If you are feeling adventurous and have a spare day to go exploring when next in Baku, Azerbaijan, then why not take a day trip to Khinalig, Europe’s highest village? It’s the furthest excursion I could do to see something of the country, passing via Guba, without having to stay overnight.
It’s not for the faint-hearted however for the track through the mountains en route to the village is extremely narrow and at times, just a little – gulp – worrisome but the scenery becomes more and more dramatic. I am told the road has recently been resurfaced and our 4×4 adventure would not have been possible in such comfort before.
It is an all day trip and we stopped en route for a traditional Azerbaijani meal which I will cover in another post. Our outdoor restaurant was situated in a beautiful forest and the food – fresh and delicious – served with efficiency and speed – accompanied by tea, of course.
Generations of villagers have lived in Khinalig where the buildings are constructed on top of each other – the roof of one, the foundation for another. The inhabitants are generous and hospitable – curious to know more about a visitor who has come to see them – and to share their own life stories with you. One family invited me in to tea.
Numerous family members of all ages come in and out to sneak a peak at you, chattering on their mobiles, whilst rushing back to watch their satellite TV channels. Tea and pakhlava is offered and accepted – a contribution towards the cost is courteously refused with thanks and smiles.
I have to say, I really enjoyed my visit to Khinalig and would recommend it to anyone but the apprehensive. The scenery en route was truly spectacular.
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry. For sets of images of Baku, Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers, Khinalig, Gobustan, Ateshgah Fire Temple and Yanar Dag, visit Sue’s Flickr stream.
Sue Lowry travelled as a guest of Fairmont Baku, Flame Towers (a Magellan client) and British Airways. For a three night stay, prices – to include accommodation and flights – start at GBP808 – subject to change. A visa for entry is required which can easily be arranged through the hotel.
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