Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan, enjoys a number of titles. It is the biggest city in Azerbaijan as well as the largest city in the Caucasus region and on the Caspian Sea. Baku, situated 92 feet below sea level, is also the world’s largest city located below sea level and the lowest lying capital in the world. The city is also the country’s cultural, scientific, and industrial center. It is often nicknamed the “City of Winds” because of the harsh winds that blow through this city.
Ranking second among the biggest cities in Azerbaijan, Ganja is inhabited by a large number of Azerbaijani refugees who arrived here from Armenia and areas in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. The number of the refugees was estimated to be 33,000 in 2011. Ganja’s economy is based on agriculture and tourism. Copper and alumina are produced by metallurgical industries here after extraction from nearby mines. Footwear, silk, and porcelain industries are also active in the city. Gaja has a number of interesting shopping destinations selling everything from traditional items to foreign products. The city also thrives with rich cultural activities and events throughout the year.
Lankaran is located near Azerbaijan’s southern border with Iran. It is a coastal city with sandy beaches. Mineral springs which are the source of sodium, calcium, sulfide, and chloride are located 12 km west of Lankaran while the ruins of the Ballabur Castle are also nearby. The area around Lankaran is important from the ecological point of view as it hosts a diversity of flora and fauna. Over 250 types of plants, 220 avian species, and 20 fish species occur here. Lankaran is famous for its ironwood that is naturally grown in the region. The Hirkan National Park near the city hosts the Persian leopard as well as a rare harvestman species. Lankaran is also associated with ruins and artifacts belonging to the Neolithic period and Bronze and Iron Ages.
The third biggest city in Azerbaijan after Baku and Ganja, Sumqayit is located close to the Caspian Sea, 31 km away from the capital city of Baku. The city is only recently founded and was established on November 22, 1949, and encompasses an area of 83 square km. Sumqayit supports a number of heavy industries including metallurgical and chemical plants. It is the second biggest industrial center in the country after Baku.
It is the fifth biggest city in Azerbaijan and is also nicknamed the city of lights due to the hydroelectric power station on the Kur River located right in the middle of the city. Though the area in and around Mingachevir was occupied by humans for thousands of years, the modern city was founded as recently as 1948.
Nabran is a village that has turned into something of a resort zone in Azerbaijan and is found approximately 3 hours outside of Baku, to the northeast. Nabran lies on the banks of the Caspian Sea, and one of the great attractions here is the climate which provides plenty of sunshine in the summer months. As such, Nabran has a plethora of water based activities that make the most of the ambient weather, including an aqua park and a variety of swimming pools all over the area. In the evening, there are bars, restaurants, and nightclubs for those who want to experience some of the nightlife in Azerbaijan.