The Azerbaijan State News Agency

CULTURE

What to do in spring in Azerbaijan

Baku, March 4, AZERTAC

The arrival of spring in Azerbaijan is a time of grace. It was during this period that the country celebrates the awakening of nature - Novruz Bayramy. Another important event is connected with the rich musical heritage of Azerbaijan. In March, the International Festival "World of Mugham" is held in Baku. Mugham is a unique art that is included in the list of masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity of UNESCO. And of course, spring is the best time to enjoy the tastes of the national cuisine of Azerbaijan, as well as make unforgettable trips to the regions of the country, where you will see pictures of flowering gardens and mountain meadows.

March

7-14 - International Festival "World of Mugham"

Mugham is a genre of Azerbaijani traditional music, which is characterized by an improvisational type of performance, both solo and in ensembles.

One of the brightest events of spring in Azerbaijan is the International Festival "World of Mugham", which attracts a lot of connoisseurs of this art from all over the world. This year, musicians and jury members from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Moldova, Poland and other countries are invited to participate in the event.

Within the framework of the festival, along with mugham performers competitions and guest artists performances, international scientific symposiums are held. In particular, on March 7-10, the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan will hold an International Symposium on "Mugham Traditions at the Crossroads of Science and Art, in which guests from France, Canada, Holland, Turkey and other countries will take part.

Performances will be held at various concert venues of the capital: the International Mugham Center, Uzeyir Hajibeyli Musical Academy, the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, the Baku puppet theater. A number of concert programs will be held in Ganja on March 8-13 with participation of collective of the Ganja State Philharmonic Society named after Fikret Amirov.

The festival will end on March 14 with a gala concert on the stage of the Azerbaijan State Academic Philharmonic named after Muslim Magomayev.

Do not miss the chance to attend concerts in the framework of the "World of Mugham" festival, where you can enjoy both the classical performance of mugamat and its modern jazz interpretations.

21-24 - Novruz Bayramy

The main and most outstanding event in which all travelers who visited Azerbaijan in the spring can participate is the Novruz holiday, a symbol of the coming of spring.

The onset of heat and the awakening of nature have been widely celebrated among the people from time immemorial. Preparation for the celebrations in honor of the national holiday of Novruz Bayramy begins at the end of February and is conducted throughout March, and on the 21st - day of the spring equinox, national festivities are held throughout the country, which last for several days.

It should be noted that Novruz has no relation to Islam, it is not a religious holiday. Orthodox Muslims celebrate only two holidays - Ramadan and Kurban Bayramy!

The celebration of Novruz is accompanied by richly decorated tables. The peculiar symbols of this holiday are honcha - a tray with sweets, semeni - sprouted wheat grains, homemade pastries - baklava, shekerbura and gogal, colored eggs, as well as such amusing characters as Kosa (sparse bearded) and Kecal (bald), amusing people. These days in many yards, young people are making bonfires and jumping over them, and children throws caps to the neighbors' door, to feast on the sweets filling them.

During the holiday in the cities of the country there are performances by masters of oral folk art and folklore, rope walkers demonstrate their art, pahlevans (folk wrestlers) compete in power, plays are played in the squares.

On Baku Boulevard, and in many central parks of the capital, there are festive concerts with the participation of famous performers of popular and folk music. Often organized fairs, where you can buy products of folk and applied art, national souvenirs. Also here you can taste various dishes of Azerbaijani cuisine prepared by the best chefs for guests and residents of the capital.

Finally, let us say that on September 30, 2009 Novruz is included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. And on February 23, 2010, the UN declared March 21 the International day of Novruz.

Culinary abundance

The Azerbaijani spring pleases everyone with wonderful weather and a variety of generous colors of nature. At this time of year culinary specialists across the country will offer you a real vitamin menu from the dishes of young juicy, spicy and sweet greens. Although in winter it is always on sale, but with what to compare the spring herbage? Gourmets, no doubt, like kutabs from greenery (the semblance of pancakes stuffed with greens), kukyu (omelette with greens), sabzi plov (green pilaf) and other dishes that can be ordered in almost any cafe and restaurant across the country.

