Shahid Ali Butt
Tourism, a lucrative part of the economy, makes a great contribution to development of most nations and it is the area which creates numerous job opportunities and small and medium-sized business with improved infrastructure.
Azerbaijan, a developing nation in Caucasian region, does not lag behind in building strong infrastructure to foster this particular area where tourism is part of the economy and in its many districts local people know how foreign tourists should be treated, what they want to see, what traditions and customs they want to learn about, what Azerbaijani food they prefer and so on.
The country has all natural and geographic potential of a tourist destination. The shores of the Caspian, the Mugan, Karabakh, the Mil plains, the mountains, forests, rivers, springs, lakes, summer recreation areas, and historical monuments are headline tourist attractions. Azerbaijan enjoys nine of the world’s 11 climate zones, adding to the range of destinations on offer. As entrepreneurship grows stronger, the opportunities for the development of tourism centres grow.
As per official information, the government has made developing tourism a priority. New tourist facilities are being built in the regions, and cultural and historical reserves are being set up or restored. The state has undertaken to create infrastructure in the regions. Tourism can help to tackle the serious problem of unemployment in the country, and has a positive impact on development of all sectors.
This scribe, during a stay in Capital Baku visited some tourists places including Baku Turkish Martyrs’ Memorial in Martyrs’ Lane.
Constructed with red granite and white marble, the Memorial had been inaugurated in 1999 and dedicated to Ottoman Army soldiers killed in Battle of Baku (1918). It consists of a monument, an alley with name plates of the martyrs and a mosque. Around 1,130 Turkish soldiers and officers of the Army of Islam were killed in action in Battle of Baku of Caucasus Campaign, who fought alongside the Azerbaijani forces against the Bolsheviks–Armenian Dashnaks and Baku Soviets in 1918.
The other place visited was Martyrs’ Lane, Alley of Martyrs in Kirov Park which is a cemetery and memorial in Baku, dedicated to those killed by Soviet Army during Black January and later to those killed in Nagorno-Karabakh War.
Another attractive place visited was Heydar Aliyev Center which is considered as one of the main attractions for tourists and has also become a symbol of modern Azerbaijan and modern Baku.
Designed by Zaha Hadid, a worldwide recognized architect, the overall shape of building resembles a wave-like ascension from ground towards sky followed by gradual descent down to earth.
A museum and “Azerbaijan Treasures” and major exhibition are organized in the Centre.
The Museum in Centre presents information regarding the life and activities of Azerbaijan’s national leader. This section of the center is engaged in studying, promoting and protecting Heydar Aliyev’s heritage. The Museum describes history of Azerbaijan and different stages of Heydar Aliyev’s life and work. The exhibition hall demonstrates the cultural heritage and history of Azerbaijan.
One of the most important features of Museum is that it describes al periods of the history of Azerbaijan and displays items related to different areas of Azerbaijani culture. For instance, one can see unique samples of ancient crafts, in particular the Azerbaijani carpet weaving school.
Some other places in the city which attract tourists are Shirvanshahs palace which has been inscribed in list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Maiden Tower, Baku Boulevard (officially called Seaside National Park) , Mud Volcanoes, Ateshgah Fire Temple, and many more worth-seeing spots located in vicinity of Baku.
Meanwhile, a senior government official said thanks to wonderful climate, the number of tourists are visiting the country. The Capital with its super modern and ancient buildings draw attention of all tourists. As for tourism infrastructure today, Azerbaijan can accommodate 40,000 tourists in its 575 hotels.
Moreover, 25 hostels and 92 apartments for tourists also operate in Baku. The official said keeping in mind the potential, a specialized Azerbaijan Tourism University has also been established.—APP