Cultures & Contrasts in the Land of Fire

Azerbaijan, seated where the Caucasus Mountains meet the Caspian Sea, is a dramatic combination of the very old and the very new. Explore the booming capital, Baku, then take to the hills to visit villages lost in time, enclaves of the region’s original people, ancient archaeological sites, and a stained-glass-lit khan’s palace.

7 Day Trip

  • Private Journey
    Minimum of 2 Travelers
  • Travels to:
    Azerbaijan, South Caucasus
  • Flexible Essential:
    Baku & Azeri Mountain Villages

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Learn about Neolithic artists through their ancient rock carvings
    Visit Azerbaijan’s UNESCO-listed ancient petroglyphs on the Caspian Sea, discovered by accident in the 1930s....
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  • Dazzle your eyes with the vivid colors and bold designs of Azeri carpets
    Admire the vivid colors and bold designs of Azeri and Caucasian carpets at the Museum of Azerbaijani Carpets and Applied Folk Art....
    Read More
  • Explore an 18th century caravanserai
    Imagine yourself a Silk Route merchant as you explore an 18th century caravanserai in Sheki, Azerbaijan....
    Read More
  • Step inside a stained glass artist’s studio
    Visit the workshop of a local artist who creates the vivid stained glass windows called shebeke....
    Read More
Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 30 years of South Caucasus travel experience
  • Travel programs such Harvard, World Affairs Council of Philadelphia and the American Museum of Natural History have chosen MIR to guide them to the South Caucasus
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-3: Baku, Gobustan

Explore Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital and black gold boomtown. Wander the narrow stone streets of the UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town, stroll modern Fountain Square, and admire the skyscraping Flame Towers covered in LED lights. Drive down the Absheron Peninsula to encounter the UNESCO-listed petroglyphs of Gobustan, a well as the Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Surakhani village, originally built over a flaming gas vent.


  • Baku, capital of Azerbaijan and oil boomtown, with its UNESCO-listed Old Town
  • Vivid, hand-loomed carpets at the State Museum of Azerbaijani Carpets and Applied Folk Art
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Day 4: Mazara, Shemakha, Lahij

Head out of Baku toward the west today, climbing to the Diri Baba Mausoleum on the side of a hill in Mazara, and visiting a village farm on Shemakha’s outskirts to learn how Azerbaijanis make their yogurt and butter. Make a stop in Lahij, an ancient, almost untouched village that seems worlds away from Baku. Here, visit the studio of a copper master.


  • Two-story Diri Baba Mausoleum, constructed of stone blocks
  • Shemakha, former capital of the once-powerful Shirvan Khanate from the 6th to the 15th centuries
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Day 5: Sheki

Spend a day exploring the historic city of Sheki, one of the oldest towns in Azerbaijan. Stop at the caravanserai, an inn of the Silk Road, one of the remaining links to Sheki’s rich past. Visit the workshop of a local artist who creates the vivid stained glass windows called shebeke, and admire the Khan’s Summer Palace, where the method was used to great advantage.


  • Mosaic-covered Khan’s Palace
  • Stained glass workshop
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Days 6-7: Nij, Baku

Return to the capital today, stopping along the way at the small town of Nij. Nij was part of a historical region known as Caucasian Albania, a once predominantly Christian territory with origins that can be traced as far back as the 5th century BC. Visit the Orthodox Albanian Church of St. Elesei, given away to the Armenian patriarchy by Czar Nicholas I in the 19th century, and returned only in 2003. Enjoy a free evening in Baku to sightsee and prepare for departure the following day.


  • Nij, home of a small ethnic group called the Udis, direct descendants of ancient Caucasian Albanians
  • Orthodox Albanian Church of St. Elesei in Nij
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 7 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 2 Traveler Minimum $2,795
  • Single Supplement $475

2020 Dates

Your Choice of Dates

Recommended months of travel:

  • June,  
  • July,  
  • August,  
  • September,  
  • October,  
  • FROM
  • $2,795
  • Min 2 Travelers

Group Size

Pricing is based on a minimum of 2 travelers on this trip. Call for solo trip pricing.

Private trip prices vary by season and are subject to hotel availability for your travel dates. Hotel upgrades, additional nights and solo traveler prices are available on request.

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located superior tourist class (three star) hotels throughout the itinerary.
  • 8 breakfasts and 5 lunches, per the itinerary. Other lunches and dinners are left independent so you may enjoy a chance to dine on your own.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of experienced, English-speaking local guides, drivers and other staff.
  • One arrival and one departure transfer. (Additional arrival and departure transfers are available at additional cost.) MIR arranges for travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not.
  • Ground transportation throughout itinerary by private vehicle (type of vehicle depends on the size of your party).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in the itinerary.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Customized visa application instruction kit (please note, visa fees are not included in the tour price).
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

More Info


Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

More Info

Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in the ‘Stan countries of Central Asia, or in Iran, Western Russia, or Eastern Europe. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

While the accommodations are designed to be comfortable for travel in this part of the world, they will vary from well-located moderate three star hotels, to some quite small with basic amenities and services. It is important to keep in mind that the countries of the South Caucasus are not up to the standards North American travelers expect.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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