The Azerbaijan State News Agency

CULTURE

What to do in Azerbaijan in the winter?

Baku, December 7, AZERTAC

On the Absheron Peninsula, where the capital of Azerbaijan - Baku is located, the winters are mild with an average temperature of 4-6 degrees Celsius. In the cold season, entertainment in indoor complexes, which are numerous, is popular here. But, if you want to experience all the delights of a snowy winter, then welcome to world-class ski resorts in the Gusar and Gabala regions!

Well, of course, in winter you can treat yourself to rich national dishes with an abundance of meat and spices, which are served in every restaurant throughout the country.

Skiing

The Shahdag tourist center (www.shahdag.az), a mountain resort in the Gusar region, which has no analogues in the Caucasus, is worthy of the best epithets. The complex has the conditions for holding international competitions in winter sports, as well as for relaxing at any time of the year! On the territory of about 2058 hectares there are 5 hotels, 12 ski slopes, both for beginners and professionals, cable cars, snow cannons for artificial snow, an ice rink, a ski equipment shop and rental center, a ski school, restaurants, a medical center. It even has orchards and trout farms! And on one of the slopes of the complex, at an altitude of 2,351 meters, the construction of the unique Mountain Top restaurant continues, which, by right, can be called the highest restaurant in our country!

The ski season in the complex begins, as a rule, from the first days of November. Here, on a clear winter day in the vicinity of the nearby Laza village, you can take an interesting excursion to several icy waterfalls.

The Tufan summer-winter ski resort (www.tufandag.az) is not inferior to the Shahdag resort. Tufan resort is located 218 km from Baku and 4 km from the city of Gabala, in a picturesque mountainous area, where there are the most favorable conditions for recreation. There are several cable cars and ski runs of varying complexity, cafes, restaurants and a number of hotels. The complex provides services for the sale and rental of skis, there is also a ski school and a sporting goods store.

The peculiarity of the local trails is that they are surrounded by forests - indescribable beauty! Tourists can easily combine winter fun with sightseeing in Gabala and visiting the Gabaland amusement park, the largest in the region.

Have fun on ice

Ice skating cannot be called traditional entertainment for Baku people: a mild winter in the metropolitan area is often characterized by the absence of snow. However, this does not mean that figure skating fans have nothing to do in Baku.

On the territory of the Megafun, the largest in the region indoor entertainment center, all year round operates the "Moscow" ice skating rink, with an area exceeding 1000 sq.m. Here you can not only have fun on ice rink, but also enjoy a meal in numerous cafes, or do exciting shopping.

And in winter, a large artificial ice-skating rink in the open air welcomes everyone on Baku Boulevard. Here you can rent the necessary equipment and try yourself in figure skating. If this is your debut on ice, then experienced instructors will teach you the basics. So hurry on a walk through the winter capital with your family and friends to meet exciting adventures!

Spend the day at the amusement park

When it's cold outside, you want to spend more time indoors. But this does not mean that you have to be bored within the four walls. Located in Baku, the largest in the region the indoor family entertainment center Megafun (www.megafun.az) has not only an ice rink. Here, under the same roof, on an area of more than 30 thousand square meters. m., there are more than 200 types of various attractions, playing halls, simulators and entertainment for a variety of age categories.

The vast territory of the center is divided into different "geographical" zones, each of which has corresponding game offers. In the gaming hall "Tokyo" a large number of ultramodern SEGA slot machines are presented. Lovers of active recreation will enjoy the "London" zone with a bowling alley on 16 lanes and the "Moscow" zone, where anyone can skate on the ice rink. It is also possible to ride on the "Stuttgart" circuit or swim on the original boats in the "Venice". The most fearless visitors will have a fascinating journey through the “Tunnel of Fear”. Kids will love the carousel, various games and specialized rooms in the "Paris" zone, and the delightful "Jungle" - a game complex with a safe rubber floor. In addition, Megafun has two 4D cinemas, each with 8 seats and a 5D cinema with 24 seats.

Recently, Megafun has offered visitors a lot of new entertainment: a mirror maze, Dino Park, taking children into the world of fairy tales with its 7 large dinosaurs, go-karting, where 4 cars can simultaneously compete, hundreds of new rides and gaming machines.

