Distance from Baku 315 km
Population 87 400
How to get to By bus: Shuttle Baku-Astara-Baku, 7 hrs;
By train: Baku-Astara-Baku, 9 hrs.
Astara district is located in the south-east of the country, on the border with Iran. Astara is a small picturesque port city and an important transit point on the route Baku-Tehran.
Astara is one of the most beautiful areas of Azerbaijan. One part of the territory is Talysh Mountains, and another part is plains. Astara city is surrounded by rice paddies. High in the mountains, Astarachay and Tengerud River originate and flow into the Caspian Sea. Picturesque Talysh Mountains with their unique beauty and freshness have always fascinated the traveler. French painter Alberto Pepin, who visited here in 1886 together with his fellow countryman traveler Gabriel Bonvalot, captured in his art works Talysh Mountains, beautiful landscape, everyday life, culture, habits, customs, and clothing of locals of this region.
More than 37,000 hectares of the area are covered by the forests which have the relict woods such as oak and Demiragaj (ironwood). Hardwood of Ironwood is used for making looms, shuttles, and parts for the textile industry. Wild quince, Medlar (Mespilus), hawthorn, blackberry, the silk tree with pink flowers, green butcher’s broom, and sarsaparilla, silk vine, ivy, which are members of the family of vines are widely grown here. Talysh forests fauna is rich and diverse. Animals such as wolves, lynx, deer, porcupines and other live therein. There are also many beautiful sandy beaches on the Caspian Sea shore of the district. The sea water is clean and clear here.
The road from the neighboring Lankaran to Astara is extremely picturesque: to the left on the narrow coastal strip there is Hirkan reserve with protected relict woods: ironwood, zelkova etc. The district is considered to be one of the major tea-growing, citrus, and vegetable-growing districts of Azerbaijan. Near the village of Archivan there is a source of sulfurous, medical water, popularly known as Asadullah-bulagy. Here one can observe an interesting phenomenon: a lit match flashes a fire “fountain”.
In Astara and also on the other side of the border, there are many Talysh people who belong to the Iranian language group. The district has ancient tumulus. Objects that were found there, such as tools and hunting weapons, indicate that the population in these places was engaged in “metallurgy” in the Bronze and Iron periods.
There are more than 400 monuments of history in the territory of this district, and the majority of them are in the mountain villages. Among them the tower in Shindan village, well known as the Tower of Babak, the tower in the village of Nidus, the Mausoleum of the XII century in the village Shakhagay, the Haji Taimur and Haji Jahan Bagish Mosques, the Meshedi Abutalib bathhouse in Pensar village, and the Karbila’i Hamid Abdullah bathhouse in the Archivan village could be mentioned. In Gapachymahalla village one can find a caravanserai dated by the VII century, a necropolis dated by the III-I centuries, and the ruins of an ancient fortress, mausoleum, the statues relating to the Bronze and Stone Ages.
The city has a museum, which showcases numerous finds from its district including coins, stone tools, etc. A stone statue of a man, which is more than 2000 years old, the deer image on a piece of stone, which is 2000-3500 years old are to be of particular interest. All together there are over 8000 exhibits in the museum.
The necessary infrastructure was created to serve tourists in this region. There are several hotels, including a 5-star hotel available. Besides, on the Baku-Astara highway there is also a large shopping mall “Savalan” next to which one can find a hotel, banquet halls, a coffee bar, and “Sahil” and “Tourist” restaurants.