Visit Guide to Caspian

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, covering an area larger than Germany. In its basin lie mountains and deserts, the ruins of ancient cities and the eclectic architecture of modern metropolises. The diversity of the region’s tourism products is remarkable, from cruises and beach resorts to cultural programmes and casinos, hiking, mountain biking, and winter sports.
Caspian Destinations
Linking Georgia and Azerbaijan Turkmenistan Caspian Sea Front Azerbaijan, Lankaran Area Waterfront East Azerbaijan, Baku Area Ganja Area North Azerbaijan Northeast Georgia

Linking Georgia and Azerbaijan

In Georgia and Azerbaijan you will find two countries which share aspects of geography and history but nevertheless are proud of their distinct national identities. Together, they make an ideal twin-centre trip in the South Caucasus, offering not only exciting adventure experiences but also important historical sites and buzzing cultural scenes and nightlife, especially in Baku, Batumi, and Tbilisi.

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Turkmenistan Caspian Sea Front

Azerbaijan, Lankaran Area Waterfront

East Azerbaijan, Baku Area

Ganja Area

North Azerbaijan

Northeast Georgia

History and Culture

The Caspian Sea was formed some 30 million years ago, and contrary to what its name suggests, it is technically a lake, not a sea. Fossils of Homo erectus and Homo ergaster, ancestors of modern humans, have been found around the sea, and from this we know that it is one of the earliest inhabited regions on Earth.

The early human history of the Caspian Sea region is shrouded in myth: Zeus condemned Prometheus to eternal torment in Georgia, and in the same area, Jason and the Argonauts sought the golden fleece. Archaeological remains offer more reliable evidence, however, about the types of communities living here from the Palaeolithic era onwards.

Great emperors of antiquity, including Cyrus the Great and Alexander the Great, conquered territories on both sides of the Caspian. There was active trade and cultural exchange with Persia, Greece, and Rome. Prior to the arrival of Christianity and, later, Islam, this was the centre of Zoroastrianism, which is generally considered to be the world’s first monotheistic faith. You can still see Zoroastrian fire temples in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, though many are in a ruined state. The succession of conquests continued well into the modern period. The Timurids and the Safavids, the Ottomans, Turkic khanates, and the Russians all made their mark, and it is only since 1991 that all of the countries in the Caspian Sea region have been independent. 

What to See and Do

Make a long-distance, multi-country journey the centrepiece of your visit to the Caspian Sea. You can take the ferry from Baku to Aktau or Turkmenbashi, or cross the southern Caucasus by train. Driving the Georgian Military Highway exposes you to stunning scenery, especially in the Devil’s Valley where you will find the dramatically-located, and these days rather optimistically named, Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument.

With such a long and rich history, exploring the Caspian region’s monuments is a must. The mediaeval frescoes of the Gelati Monastery and the defensive towers of Svaneti both have UNESCO World Heritage Site status, as do the Walled City of Baku, the Gobustan Rock Art Cultural Landscape, and the Parthian Fortresses of Nisa.

If you are an architecture fan, make sure Baku and Tbilisi are on your itinerary; these capital cities both make a bold impression with their skylines, preserving traditional buildings and adding striking modern designs. Immerse yourself in their contemporary culture, too, meeting local artists and musicians, shopping, eating, and dancing the night away at one of Georgia’s legendary clubs. And don’t miss a wine tasting whilst you’re here: this is the birthplace of wine, and after 8,000 vintages, they’ve got winemaking down to an art!

Main Attractions