Enjoy the historic baths

After a walk in the frosty air, the bath will help you to warm up well. And if this is an ancient Oriental hamam, then visiting it becomes mandatory!

In Baku, at least two historical baths, operating to this day. First of all, it is Aga Mikayil bath, located in the Old Fortress - Icherisheher, on Kichik Gala Street.

A bath built by a resident of Shamakhi city Haji Aga Mikayil in the 18th century is located in the quarter known by the people as the “Bathhouse quarter”. In fact, there are many old baths in the Old Town, which are protected as monuments of architecture, and the only one still functioning is the Aga Mikayil bath. Unlike other baths of the Fortress, here the interior spaces are more spacious. The dressing room and bath in the plan are square. Lancet arches and domes divide the overall composition into proportional longlines. The bath has a chimney, which is different from the chimneys of other Icherisheher baths.

In the Aga Mikayil bathhouse were filmed some of the scenes of the “Bu olmasin, o olsun” movie (loosely translated means - If not that, then let it be this) - the pearl of Azerbaijani cinema, based on the operetta of the same name by composer Uzeir Hajibeyov. So, do not be surprised when you hear that the people call this bath just as “Mashadi Ibad Hamam”, after the name of the protagonist of the comedy.

In the center of Baku there is another historic bathhouse that still operates - it is Taza Bey Hamam, built in 1886. Nowadays, this bath, distinguished by an exotic oriental interior with elements of a palace style, is considered to be the favorite place of recreational leisure for Baku residents and city guests, and definitely deserves your attention.

Good food

Winter in Azerbaijan is a great time for lovers of hearty national dishes and culinary surprises that await you in all cafes and restaurants of the country. It is during the cold season that hot amber broth Khash (jelly) from beef legs, which is cooked throughout the night over low heat, is especially good. Khash is traditionally eaten in the early morning, before breakfast or for breakfast, after which you are not afraid of any frosts.

You should definitely try the delicious and tender Piti in clay pots, “invented” in the Azerbaijani city of Sheki. A stew with vegetables and spices warms the body and soul.

What is winter without seafood? The generous Caspian is able to satisfy the most biased requests of connoisseurs of a magnificent assortment of fish dishes, which will be offered by many restaurants in the capital and regions. Sturgeon with tomatoes and cheese, salmon, stuffed in a puff, lamprey in a hot frying pan, fried in its own fat, kutum with raisins and nuts, baked in the oven or tendeer - the famous "lyavyangi" and many others.

Well, and, of course, khingal - how without it?! Boiled smoking pieces of dough, generously flavored with minced meat, and broth in a bowl - warm better than any fireplace!

And for dessert - persimmon, feijoa and orange!

The land of Azerbaijan is generous for harvests and a considerable proportion of fruits and vegetables grown in the country are exported. But there are in our lands such fruits that get the best taste, ripening on the trees, and not on the shelves of the markets. In Azerbaijan, in winter, the markets are filled with the ripe fruits of persimmon and feijoa, which are as tasty as non-transportable.

These fruits, quite exotic for foreigners, are quite common for the Azerbaijani climate. With the first frost, the oblong fruits of persimmon lose their astringency, acquiring honey sweetness. But the most popular are the rounded fruits with dark flesh, called "Korolyok" (the "kinglet"): it is the same persimmon, only obtained from pollinated flowers. Having eaten fresh persimmon in Azerbaijan, you can take away its dried fruits - a delicious and nutritious delicacy!

Would you like to taste the juicy oranges, fresh lemons and tangerines? These fragrant citruses, which give a sense of celebration, in Azerbaijan delight residents and guests all winter. And they are cheaper here than in neighboring countries, since they are grown in the southern regions of the republic - Lankaran and Masalli.

No less popular in the season are the feijoa fruits, which smell and taste simultaneously like strawberries, kiwi and pineapple. Feijoa is also good for jams: you can find fruits rubbed with sugar in any store and can take with you as a tasty reminder of the holidays spent in Azerbaijan!

Emil Eyyubov

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