By Narmina Mammadova
Azerbaijan, a country with a rich culture and centuries-old history, has a variety of architectural monuments and sights.
Historical and cultural reserves of Azerbaijan have a special place among such attractions. Reserves under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism create extensive opportunities for the development of cultural tourism in the country.
The Azerbaijani State Tourism Agency is developing proposals to create modern infrastructure on the territory of the Yanardag State Historical-Cultural and Natural Reserve, Kenan Guluzade, head of the public relations department of the agency, told Trend.
He said that at this stage, work actively continues on the reconstruction of the reserve, which is a part of the state agency.
"Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on measures to reconstruct the Yanardag State Historical-Cultural and Natural Reserve in order to create modern tourism infrastructure in the territory of this reserve," he said.
Guluzade noted that seven reserves are included in the agency’s structure.
"Besides Yanardag, the agency’s structure includes the Ateshgah Temple State Historical-Architectural Reserve, the Basgal State Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Khinalig State Historical, Architectural and Ethnographic Reserve, the Lahij State Historical and Cultural Reserve, the Yukhary Bash State Historical and Architectural Reserve in Sheki city and the Kish State Historical and Architectural Reserve. By his decree, the president of Azerbaijan instructed the state agency to prepare the relevant information on condition of the Basgal State Historical and Cultural Reserve, as well as to prepare proposals for the development of tourism infrastructure in the territory of this reserve," said Guluzade.
He noted that the State Tourism Agency is working on all the issues, as well as closely studying the situation in five other reserves, where work of a similar nature is planned.
Cultural reserves and historical sites operating in the regions of the country have attracted many visitors throughout the year.
One of such examples is Ateshgah Temple. The place that is saturated with ancient history and religious beliefs is among the most attractive places of the country. The number of tourists visiting the place is increasing every year. Last year the number of tourists visiting Ateshgah was 30,751, while 25,346 of which were foreigners. The main share of those who visited Ateshgah made up the tourists coming from Russia and Arab countries.
Basgal settlement is located in the Ismayilli district at an altitude of 998 meters above sea level and is also a part of the state cultural and historical reserve. It is protected by the state.
According to a number of historians, Basgal was founded in the fourth century.
The small yet miraculous Khinalig is located at the peak of the Caucasus Mountains, 2,350 meters above the sea in Guba region. This village itself is enlisted as a State Historic-Architecture and Ethnography Preserve from 2007.
There are a number of tours and guests houses in the village, which make trip to Khinalig more convenient for tourists.
In 2017, a great number of tourists visited the State Historical-Cultural and Natural Reserve of Yanardag. During the year, 54,717 out of 63,574 people that visited the place were foreign tourists. They mostly came from Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and other countries.
Last year, 56,742 tourists visited the Yukhari Bash State Historical-Architectural Reserve in Sheki. Some 40,182 people visited Lahij State Historical and Cultural Reserve in Ismayilli, and 25,850 tourists came to see Kish Historical-Architectural Reserve in Sheki.
In 2016, some 356,000 tourists visited the historical and cultural sites, whereas in 2017 this figure reached 486,233, a considerable share, namely, 166,153 of which fall on foreign citizens.
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