By Arzu Abdullayeva
Tourism is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world. It greatly contributes to country’s economy and other spheres.
Azerbaijan being rich with natural resources, ancient history and magnificent landscapes in no exception. The country attracts tourists with its modern architecture, resort areas, national parks, museums, historical monuments.
Speaking of National Parks, which number today reaches 100 with total surface area of 310,136 hectares, have the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and promoting opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the qualities of national parks by the public.
As much as 10.3 percent of the territories of Azerbaijan are protected, and 3 percent of them fall on the National Parks. All the National Parks have a route for eco-tourism and rare plants and animals living there are included in the country’s Red Book.
These parks have turned into one of the favorite destinations of local and foreign tourists and their number is rapidly growing year by year reaching 196,084 people as of May 2018.
Most visitors’ main reason to come to national parks is to enjoy the beautiful scenery and landscape. Here are the famous Nationals Parks of Azerbaijan:
Zangezur National Park was founded by presidential decree in 2003. It has rich biological multiplicity which includes 39 species of plants and 58 species of animals that are recorded in the Red Book of Azerbaijan.
Shirvan National Park was also established in 2003. Its surface area is 543.735 km2. Park’s biological diversity is rich. Among rare mammals species can be noted, for instance, Persian gazelle, wild boar, wolf, jackal, jungle cat, fox, badger, European hare and others. Persian gazelle, bustard, little bustard, white-tailed eagle, steppe eagle, peregrine, saker falcon and pur-thighed tortoise are listed in the Red Book.
Ag-Gol National Park is situated in the Kura-Araz lowlands. Park has 22 species of mammals. Ag-Gol has been included into the list of UNESCO’s convention.
Hirkan National Park was founded in 2004. Park owns a humid subtropical climate in the lowlands and oceanic climate in the middle elevations. There are several subspecies of birds and animals living here.
Altyagach National Park was established in the Khizi and Siyazan regions. The area of National Park is covered by broadleaved forests. Park is rich in diverse fauna and flora which attracts tourists who visit the country.
Absheron National Park is a national park in the Caspian Hyrcanian mixed forests’ ecoregion, established in 2005. The Caucasian leopard, lynx, and striped hyena were reported in this area. When it comes to flora, it is poor here.
Shahdag National Park is the largest national park not just in Azerbaijan but also in Caucasus. Caucasian Oak, Caucasian Ash, White Birch are some of the major types of trees can be seen here. This beautiful park is home to the rare animal species, including East Caucasian tur, wild boar, common jackal and others.
Samur-Yalama National Park is the newest national park of Azerbaijan which was founded in 2012. It situated in the territory of Khachmaz. Some tourist routes start in Yalama. This park is one of the mesmerizing parks of Azerbaijan.
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