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National dances

National dance of Azerbaijani people is the mirror of their history, culture, temperament, character and emotions. National dances show the attitude of the society to gender equality. In most of the dance performances, main figures consist of a man and a woman moving together at the same speed and positions, which indicates the equality between men and women.

One of the most common and ancient dances of Azerbaijanis is "Yalli" collective dance. Yalli is performed as a circular dance of men and women of all ages that also shows the unity and equality of all people.

The dancing art of Azerbaijan as a very long history goes back to the Stone Age as the drawings at Gobustan rocks that are ten thousand years old represent ancient Azerbaijani folk dances.

Dancing skill is in the blood of every single Azerbaijani and there is no need for them to have special dance courses. But if any guest of Azerbaijan is ever interested in learning national dance there is a chance for them to get  1-2-hour lessons to understand culture and spirit of the people. At the end of the classes, you will have perfect shots for your Instagram or Facebook account, as national clothes of Azerbaijan are used in folk dances.

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Chai ceremonies

According to researches, Azerbaijan ranks the 2nd highest among the world countries followed by Turkey for its tea consumption. Azerbaijani people can survive three weeks without food, three days without water, three minutes without air, but nobody could take a risk to know how long they would survive without tea.

Tea is called “chai” in Azerbaijan as Chinese merchants brought it by Silk Road through central Asia. Chai holds an important place on the table of the Azerbaijani population as a strategic food.

Observations prove that average Azerbaijani spends 1 hour of the day for chai ceremony and consumes 2-2.5 kg of tea is per year. Tea consumption also depends on the mood and health condition of the person. Azerbaijani people prefer to add different kinds of herbs like mint, thyme, hips, clove, rose and many more to get rid of sickness and be in better mood.

In Azerbaijan, tea is mainly grown in the Lankaran-Astara region, which is a humid, subtropical region. Unique, ancient species of plants are endemic and widespread here. Therefore, to buy tea of the mentioned region is “must-do” once you are in Azerbaijan.

No social occasion is complete without tea, served with myriad trimmings. Even when families are matchmaking, the tea tray gives a good indication of how arrangements are progressing. If it’s served without sugar, more negotiating needs to be done; if it’s sweet, a wedding is definitely on the cards.

Another “must-do” thing about tea is to try Azerbaijani style “Çayxana” in Baku. Pop into a Chaikhana (tea house), for a great cup of Azeri tea, a smoke of the Hookah pipe and communicate with local people.

Tea is everywhere, and always in Azerbaijan. A phrase you will hear when refusing a second glass of tea is "Çay nedir, say nedir," which is literally translated as "What is tea, what are numbers?" Meaning, roughly, you shouldn't count the glasses - just keep drinking (like a river).

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Gabala Shooting

Gabala Shooting Club is part of the Gabala Sports Club, a world-class facility that prepares athletes for the national teams of Azerbaijan in sports like shooting, boxing, karate, taekwondo, soccer, and judo. Fortunately, you do not need to be a professional athlete to get to Gabala Shooting Club. It is a very well equipped place for those who like shooting with a very reasonable price. The club has the archery range and pistol and air rifle ranges. It is a great experience and fun especially for those who have never tried to shoot before.

This is one of the “must-do” activities nowadays in Gabala. One more thing to consider is its relatively cheap prices compared to other shooting clubs around the world. The club is in the beautiful scenery surrounded by mountains and forests.

They also have activities for children, so the shooting club is also for families.

The rifle shooting is perfect for negative energy release and you will feel emotionally emptied after this experience. Flying frisbees and a short time to shoot them awakens your hunter spirit for racing to win.

You will for sure come back.

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Wine tasting

Amongst beverages, wine is the most useful, amongst medicines the most palatable and amongst foods the most tempting. (Plutarch)

Wine is a multicultural and civilizational phenomenon that does not need to be explained. It has a very long history in Azerbaijan as well. In Gabala region, the remains of a wine cellar, which is very huge for its period, is revealed to date back to the 4th-3rd centuries BC.

Azerbaijan is a perfect place to try different colors and tastes of the wine. Wine also has a powerful reputation despite being Muslim majority country.

1985 was the worst year for the Azerbaijan wine industry as USSR carried out an anti-alcohol campaign with partial prohibition, colloquially known as the "suxoy zakon" (dry law). During 2 years, almost all of the grape yards and wine cellars in the country were destroyed. After getting independence in 1991 the industry began to develop and potential of the wine industry in Azerbaijan is now compared with Georgia.

Wine tasting tour in Azerbaijan may last longer than a decade if you decide to try all of the local wines. A shortened tour will let you understand the philosophy of Azerbaijani wine-makers. As E. Hemingway said: “Knowledge of wine can be a source of pleasure for the entirety of the human life”.

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Relax with a cold beer

Azerbaijan is not famous for its beer and of course, there is no chance to rival against beer countries like Germany, Belgium and etc. But once here in Azerbaijan you should definitely try local brews.

