National Parks in Azerbaijan

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National Parks in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan boasts a diverse landscape characterized by rugged mountains, lush forests, and expansive plains. Within this rich natural tapestry lie several national parks, each offering a unique glimp (Read More)se into the country's biodiversity and scenic beauty. From the Caspian coast to the mountainous regions of the Greater Caucasus, these protected areas serve as havens for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts

Here is the list of 9 National Parks in Azerbaijan

1. Shirvan National Park

Shirvan National Park

Located in the Salyan and Neftchala districts of Azerbaijan, Shirvan National Park was established in 2003 to protect and preserve the unique semi-desert landscape of the region. Covering an area of 55 hectares, the park is situated approximately 20 to 27 meters below sea level, creating a flat terrain interrupted by artificial channels, a semi-artificial lake, and mud volcanoes. Its main focus is on the conservation of the Goitered Gazelle and other fauna native to the area, listed in the Red Book of Azerbaijan. While visiting the park, you can explore diverse landscapes, including wildlife, dunes, and a short coastline, and observe a variety of fauna, including gazelles, jungle cats, turtles, and over 200 species of birds.

2. Goygol National Park

Goygol National Park

Goygol National Park is situated in the northeastern part of the Lesser Caucasus. At its heart lies the stunning Lake Goygol, renowned for its crystal-clear blue waters reflecting the surrounding forests and sky. The park is dedicated to preserving the natural ecosystem of the subalpine zones of the northern slopes of the Lesser Caucasus, protecting endemic flora and fauna species, including over 420 plant species and a diverse range of wildlife. The park is characterized by lush forests dominated by trees such as Chestnut-Leaved Oak, Caucasian Oak, and Oriental Beech, along with shrubs like Medlar and European barberry. You can enjoy activities such as hiking, birdwatching, and camping amidst the breathtaking landscapes.

3. Shahdag National Park

Shahdag National Park

Nestled amidst Azerbaijan's Gusar region, Shahdag National Park sprawls across more than 130,000 hectares of untamed beauty. Established in 2006, this ecological haven serves as a sanctuary for endangered and endemic species. Adventure enthusiasts can explore the park's rugged mountains via hiking trails and encounter ethnic villages like Laza along the way. It boasts an impressive biodiversity, teeming with diverse flora and fauna. You can marvel at a plethora of bird species and mammals, including roe deer, wild boar, brown bear, jackal, and forest cat. Keep an eye out for species listed in Azerbaijan's 'Red Book' of protected wildlife, such as the lynx, kestrel, and the majestic golden eagle.

4. Zangezur National Park

Zangezur National Park

Zangezur National Park, formerly known as Ordubad National Park, is located in the Ordubad Rayon district of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan. Situated in a mountainous region, the park experiences cold winters and hot summers, with temperatures ranging from -30°C to -10°C in January and 10°C to 25°C in July. Zangezur National Park is home to a diverse range of flora, including rare plants like Iris elegantissima, Himantoglossum formosum, and Dorema glabrum, with 39 plant species listed in the Red Book of Azerbaijan.

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5. Absheron National Park

Absheron National Park

Absheron National Park, established in 2005 on the base of Absheron State Nature Preserve, covers an area of 783 hectares in the administrative territory of the Azizbeyov district of Baku city. Created in 1969 to protect gazelles, Caspian seals, and water birds, the park features a semi-arid climate typical of semi-desert and dry steppe regions. While the flora is relatively sparse, consisting mainly of sea coastal sand plants and meadows with grasses, the park is home to a diverse range of wildlife. Over 50 species of birds, including gulls, terns, ducks, and raptors, can be spotted here, along with mammals like foxes, jackals, and gazelles. The park also boasts a variety of reptile species and 25 plant species.

6. Hirkan National Park

Hirkan National Park

Hirkan National Park sprawls across the Lankaran and Astara regions of Azerbaijan. Covering an area of approximately 403.58 square kilometers, the park is predominantly covered by lush forests, constituting one of the largest contiguous forested areas in the country. It is known for its humid subtropical and humid temperate forests, which shelter numerous endemic plant and animal species. With rich biodiversity, it is home to around 1,900 plant species, including 162 endemics and 95 rare species. You can enjoy hiking along over a dozen marked routes, offering opportunities to explore the diverse landscapes and encounter the unique flora and fauna of this protected area.

7. Altyaghach National Park

Altyaghach National Park

Altyaghach National Park spans through Khizi and Siazan administrative districts of Azerbaijan. This national park is renowned for its diverse flora and fauna, with 90.5% of its territory covered by temperate deciduous broadleaved forests. It has picturesque landscapes, characterized by Persian Ironwood, Caucasian Oak, and Oriental Beech trees. The park is home to the rare East Caucasian tur, as well as other large mammals such as lynx, brown bear, and wolf. Located approximately 120 km from Baku, the park offers excellent trekking and hiking opportunities amidst its lush forests and wide rivers. The park's scenic beauty is further enhanced by the Candy Cane Mountains, renowned for their unique pink and white stripes caused by iron oxidation.

8. Ag-Gol National Park

Ag-Gol National Park

Located in the low-lying plain of the Rivers Kur and Araz, Ag-Gol National Park is a marshy ecological system with a semi-desert landscape, making it a vital wintering and nesting ground for birds, particularly wetland species, many of which are migratory. Despite limited visitor facilities, Ag-Gol is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International and designated as a Ramsar wetland of International Importance. It is also included in UNESCO's convention on internationally important marshy areas for birds. With over 140 bird species, including 89 nesting species like partridge, spoonbill, swan, and bustard, the park offers excellent birdwatching opportunities.

9. Samur-Yalama National Park

Samur-Yalama National Park

Located in the city of Khachmaz, Samur-Yalama National Park spans approximately 12 hectares and is rich in diverse flora and fauna. The park boasts a variety of herbs such as dog rose, garlic, blooming sally, and melissa, while the soil types range from meadow-forest to chestnut and light chestnut. Meadows, shrubberies, and flat forests are prevalent throughout the park, providing habitats for a range of animals including feral pigs, raccoons, pheasants, and partridges. Coastal waters teem with fish, and the park features thermal and mineral springs, making it an ideal destination for hunting and fishing enthusiasts.

The national parks of Azerbaijan stand as testament to the country's commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism. From the vibrant wetlands of Hirkan to the rugged peaks of Shahdag, each park offers a window into Azerbaijan's natural heritage.

This post was published by Pranay Prasun

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