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Azerbaijan is voted as Europe's Leading Cultural Destination

Azerbaijan is voted as Europe's Leading Cultural Destination and Europe's Leading Excursion Destination of 2021

Azerbaijan is voted as the winner of the 28th Annual World Travel Awards in 2 nominations - Europe's Leading Cultural Destination and Europe's Leading Excursion Destination of 2021. The unveiling of this year’s Europe winners was held in virtual format on the 22nd of October.

“We are extremely delighted to be voted as the winners of this prestigious award in the global travel and tourism industry. Indeed, being the awardees of the World Travel Awards is an accolade us. Azerbaijan is a perfect destination for excursions and cultural tourism, and we look forward to welcoming new and returning travelers to take another look at this beautiful country”, said Florian Sengstschmid, the CEO of Azerbaijan Tourism Board.

An exceptional combination of an Eastern country with a Western outlook where antiquity merges with modernity, Azerbaijan is an enthralling mixture of people, styles, colors and traditions that never ceases to amaze. ATB is focusing on developing sustainable, eco-friendly, authentic tourism products and activities – visitors will be able to go hiking along newly marked hiking trails in the Greater Caucasus and Lesser Caucasus mountains, try a wide variety of delicious Azerbaijani cuisine dishes and get first-hand experience of farming and cooking within the Slow Food Travel concept, enjoy pristine nature and outdoor activities away from crowded places, visit new birdwatching spots all across the country and stay at guesthouses and homestays to experience the authentic hospitality of the Azerbaijani people.

The country is a perfect destination for those who wish to explore the rich cultural offering and ancient heritage – Azerbaijan is home to 3 masterpieces included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list, such as the magnificent Old City (Icherisheher) in Baku, the prehistoric petroglyphs of Gobustan and the astonishingly beautiful Sheki Khans’ Palace with exquisite miniatures in the historic center of Sheki. Famous for its breathtaking views, Khinalig village has been included into the UNESCO's Tentative List in 2020. There are also many amazing examples of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in the country, including copper production in the village of Lahij, carpet weaving and the art of making women's silk headscarf “kelaghayi”.

A multicultural country represented by many nations with a mixture of cultures and traditions, Azerbaijan has long been under influence of the cultures and ethnicities passing through the Silk Road, being an important hub on this trade route. The cuisine variety, ancient arts & crafts, architecture and folk art are some of the most evident examples. Today, we can see the traces of Caucasian Albania which consisted of more than 26 nations all over Azerbaijan, Jewish settlements in Baku, Guba and Oghuz, Polish heritage in Baku, German heritage in the western parts of Azerbaijan – all represented by tangible and intangible cultural elements.

The ongoing revitalization process in the liberated territories of Karabakh region has opened new horizons for the future of the country’s tourism industry development.

“Undoubtedly, Shusha, the cultural capital of Azerbaijan, famous for being the birthplace of Azerbaijani mugham music, the homeland of many famous and talented composers, musicians, poets and the center of the Karabakh school of carpet weaving, will play a crucial role in the development of tourism in the region”, added Mr. Sengstschmid.

Currently, citizens and permanent residents of 65 countries can travel to Azerbaijan by air. Passengers aged over 18 can now fly to Azerbaijan, submitting both a COVID passport (an official document on complete vaccination or recovery from COVID-19) and a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before the flight, while for minors only the latter needs to be provided within the indicated period of time.

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