After you do a lot of walking in Baku, head towards to some of the best pubs in the city. If you avoid the Irish and other theme pubs, it benefits both your wallet and taste buds, head down into one of the many cellars serving “Xirdalan” or “NZS” beer, the local brews, usually for about 1.5 AZN (approx.. 0.9$) per pint. The beer is so tasty that you might find it hard to stop at one.

If you want to try it like Azerbaijani people do, then you should travel about 20 minutes to NZS pub, which is next to NZS factory itself. There is a myth that beer served in the pub comes directly from the factory through beer pipes.  This place also offers snacks like boiled and fried pea, “dushbara” (Azerbaijani dumpling soup), local seafood, “hairy” cheese (looks like hair braid) that you will never find in any other place of the world.

In Baku, there is a saying that “Beer is for poor”. But it is always up to you if you want to finish the party like poor or not. Though the price per pint is not more than 0.5$, together with snacks the price can get more expensive than glamour drinks.

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Bazaar experience

Local markets are favorite places for experienced travelers to see when visiting other countries.

So if you are into markets, then it's worth to do it in Azerbaijan, as there are some big bazars. Bazars are only places you can communicate with locals who do not speak your language. So you can speak Azerbaijani not even knowing a single word with vendors who are usually very friendly. If there is still a language barrier when you decide to buy something, you bargain holding a calculator until you reach the price you both agree on. But you should be psychologically well trained to bargain about prices, as they will start by asking for a very high price at the beginning. 

Keep in mind that Azerbaijani people are probably the best in trading as the country is located on the historical Silk Road and they used to be the best traders in the region.

If you are not really going to buy anything, you can just walk around and take some cool pictures of the display of the shops. Bazars used to be communication centers and place for getting the latest news and rumors for centuries in Azerbaijan.

For those tourists who love local markets, bazar is a very nice one to see and get those products for prices for locals.

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Best meat experience

Meet the tastiest meat!

If Azerbaijan was a steak restaurant, its motto would exactly be “meet the tastiest meat!”.  

The reason why meat is so tasty in Azerbaijan is because that, animals are fed in natural environments. Main distributors of meat are from rural parts of the country, which has a rich flora. Fat, gained through eating natural grass and drinking water from rivers, an energy source stored in animal muscles contributes special flavor of the meat.

Because of the natural conditions, the meat is already flavourful and does not need to be salted. Azerbaijani people have a saying that “the real meat should naturally marinated and salted by Mother Nature”.

Another distinctive feature that makes the taste of meat so special is the cuisine that is the combination of a neutral taste of unleavened products, such as boiled rice, chestnuts, and eggs, with sour milk and vegetable products. As a result, a contrast of the unleavened and the sour accents the taste of meat, which is very pleasing for the eater. Raw vegetables and herbs among other appetizers and freshness of cucumber and tomatoes are essential with meat foods.

Quality of food in the local diet is one of the reasons why Azeri people are among the longest living people in the world.

There are a lot of proverbs about food and especially about meat like “Cheap meat never makes a good soup”.

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Cuisine master class

The food of Azerbaijan talks to the agricultural past of the country and to the fertile climatic zones outside Baku which allows the country to grow a variety of grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and to raise a number of different animals.

It is not surprising that the country's cuisine, famous for its hospitality, has about 2,000 kinds of dishes. Because Azerbaijani people always share their best with the guests, gladdening their eyes and appetite.

The main factor followed by climate influencing Azerbaijani cuisine is the furnace. For example, in Slavic and especially Russian culture, most of the sweet cookies and boiled meals are cooked using Russian stove. The creation and evolution of Azerbaijani cuisine is mostly associated with open and closed furnaces like "tandir", "kora", "bukhari", "kulfa", "chala ojag", "saj", "mangal", etc.

And another feature, which makes Azerbaijani cuisine different, is the fact that national dishes are sometimes considered as both the main course and the second course. For example, piti, kufta-bozbash, etc. First, soup served in these dishes is eaten as the main course, and the remainder (meat, peas, potatoes, etc.) - as the second course.

However, Azerbaijani cuisine has its own distinct national flavor reflected in the specificity of cooking techniques, aromatic taste, color and traditions of the Azerbaijani feast.

If you have ever been interested in getting into more details and even in trying to cook yourself, there are options for guests of our country. You can participate in cuisine master classes organized by different restaurants and chefs.

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Azeri breakfast - Khash party

Food tells a lot about a culture. So whenever you travel make sure to try as many dishes as possible. Food is an important cultural component of many societies around the world. You need to pay attention to what people eat, and what happens around food.

There is some selection of the dishes you have to try when you visit Azerbaijan to get more into local people. Khash is probably the strangest food that Azeri people eat and the period of the day for this dish makes the whole ceremony more complicated. According to older men “the Khash ceremony” should begin at 6 in the morning. To your surprise