Best ways to enjoy winter break in Azerbaijan [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
On New Year's Eve, Azerbaijan turns into a winter wonderland with endless opportunities for entertainment and recreation.
From celebrating the holidays to going skiing, there's never a shortage of fun things to experience in Azerbaijan during a cold winter day.
If you want to experience all the delights of a snowy winter, you can spend this season enjoying winter sports like skiing or ice skating. The country has something for everyone, so it depends on what you are looking for.
Shahdag Tourism Complex is one of the best places where you can enjoy a fun ski experience.
Azerbaijan’s first ski resort offers numerous winter activities from snow mobiling sliding to tubing and a snow park for children.
If you'd like to enjoy a wintertime adventure, then take a look at Tufandag Mountain Resort. There’s a great mix of slopes, including plenty of easier runs for beginners.
Tufandag complex provides skiing, mountain climbing by ATV quad bikes and other amazing types of winter entertainment.
At these resorts there are a lot of activities that are sure to please just about everyone.
Although ice skating cannot be called traditional entertainment for Azerbaijan, there is a chance for everyone to enjoy ice skating at some entertainment centers. Here figure skating fans are also delighted with delicious food in cozy cafes.
Relax at traditional bathhouses
After a walk in the frosty air, there's nothing better than relaxing and splashing in Azerbaijan, bathhouses or hammams.
Bathing is a time-old tradition for Azerbaijani people. Weekly visits to the hammam were obligatory for all members of the family.
Famous Gasim-bay was constructed in 17th century by millionaire and philanthropist Gasim-bay near the Salyan door (gate).
The bathhouse is often called "Shirin" (Sweet) as the tea here was given together with sweets.
The bath is included in the list of protected by the state monuments of history and culture located on the territory of Azerbaijan. It is considered to be the second most famous bathhouse in Baku.
Due to their importance in preparing for prayer, bathhouses were often built in close proximity to mosques. Therefore, Gasim-bay built hammam next to his mosque.
The benefits of taking a bath are numerous and have an excellent impact on health.
If you need a reason to spend more time in the traditional, you should know that hot steam removes harmful substances from the human body. The pores in the skin dilate making possible deep cleansing of the skin.
Moreover, spending time in hammams is the best way to relax and de-stress in winter.
Enjoy delicious winter recipes
When the temps drop we all crave cozy foods. Azerbaijani cuisine boasts a wide range of delectable dishes for every palate.
The country has many trusted winter recipes such as piti, dushbara, qutab, khingal and much more.
Piti is a soup prepared in individual clay pots in the oven. The soup is made of mutton and vegetables, infused with saffron water adding flavor and color to it.
Dushbara is a kind of home-made dumplings, which is usually it is cooked on lamb broth.
Anyone who is newly familiarizing themselves with the Azerbaijani cuisine, must try mouthwatering gutab and khingal.
Gutab is a type of pancake, stuffed with many ingredients such as herbs, meat, cheese, pumpkin and beans.
Each region of Azerbaijan has its favorite type of qutab. You can taste Shamakhi qutab in the north of the country and Jorat qutab in the settlement near Baku.
There are two kinds of khingal: Sulu khingal and Guru khingal. The difference between these two kinds is that Sulu khingal is served with broth, chopped meat and peas, while Guru khingal with roasted meat. That is why this meal can be served both as a first and a second course meal.
All these things will give you all the comfort you want in winter months!
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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