The Road Less Traveled: Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan Days

Few enough people have heard of Azerbaijan but fewer still have come across Nakhchivan, that mountainous area of the country, one-hour flying-time away. It is in fact a land-locked island, surrounded by Iran to the South and East, Armenia to the West and Turkey to the North.

I was aware that I was somewhere different as soon as the aeroplane door opened and one of my travelling companions said “the air smells so fresh, even though we are still on the runway!” He was right, at an altitude of 900 metres, with a stiff cooling breeze blowing in from Iran, the air feels clean and pure. Your eyes travel to the horizon where the massive bulk of Ilan–dag or Snake-head mountain rises dramatically in shades of purple and pink on the horizon. “Welcome to Nakhchivan” said the security officer who checked our resident permits then gave us a wide smile as…

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