Whenever visiting a big city we try to discover somewhere cool nearby at least once. That’s how we visited Sharyn Canyon near Almaty, Oudong near Phonm Penh and Sopot and Malbork near Gdansk. We spent five days in Baku, so we thought a day trip would be a great way to get to know provincial Azerbaijan. There were several options, but Qobustan National Park got us intrigued. The park contains more than 6000 ancient petroglyphs, rock art engravings dating back between 5000 and 40000 years. Plus there are interesting mud volcanoes nearby.
The staff of our Swan Hotel was very friendly. One of the receptionists mentioned that he himself had never been there and offered to take us on his free day. We just had to pay for gasoline. Gasoline in Azerbaijan is pretty cheap, but our friend decided to fully load his tank twice and charged us 50US$, the same price for a private taxi there. Anyhow, we got to the place, where we were practically alone, and walked about caves, enjoying beautiful carvings and outstanding views. We didn’t get to see volcanoes though, but we saw some great examples of traditional Azeri houses.
Azerbaijan is a huge desert we crossed on a 16 hour train ride from Tbilisi. What a contrast to the glitzy streets of central Baku! Qobustan National Park is just 60km south of the city, so it’s probably one of the best day trips from Baku and an easy way to experience another side of the country. Make sure to get a good deal, prices vary widely from taxi to taxi. We went in winter, so the weather was pleasant. I guess that during summer it must be extremely hot. Don’t forget water, a hat and loads of sunscreen!