Sightseeing, Food, Wine & Nightlife, Nature Tours
Baku - Ganja
Duration: 3 days
From Islamic Solidarity Games to Formula 1, from ancient streets of Lahij to modern building of Baku, Azerbaijan is preparing for the world. During last decade, number of tourists visited to Azerbaijan has been doubled. Reset yourself to a new rhythm: rest, relaxation and indulgence. Allow yourself to be pampered at charming venues in just two nights! This private tour will take you to another ancient and charming region which is the hospitality center of Azerbaijan: Ganja!
Some 375 km away from Baku, tourists will find the ancient city of Ganja, the second largest city of the country. Ganja, located at the north-eastern foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, in one of the most beautiful corners of Azerbaijan, has been significant to the political-economic and cultural life of the country since the earliest of times. Medieval Ganja was known as an important centre of craft and trade throughout the Near and Middle East. The city was the home of the great writer Nizami Ganjavi (1141-1209) and reached a peak in its development during the supremacy of the Atabey State (1136-1225). Ibn-al-Asr called it the Mother of Arran and Rashidaddin referred to it as the biggest city in Arran.
Ganja boasts its own specialty dishes, including Ganja baklava, dovga, keta with greens or with meat (analogous to gutabs) and Shah pilaf.
According to Irada Kaziyeva, the owners of the pastry store Şərg Şirniyyətları ("Oriental sweets") in the preparation of Ganja baklava, there are subtleties and secrets that distinguish it, for example, from the Baku or Turkish baklava. So walnuts, used for its filling, are completely cleansed of the husks, which makes the baklava light color. In the dough is necessarily added infusion of rose petals (gulab), and in the filling cardamom. Ganja baklava is smeared with tincture of saffron flowers and sprinkled with poppy seeds, which are also scalded with boiling water and cleaned, so they become white. As a result, baklava turns tender, has shades of tastes of roses and saffron and just melts in your mouth.
Dovga - Azerbaijani soup based on gatyk and greens. But in Ganja dovga is preparing in a special way. For example, peas are not added to it, as in other regions, but they put mint, spinach, celery and eggs.
In Ganja, gutabs are also prepared in their own way. True, they are called, here, “keta”, not “gutab”, as in other cities. Ganja keta is with meat or with greens with the addition of white cheese. Portions of the keta, as a rule, are large and nourishing, abundantly sprinkled with sumac or dried barberry.
Finally, the main dish of any ganja feast is the Shah pilaf. The name of this festive dish comes from its appearance, which resembles the crown of medieval eastern rulers. Unlike a conventional pilaf, a Shah pilaf is served on the table "sealed". That is, rice and garnish are baked together in a saucepan, the bottom and walls of which are covered with lavash. It turns out something like a big pie, stuffed with aromatic steaming pilaf. Be sure to try it!
Program of the tour
Departure from Baku
Arrival in Ganja
Excursion to Historical Places
Night Walk at "Khan Bagy"
Overnight at the hotel
The Juma Mosque (Shah Abbas Mosque)
Located in central Ganja and dating to 1606, Juma Mosque boasts a red-brick exterior and a large white dome. Sheykh Baheddin Mohammad Amil of the Persian Safavid Empire commissioned the mosque which once had an adjoining madrassa. The two minarets were added later towards the end of the 18th-century.
Shah Abbas Caravanserai
Approximately 100 metres (328 feet) from Juma Mosque sits the 17th-century caravanserai. Centuries ago, trading merchants on the Silk Road stayed overnight in the rooms before continuing their journey. Recent excavations discovered a sophisticated lighting and ventilation system inside.
Any tourist travelling through Eastern Europe and Russia will encounter the name Kvas. From a first glance, it looks similar to a glass of beer. But it’s not beer. Instead, Kvas comes from fermented bread and gets served in a small cup. Located along Nizami Ganjavi sits a tiny hole in the water, selling the best Kvas in Ganja. Spend a few cents and sample this somewhat unusual drink in Azerbaijan.
Bottle House ranks as one of the more unique attractions in Ganja. Few buildings around the world use 50,000 glass bottles as part of the masonry. A private family owns the house and created an image of a family member lost during World War II. Located down a small street off Nizami Ganjavi, Bottle House attracts several tourists making it one of the most photographed spots in Ganja.
Alexander Nevski, a legendary 13th-century Russian, has a few orthodox cathedrals named in his honour around Eastern Europe. Ganja’s Byzantine-style Russian Church dates back to 1887. After the Russian Empire fell following the 1917 Revolution, the church lost its religious function and briefly became a museum, and later a warehouse. The church reopened again in 1946. Icons of both Alexander Nevski and Mary Magdalene decorate the interior.
Breakfast at the hotel
Trip to Goygol National Park
Free time at Ganja
Night walk at the city
Overnight at the hotel
Goygyol and surrounding forests are famous for their abundance and charm in the world. Goygyol always attracted attention for its fascinating nature and beauty, so in 1910-1912 the idea of the establishment of a reserve in the area was put on a point. As the first reserve in Azerbaijan - Goy gol State Nature Reserve was established in 1925. Goygyol National Park is located on the North-East part of Lesser Caucasus, on the North Slope of Kapaz Mountain, on 1000-3060 m high from the sea level and encloses medium and high mountain-forest semizones, mountain forest-meadow, subalp and alpine zones. National Park is called by the name of Goygyol Lake. And the reason for that is its transparent water which reflects surrounding green forests and blue sky as a mirror.
Breakfast at the hotel
Back to Baku
Hotel: 4* Vego Hotel Gence (or better alternative)