Capital – Baku

Language – Azerbaijani, which is similar to Turkish. Many people speak fluent Russian. Basic English is understood by most of the population.

Religion – Azerbaijan is a secular country. Most of the population follows Islam. Muslim dress code is not enforced nor expected. Alcohol is very widely available. All religions have somewhere to worship in Azerbaijan.

Population 10 million

Money – Local currency is called Azerbaijan manat (AZN). 1 manat = 100 qapik. Foreign currency can be exchanged for manats in all banks and all official exchange points. ATMs are available in main towns.

Accepted Credit Cards – Visa, Visa Electron, Maestro. We recommend having some cash, as not all shops and cafes accept cards.

Time zone – GMT +4

International dialing code +994

Week-end – Saturday and Sunday

Electricity – 220 V / 50Hz

Power socket type :-

Main International airport – Baku Heydar Aliyev International Airport (GYD). 25km (16 miles) east from Baku (30 minute drive).

General business hours :-

Banks: 09:30 – 17:30 Monday to Friday Malls: 10:00 – 22:00 7 days a week Shops: 09:00 – 20:00 7 days a week in larger cities. Opening hours will vary in smaller towns.

SIM-cards – SIM-cards can be bought in the airport or in the mobile stores around the city. There are 3 major national GSM operators: Azercell, Bakcell and Nar Mobile. For example, Azercell suggests a Guest Pack (10GB + 20 minutes) for 17 AZN (10USD). It`s better to by SIM-cards in the official stores to avoid overpricing.

Internet – Hotels are fully equipped with WI-FI connection throughout. It’s free in dozens of cafes, parks and restaurants across Baku and beyond.

Main Customs Rules –

Foreign currency brought to the country – Less than 10,000.00 USD or equivalent – no declaration needed. If more, then has to be declared.

Foreign currency taken out of the country – Less than 10,000.00 USD – no problem. Between 10,000.00 and 50,000.00 USD – only if it was declared upon arrival. More than 50,000.00 USD shall be transferred via bank.

Allowed to bring into the country – 3 blocks of cigarettes (600 pieces), 3 liters of alcoholic beverages, personal belongings and personal medications, 20 grams of gold, including the jewelry, as well as processed, sorted, faceted and fixed 0.5-carat diamond.

Prohibited to bring into the country – Narcotic substances, weapons and ammunition (except those for which there is a permit), literature and video material insulting the morality and laws of the country.

Allowed to take out of the country – Up to 5 kg of sturgeon and 125 grams of caviar, 3 blocks of cigarettes, 3 liters of alcoholic beverages and medicines as required.

Prohibited to take out of the country – Any antique items (including gems, coins, manuscripts, carpets and other works of art) without the permission of relevant bodies and Certificates. These Certificates are being provided only in the official art shops. Certificates for the carpets are being issued in the Carpet Museum.

Cuisine –

General – Azerbaijani cuisine is similar to Turkish, but less spicy. Year-round fresh vegetables and fruits, meat and dairy products are the main ingredients of the meals and give a unique taste to each dish. The cuisine of each region of Azerbaijan differs according to the local traditions and features of the countryside.

Restaurants – Alongside with the traditional national cuisine Baku has an excellent selection of Western and Asian style restaurants.

Some specialties –

Tika kebab (marinated chunks of lamb) and lyulya kebab (minced lamb): meat impaled on a large skewer and grilled on the barbecue

  • Qutabs: crepes stuffed with minced meat or herbs or pumpkin
  • Dushbara: tiny meat dumplings, boiled together in a broth with a touch of vinegar and garlic sauce
  • Dolma: grape leaves stuffed with minced meat and rice, enriched with herbs or nuts
  • Plov (pilaf): rice mixed with herbs, dried fruits, meat or chicken and other local ingredients
  • Pakhlava: pastry made of layers of dough, stuffed with nuts and coated with honey

Tipping – Cash only. Expected by waiters in most restaurants. 10% is fine.

Shopping –

Main Malls – Park Boulevard, 28 May, Daniz, Ganjlik, Port Baku, Nargiz, Metro Park

Bazaars – Yashil bazar (Green Bazaar) and Sharg Bazaar (East Bazaar)

What to buy –

  • food: pomegranates, caviar, tea, spices, dry fruits, honey, pakhlava, white cherry jam
  • kitchenware: copper cookware, pottery, armudu glasses
  • kelaghai (traditional silk scarf)
  • oil paintings
  • carpets
  • souvenirs

Useful Tips –

Water – Tap water is not recommended. Drink only bottled water.

Security –

Though Azerbaijan is a completely safe country, you still can lose things. Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance), keep one copy in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
Take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost.

Take with you –

  • comfortable shoes
  • sunglasses and/or hat
  • windproof jacket
  • tissue paper, wet wipes, hand sanitizer