By Ulisses Lisboa Gonçalves, AzerNews
Write an article and get a passport to Azerbaijan. It is almost hard to believe that how an essay could take me so far away from my home. One day I decided to participate in an essay contest organized by the Ministry of Youth and Sport of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The prize was nothing less than a trip to the Land of Fire. You can all imagine how surprised I was when I got the news: I had actually won the contest and one of the most meaningful experiences of my life was about to begin.
Extraordinarily, contemporary and classic... There is only one peculiar place in the world that unites the most diverse epochs in one single environment. It is with no doubt, one of the charms of Azerbaijan. Located near the Caspian Sea and the former Soviet republic, the diversity found in this country can be explained by its age: Azerbaijan is one of the oldest nations in the world's history. The maturity of its community is a reflection of an ancient, exotic and unique culture.
In Azerbaijan, there are several mazes of streets with admirable aspects that have combined the old and new ages together. In the capital Baku, you can observe and appreciate the amazing architectural contrast. On the one hand, we can notice the historical streets at the Old City and, on the other; we can see three buildings in fully modern form: the famous Flame Towers. It is like being in Asia and Europe at the same time.
Once you are there, don't lose any chance to visit a very special city called Sumqayit. And forget about fast food or western dishes, in Sumqayit there are great restaurants that serve traditional Azerbaijani food: Breads, cheeses, vegetables, roasts and lots of flavors. What makes the meals more special is the designs of the restaurants in the Land of Fire. You should also try the traditional Azerbaijani tea, considered the best hot drink around the country.
You won't waste your time and energy if begin to explore the small towns of Azerbaijan. The traditional cities are attractive because of their amazing simplicity. Lahij, for example, is a village on the southern slopes of Greater Caucasus within the Ismailli Rayon of Azerbaijan, with a population of approximately nine hundred people who speak the variation of Tati - Lahiji language. You will also be amazed by its narrow streets, wooden houses, cheerful residents and many souvenir shops.
On the whole, it is worth visiting as many places as possible in Azerbaijan. Each city has its own charm distinguishing itself from other towns. At the end, all I can say is that Azerbaijan is an amazing country with a rich and fantastic culture that makes you feel at home. And if you get a chance to visit the country, I'm sure that you would like to visit it again and again. I am sure I will. See you soon, Azerbaijan.
Ulisses Lisboa is a Brazilian student who studies journalism and got a chance to visit Azerbaijan this summer. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.