One of the most important periods in the history of Azerbaijan is the period that has begun with the development of trade. Located at the crossroads of trade routes between China and Europe, the Land of Fire held a part of the extensive network of trade routes of the Silk Road.

One of the busiest routes, known as "Strabon" and named after the great geographer who first mentioned it in his works, passed through the territory of Azerbaijan in I-II centuries b.c.. This route originated from China and India through Central Asia, continued across the Uzbay river which reached to the Caspian Sea, and passed through the territory of Azerbaijan. Here, it divided into two branches: one branch of the route went up the Kur River toward Colchis and Iberia, while the second branch folded along the western coast of the Caspian Sea through Derbent and Caucasian steppes.

Holding the safest section of the route, Azerbaijan attracted a large number of traders. This was due to the developed infrastructure of cities, and also to the fact that the following countries along the route – Georgia, Iberia, and Colchis – were politically stable, which ensured the uninterrupted functioning of the route. Another factor that attracted the merchants was that most of the trails of the route were aquatic

A lot of the ancient cities of Azerbaijan were established exactly along the “Strabon” route. In the early Middle Ages, Azerbaijan still continued to play an important role as a part of the Great Silk Way. Barda, which became the capital of Azerbaijan in V century, became the largest trade center on one of the branches of the Silk Road, and continued to be one of the biggest centers of craftsmanship throughout the Middle East and Trans Caucasus region up until the X century. 

A lot of the ancient cities of Azerbaijan were established exactly along the “Strabon” route. In the early Middle Ages, Azerbaijan still continued to play an important role as a part of the Great Silk Way. Barda, which became the capital of Azerbaijan in V century, became the largest trade center on one of the branches of the Silk Road, and continued to be one of the biggest centers of craftsmanship throughout the Middle East and Trans Caucasus region up until the X century.

Talented local artisans offered foreign merchants a lot of useful goods – fine jewelry, brass and stringed musical instruments, precious weapons, magnificent carpets, and local varieties of silk. From here, the merchants exported oil, precious stones, salt, mercury, alum, wool, linen, cotton, mineral pigments, therapeutic drugs and much more to Europe. Especially famous were copper goods: dishes, trays, candlesticks, and astronomical instruments.

Centuries passed, and Islam was adopted as the official religion of the country. Medieval Azerbaijan continued to trade and exchange cultures with many countries. In the XIV-XVIII centuries, the role of Azerbaijani cities located on the Silk Road, had increased even more. This was due to the development of Volga-Caspian trade route between Russian and English traders. During this period, cities like Shamakhi, Derbent, Baku, Ardabil, Tabriz, Maragha, Ganja, and Nakhchivan became the centers of storage and transportation of the goods brought from the East and Europe. Merchants from Russia, Europe, Turkey, Central Asia and the Far East flocked to the cities in order to obtain these goods.

Karvansarays were built in all of the major cities. Local rulers were paid money for permission to build monasteries, prayer rooms and guesthouses in the locations where the trade caravans stopped.

Multi-day tour offers developed by our company will let the visitors to plunge into the atmosphere of the era of the Great Silk Road and visit several countries simultaneously.

We offer combined tours designed together with our partners to the countries of the Great Silk Road, such as Azerbaijan – Georgia –  Turkey, Uzbekistan – Azerbaijan, and others.

Photo:the caravan moving through the desert