and traders who passed through have enriched this country, as well as the natural resources found here, such as oil and natural gas.
The capital, Baku, features a Dubai-style skyline with soaring skyscrapers and grand tree-lined avenues. However, Baku maintains its ancient past in the 10th-century Unesco-listed Old City. Here you can wander the narrow alleyways and discover workshops and caravanserais.
From Baku, you can take an excursion to see ancient rock carvings at Gobustan National Park, a Unesco world heritage site dating back 20,000 years. You can also visit the curious fire phenomena in the desert – the Ateshgyakh Fire Worshippers’ temple, which pre-dates the arrival of Islam.
Travel more inland and you will find rich, green farmland, dark forests and the impressive Caucasus mountains. These mountains are home to the charming town of Sheki. There you can visit the Palace of Sheki Khan and nearby you will find the village of Kish, where stands a sixth-century Albanian church.