Do you want to appreciate the uniqueness of the culinary products of the Azerbaijani cuisine? Try to get to the Plov Festival, which is held year after year in Baku and the regions of the country, usually in the spring, less often in the summer. So, last year it was held in March in the capital. Here you can try dozens of kinds of this crown dish of Azerbaijani cuisine with tender lamb, greens, chestnuts, apricots, cornelian and raisins, traditionally served on a huge dish. Cinnamon, cloves, peppers, saffron, cumin and other spices give the dish a very exotic taste.

April

18 - International Day of Monuments and Sites

On April 18, the International Day of Monuments and Sites, also known as World Heritage Day is celebrated worldwide. In Azerbaijan, the celebration of World Heritage Day was laid still in the Soviet era in 1983, and in 1984 for the first time the holiday was held at the interstate level.

In modern independent Azerbaijan, which has an extremely rich historical heritage, various cultural projects are being realized on April 18.

So on the territory of various historical and architectural reserves of Azerbaijan, such as "Icherisheher", "Gala" and others, this day, with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, the festival "Heritage Days" is held. Within the framework of the festival, samples of folk art are shown - carpets, ornaments, dishes of national cuisine, and the process of their preparation. Within the framework of the event, folk music and poetry - mughams, gazelles, folk ensembles perform.

But the main advantage of this holiday for the general public is the holding of the Days of Open Doors, to which most museums and historical reserves are connected throughout the country. If you make your visit to Azerbaijan by April 18, you can enjoy a free day visit to the most interesting museums of the capital and other cities of the country for a whole day.

May

Flowering fields and meadows

Spring is magnificent, including far beyond Baku. Seasonal flowers indicate the awakening of nature from winter sleep, and May - the most "blooming" month of this season. In May, the country's regions are covered with extensive carpets of flowering plants. These days bloom red poppies, lilies of the valley, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses, chamomiles and other plants.

In May, an excellent solution will be to go on picnics to nature in such areas as Guba, Gusar, Khachmaz, Shemakha, Shaki, Shamkir, Gedabek and others.

Alpine meadows are especially picturesque. In the mountains of the Gusar region, at the top of Shahdag in early May, snow still lies, and at its foot a wonderful sight opens - flowering alpine meadows that delight the eye with unusually bright colors of greenery and flowers.

And the ancient city of Gabala, thanks to the magnificent beauty of the Caucasus Mountains, foreigners called small Switzerland. Mountain meadows and forests attract tourists here with their beauty. Hunters and anglers are always happy with the results of their campaigns. Here the real expanse for lovers of eco-tourism.

Healing by nature

There are places in Azerbaijan that have no analogues in the world, where people come in spring and all year round to recharge their energy and improve their health. Naftalan is a resort town with sanatoriums and hospitals, located 360 km from the capital and 48 km south-east of the second largest city of the country - Ganja. Naftalan many centuries ago became famous throughout the world for its naphthalan oil.

This oil was also called Median oil, and we must remember the famous Argonaut Jason, to whom the sorceress Medea presented a miraculous ointment that heals from fire. That's how myths and legends are confirmed by reality! Even in ancient times thousands of people from different parts of Asia sought the disposal of diseases in Azerbaijan, taking naftalan oil from here, and today the same thing is happening.

In our country there is also a large number of hot mineral springs - "isti-su", which, depending on the chemical composition, are used in the treatment of a number of diseases. For example, one of these sources, near which the sanatorium is built, is in the Massali district, there are many mineral springs in the city of Nakhchivan and its environs.

The unique salt mines of Nakhchivan also became widely known throughout the world. Treatment in them is conducted in conditions of natural grottoes, while residents live in a modern fashionable hotel.

However, we are going to tell you in detail about the possibilities of medical tourism in Azerbaijan in the future. Follow our publications!

Emil Eyyubov

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